The use of powerful mobile data capture devices and software can make a huge difference to delivery companies and their customers, particularly if the devices offer facilities such as image and signature capture. These can be used to streamline proof of delivery operations. Leading parcels carrier, XDP,has installed a large number of Motorola devices sourced by Spirit Data Capture Limited, as well as specialist software developed by Spirit. These have already brought benefits of increased accuracy, time and cost savings, and higher customer satisfaction levels.
XDP was formed in 1995 and is the largest privately owned parcels carrier in the UK. It has a network of franchises throughout the UK and Southern Ireland, comprising 80 depots. The company’s IT department provides 24x7 support to all depots and customers, which includes the provision of ‘out of hours’ telephone / remote support.
Over the past three years, XDP has developed and implemented a web-based system (XSYS) for its customers, depots and Head Office. This system now covers all aspects of the company’s day-to-day business operations, providing real-time, centralised information to all levels.
Implementing a solution to improve efficiency:
Some time ago, the IT department conducted a search for suitable hardware to streamline its operations. It contacted independent specialist Spirit Data Capture Limited, which sources, installs and supports both hardware and software for mobile enterprise solutions.
In the early stages, Spirit recommended the MC70 rugged PDA from Symbol. After Symbol was acquired by Motorola,XDP also bought over 200 MC55 rugged PDAs from Spirit. To add to these, XDP is now deploying the Motorola MC65 rugged PDA.
The M65 is the most rugged Enterprise Digital Assistant currently available. It enables mobile workers to have instant access to applications and information from the office. It also enables them to capture and process almost any kind of data whilst in the field, including photos and signatures. It is therefore ideal for delivery companies that need proof of delivery.
Spirit also offered XDP a software solution that complemented the hardware and integrated with the company’s own system. This was particularly useful, as XDP had experienced a number of problems with its existing software, which connected the mobile devices with its back-end system.
Chris Bailey, XDP’s IT Manager, explains: “The changes we’ve made have been largely driven by the commercial benefits involved. We had the confidence to make them because of our relationship with Spirit. The devices that Spirit has recommended have an overall better quality than those of other competitors, and they fit well into the hand. “A major factor in their purchase was the Comprehensive Service Contract provided by Motorola. We use this regularly as it ensures that we can keep all of our devices operable regardless of any damage they sustain in an often tough environment. I’m sure that the overall cost of this optional service would have been far exceeded by any repair bills over the years.”
The devices are used for barcode scanning within the depots to confirm the receipt of freight early in the morning and then later in the day when the drivers collect from local customers. The Motorola units are also used to capture an image for proof of delivery, which is made available to all parties through XSYS. Chris continues: “In the early stages of implementation, the devices were used solely inside a depot, with drivers capturing the proof of delivery information as they returned each afternoon.
Over time, we’ve acquired more devices and issued them to the drivers, who now perform the same operation during their deliveries.
“The Motorola units enable them to provide near-time information online, including the signed proof of delivery. This includes an image of a paper signature, rather than asking a customer to ‘sign on the screen’ - so it is a more accurate record of the signature.”
He adds: “Customers can now get near-time tracking information, particularly the proof of delivery images, which used to take up to 48hrs from delivery. The drivers have also received some benefits, because when they return to the depot they don’t have to enter all of their proofs of delivery onto a computer - they now capture them as they progress through their route during the day.
“Depots which input freight to the network now get far greater visibility of consignments and the administration need is reduced, as customers can see the same information. The depots can highlight areas to follow up and can concentrate their efforts on consignments that need attention.”
Chris concludes: “The Motorola devices have always proved reliable and the service we’ve received from Spirit has always been very professional. We experienced one issue which the operating system, but Spirit helped us with this and liaised with Motorola to identify a solution. Although we’re not making use of all of the other services that Spirit provides, it’s great to know that they are available if we need them. We look forward to any additional benefits that they are able to bring to our business in the future.”