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82% of delivery drivers using smartphones as operational tools, data shows


According to new research from Scandit, a provider of smart data capture software, 87% of drivers in the UK are irritated by a lack of functionality in the device they use for operational post and parcel delivery tasks.

Whether they use a dedicated scanning device or a smartphone, over a third (32%) wish they could scan more than one code at a time, 29% struggle with scanning damaged barcodes and 22% have difficulty scanning in low-light conditions.

The report, Global Delivery Insight- Driver Technology in the Last Mile, surveyed over 1,200 delivery drivers from 11 countries worldwide, 30% in the gig economy, 23% on short-term contracts and 47% employed by last mile delivery firms. Among those surveyed, smartphones are the most used operational device with 82% of drivers worldwide surveyed using them for post and parcel delivery. Regardless of which device drivers use, many are not equipped to access the full potential of their technology, with 43% of respondents only using them for two or fewer operational tasks.

Samuel Mueller, CEO and co-founder of Scandit, said: “It is imperative that drivers can tap into intuitive tools which ease operational pressures, assisting them in dealing with rising delivery volumes and the wider range of tasks requested of them on a day-to-day basis. For business leaders, activating a wider range of functionality into a pre-existing smart device makes sense, not only resolving some of the challenges their workforce faces, but also increasing productivity and supporting scalable services such as peak season. The last mile is always the hardest, but it’s essential to get it right as effective delivery fulfilment is key to delivering high customer satisfaction.”

Whether using a dedicated scanning device or a smart device, the most common task for drivers (44%) is to provide proof of delivery. When comparing activity between dedicated device and smart device users, those with a smart device capitalise more on built-in functionality when communicating with customers (46% of smart device users vs 31% of dedicated device users), accessing navigation and route guidance (45% vs 34%) and providing age or ID verification services at the door (33% vs 32%).

In the UK, despite 65% of workers reporting an increase in new activities to their workloads in the last five years, such as deliveries to pick-up drop-off (PUDO) points, payment on receipt or age verification, the majority of drivers surveyed are not using their devices for common operational tasks.

Furthermore, the report stressed that the delivery industry relies on a flexible workforce, with 51% of those surveyed working in the gig economy, and 36% of all drivers bringing their own device to work (BYOD). The data shows more gig workers use their own smartphone than those on a fixed contract (46% vs 31%) and more contracted employees are issued a device by their employers (49% vs 38% of gig workers).

By leveraging apps on BYOD devices, business leaders are able to scale quickly to meet peak demand, and if using a company-owned, personally enabled system, a smartphone can increase worker satisfaction. With a software based approach, a broad range of functionality can be enabled to address different operational demands, and boost retention when provided for personal employee use too.

However, the majority (53%) of delivery firms providing a corporate-issue smartphone do not allow their drivers personal use of the device, something which could be changed, as 26% of drivers cite the technology issued by an employer as a key factor when choosing a role.

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