How does ePOD work?

13 Mar 2024
Podfather epod screen on mobile

So, you are interested in ePOD? But how does it work? It sounds easy, but you have a team of drivers and planners who are used to a paper-based process. How will they cope with the change management process? Let’s take a look.

ePOD – to summarize

ePOD stands for electronic Proof of Delivery and it is the process of digitizing delivery notes. Some system suppliers will offer just ePOD, you may even have it as a bolt-on to your ERP system, but other more sophisticated solutions offer a broader breadth of functionality that can help improve operational efficiency, control costs, and revolutionize the customer experience. 

How does it work?

Here at Podfather we are one of those solutions providers that don’t ‘just’ provide ePOD. We have a cloud-based back-office system that allows transport planning teams to organise routes onto vehicles, drivers to capture electronic vehicle checks, customers to receive ETA notifications and customer service teams to receive real-time delivery tracking updates.  

The back-office system, for most of our customers, revolves around the planning screen. This is where you can see your job information which can be imported into Podfather via our API, sFTP or manual entry. Jobs can be pre-allocated or we can help you allocate them to the most efficient route.  

From the planning screen, you can drag and drop jobs onto vehicles and see your routes come to life on the interactive map display.  If you want to reorder job or to look at service and cost implications, you can do so with our simple drag-and-drop functionality. You’ll be able to make informed decisions around vehicle loads, route sequences and you can be confident that your van volumes are legal, as the system will immediately flag if there is an issue.  

We appreciate that not every user is a technical whizz kid, so we have invested heavily in our user experience. There is system help and an online portal of training documentation, and you always have access to our dedicated helpdesk team who are there to pick up any pressing questions or issues you may have.  

The driver app

Every good ePOD system needs an excellent driver app. The app enables you to remove paper from the process. The Podfather driver app is available in both Android and iOS versions, can be downloaded for free from either app store and runs on even the most basic of smartphones which, if you don’t already have in-cab phones or tablets, helps keep the onboarding costs down.

Now we have seen situations where driver resistance has railroaded an implementation. We understand that change is hard and that not everyone is familiar with app technology. That’s why we’ve designed our app with drivers in mind and we’re always working to make the process simpler and more robust. We limit the number of clicks or button presses required to process the workflow and we are always looking at ways of making app use more intuitive and user friendly.

Our app allows transport teams to push job information out to drivers. The driver can then also use our app to capture vehicle walk-around check information before the run starts. Each job can be viewed on the handheld and the driver can see where they need to go, sat nav links are there if needed, and what is being delivered.  Delivery instructions can also be added.

In our experience, we have found engaging with drivers early in the process to be the best way of guaranteeing successful system implementation, No one likes to change, we get that, but often if we are clear about the process, and the associated benefits, that calms many peoples’ fears. After all the driver app is not there to check that people are doing what they are supposed to be doing, it’s not accessing the driver's phone information, personal photos or browsing history (we get asked about that a lot!). Of course, if there are issues with the driver's behaviour, the app will give you information about who is travelling where and when.  As a shift ends, if the driver logs out then we stop collecting that information.

Often drivers are resistant to change, not sure about the new technology or just not willing to alter the process. This can cause issues but as technology becomes more and more prevalent across transport operators that resistance is lessening, which is a good thing for you, and a good thing for us!

Building a business case for change - ROI

So, you want an ePOD solution, you can see the benefits, you are confident that your drivers are on board so how do you go about getting board approval for this purchase? Well in our experience we have found that if you break down the cost of your transport operation – vehicles, drivers, fuel, failed deliveries, admin, invoice processing – and identify where savings will come from, the business case starts to build itself.  

Suppliers will talk about making big savings, but we have our own Return on Investment calculator that enables us to show you exactly where you will see the benefit of having a system and what the magnitude of the saving will be over what period.  

By working together, we can help you pull together the information you need to move forward with an ePOD project. We understand it’s not all about ROI, we are happy to arrange site visits and customer calls so you can hear firsthand how our solution works, what we are like to work with and the sorts of benefits you can expect to experience. 

Starting your journey

If you are ready to start your ePOD journey, or at least start talking to suppliers then we would love to have the opportunity to talk to you. Our approach is to find out more about you, your business processes, and associated challenges. Only by having a sound understanding of your operation can we be sure that we can deliver a solution that will tick all the boxes in terms of performance and deliver a fast ROI. So, what are you waiting for?  Give us a call today! Tel: 0131 553 0400.

About Podfather

Podfather specializes in the development, delivery and support of route optimisation and electronic proof of delivery technology.  We are a UK-based team, located in Edinburgh, and we are passionate about what we do.  We work with companies of all shapes and sizes, from industry giants such as Tarmac and Breedon to well-known names such as Rexel and ODDBOX and everything else in between.  It doesn’t matter what you are delivering but if you have a multi-drop distribution operation and are looking to make changes then we can help.  Our solution includes the following as standard:

  • Route planning and optimisation
  • Vehicle checks
  • Customer ETA notifications
  • Driver tracking
  • electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD)
  • Reporting

Together we can help you improve cash flow, reduce empty running across your fleet, improve delivery performance and get costs under control.