Real-time delivery tracking: A better logistics future

The logistics industry in undergoing one of the biggest consumer trends in recent history and now consumer expectations in transport and logistics are rising. The need for more convenient and transparent transport and delivery services is one of the reasons Swift is growing so fast. Thanks to pioneers like Uber, Postmates, Lyft, Sidecar and Instacart it is now no longer acceptable to not provide real-time updates and tracking for on-demand deliveries. These technology companies understand the importance of on time delivery and delivery success. They are in the business of delivering on time and if they can’t do that then what is the point!

Gone are the days of a 16 digit tracking number and waiting on hold for 20 minutes with an operator. Companies who do not adjust to this shift in demand will lose market share. The great thing is, it is very affordable to adapt to new technologies and now it doesn’t make sense for a small start up or even a multi national to invest in a development team or build their own delivery tracking platform.

Today, communication is paramount for a successful delivery and a little bit of technology is currently missing from some of the largest logistics companies in the country. This is where small delivery businesses can develop competitive advantages and carve out shares in niche markets by offering a better service.

The future of logistics: Real-time delivery tracking

As mobile adoption rates increase, days are becoming limited to receiving delivery to a set address. The future of Swift will enable merchants to deliver to the GEOlocation of the customer 20 minutes before arrival time. If the customer stays within a standard deviation of that location then delivery will still be able to completed all while ensuring convenience for the customer and updated delivery routes for the delivery driver.

Imagine a world where you order something online at home and then go down the road to have a coffee with friends. Imagine a courier walking right up to you mid coffee and you sign for a delivery. This is the future of urban logistics!

If you’d like to learn more about how to get started with GetSwift’s delivery software, give us a shout or try it out free for 30 Days

Reduce missed deliveries!

If you are a restaurant that delivers then you have a tight window to get food to the customer otherwise time decays freshness, profitability and customer satisfaction. The statistics say that 1 in 5 deliveries are missed due to the customer not being contactable when the courier arrives. Missed delivery contributes to huge losses especially for courier carriers and there seems to be some key technology that is missing that could easily improve these statistics.

As the number of online transactions increase, so does the volume of attempted delivery failures and businesses can gain a competitive advantage if they are able to reduce their missed delivery count.

Here are some tips on how to reduce missed deliveries:

Provide a realistic delivery window based on routing

A delivery window between 9am & 5pm just won’t cut it anymore. Calculate the delivery route based on previous data and provide a tighter delivery window estimate then use technology to track the driver so as he approaches send the customer more updates to ensure they are home


When an order is received, email and SMS the customer. When the driver has been assigned, SMS and email the customer. When the driver has picked up the item, SMS and email the customer so they can now expect a convenient delivery window. When the driver is 5 minutes away, SMS and email the customer. You will need to use a delivery management service to help you communicate the delivery status and then watch your delivery fails decrease!

Use real-time SMS notification technology

Customers are always on their phone but not always on their email. Don’t take the chance and rely on a customer being notified by email. A good delivery management software should allow you to email and SMS the customer in real-time the exact status of the job to ensure a successful delivery.

Provide real-time tracking

One of the primary reasons for failure reported was because customers were not at home for their allotted delivery slots, in spite of being alerted to expect a courier that day. Customers just want the piece of mind to know where there delivery is in real-time so they can plan their day better. The whole point of e-commerce is that it is convenient. Hanging about waiting for a delivery man to come isn’t, which is why consumers take a chance and pop out for a minute, and by the time they return, the delivery man has come and gone. With real-time tracking, you give the consumer a convenient way to continue their lifestyle whilst having access from their mobile to when they should pop back home to accept delivery!

Allow two-way communication between customer and driver

The customer should be notified 5 minutes before arrival. If they are still not there, the driver should be able to call them quickly to ensure delivery. Vice versa, if the customer will be down the road then at least there is a channel of communication available to ensure both parties can locate each other at time of delivery. Sometimes it might just be a simple text message that tells the driver to go around the side gate because the door bell does not work. Enabling this simple form of two-way communication will reduce missed delivery losses each week.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get started with GetSwift’s delivery software, give us a shout or try it out free for 30 Days

10 Variables to Dispatch Deliveries Like a Pro

Dispatching deliveries is a procedure for assigning employees (workers) or vehicles to customers. Industries that dispatch include transport, logistics, couriers, emergency services, as well as services such as cleaning, plumbing, handyman, mobile tanning, mobile massage, pest control and electricians.

To design an efficient dispatching system and to be able to estimate reasonably accurate delivery times, a large set of variables need to be taken into account.

“An efficient dispatching system needs to quickly rank a set of variables relevant to the industry: time, distance, load capacity, traffic, weather, perishability of items, and carrying capacity and then model it against previous data for similar delivery routes in order to dispatch efficiently and accurately estimate time of arrivals” says Keith Urquhart, Chief Technology Officer of Swift dispatch management software.

Here are 10 variables you should consider to create an efficient dispatching system:

How quickly does the job need to be dispatched?

Is it same day or does it need to be done in 60 minutes? Routing and dispatching can become extremely efficient when understanding the time sensitivity of a job.

