A key area identiﬁed for enhancement was to ﬁnd a way to digitally manage the delivery process. Company and contracted drivers manually reviewed paperwork to fulﬁll orders and capture customer signatures. This made order fulﬁllment cumbersome and diﬃcult to ensure a positive customer experience. In addition, American Signature had diﬃculty realizing its goal of a one-hour delivery window because there was no easy way for drivers to plan their routes.
For American Signature to meet its goal of a 1-hour delivery window and ensure customers received the right order, they needed an easy way to automate its manual-based system. American Signature has more than 450 company and contract drivers delivering furniture nationwide on a daily basis, so it was critical that the solution was easy-to-use and deploy. Based on these objectives, it was determined that an application that worked with smartphones and tablets was the ideal approach.
The ﬁrst step in the process was to meet with delivery managers, particularly those who were former drivers to identify end-user requirements. Stores were also involved in the planning process. Because American Signature uses both company and contract drivers it was important for the application to work on both Android and Apple devices.
American Signature tapped into MAPSYS’ extensive IBM experience to write an application in PHP that would talk to its IBM DB2 Database and would leverage its existing IBM Power System server.
The application includes the driver’s complete delivery manifest, guiding them through the furniture loading process. It also enables them to follow their planned route. Steps were also taken to keep the customer informed on delivery status. When the driver is 30 minutes (or the time speciﬁed by the customer) from the customer’s address, a text message or an email is sent to the customer with the projected arrival. The customer can also log-in to the store website to determine the number of stops the driver has to deliver before arriving and the approximate arrival time.
When the driver arrives at the customer’s home, they can view an image of the order along with other relevant delivery details. The driver can then conﬁrm the order with the customer and capture an electronic signature that they received their order.
The initial application prototype was tested in two stores. The application was then enhanced and American Signature moved into a pilot with seven stores.
“The new delivery application is really advanced. I can plan my routes more eﬀectively and don’t have to worry about keeping track of tons of paperwork. Bottom line, it makes my job easier.”
– Adam Corone, HFC
The initial pilot was so successful that the in-ﬁeld delivery application has now been rolled out in all stores.
Prior to rollout of the solution, the delivery window was three hours. Within just months, the window decreased to two hours. Driver eﬃciency has improved overall due to features such as route navigation, delivery route guidance and the ability to validate order accuracy by showing customers photos of their orders. These eﬃciency improvements have also resulted in lower delivery costs. Customer satisfaction surveys have also indicated increased satisfaction with the delivery experience.