Electronic Proof of Delivery: How You Can Get Secure Paperless ePOD
In this post, we’ll explore why paper-based proof of delivery doesn’t make sense anymore, and look at how to add electronic POD to your delivery operations.
Obtaining proof of delivery (POD) protects your delivery team from the risk of misplaced packages, fraudulent claims, and delivery errors. Traditionally, proof of delivery has been obtained with a signature on a paper form, but increasingly, delivery management teams are looking to software tools and electronic proof of delivery (a.k.a. ePOD).
In this post, we’ll explore why paper-based proof of delivery doesn’t make sense anymore, and look at how you can add electronic POD to your existing delivery operations.
We’ll give you guidance on which type of ePOD solution might suit your business, and highlight the benefits of choosing Circuit for Teams to capture digital signatures and photos as proof of delivery.
Why paper-based proof of delivery doesn’t make sense anymore
As you may know from experience, there are a few reasons why paper-based proof of delivery no longer makes sense for drivers or dispatchers. Here are just four reasons:
- Storage and Security:
Drivers need to keep physical documents safe from loss or damage all day, and dispatchers need to store them at HQ. Either they need to be scanned into your system and destroyed, or securely kept in cabinets. If any documents are lost, so are the POD signatures — which opens up the potential for painful delivery disputes.
- Manual Data Entry:
Reconciling and merging paper records at the end of each day demands a lot of your time and energy.
- Lack of Real-Time Visibility:
If a driver collects a signature on paper, the dispatcher doesn’t know until the driver gets back from their route — or until they call and get the driver to rifle through a folder. This means the info is only known later, and the dispatcher can’t update recipients in real-time if they inquire about a package.
And without photo proof, the driver can’t always accurately explain where they’ve left a package in a safe place. Notes are subjective and can be unclear — and without the context of an image, it might be hard to communicate a location to a recipient.
Using reams of paper every day doesn’t help you cut down on your carbon footprint, that’s for sure. The more deliveries you make, the harder the impact.
In a nutshell, paper-based proof of delivery is outdated, inefficient (i.e. slow to process), and doesn’t benefit the experience of recipients, delivery drivers, or dispatch managers.
It may have made sense when there was no feasible alternative, but these days, you can choose from a range of electronic POD solutions to improve delivery services. Next, we’ll explore how you can use ePOD to reduce manual processes and banish those paper delivery notes forever.
Obtaining electronic proof of delivery: What are your options?
When it comes to adding paperless electronic proof of delivery to your existing delivery operations, you have two options:
- Dedicated proof of delivery software: A standalone ePOD solution only offers proof of delivery functionality, usually through an API plugged into your other internal systems. And some purpose-built ePOD tools are part of a suite, operating independently of the other functionality — and you need to purchase the supporting features at extra cost.
- Delivery management solutions, like Circuit: With Circuit for Teams, electronic proof of delivery comes included with our Recipient & Premium plans. As well as ePOD, you get route planning and optimization (for multiple drivers), real-time driver tracking, automated ETAs, recipient updates, and more. Here, POD is seamlessly integrated.
Depending on your situation, one option might suit you better than the other.
For example, if you have a small or midsize delivery team, it makes sense to consolidate your delivery operations (including POD) into a single unified platform — like Circuit for Teams.
But if you’re an individual or microbusiness (with no ambition to scale) doing single-figure delivery stops each day, and you want extra peace of mind with POD but don’t need delivery management features, a standalone app might be more appealing.
And if you’re an enterprise with a large vehicle fleet and complex technical infrastructure, a custom ePOD solution that plugs into your existing systems may be more appropriate for your needs.
Note: For a deep dive into standalone POD apps versus Circuit’s delivery software, check out our post: How to Choose the Best Proof of Delivery App for Your Delivery Team
Circuit’s ePOD: Photo & signature capture, plus recipient updates
With Circuit as your electronic proof of delivery app, you get all the functionality you need — combined with other key features that streamline processes for your delivery team. We’ll dig into these later, but for now, let’s look at how you can use Circuit for proof of delivery:
- Electronic signature capture: With Circuit for Teams, a driver can use their own mobile device to capture electronic signatures — which are then automatically uploaded into the cloud. This means no extra hardware, reduced manual data entry, and accurate real-time (and retrospective) visibility for managers and dispatchers back at headquarters.
