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Two-Man-Deliveries — Improving Customer Service and Saving Money with Multi-Stop Route Planning Software

Two-Man-Deliveries — Improving Customer Service and Saving Money with Multi-Stop Route Planning Software


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Two-Man-Deliveries — Improving Customer Service and Saving Money with Multi-Stop Route Planning Software

28 Apr 2021

Aptean Staff Writer
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How can we continue to satisfy the customer? How can we put more money back into our pockets?

These two questions tirelessly plague leadership teams. Mostly because they’re hard questions to answer. But answers are necessary.

If you’re embracing a customer-centric mentality, you’re going to struggle to keep up with the ever-changing customer buying landscape. And if that’s the case, it’s going to be tough to grow your bottom line. 

Retailers that use two-man delivery teams to deliver furniture and other bulky items are under pressure to improve the quality of their service. Customers expect an outstanding experience at a convenient time of their own choosing. 

Multi-stop routing software can help retailers – or 3PLs delivering on their behalf – ensure that every delivery experience reflects positively on the brand by streamlining operations and providing customers with accurate delivery times they can count on.

With the continued expansion of online shopping, delivery can be the only face-to-face interaction the customer will have with your brand. Which mean delivery is now a vital part of the brand experience—and the buying process.

Failing to offer convenient delivery slots may mean your customer won’t even buy your product in the first place. If the delivery experience disappoints, they’ll go elsewhere next time, and their negative reviews might scare off other, prospective customers. Online reviewing tools such as Trustpilot, FourSquare and Angie’s List are there for people to evaluate and judge your delivery service—and they won’t hesitate to do so.

Eliminate the Trials of Two-Man Deliveries

Achieving the required level of service without spending exorbitantly demands a careful balancing act between service and cost. Two-man delivery operations are complex and expensive. Maximizing the use of your fleet and drivers while reducing the cost to serve is essential, but the planning parameters are varied:

  • Appliances and some items of furniture require specialist installation or assembly skills on the part of the delivery crew, making planning more challenging because you must ensure you have the right staff with the right skills.

  • Product delivery can vary in its complexity – a bookcase might take five minutes whereas a sleigh bed that needs assembling could require more than an hour. Often, the new item is replacing an old one that needs to be taken away. The accurate dwell time at each destination needs to be factored in to ensure your schedule is achievable.

  • The delivery location itself can be challenging. Residential parking can be a real headache. Navigating narrow hallways and doors can cause delays. Apartments can have limited access with tiny elevators or stairs.

  • Larger items such as kitchens or sofas are often custom orders and take weeks to manufacture or transfer into a local DC, suddenly demanding delivery asap.

Multi-stop route planning software ensures an even and fair delivery schedule, making the most of your drivers’ time and vehicle availability. Often, companies mistakenly feel confident they’re operating efficiently because vehicles consistently leave the store or DC full. But without advanced planning, one truck and crew could have completed its deliveries by noon, with the other one out until late at night—not an efficient use of resources.

With the addition of route execution software, you can monitor the real-time progress of your trucks on the road, feeding that information back into the system so that it can quickly and responsively alter route plans as needed.

Put Communication at the Heart of the Delivery Experience

While you’re juggling all the complexities of multi-stop deliveries to streamline operations, your customer’s priority is to receive accurate and up-to-date information about when their delivery is going to arrive. The good news is that the two can go hand in hand. When you use multi-stop delivery routing software to optimize route plans deliveries become more predictable, increasing the accuracy of the information shared with the consumer.

Improve the Customer Experience

When items requiring two-man delivery are ready to schedule, multi-stop route planning software allows your customer service team to provide the customer with an estimated delivery time-window, via text or email, days in advance. Then, when route planners are creating the plan for one or two days out, they can generate delivery predictions within a tighter window—typically two hours.

Customers also benefit from the software’s capacity to take account of packing materials that need removing or old items that need to be collected, including any disconnection time. The schedule is planned so that time is allocated for all this activity ensuring that the route plan remains accurate and achievable.

By using route execution software that tracks the drivers’ progress, customers can receive an alert when the delivery vehicle is a pre-defined time away, greatly enhancing the customer experience.

Add an electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) system, and the customer can even track the delivery vehicle online themselves—in real time. At the customer’s home, the ePOD system allows drivers to capture proof-of-delivery data such as photos, as well as notify the company’s customer care center of any issues as they arise, so disputes can be resolved quickly.

A sophisticated ePOD system like Aptean Proof of Delivery helps set standardized protocols, such as ensuring delivery staff wear shoe-covers or fill in a risk assessment form before delivery.

Gain Better Visibility and Control

Barker and Stonehouse – a rapidly-growing furniture retailer in the UK – has been able to increase its delivery frequency, serving nearly 90% of the country on a daily basis, six days a week. Previously, the company used staff at individual stores to plan deliveries, using a fixed planning matrix that only served certain postcodes one day of the week. This meant fleet resources were being underutilized, and the company had no central visibility of how the delivery operation was performing.

Now they use their resources more efficiently, have increased visibility of delivery performance and can offer customers a wider choice of delivery time windows—whether they are buying online or ordering in-store.

Save Money

Users of multi-stop route planning software report measurable results, including:

  • Improved stops per vehicle

  • Reduced transportation costs

  • Reduced planning time

All of this leads to significant and ongoing savings for your company. Typically, our customers save 10-30% when implementing advanced route planning software. Because of the complexities of two-man delivery operations, the savings in this area are likely to be at the higher end of that range. If you can streamline operations to fit in even one additional delivery on your daily multi-stop route, the savings quickly add up.

Are you ready to streamline your processes, save money and improve customer satisfaction? Our industry-specific routing and scheduling softwareAptean Routing & Scheduling, can help. Find out how, now.

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Delivery truck on laptop screen.