Can Scandit’s new Proof-of-Delivery (POD) system break through the rugged handheld-dominated logistics and delivery industry?

by Shahroze Husain | 09/01/2015

Zurich based mobile image processing and cloud computing software vendor Scandit recently announced the launch of its new mobile Proof-of-Delivery (POD) System for the logistics and transportation industry such as logistics providers, couriers and postal services. POD apps are designed to track the delivery of products through the delivery chain by scanning barcodes on packages and collecting signatures upon delivery. POD solutions are designed to improve efficiency, reduce paperwork, and eliminate errors.

Designed to enable mobile workers to use consumer grade smartphones and wearables in logistics applications, the POD solution is an all-in-one logistics suite. The system includes Scandit’s proof-of-delivery app, along with its Enterprise Mobility and Data Capture Cloud software. The app which is both Android and iOS compatible, carries features including navigation, geotagging, signature capture, and barcode scanning, supporting both 1D and 2D symbologies.

Scandit is leveraging its barcode scanner SDK and has created an app suite for transportation and logistics (T&L) around it. In addition to its Proof-of-Delivery solution, Scandit also has customizable apps for Shipping & Receiving and Asset Management in its suite of logistics solutions. The customizable apps can be leveraged by the development community to create end-to-end solutions for T&L enterprises that can customize these apps to fit their needs.

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The image above highlights Scandit’s POD solution architecture. It works through an interconnected system where the customizable POD app, integrated with Scandit’s barcode scanner SDK installed on a smartphone, is connected to Scandit’s Enterprise Mobility and Data Capture Cloud service, which in turn is connected to clients’ current IT infrastructure with existing data sources. Scandit’s POD solution integrates with existing IT infrastructure in place for logistic providers, couriers and postal services and can connect client’s Enterprise Resource Planning, Transportation Management Systems and Warehouse Management Systems to the mobile workforce. It can also be downloaded to corporate devices or by third party contractors, allowing transparency to the full delivery chain to track progress and location in real time. Scandit’s Enterprise Mobility and Data Capture Cloud software offers device management of devices on the field, a built-in analytics dashboard, and additional configuration and management options while deliveries are being made.

Currently, the T&L industry’s primary solution for field operations is rugged devices with major companies such as FedEx, UPS, USPS, and Royal Mail all employing rugged handheld devices for their product tracking and delivery needs. The decision to go with rugged devices such as Zebra’s MC9500 (FedEx) or TC75 (Royal Mail), and the custom Mobile Delivery Device by Honeywell (USPS) is based on these devices’ usage scenarios – for making more than 100 stops per day, and the need to withstand drops, dust, water, and other outdoor conditions. Due to concerns surrounding ruggedness, companies like FedEx have traditionally stayed away from deploying consumer-grade devices for field operations but have considered using consumer grade devices with rugged cases for applications in hubs and stations. Companies in the T&L space carry out refreshes for these solutions every 4-5 years.

Scandit’s new solution may break this traditional mold as its platform uses a device’s built–in camera to capture barcode information from any angle, with high read rates and offering the same level of scanning efficiency as dedicated barcode scanners (or mobile computers with integrated scan engines) while decreasing the overall TCO as compared to dedicated solutions. Adoption rates will depend on acceptance of and investments by major logistic providers and courier services as they evaluate ROI implications.

Innovations in smartphone design and improved ruggedized casing for protecting consumer grade devices in harsh environments will play a role in the adoption of Scandit’s POD solution in the market. Scandit will likely have to wait but the company has already taken a step towards maybe bringing a big change to the T&L industry. As a result, we may soon see such solutions leveraging consumer grade devices being used beyond the hubs and stations of delivery companies in this vertical.

View VDC's Report on Mobile Scanning Solutions.

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