How big is the load of the delivery?

Furniture, envelope or there might not be a load measurement for service based businesses. This impacts who can move items form A to B in your fleet.

How are the traffic conditions for the suggested route?

This is important for managing arrival expectations for your customer if traffic conditions are not normal and alternative routes need to be taken

Are the items perishable and require priority?

If a courier is carrying a pizza and a case of beer, the model should consider whether dispatching and assigning the pizza delivery first is more efficient than delivering the alcohol delivery second. The key calculation to consider is what is the perishability of the items being carried and set a multiple against certain items. Pizza might stay optimal hot for 20 minutes so if the system calculates the beer can be delivered first and pizza second all within 20 minutes then a directional distance smart route would then take priority.

Who is the fastest courier?

Before dispatching, your data can tell you who is quickest in the area. It might be because their vehicle is a bicycle in the middle of New York City and so the system should place higher value on bike messengers if they can carry the required load.

Who is the closest courier?

After ranking the fastest couriers it is then time to calculate who is nearest to pick up.

Which mode of transport do they have and can they carry this item?

You should do a detailed study about their procedure of dispatch; does their transport vary according to the goods that need to be dispatched? If so, then find out what kind of transport they use for different items and then rank vehicle multiples against the required load to be dispatched.

What is the current job capacity of nearby couriers or drivers?

If you are an on-demand delivery company then the dispatching system should identify who is the least busy in the area. Perhaps you set a maximum carrying capacity of 3 so the software needs to identify who is full and who is available. A transport dispatch system might have a carrying capacity of 1 person or a ride sharing app might set a limit of 3 persons if those people are travelling in the same direction.

Is there a driver moving in the same direction that could deliver faster?

Sometimes it is more efficient to move a good with a busier driver if they are moving in the same direction and all other parameters line up. This simple math can dramatically reduce your driver costs and maximise delivery margins.

Probability of another delivery job in that same area being received within 5 minutes based on previous data?

After some months of data collection, Swift can accurately calculate the the probability of an order being received in any location within the dispatching area. This becomes extremely important for assigning tasks in the same direction whilst utilising the carrying capacity of your fleet

Once jobs have been dispatched effectively, you can then use a smart delivery management software that tells your driver which jobs to complete first based on the above parameters.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get started with GetSwift’s delivery software, give us a shout or try it out free for 30 Days

4 Tips When Building Your Own Courier App

After starting a courier business the best business decision one can make to improve efficiencies, save costs and impress more customers is to build delivery management software to automate all of your manual delivery processes. But before you think about investing thousands in courier tracking app or fleet management technology consider these 4 things that will save you time and money.

1. Look for delivery management software tools

Instead of spending time and money on building your own logistics software application, there are now many delivery management SaaS providers who will offer similar functionality for a fraction of the price. Write down what you need your software to do and approach all companies to see which is the best fit within your budget and feature requests. If most services can cater to 80% of your needs is it worth building your own software or is it better to save that money and allocate it towards marketing and other investments that will contribute towards your business delivery growth. On-demand delivery software is now becoming a part of the on-demand stack and it no longer makes sense to build your own delivery management software and courier apps.

2. Stay lean with V.1 functionality

A quick and easy way to know what you want is to make a list of the functionality of all of your competitor apps and then as a team go through each one and delete that features that are not 100% relevant to your business. By staying lean and launching your MVP (minimal viable product) you will save your company time and money and this will allow you to build only the most important features into your software. When we built version one of Swift, we made some big assumptions on features that we thought we needed. Features that would have blown out our budget by another $100,000 if we built them. Looking back, I am glad we focused on launching an MVP product as most of the assumed features would now be irrelevant to our delivery software needs.

If you have decided to build your own courier fleet software than it will be good to first build the core and important features of the application and then wait to add more features. Keep an eye on the market and see what features other courier services have added to their software to enhance their efficiencies and experience for their customers. To save even more money, look to see if you can integrate a delivery tracking tool with a simple delivery job assignment algorithm that you might be able to find on the internet.

3. Ensure Automated Capacity Utilisation

If your deliveries are time sensitive and have a tight delivery window (aka on-demand delivery), then make sure that your software can automatically utilise capacity on your network of drivers. You can utilise capacity by setting limits for orders that drivers can accept so the fleet is utilised efficiently and not one driver is stacked with too many jobs which slows everyone down. You can also utilise capacity by offering emergency jobs to drivers for higher compensation to bring more drivers onto the network during surges in demand. Stabilising the work load and incentivising backup drivers within your delivery fleet network will lead to improved customer satisfaction and good business and for a busy company the only way to successfully do this is to automate through software. Perhaps if you are starting out, look to partner with local on-demand delivery companies who you can call upon in the case of surges in demand.

4. Let the software make decisions for your drivers

If you really want to maximise the uptime of your delivery drivers then you should have your management software tell them which delivery to do in the exact order based on a number of parameters (distance, time due, traffic, smart routing, perishable vs non-perishable items) this will make the life of your couriers extremely easy, will ensure that all deliveries are made on time, and increase the volume of orders your fleet can fulfil per hour (incredibly important for wage earning fleets)

If you’d like to learn more about how to get started with GetSwift’s delivery software, give us a shout or try it out free for 30 Days.

