Full visibility of its deliveries via an integrated proof of delivery (PoD) solution from The Barcode Warehouse, has enabled Mercia Garden Products to achieve significant competitive advantage by enhancing its customer service.
"We needed a PoD solution to replace our paper based delivery system that would allow us to improve the efficiency of our deliveries, which are handled by third party haulage contractors, and therefore the service we offer to our customers. We wanted a solution that would enable us to accurately record the delivery of our range of garden buildings, to both our customers' homes and retail outlets," explained Ian Yarrow, Mercia's Finance Manager. "It was key that we were able to electronically capture customer signatures confirming delivery and to provide photographic evidence of where buildings had been left and, if necessary, any damage caused during transit."
Having looked at various consumer type mobile devices, and following consultation with its Logistics Manager and haulage contractors, Mercia understood that the PoD software it had chosen needed to run on rugged mobile devices that would withstand the rigours of a delivery environment.
"We had previously worked with The Barcode Warehouse and so approached them as to the selection of the most appropriate hardware," added Yarrow. "We chose the Motorola MC55 as it is a rugged mobile computer, which delivers electronic signature capture and imaging capability. The Barcode Warehouse was also able to load the PoD software onto the MC55s and condition the batteries plus asset mark them all, at a very competitive price."
Yarrow continued, "The PoD software running on the MC55 has really enabled us to improve our customer service. We know exactly when a delivery has been made or, if a driver has run out of time, not been made. Crucially, the moment we receive a picture taken by the MC55 showing that any of the components of the building have been damaged, an automatic alert is triggered allowing us to contact the customer to apologise and arrange to deliver a replacement, or in the case of non-delivery to re-schedule."
The integrated PoD solution now allows Mercia to offer its customers specific delivery windows of between 05.00 and 07.00 and between 17.00 and 19.00, again helping to improve the customer experience. "Using the MC55 delivery drivers are able to identify from their work schedule which customers have selected these delivery options.
Mercia builds up loads for delivery at its central depot in Sutton on Trent. The loads are delivered to specific geographical areas across the UK. With the previous paper based delivery system it could take up to one week for the relevant delivery paper work to be returned for manual processing by Mercia's admin staff. This meant that it could be several days before Mercia were aware that a delivery had or had not been made or, whether some components of the building had been damaged and needed replacing or were missing.
The PoD solution has replaced Mercia's previous paper based delivery system. The reduction of paper used within the business fits within Mercia's environmental policy as the company already uses renewable sources of wood in the manufacture of its garden buildings.