The COVID pandemic has affected the UK in an unprecedented way and disrupted the lives of UK citizens. Many residents are now placing more orders online to get the products they need delivered to their doors.

During lockdown Amazon and other businesses were defended by the government after receiving public criticism for remaining open. The government issued a statement confirming that online retail during lockdown was “encouraged”, amid confusion about non-essential goods. Later Amazon announced that it needed to start prioritising the most in-demand essential items in its warehouses, as it struggled to keep up with customer demands.

The Impact on Food Producers

Farmers face many challenges due to the coronavirus and are having to quickly adapt. Prince Charles praised farmers for feeding the nation during the pandemic. UK farms depend on seasonal European migrants for farm picking and packaging, but disruptions to the supply of labour under this crisis will see farms facing staff shortages.

The price of meat has fallen considerably due to restaurants closing, many retailers and producers have adapted quickly, implementing new payment, product and delivery systems and are now delivering other products or selling them to businesses who will deliver for them.

Milk floats delivering bottled milk were already making a comeback due to environmental concerns about plastic cartons – glass bottles can be sterilised and reused, delivered to doorsteps each morning. The virus lockdown caused a massive spike in demand as many people were unable to leave their houses to get essential goods, dairy farmers experienced a higher demand for milk delivered by more traditional dairies, whilst supermarkets saw requirements falling off.

How Digital Enablement Has Helped Manage Rapid Change

Since the COVID crisis, many business leaders have had to suddenly change from the typical 3-4 year strategy, to making decisions critical for the day, the week or at best next month!

Digital enablement has changed the way delivery companies operate, delivery drivers use handheld electronic devices every day to scan parcels and gain electronic signatures, drivers also rely on software to plan their delivery routes.

Figures released by the Association of Convenience Stores show that local shops across Britain are now making over 600,000 grocery deliveries a week. Pre-coronavirus crisis, figures from the 2019 ACS Local Shop Report detailed that just over one in ten convenience stores provided a home delivery option, now about two thirds of local shops are now offering some form of delivery.

Technology has enabled many businesses to rapidly change their business processes, many making a B2C pivot and increasing their home deliveries.

Handheld devices are now more valuable than ever, as they enable customer delivery information to be sent from the point the customer enters the details, to the driver without interaction from office-based staff. This ensures the data is accurate and timely and reduces the requirement for contact between depot staff and drivers. This important reduction in contact is also continued at the point of delivery where photographs of the delivery can be taken rather than relying on physical signatures.

How Eastern Data Group Can Help

Eastern Data Group (EDG) develop software to dramatically improve companies’ delivery processes and automate certain activities. EDG’s electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) system allows businesses to manage their delivery process with ease. The ePOD system offers a range of useful features, from optimal route allocation based on vehicle type and real-time traffic updates to auditable vehicle and hygiene checks.

EDG also offer intuitive Mobile Workforce Management software which allows you to monitor, track and manage your mobile workforce. This software automates many workflows, eliminating the need for many paper-based transactions. The Mobile Workforce Management software improves company communication and allows you to track your vehicles’ real-time locations. EDG’s design flexibility enables customers to quickly adapt workflows, which accommodate new ways of working, allowing businesses to react quickly.

Some retailers and producers are experiencing sharp spikes in demand, which some are unprepared for. Food delivery has seen sudden increases in order quantities, meaning additional support in managing the delivery process is required. EDG can help businesses enhance their route planning, point of delivery, and stock management solutions, to enable them to quickly manage the increased demand.

Eastern Data Group’s Work with Creamline Dairies

Dairies may require support in managing their deliveries, because for some it is not a service they traditionally offer. EDG supports many businesses by providing software that simplifies the delivery process.

EDG partnered with Creamline Dairies and revolutionised the way that delivery information is processed, from the point the customer places an order for the following day through an internet shopping portal, information can then be synced to the driver’s hand-held computer. EDG’s software helps to manage the loading process and overall stock control, to ensure that the required goods can be provided. Additional management control functionality has also helped to improve overall efficiency and simplify many aspects of the business.

Summary

Despite criticism from a few members of the public, home deliveries are being encouraged. If you are looking to deliver your goods during the coronavirus crisis, and require software to simplify the process, EDG have the solutions. EDG have a proven track record in helping businesses stay connected with their mobile workforce, and significantly improving the delivery process.

Please contact us if you would like to benefit and learn more about our intelligent software, and how you could improve your delivery process.