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Why Advanced Routing Software Matters in Home Delivery–A Personal Story

Why Advanced Routing Software Matters in Home Delivery–A Personal Story


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Why Advanced Routing Software Matters in Home Delivery–A Personal Story

2 Jun 2021

Helen Atkinson
Two men pushing a refrigerator into place

Small pieces of information can make the difference between a successful home delivery and a frustrating experience for both delivery personnel and customers.

This was brought home to me—quite literally—when I recently bought a new refrigerator. I was lucky. The refrigerator I chose was in stock and ready for delivery a few days later. I was able to select an afternoon delivery, with promises of a call on the morning of that day from the delivery guys to give me a two-hour time window. So far, I was delighted.

But then the realities of home delivery kicked in. At 8 am on the day of delivery, I received a call from the delivery personnel saying I was first on their delivery schedule and they’d be there in an hour. When I pushed back and said that I’d requested an afternoon delivery, the guy told me they didn’t allow for that distinction, and I’d just have to take the delivery as they’d now planned.

Luckily, I was able to scramble and empty the old fridge before they arrived. The two-man team consisted of a friendly and competent nephew and uncle. They scoped and measured the best path into and out of my kitchen, and even took the doors off the old fridge to make sure they didn’t damage my property on the way out. They unpacked the new fridge in the street in order to minimize packaging clear-up inside the house, then carefully brought it in, set it down, secured a two-pin-to-three-pin converter to plug it into the outlet (it’s an old house), removed all the internal packaging, and set up the shelves.

Now they needed to attach the steel handles to the refrigerator and freezer compartment doors. That’s where they hit a snag. The refrigerator is a relatively obscure brand—German, but manufactured in Turkey. The screws provided to attach the handles just wouldn’t turn. The delivery/installation guy was mystified. He consulted with his colleague, and together, they puzzled over the screw head and scanned the installation instructions. Then the delivery/installation guy remembered something about needing a special bit for his electric screwdriver. He started rifling through several different sets of dozens of screwdriver bits, muttering to himself, trying and failing with several different bits. Eventually, after 40 minutes, he found the right one and—bingo—the handles went on nice and tight.

But now they were late for their next delivery, and in a hurry to leave. I had to press them to level the fridge. They did a partial job, declared it fine, and left. Later, finding it still rocked when I opened the door, I dug out a wrench and adjusted the feet to solve the problem myself, down there on the floor, puffing and cursing.

As the delivery guys were leaving, I asked, “So now you’ve remembered that this particular fridge needs this particular obscure screwdriver bit. How are you going to retain that piece of information so that you don’t get delayed for 40 minutes every time you install this brand of fridge?” They shrugged and laughed it off.

Later, I called the sales guy and explained what had happened. He said they used routing software (that definitely should have allowed an afternoon delivery window) but that he didn’t think there was any way to embed the information about the screw bit in the delivery scheduling. The drivers should “just know that,” he said. 

This was a problem of scheduling, sure, but it was about something else absolutely crucial when it comes to home delivery—capturing and communicating all the many different steps the delivery/installation staff need to know to do a good job. Sure, these guys “just knew” about scoping and measuring access limitations, unpacking the appliance on the street, plugging it in correctly, unpacking and setting the internal elements, and so on…

But, for the sake of this one tiny piece of information they hadn’t memorized, the whole job was a 4/10, at best. I was left flat on the floor, wielding a wrench and not happy. It wasn’t a good outcome for them, either. They left hassled and late for their next delivery and most likely all the other deliveries that day. They probably even missed one or more entirely. I’m pretty sure they didn’t wow their subsequent customers.

This is the reality of home delivery. Failing to provide delivery drivers with ALL the information they need results in poor service. Will I buy another appliance from this store? Maybe. But suppose I knew there was another store that deployed advanced routing software with the capability to communicate, automatically and efficiently, the information the delivery/installation staff needed in order to do a fast, tip-top job. In that case, I’d certainly go with them next time.

We’re supposed to live in the Age of Information. Detailed, specific, relevant information can be—as in this real-life case—critical to a smooth and efficient delivery operation that not only guarantees customer satisfaction but also keeps delivery staff on an achievable schedule, reducing stress on them, too. That information should be captured, centralized and automatically disseminated when relevant to each delivery job. With the tools to do so readily available via advanced routing software, nobody should have to “just know” that a tiny screwdriver bit stands between them and a job well done.

Advanced routing software does a great deal more than efficiently route and schedule deliveries. If you want to know more about how it also ensures delivery operations that will impress your customers and keep your delivery staff happy, contact Aptean today.

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Delivery truck on laptop screen.