1) What Is Courier Management?
The process or activity of coordinating last mile delivery is known as “courier management.” Naturally, the scope and complexity of this process depend on the size and nature of your business model, its supply chain, and its eco-system.
For the most part, it includes tasks like scheduling and assigning deliveries, managing your fleet of drivers and vehicles, route optimization, fuel management, checking efficiency and ROI of operations, reducing operating-cost (etc.)
Changing consumer habits: We live in an era of extreme competition, one that is increasingly driven by technology and digital solutions. While it is changing the way we work and live, it has also changed the way we, as consumers, behave. The promise of “Next-day Shipping” and “24-hour Shipping”, brought about by tech behemoths like Amazon, has changed the way consumers behave.
Now, speedy shipping is almost an expected feature. Additionally, the consumers of today want to be “kept in the loop” at all times! When their package leaves the warehouse, its progress, its ETA, and so on…
Naturally, such expectations exert pressure on the courier companies that execute last-mile deliveries to numerous customers every day. This makes it even more important for courier companies to establish and maintain a robust operating model that is efficient, cost-effective, and can operate at various levels of scale and complexity. Only then will they be able to optimize their deliveries successfully.
The Delivery-Model is now an integral part of our lives. As the future unfolds, we will see the arrival of autonomous delivery bots, a continued increase in the use of technology, much better micro-messaging for various customer groups, and greater levels of efficiency.
2) What is a Courier Management System?
By logical extension of the point above, a courier management system is one that enables firms to manage all areas of their delivery operations. This includes automatic route optimization, GPS tracking, automated driver-vehicle matching, and dispatch, providing real-time information about daily delivery schedules, etc.
Notably, almost all such courier service management systems can be integrated with your existing MIS, accounting software, MIS, ERPs, etc., that you already use to run your business.
3) How to Choose the Best Courier Management System
While sizing up the options that you have for the most suitable courier management software, be sure to look for a solution that can match your business growth and (future) scale, and can also integrate with your existing systems. Let’s look at some important points to consider:
i) Integrations: Unless the software can be easily integrated with your existing MIS (e.g., ERP, CRM, or E-commerce platform), it won’t help in improving your operating procedures or efficiency. Software that provides integration via API, and offers an open-source repository makes it easy to integrate.
ii) Ease-of-use: Regardless of how advanced the technology is, if it isn’t easy to use, it won’t be much use! For example, who will use it if your team members find it too complicated or overwhelming? Therefore, check for ease of use and simplicity. Get your team members, e.g., drivers, onsite teams, and warehouse operators, to play around with it during the trial period. Ease of use on smartphones is imperative because that’s where your drivers will use it. Compatibility with Android and iOS, and easy onboarding are other factors to check for.
iii) Price: And of course, is the platform affordable for your business? Relatedly, even if affordable, will it justify its cost by improving your business commensurately? Do you need all the features it offers, or are you paying for those you don’t need? A free trial period is always a good idea since it allows your team to test it.
Today’s best Courier Management Systems are rich in robust features, easy to use, and can easily be integrated with your existing systems. Collectively, this leads to higher efficiency, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction.
4) What Are the Benefits of a Courier Management System?
The benefits of courier management and delivery service software include providing overall control, automating tasks, optimizing routes, and empowering businesses to vastly improve their customer service. Let’s look at some in detail:
i) Cost reduction: A great benefit is how the software can optimize routes not only for efficiency (delivery speeds) but also for minimizing costs. This helps immensely in reducing driver overtime and fuel consumption. More importantly, it also provides insight into how to maintain the correct fleet size, how fleet vehicles can be utilized to their maximum efficiency, and how driver time can be put to best use.
ii) Improved efficiency: The software allows companies to plan and optimize complex routes by balancing numerous variables such as multiple stops, driver availability, real-time weather and traffic patterns, road conditions, fleet-vehicle capacity, tolls, and taxes (etc.). It eliminates errors in legacy systems that occurred while doing this manually.
The delivery software can also re-calibrate in real time should there be any last-minute changes (e.g., a roadblock or incremental weather). The new routes automatically appear on the driver’s screen, and he knows where to navigate there onwards.
iii) Robust analytics: The software records all tasks/operations as data points weighs actual performance vs. planned timelines and presents insightful dashboards and reports so that company managers can make more informed decisions.
The robust data analytics of modern courier management software, with its huge data-crunching abilities, and AL and ML-embedded algorithms – make all this possible.
Performances are measured against KPIs such as distance traveled, on-time rates, and feedback scores. Such analysis is always fluid and can keep evolving with a better understanding of the variables. This contributes greatly to improving the overall efficiency of the business.
iv) Improved driver safety: Drivers are an invaluable tool in this entire cog, for they are the people that execute all the plans and schedules! They operate in challenging conditions, work long hours across lengthy shifts, and are ultimately responsible for delivering the all-important parcels in time and in pristine condition.
By deploying automatic routing or re-routing and real-time communication between the drivers and the centralized logistics center, the courier software is a boon. The drivers can focus on maintaining safe driving practices and completing their daily tasks safely and on time.
v) Enhanced customer service: At the end of the day, firms are in business to keep their customers happy! Therefore, all tasks should be focused on such. The software is a great tool for achieving this because of features like real-time delivery updates, expected ETAs, real-time communication with the drivers with in-app tools, and real-time tracking (etc.). Today’s customer has grown to expect all of this and such features help keep them informed about the progress of their parcel at all times.