Anyone who was involved in delivery work over 30 years ago, will probably be able to remember the days when technology in the office was limited to a desktop calculator, a few electric typewriters and perhaps a telex machine. |
In the vehicle itself, things were even more rudimentary. Even although mobile phones arrived in large numbers in the 1980s; it was well in the 1990s before most drivers were able to stay in contact with home base - unless they were lucky enough to have CB radio.
In the 21st century though everything is very different, providing a huge boost to offices and drivers alike.
It may be hard to believe, but at one time those involved in delivery work weren’t best pleased by the introduction of Sat Nav. They felt they already knew their areas well and saw no disadvantage to using a map.
Today’s drivers typically see things very differently. That’s because Sat Nav is no longer just about finding places. Today it has expanded into a real-time route manager highlighting, amongst other things, traffic jams and alternative routes.
The technology leads to improved reliability of service to customers – which is a very big deal in such a competitive industry.
For companies engaged in delivery work it’s reassuring to know that they can instantly see where their vehicles are at any given time.
This is also a huge reassurance for customers, who can simply contact the office to be updated on the progress of their delivery such as current location and estimated delivery time.
Automatic Load / Driver Matching Algorithms
In the old days, trying to match partially loaded vehicles with return loads used to be something of a ‘black art’, requiring an almost impossible level of foresight and planning. Now, there are huge databases of delivery requirements that can be automatically matched with known couriers through the use of smart technology - including information provided by GPS tracking. This is a clear benefit for couriers and customers alike.
Bar Coding of Parcels
The days of disputed deliveries are now almost entirely a thing of the past. Parcel bar-coding now means it’s easy to track a parcel when it leaves, is received and again when it’s delivered. Combine that with electronic signatures and you have a near fool-proof system to track and confirm deliveries.
A hugely controversial topic within the transport industry is the idea of drones replacing people doing delivery work.
So far, despite the surge of media coverage, this concept is still in its infancy and it may be a long time before this science and technology matures enough to make enough of an impact. Issues remain regarding to weight, safety, and ‘air traffic control’.
Even so, few would dispute that a revolution in this area is on the horizon. It’s clear that the technology involved in delivery work is constantly evolving. Although we may be able to see predict certain changes, the delivery industry of the future may look very different to the one we know today.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day delivery work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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