Proof of Delivery: Complete Guide and The Benefits for Businesses

electronic proof of delivery

Proof of delivery has become an essential part of delivery services. Discover what proof of delivery and how it can benefit your business!

The shift from traditional purchases to online transactions has increased the number of delivery orders. Additionally, customers nowadays expect quality service, but the growing number of shippings causes delivery companies to become overloaded with orders. As a result, without proper monitoring, delivery performance may suffer.

For instance, orders might be delivered late or not at all. Clumsy drivers may also mark orders as completed even if they haven’t delivered the goods to the recipient. In the worst-case scenario, orders may get lost, forcing businesses to refund their customers’ orders.

Fortunately, proof of delivery can effectively avoid any issues mentioned above. Proof of delivery will offer your customers peace of mind to confirm when they have received the correct orders. Additionally, your customers can also get protected if they wish to return or refund their parcels with proof of delivery.

Most importantly, you can safeguard your company against false claims by entailing this confirmation form. 

So, are you interested in learning more about this topic? We’ll explain what proof of delivery is and why it is important for your business.

What is proof of delivery?

Proof of delivery (POD) is a form that validates a successful delivery. A courier will typically ask the recipient to sign the document to verify that the correct item was delivered to the legitimate address.

There are several uses of proof of delivery. For example, this form will recognise customers as legitimate consignees. As a result, they may request a return or refund if they receive broken or incorrect items.

On the other hand, businesses can use this delivery form to safeguard against dispute claims. As there are many malicious people out there, businesses can protect themselves from people who try to trick them into giving them a refund even though they did not order anything.

Furthermore, proof of delivery is commonly related to last-mile delivery. By entailing POD, businesses can gain higher end-to-end visibility of the shipping process. Therefore, they can ensure that each item is successfully delivered to their customer’s address.

Proof of delivery is available in both paper and electronic formats, with the latter being more popular nowadays. A paper POD is a physical document that the recipient must sign manually after receiving their packages. On the other hand, electronic proof of delivery or ePOD will only require customers’ digital signatures.

Why is proof of delivery important?

Proof of delivery is important because this form will cover businesses from the possible lost, damaged, and misdelivered packages. It might be common for these issues to arise due to the increasing shipping volume. Without proper documentation, businesses may risk hurting their revenues.

Furthermore, customers nowadays expect convenient and high-quality delivery services. It might be difficult for businesses to fulfil customers’ demands without resolving their internal issues first. Businesses may streamline their workflow and provide a better service by availing proof of delivery.

Now, you might be wondering, how does this form of delivery streamline businesses’ workflow? To give you a better understanding of how POD may improve your company’s system, we’re going to list the advantages below.

How POD streamlines businesses’ workflow

  • Structuring order traceability. Businesses which utilize to POD can structure their delivery orders, track the packages, and monitor where they are bound. They may also gain visibility regarding the package’s information, such as the delivery date, content, the delivery driver’s name, and many more.
  • Enhancing back-operations efficiency. Data collection in back-office operations can work more efficiently when businesses structure their traceability orders. Therefore, besides structuring order traceability, POD can also ensure businesses input the correct data based on the orders information.
  • Improving customer experience. Due to POD’s accuracy, this form will also improve customer experience. By using POD, businesses can avoid mismatching information, such as drivers marking packages as delivered when they haven’t delivered or misplaced items. As a result, businesses can accurately inform customers about their packages.

Now that you know how the POD streamlines business operations, it’s time to learn how this form will benefit your customers.

Benefits of POD for customers

  • Provides customers with a sense of control. Unlike physical purchases, customers cannot control when and if they will receive the packages they ordered online. However, businesses can still provide their customers with a sense of control by providing POD. As a result, customers may gain visibility of the status of their packages.
  • Reduces the likeliness of misdirected packages. Because POD contains information such as the recipient’s name, address, and phone number, it is unlikely that the logistics companies will deliver the package to the wrong person. Although the courier may send the goods to the incorrect home address in some cases, the person who received the incorrect package can immediately return it to the correct recipient.
  • Informs customers about orders completion. POD allows customers to track their online orders and get notified about orders completion. Frequently, customers who purchase goods online may not notice when their packages have arrived. Therefore, businesses can inform their customers through this form.

What are the disadvantages of physical proof of delivery?

While you have understood what the benefits of proof of delivery are, you will need to know that the physical POD also comes with its disadvantages. With the high amount of paperwork, it’s possible to experience these issues in the delivery process: 

  • May result in more errors such as illegible handwriting, wrong information, or lost documents.
  • Involves repetitive task that impacts negatively on driver’s efficiency
  • Limits real-time and accurate communication with the customers

Fortunately, companies may address all of the possible disadvantages above effectively through the digitalisation of proof of delivery. To help you understand better, we will explain to you how the digital shift in proof of delivery works.

