Handling parcels

November 22nd 2019

Happy friday! The weekend is just around the corner, and we thought “what could be better than ending the week with a new article from us”? This time we’ll tell about the second experiment we’ve been running in the BudBuddy-project: handling parcels

Today, several problems arise related to deliveries and returns of parcels. The main reason why these problems arise is related to bad communication - or lack of communication. The carriers sometimes experience that they miss a parcel, that they don’t find a delivery point, or that they must deliver/pick up parcels in nontraditional ways because of weather- or non-expected conditions. Today, carriers typically have two channels available if they need to report a deviation or ask for help:

  1. The carrier reports the deviation using a predefined menu (which is being sent to customer service), or
  2. The carrier calls his/her leader

None of these alternatives work optimally today. The menu only covers a limited selection of deviation-options (e.g. “parcel missing”), but doesn’t give the carrier an opportunity to explain the problem further. First of all, insufficient communication makes it hard to handle customer complaints, but also leads to carriers often being blamed if something goes wrong.

In matters where the leader is being contacted for help, many inquiries could easily have been avoided by having better reporting options in place We are now exploring different ways of solving these issues.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. We’ve therefore spent some time exploring a camera function , where the carrier can take descriptive pictures of his delivery, and supplement it with “tags”, texts, and drawings (see picture above). In addition, we’ve implemented a scanning function, which can verify whether a parcel has been delivered to or been picked up from a customer. If the wrong parcel is in the picture, the carrier will be able to detect it before it’s too late (see picture above). To know whether we’re on the right track, we decided to test out the new functionality on a few carriers. This is our temporary conclusion:

  • The carriers like having the possibility to document their deliveries/returns, as this reduces the chance of them being blamed if an error occurs
  • Scanning in the dark might take longer than scanning in daylight, but works well also in the dark due to the phone’s flashlight and outside lights
  • We believe that much unnecessary communication can be eliminated by collecting information from the carrier’s delivery/pick-up process
  • More controlled deliveries = more satisfied customers and more satisfied carriers

💙 The DI NXT-team