The faster a crowdsourced driver can safely enter a warehouse facility, locate the correct order, load it up and drive off, the faster the customer receives it. And while outside factors like bad weather or heavy traffic may interfere, companies that take the time to prepare their facilities and employees for crowdsourced deliveries get better results.
Skip these steps, and you may wind up with more unmatched loads, delivery delays, cancellations and dissatisfied customers than you bargained for. The good news is that you can take a few fundamental steps now to make your facilities crowdsourced driver-friendly.
Setting drivers up for success
By focusing on time-critical shipments, crowdsourcing helps companies reduce their fulfillment times, scale delivery capacity up or down as needed and achieve high on-time order arrival rates compared to traditional couriers.
But they need to lay some basic groundwork to make success with crowdsourcing a reality. Because crowdsourced drivers use their own vehicles, don’t wear uniforms and may not understand the inner workings of a warehouse facility, they often need extra guidance when they come on-site to pick up their orders.
They need to know where to go, how to navigate the building’s interior and exterior, and who to call if there’s a problem. They also must be able to access the loading area in a car as small as a compact sedan. And they will rely on warehouse employees to fulfill, stage and/or load the orders in a timely, accessible manner.
Same-day delivery from warehouses may require modifications or new processes to successfully hand off orders to a crowdsourced delivery driver. With these processes in place, the whole crowdsourced delivery machine can run at optimal levels. When this happens, customers get their orders quickly, drivers operate safely, your facility stays secure and logistical issues are minimized (or avoided).
Here are five steps warehouses can take to ensure a streamlined crowdsourced delivery process:
Place wayfinding signage inside and outside of your facility.
Navigating the facility is a common challenge for crowdsourced drivers, especially for those who have never picked up a delivery at your warehouse before. Make it easier for them by placing wayfinding signage on the exterior and interior of your facility.
That includes directional signage, maps, posters and other displays that help guide visitors through a building. One way to help crowdsourced drivers navigate the facility is by printing a map with arrows on a prominent sign that includes your company’s logo. Place the sign on the roadside at the entrance to the facility. Use the same approach at the building’s entrance and loading or staging area.
Put yourself in the place of a new driver visiting your facility for the first time. The better marked your facility is, the higher the odds crowdsourced drivers will find their orders and be back on the road quickly.
Give drivers in-app instructions for navigating the facility.
Along with well-placed signage, give drivers standardized instructions in the crowdsourced delivery app for how to get around once they’re on-site. That way, every driver who arrives at the location has templated directions to work from. (For example, “Enter the facility at Gate 2, follow the Roadie signs to Dock B.”) The more information you can provide to the driver in advance, the better. Doing so reduces the odds of having to field a phone call from someone who took a wrong turn or track down someone who got lost on the lot. And if the same details are available about customers’ drop-off locations, you should provide them to drivers as well.
Share the warehouse contact person’s cell phone number.
Even the most strategically placed wayfinding signage and in-app instructions can’t prevent the occasional need for human assistance. By putting the correct contact person’s cell phone number right in the app, you ensure drivers can get the help they need and get back on track quickly.
Get your facility and employees crowdsourced delivery-ready.
Before a driver arrives on-site to pick up a same-day delivery, warehouse employees must fulfill and stage the order. Stage orders in a dedicated, easy-to-access pickup spot and use QR or bar codes to help drivers easily identify the correct item(s)/good(s) with a quick scan. This process is especially important if multiple items are being shipped to a single location. Depending on the size and weight of the package, employees may also need to help load the order into the driver’s vehicle.
Make sure the pickup/loading spot is accessible to a vehicle as small as a compact sedan.
Crowdsourced drivers typically arrive at warehouses in passenger vehicles and need clear, specific instructions for where to report and who to ask for. Pickup areas should be well-marked and include parking. Additionally, corporate security procedures shouldn’t prevent crowdsourced drivers from entering the facility.
Orders that can’t be picked up can incur cancellation charges, so they need to be staged for successful pickup and delivery. By making sure crowdsourced drivers can quickly and safely load up, you can reduce the risk of delayed or canceled orders and stay on track with your crowdsourced delivery key performance indicators.
Whether you’re shipping dozens of same-day orders each day or a few critical rush deliveries per year, having warehouse facilities that are easy for crowdsourced drivers to navigate can significantly improve the overall experience — for your company, your customer and the driver. In a world where drivers can be selective about who they work with and the business they take on, putting time into setting drivers up for success on every engagement pays off.
Ready to learn more? Read our tips for using crowdsourced delivery to keep inventory moving to and through your warehouse.