How technology can transform your courier business

There’s no doubt that technology is having an impact on every sector. From healthcare to hospitality, retail to recruitment, it’s helping all types of businesses modernise and streamline their operations, improving efficiency as a result.
The delivery industry is one sector being totally transformed by technology.

New tools and platforms save delivery drivers time and hassle during their daily drops, while at the same time saving delivery companies huge sums of money by improving productivity.
If you work as a courier, or perhaps run your own courier business, then researching and adopting certain technologies could pay serious dividends in the long run.
First things first, though: before you begin testing the tech, you need to make sure you’re covered when on the road.
Here at Insurance Factory, we understand that your van isn’t just a vehicle – it’s your livelihood. If you committed an offence in the past, then turn to us for van insurance for convicted drivers.

We don’t judge; instead, we’ll look at your case individually, before finding a suitable policy for a price that doesn’t break the bank.
Now let’s take a look at just some of the ways technology can be used to transform your courier business.

More effective route planning

Say goodbye to the traditional paper map… if you’re not yet using a digital route planner, then now is the perfect time to invest in one!
Route planning software is proving to be an invaluable resource for courier companies of all types and sizes.

The ultimate aim of these platforms is to help courier drivers deliver parcels to customers in the most efficient way.
There are lots of different route planners available, so take the time to pinpoint your needs and work out what you need most from this tool. Some features include:
  • Optimal route planning for multiple stops
  • Diversions and real-time traffic information (which could be very useful if you deliver in urban areas)
  • Options to export to spreadsheets
  • Enable splits between couriers (handy if you employ people)
  • Performance metrics (to help you understand where you can improve efficiency)
If you’re a smaller business, then you might want to trial a free route planner and see how you get on.

Just bear in mind that free software will have limitations, and you might need to pay to unlock the whole suite of features. But if you’re able to deliver more parcels each day as a result, then it may be worth the money!
 A courier driver walking a package to a house on a delivery

More accurate tracking

Ask customers what they find most frustrating about receiving deliveries, and nine times out of ten they will say inaccurate or vague tracking information. You might even have experienced it for yourself in the past!
There’s a chance that your courier business could get a poor reputation if you don’t provide accurate delivery information.

Customers don’t just want to know what day they should expect to receive their goods; they want to be given as close a time estimate as possible – a two or three-hour window at most.
The good news is that there’s tech available to help you with this.

Whether it’s offered as a feature on your route planner or electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) tool, you’re able to provide a very near estimate of delivery times, which will help to improve the customer experience.
Certain technologies even allow customers to see which stop they are on the route, and which stop your van is currently on. The more detailed information you can provide, the better.

Simplified interactions

We’ve just mentioned ePODs, which allow paperless data capture for lots of industries. For couriers, it means you can capture proof of delivery in real time and obtain digital signatures from customers where necessary.
This has many benefits. First, it saves on paperwork as all the information is stored electronically.

The data can be sent instantly back to your office system, which can prove useful if you need to send on invoices to clients.

It also limits the chance of human error and enables you to better measure and understand performance.

More organised warehouses

If you run a small warehouse as part of your courier business, then you should look into warehouse management technologies.

These essentially optimise storage, retrieval and processing of packages, which could go on to save your business a significant amount of time and money in the long run (if your business is large enough to benefit from it, that is).
 Three yellow vans parked next to each other in-front of a depot ready for deliveries

What’s next for tech-driven deliveries?

There are some exciting developments in the pipeline, set to completely overhaul the delivery sector.

Drone deliveries are being explored by the likes of Amazon and other large companies, though it’s uncertain when (or even if) these will become mainstream.
Going even more ‘sci fi’, there have been tests with prototype delivery robots.

These autonomous machines have been built to walk like humans, as they collect parcels from the back of vans and deliver them to the customer’s doorstep.

Again, though, it’s safe to say we’re a long way off from seeing entire robot courier workforces!
Then there are autonomous delivery vans that ditch ‘human controls’. Nuro developed its first prototype at the start of this year; the vehicle doesn’t have a steering wheel, pedals or side view mirrors.

The company is exploring its use for local deliveries, claiming it will transport goods from A to B quickly, safely and affordably.

Van insurance for convicted drivers

While it seems that the future of delivery is autonomous, your job is certainly safe for now!

You just need to make sure you’re safe as you deliver packages by taking out insurance that protects you, your vehicle and your livelihood.
We specialise in van insurance for convicted drivers. If you committed a motoring or even non-motoring offence in the past, leave it to us to find you cover for a competitive price.

The policies we arrange feature all the benefits of standard courier van insurance, plus we offer a number of optional extras. These include excess protection, 14-day like-for-like van hire, key care cover and more.
Get a free, no-obligation quote today!

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.