9 things to consider when scaling a delivery business

With technology available to entrepreneurs these days, anyone can start a delivery company quite easily. Before we founded Swift, we started delivering beer on bikes for our first start up, However, after the first month of hustle, we started to grow faster than expected. The demand for our service put our processes and systems (all manual at the time) under a lot of stress and we needed a clear strategy to scale our operation. The idea was to try and remove as many of the manual processes by implementing a delivery / fleet management systemised process.

Looking back, here are 9 things to consider that were incredibly important to scaling our delivery business

1. Dynamic Pricing

Paying a fixed fee per delivery did not always ensure reliability on our platform. Drivers would get picky over longer distanced jobs and it only works if you limit your delivery radius but then that limits your scale so we suggest a dynamic pricing structure to cover larger areas, compensate drivers and ensure reliability of deliveries to a larger audience.

This also applies with certain days or times of the day when you require driver supply and customer demand is outstripping driver supply, there needs to be the right compensation process in place otherwise customers might not come back if the platform is not reliable. So if you are looking to scale look at a pricing model that ensures drivers make a standard delivery wage per hour whilst covering them for longer distances travelled especially if they are contractors and not employees and then work on incentives based on performance, speed, and customer satisfaction ratings.

2. Driver Hiring

This can bog your team down looking through delivery driver applications if you don’t create an automated hiring process. Think about the questions you are asking your drivers when you interview them and see if these same questions can be answered via a digital form or sign up page on your website to save you hours interviewing candidates.

Use checkr for automated background screening if you are in the US

Allow first time couriers a chance to do 3 deliveries on trial after they pass all the initial screening. If they get a high delivery performance then allow them to work full time.

Ask your experienced drivers to train the new driver for 1 hour and compensate them with training incentives. By decentralising and outsourcing your human resources to your experienced driver fleet enables you to scale fast and something Lyft has been doing for years keeping their HQ a little leaner.

Always manage a balance between enough delivery drivers being needed for each shift and expected delivery demand otherwise driver churn or customer churn will increase if the balance is managed correctly. Our Swift software solved a lot of these problems

3. Automate Communication

Communication is the key to any successful business however with delivery it becomes even more important. Every customer wants to know where their delivery is at all times so they can plan their day around it. Gone are the days where they call an expensive call centre up to find out the status of delivery. Use delivery management software to communicate in real-time the status of your customers delivery so they never need to call your support team. This will save you thousands in customer support overheads

4. Become data driven

Don’t make decisions based on assumptions. Collect data for every part of your delivery business and then let that data tell you what decision to make. How many orders will be expected today and do you have enough drivers? How can you better position your drivers when there is high demand e.g. a pizza shop peak delivery window would be 5pm – 8pm and then you can plan to slowly send drivers home.

5. Have a backup plan when it gets busy

Planning and prioritising is not enough, you also need to think about your backup and emergency plans when all of your drivers are busy: Can you have a select number of drivers on call for a higher delivery fee on a Friday night? What about when your customer is not at home is there a quicker way for your driver to call your customer? Every driver will need a courier app on their phone so they can make quick actions to communicate with the customer and get smart routed directions during busy times. If you continue to use paper print outs for  delivery jobs, then your drivers will waste significant time going through each sheet, then entering phone numbers and google map directions manually all while food might be getting cold.

6. Decide on best delivery vehicle for your product and city

Maximise driver efficiency you need to understand what is the quickest way to move your product through a city. How is parking in your chosen areas? How big are you parcels? Most messengers are on bikes in NYC, scooters or cars in parts of San Francisco and Sydney and cars or vans are ok in areas of Melbourne, Australia. Think again if your business is on-demand furniture in New York City because there will be limited parking, traffic will slow you down and dispatching large bulky items won’t make for a sustainable business model. Perhaps you deliver all sizes and shapes, well make sure the delivery software you build or choose to use can identify which drivers to dispatch which deliveries to.

7. Control performance

Your drivers are your brand and they need to be managed like an army corporal manages his troops. Every customer should be automatically sent an SMS or email to be asked to rate their experience. Drivers’ should be rated internally based on their response rates, speed, items per hour, customer rating, delivery issues and lateness.

8. Managing Customer Relations

A well-managed business should always give importance to their customers; their opinion, demand and enquiries should be considered valuable for your business to grow. Look to use a live chat tool like olark so customers can have access to a real human in case of emergencies. This gives them piece of mind and will remove their delivery anxiety. Allow customers to communicate directly with your driver to increase the chances of a fast delivery completion.

9. Manage Delivery Expectations

Can you deliver within 60 minutes or is it going to be a bit longer? How can you accurately quote an estimated time of arrival? Manage your customer expectations early with an SMS notification to outline a delivery window. As you collect more data this delivery window will become more accurate based on the parameters you set: time of day, weather, driver speed, parcel size, delivery pipeline, driver supply, traffic, previous routes, distance etc.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get started with GetSwift’s delivery software, give us a shout or try it out free for 30 Days