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How to Improve Delivery Management Systems

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How to Improve Delivery Management Systems: A Distributor’s Guide

In today’s fast-paced world, customers want it all and they want it now! This is especially true when it comes to same-day delivery. A whopping 80% of customers desire same-day delivery.1 Contractors and tradespeople are no exception to this – particularly since their work can be time-sensitive or require order collection outside of usual business hours.

The key to meeting these demands and bridging gaps in service offerings is efficient delivery management. This blog post discusses how effective delivery management benefits industrial distributors, as well as service delivery operation strategies and methods distributors can use to improve their delivery management systems.

Delivery Management Defined

Delivery management is the practice of implementing efficient and digital procedures to ensure that goods are transported successfully from one location to another until they are delivered to the end customer. For distributors, this means getting supplies or parts from warehouses and distribution centers to the tradespeople that need them as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Successful and effective delivery management practices often overlap with omnichannel retailing and unified commerce. Whereas omnichannel refers to creating a consistent operation across all in-store and online platforms, unified commerce is the process of centralizing all retail operations into one platform. When successfully combined, the three strategies ensure a more complete view of the business, allowing for better operational insights and an improved customer experience for your service delivery operation.

Benefits Of Good Delivery Management for Industrial Distributors

Competitive Advantage

It isn’t easy to maintain customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. A wider product range and faster order fulfillment are critical to staying specialized and competitive. Improving delivery management with efficient delivery management software and other tools can help distributors remain technical and competitive against the big box stores and e-commerce giants. With efficient order fulfillment, industrial distributors can be as quick and effective as their competition, but with the added benefit of personalized service.

More Efficient Fulfillment

Manual fulfillment is time-consuming and can keep customers in line and not at their job sites. Automation and streamlining the process using delivery management software can reduce delivery time and quickly get supplies and other products into customers’ hands, thereby increasing customer satisfaction. Efficient fulfillment also means customers can return to their work faster, saving them valuable time and resources.

Exceeding Customer Expectations

Customers expect fast, convenient order fulfillment. Contractors and tradespeople are no exception. With optimized delivery management for distributors, customers can spend more time at their job sites and have more billable hours. This saves their customers time and money as well as helps contractors and tradespeople exceed customer expectations.

Lower Cost, More Sustainable Deliveries

Today’s consumers are reshaping the delivery landscape to combine sustainability and speed. Now, a staggering 77% of consumers are extremely concerned about how their purchases may affect the environment, and 44% are inclined to support sustainable firms.2 The advent of electric cars in delivery fleets, which provide a more environmentally friendly means of transporting products from point A to point B, is signaling a dramatic change in last-mile logistics.

It’s not just about being green for the sake of being green: 40% of consumers actively seek out greener delivery choices like electric trucks. Even 20% are willing to pay extra for this environmentally friendly option. Sustainable delivery strategies often overlap with long-term operational expense reductions. As such, successful, long-term delivery management strategies should account for this shift in customer expectations.

Data-Driven Order Management

Data-driven order management is crucial to successful delivery management and delivery route planning. A sound order management system can help optimize inventory, reduce waste, and improve delivery route optimization. This data can provide critical insight into business operations, and it can lead to further optimizations for the business.

Why Smart Lockers Belong in Your Delivery Management Process

Last-mile delivery is a crucial stage that presents numerous obstacles to long-term consumer loyalty and satisfaction. 98% of customers base their brand loyalty on delivery efficacy; delivery delays or damage can permanently deter 85% of these consumers.3 Smart lockers, however, can boost the customer experience, sales, and loyalty by solving these last-mile issues:

  • Eliminate Long Lines In-Store: Customers appreciate not having to wait in line to pick up parts or supplies – especially when they have a time-sensitive job site to get to. With lockers, they receive a notification via text or email to retrieve their order by entering a six-digit PIN or scanning a barcode at the locker kiosk.
  • Offer 24/7, On-Demand Order Pick Up: Smart lockers are self-service and often available 24/7/365. This way, contractors and tradespeople can easily pick up orders early in the morning or after close of business when they’re on their way to work.
  • Keep Orders Secure – Steel construction, a built-in photo capture system, plus added smart tech in the lockers make it virtually impossible to steal orders. Lockers also integrate with order management systems, ensuring consistent order tracking and chain of custody visibility.

Streamline Last-Mile Logistics and Same-Day Delivery with Smart Locker Integrations

Smart locker systems can easily and seamlessly integrate with delivery management solutions and omnichannel order fulfillment tools. These tools allow distributors, delivery managers, and other retailers to add or further expedite same-day order fulfillment.

For instance, OneRail, a leading provider of solutions in last mile omnichannel fulfillment, and Parcel Pending by Quadient have recently partnered to provide smart lockers as part of an omnichannel solution for a fast and seamless delivery experience. In this case, the Parcel Pending by Quadient smart locker system can be easily integrated into retailers’ current order fulfillment procedures with OneRail’s Omnipoint platform. This allows retailers to provide their customers with dependable and efficient delivery options while giving delivery drivers more flexibility to swiftly pick up items of any size without compromising the store’s aesthetic appeal. In some cases, retail partners are even able to tap into sustainable delivery methods such as electric trucks or bikes for last-mile fulfillment.

Operationally, the integrated solution allows same-day or standard delivery drivers to scan a code with their smartphone to retrieve products from a locker around the clock, avoiding the laborious and traditional process of waiting in line behind other drivers or customers, waiting for the store associate to locate and stage orders. This new partnership also benefits distributors by freeing up time for associates to perform other valuable tasks, such as helping customers in the branch location or other vital warehouse operations.

The OneRail integration and other similar integrations can help distributors deliver directly to job sites without having to staff in-house, thereby creating even greater convenience for their customers.

Fulfill More Parts and Supplies with Oversize Lockers

From sheetrock and tall building materials to large equipment and pallets/carts, Parcel Pending by Quadient’s Oversize Lockers are designed to help distributors fulfill more for their customers. In fact, they can accommodate approximately 90% of in-store products.

As consumers want to pick up goods on their schedule, so do contractors and tradespeople. They can view picking up products in-store as a drag on their time and bottom line – especially if they’re spending 5 to 15 minutes waiting for a store associate to check out their order. Picking up parts or supplies via smart lockers, which are often located outside, allows for 24/7/365 accessibility and off-hours pickup – without any employee interaction. This sample principle holds true for returns; customers can easily return items, including equipment rentals, quickly and easily.

In the increasingly competitive distributor market, seamless and efficient order fulfillment processes are key to successfully attracting and retaining customers. By augmenting your delivery management systems with smart lockers, you can realize greater operational efficiencies for your business, as well as improve your customer experience.

Ready to find out how lockers can help you fulfill more for contractors and tradespeople? Contact one of our parcel management specialists today.



  1. Birkhead, Paul. Customer Expectations for E-Commerce Delivery Options: How to Deliver. blog.eniture.com. August 3, 2021. https://blog.eniture.com/customer-expectations-for-e-commerce-delivery-options-how-to-deliver
  2. Catania, Bill. Revolutionizing Delivery: The Evolution of Final Mile and Last Mile Trends into 2024. www.onerail.com. January 3, 2024. https://www.onerail.com/revolutionizing-delivery-the-evolution-of-final-mile-and-last-mile-trends-into-2024/
  3. Catania, Bill. Why Smart Lockers Belong in Your Omnichannel Fulfillment Strategy. www.onerail.com. September 8, 2023. https://www.onerail.com/why-smart-lockers-belong-in-your-omnichannel-fulfillment-strategy/