The digital shift in proof of delivery

The digital shift in proof of delivery refers to the transition from paper POD to electronic form. As previously stated, this digital shift can reduce the possibility of errors or difficulties that may arise if you persist in using printed POD.

But did you know that, in addition to reducing errors and difficulties associated with printed POD, this digital shift can provide businesses with a variety of additional perks? Are you interested in learning more about the advantages?

So, businesses may gain more control over delivery confirmations with electronic POD. Furthermore, a digitalised system can simplify all administrative processes compared to printed forms.

The digitised system streamlines the administrative process by allowing couriers to submit reports directly through an application linked to the head office. As a result, the courier can save time because they do not have to submit proof of delivery manually.

Furthermore, the courier can save time by spending less time at each drop off point. Why can they save time at every drop-off location? The answer is because electronic POD allows orders completion without the need for human contact. If the recipient is not at home, the courier may attach proof of delivery that is not the recipient’s signature (e.g., photo of where the driver dropped the package).

What is electronic proof of delivery?

After you’ve learned the reasons for the digital shift in proof of delivery, it’s time to learn what an electronic POD is.

Electronic proof of delivery is a substitute for a paper form of delivery. Electronic POD, as the name implies, is available in digital form.

In contrast to traditional PODs, electronic PODs use a digital signature to confirm package delivery. But, as previously stated, the ePOD is also capable of contactless delivery.

In addition to providing a digital signature, the recipient may have the option of not having to meet the courier if they are not present (i.e., couriers attach a photo of where they dropped the package).

Logistics companies currently prefer to use ePODs over paper forms. They made this decision as ePOD provides more convenience in the documentation and delivery processes.

Additionally, companies can simplify the confirmation process by incorporating ePOD. If the recipient is unavailable, for example, the driver can confirm a successful delivery by entering other data types, such as photos, shipping timestamps, and other supporting information. So contactless interaction is possible with ePOD.

Not only that, but ePOD also supports real-time data transfer. As a result, businesses can use this technology to improve transparency and communication during the order fulfilment process. Businesses can also reduce their reliance on paper documents by utilising this technology, which can be clunky at times.

Why should businesses use electronic proof of delivery?

With many logistics companies switching to ePOD, it will be beneficial for businesses that haven’t used digital delivery notes to do so. If you’re wondering why your company should use electronic POD, it’s because it may improve efficiency and shorten billing cycles.

Furthermore, you can significantly reduce the use of paper documents in your company as part of contributing to a greener planet. As a result, your delivery can be managed more effectively without having to worry about losing or damaging the paper documents.

So, do you still doubt how ePOD software can improve your delivery system? We’ll go through some of the additional benefits you might get from implementing this technology.

Benefits of ePOD

Improves the customer experience

Some of the features in the ePOD software will allow logistics companies to provide updates to customers in a transparent manner, allowing them to improve the customer experience later and satisfy customers. In general, the following features will be present in ePOD software:

  • Notifications and alerts: When orders are due to arrive soon, customers can use notifications and alerts to plan. So, if the recipient has an activity, they can at least ask someone to pick up their goods. As a result, the likelihood of failed deliveries can be reduced, and the company may also avoid losses from delivery failures.
  • GPS: This feature keeps dispatchers and customers informed about the status of deliveries. For example, customers can track their goods directly. Dispatchers can also be alerted if the delivery vehicle is jammed, allowing them to act quickly.
  • Delivery information: This feature allows the sender to confirm the delivery of goods while accommodating customer requests. Customers, for example, can provide feedback that businesses can use to improve their operational systems. Subsequent deliveries can then be more systematic and tailored to the customers’ needs.

Simplifies the delivery process

The most significant impact of ePOD software is its ability to enable businesses in eliminating the use of paper-based documents in the delivery confirmation process.

We probably know that manual data collection takes more time and effort. Without the help of electronic forms, data collection may take longer and hinder subsequent processing. Furthermore, physical documents are more prone to damage, loss, or contain incorrect information.

Fortunately, ePOD software can solve all of these issues. For instance, can directly enter data into the mobile ePOD software. This system will certainly save time and effort spent filling out manual forms. Eventually, drivers can reduce the time to stop at each drop-off point. 

Furthermore, the software will enable a direct data upload from the drivers to the web system. The interconnectivity allows other departments in the office to directly access information in real-time without worrying about missing important information.

Enhances order accuracy

Unlike paper delivery notes, electronic proof of delivery allows for more data collection for confirmation, in addition to digital signatures. Thus, dispatchers can update information in real-time faster with more choices of confirmation proof. As a result, order fulfilment becomes more accurate.

Improves operational and drivers efficiency

This digital software-based ePOD simplifies operations and allows drivers to update previously entered data easily. The following are some examples of possible updates:

  • Changes to customer’s details after successful purchases
  • Disputes to package damages or shipping completeness
  • Reduces drivers errors such as incomplete addresses or unreadable handwritings

Provides real-time control

The interconnectivity of the ePOD software to transfer data from the field to the dispatch centre helps managers stay up to date on orders, delivery status, and other information. As a result, they can respond to any specific circumstances in a timely manner. Hence, they can ensure their customer experience.

