One of this year’s biggest retail trends has been finessing the last-mile delivery experience, and no wonder since ANC alone made 896,510 home deliveries for retailers, and 1,189,309 corporate deliveries in 2019. And demand for deliveries is growing.

While customer satisfaction and NPS ratings are important, we should also be focussed on mitigating risk through a robust safety strategy, for everyone in the supply chain, specifically for drivers and customers.

Increased safety protocols impact the retailer’s reputation as well as productivity and can affect your bottom line in terms of delivery times, returns and damaged product.

Here are three ways the ANC drivers and retail client’s customers are being supported through technology, to ensure a safety focussed delivery service.

Safety app implementation

Our driver app is a perfect example of how technology can provide a safer journey for drivers and protect everyone including the customer in last-mile delivery. At the beginning of a driver’s shift, they must fill out a Fitness for Duty declaration. This prompts drivers to answer drug, alcohol and rest break questions to ensure they are fit for work and that they understand their responsibilities around Chain of Responsibility regulations.

At the beginning of the shift, the app also walks the driver through a Pre-Start Vehicle Inspection. If there are any irregularities to any of the prompts, an automatic error report alerts head office, and the driver cannot commence their shift.

The app offers a safer delivery experience to the end customer with additional features that are indispensable to some of our retail clients. Next stop SMS functionality alerts customers when to expect the driver, and the app also shares the driver’s identity with name and photo ID. This is highly important for the delivery of bulky goods, since the driver and their colleague generally enter the customer’s home to deliver heavy items into room of choice.

For retailers, the app monitors quality and state of the package on delivery via GPS stamps and photos of goods delivered, in case of customer queries or return discrepancies.

Route optimisation

Technology means that route optimisation is improving year on year. At ANC we have a robust route optimisation program to plan the most efficient route in real time, including re-routing in the instance of major road traffic incidents. As well as improving efficiency and environmental impact (less fuel, less braking), selecting the best route will reduce time on road, which means drivers are able to make more deliveries in the allocated time. Driving efficiencies through route optimisation means more deliveries and higher income to the contractor drivers.

Our team is currently focusing on using route optimisation to manage driver fatigue. The algorithms don’t just monitor a driver’s hours, but also the number of hours over the previous days and weeks to assess their fitness to work future shifts. This can be adjusted based on the client requirements; if they would like to implement greater safety measures over and above legal requirements, we can build bespoke route plans and driver allocation.

Safe vehicles for safer deliveries

As well as the Pre-Start Vehicle Inspection prompts via the app, our tech platform has automated the inspection process for drivers to make sure all vehicles under the ANC banner are roadworthy and inspections are up-to-date. When a vehicle is due its annual inspection, the driver receives an automated expiry alert 30 days prior to inspection, and if they haven’t completed and passed the inspection by the due date, the driver and vehicle are automatically locked out of being rostered for client deliveries until approval is uploaded.

Matt Wheatley is National Safety and Compliance Manager at ANC