- Digital photo capture: Circuit’s photo capture allows the driver to take a smartphone snap of the package, which is then uploaded to the record and visible in the back-office web app. Being able to capture photographic proof of delivery means that drivers can make more first-time deliveries (cutting down on redelivery) because they can put the package in a safe place and prove where they left it.
- Automatic recipient updates: When a package is delivered, Circuit can give the recipient an SME or email notification containing the proof of delivery note — including the name, signature, and digital photo. This increases customer satisfaction and reduces the burden on support staff, who don’t have to deal with customers searching for parcels.
Note: Recipient updates also allow you to alert customers via SMS or email notification about their parcel’s accurate ETA: Recipient updates also allow you to alert customers via SMS or email notification about their parcel’s accurate ETA. This makes it more likely that they’ll be at home to collect the parcel when it arrives, thereby making delivery smoother for all involved.
These features translate into tangible business benefits — because they mitigate lots of time-consuming glitches in the delivery process: dispute resolution, redelivery, recipient communication, and lost parcel tracking. This means you can focus on improving profitability.
Sanjhi Rasoi: How to save money and time with electronic proof of delivery
For couriers and delivery companies, obtaining proof of delivery is a basic requirement of their daily operations. To do this as efficiently and securely as possible makes inherent sense, so they’re always looking for the best ePOD technology to help them improve on what they do.
But for small businesses, proof of delivery might seem overkill, out-of-scope, or complicated. Not so. We spoke to one family business in Ontario, which has scaled to making 1,000 deliveries per day while cutting redeliveries down to zero — with a bit of help from Circuit for Teams.
Sanjhi Rasoi is an Indian restaurant, owned by Sagar Dhaliwal. As his tiffin delivery service grew in popularity in the local area, he was getting more calls from customers saying they hadn’t received their food. With no way to check where the packages went, the kitchen had to cook a replacement meal every time — and the delivery drivers had to make another delivery run.
This began to cut into profits and put the already busy delivery team under extra pressure. But after signing up for Circuit for Teams, Sagar’s staff were able to capture proof of delivery photos when they dropped the food off. This has all but eliminated the missed or disputed deliveries.
Combined with the delivery planning and route optimization benefits of using Circuit, Sagar says he saves around $3500 per month. This has allowed him to scale the number of deliveries without skyrocketing his overheads, and his team is managing the workload effectively.
Beyond proof of delivery: Optimizing & monitoring driver routes
Beyond using Circuit as an electronic proof of delivery tool, we have a lot of other features which help drivers and dispatchers manage their delivery routes better. Alongside photo capture and electronic signatures, our delivery platform also provides:
- Route planning and optimization: With Circuit for Teams, you can plan the optimal route for multiple drivers within minutes. Simply import your spreadsheet, let the algorithm do its thing automatically, and your staff will have the fastest route on their Circuit driver app — which they can use with their preferred GPS navigation system.
Note: Circuit gives you an unlimited number of stops. Many other route optimization tools (or free alternatives like Google Maps) put a cap on how many you can enter.
- Real-time driver tracking: With Circuit for Teams, you can do route monitoring back at HQ, tracking drivers in the context of their route using real-time data. Not only does this give you the big picture, but also allows you to update customers easily if they call.
- Dynamic instructions and changes: Swap routes between drivers at the last minute, update routes that are in progress and account for priority stops or customer timeslots.
When you add proof of delivery functionality into the mix with all the above, Circuit for Teams offers delivery companies and small businesses a complete delivery management system. And it needs no complex integration, no extra hardware, and very little training for delivery drivers.
Final thoughts: ePOD changes the game
Obtaining electronic proof of delivery is a game-changer for businesses who are shifting away from paper-based delivery confirmation, and for delivery teams who are starting with POD from scratch.
By enabling drivers to capture photos and e-signatures on their own device, you’ll be cutting down on disputes and redeliveries, and improving customer satisfaction in the process.
If you manage a team of drivers and want a simple, cost-effective way to capture proof of delivery while making delivery routes more efficient, sign up for a free trial of Circuit.