Here is the list of circumstances that dispatching managers may control by utilising ePOD:

  • Organising shipping routes
  • Streamlining the processes between departments, dispatch centres, and drivers
  • Keeping track of driver shifts
  • Managing the increased volume of deliveries while maintaining the quality of service
  • Optimising inventory regulations
  • Adjusting transportation based on the customer’s needs.

Shorten billing cycle

Once an ePOD is collected, it will be reflected in the ePOD software. Finance team could actually issue an invoice instantly to the customer on the day itself. Normally, billing cycle is stretched longer as the finance team would need to wait for the delivery drivers to handover all the physical PODs but with an ePOD, the billing process is shorter and much more efficient. 

How does electronic proof of delivery work?

Now that you have acknowledged the benefits of utilising ePOD in your delivery system, you might want to know how the digital delivery note itself works.

ePOD typically has two versions, a mobile app and a web system for starters. Both versions have their functionality that we’ll explain below: 

  • Mobile app: Couriers commonly use the mobile app version to collect data such as customer’s signature, delivery timestamp, photos, and other types of confirmation data.
  • Web system: In-office dispatchers will use the web system to manage and monitor all of the confirmation data submitted by the drivers.

As you can see, the duality of ePOD allows businesses to gain better control over the delivery services and scale their transportation operations. This is because both the drivers and dispatch managers can simultaneously collect and manage the delivery proofs simultaneously during the shipment process.

Data types of electronic proof of delivery

As mentioned before, ePOD offers more flexibility than paper delivery notes. As a result, by utilising ePOD, the drivers may collect various types of data besides the digital signature. In addition, the data collection will vary depending on which sides the software collects.

Here is the list of information collection regarding the delivery:

  • Photograph
  • Barcode
  • QR code
  • Alphanumeric codes
  • Order identification numbers
  • Timestamps

While the in-field couriers collect the customer’s information mentioned above, other departments that work in the back-end operations can also get visibility of the delivery process. The following information helps back-end staff to manage the transportation service:

  • Driver information
  • Vehicle information
  • Geographical location
  • Time of delivery

Delivery note vs delivery order

We have already mentioned delivery notes a few times. Perhaps you are not sure what a delivery note is or how it relates to proof of delivery. To clarify, a delivery note is a document that contains information about goods shipped via logistics companies.

Furthermore, delivery notes serve as delivery standards, ensuring clear communication between the sender and the recipient. Generally, the delivery notes will include the following information:

  • The seller’s name and contact details
  • The name and contact information of the customer
  • The package’s release date
  • The date of delivery
  • The product description
  • The quantity of each product type
  • A timestamp confirming delivery receipt

So, what is the distinction between delivery notes and proof of delivery?

Delivery notes are forms given to customers by drivers for confirmation. The drivers will return the signed document to the sellers as proof of delivery.

Additionally, there is also a delivery order, which is often used interchangeably with delivery notes. However, delivery notes and delivery orders have different meanings in the supply chain process.

What is delivery order in logistics?

Delivery orders in logistics refer to the important documents provided by the shipping agent, forwarder, or warehouse as proof of taking goods or empty containers from the initial depot to the destination warehouse.

Delivery orders can accommodate cargo or freight shipments. Cargo involves the delivery of large-sized goods (more than 10 kg), whereas freight refers to smaller goods shipments in small quantities and is most directly related to customers.

In the delivery order, there is usually detailed information about the delivery information of an item, such as how the delivery will be carried out and guarantee the release of delivery from the authorities.

When the goods are shipped, the shipper will attach information about who the goods are for, how the logistics companies will deliver the goods, special needs related to shipping, and when to release the shipment. 

If we compare with delivery notes, delivery orders have differences in terms of document content. Suppose the delivery note describes the details of the package as well as shippers and recipient information. So the delivery order is more about how the logistics companies will process the item from the dispatchers to the consignees.

Final thoughts

Now that you have read the article, you can understand how proof of delivery can help you optimise the delivery process. However, manual proof of delivery has become an outdated method in organising your shipping process. As a result, switching to electronic proof of delivery may be more efficient in improving the flexibility of transportation procedures.

You can improve visibility and transparency by switching to an ePOD. This is because the ePOD software system is more advanced, providing real-time data that can increase customer satisfaction, particularly in last-mile delivery.

Although ePOD software can significantly improve the last-mile delivery process, this system can also help you improve overall order fulfilment. That way, you can benefit by using an ePOD software as this technology allows businesses to gain greater control over the initial until the final stage of shipments.

Ready to leap your business? You may find out how our electronic proof of delivery software can boost your delivery service by contacting Yojee’s team.

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