What is Proof of Delivery?

Proof of Delivery (also known as POD) shows that an item has been delivered. BusinessDictionary.com has defined Proof of Delivery as a:

Receipt signed by a consignee or recipient, confirming delivery of a shipment in good order and condition

So what does that mean in practice?

Proof of Delivery gives businesses delivering goods a way to quickly, easily and conclusively show customers that the delivery has been made and accepted. It is commonly used to:

  1. Begin the invoicing process
  2. Solve delivery issues and disputes quickly

What is the requirement for Proof of Delivery?

Proof of Delivery is a way for businesses to prove whether goods have been delivered to a customer as expected.

This proof usually includes a signature collected by the driver and often combines other elements like photos or GPS location data.

Proof of Delivery gives businesses, drivers and customers an easy way to settle disputes around missed deliveries and other delivery complications, by giving a clear indication of whether or not the delivery has been received (and signed-for) by the customer.

In the UK, there is no specific legal requirement for Proof of Delivery, though a signature is usually accepted as proof of the satisfactory delivery of goods. Additionally, customers (especially B2B customers) normally expect the capture of proof of delivery as part of the delivery process.

What is Electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD)?

It is now viewed as quite old-fashioned to sign for a parcel with a paper and pen – nowadays it is much more normal to sign on glass than on the dotted line.

This is known as Electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD) or mobile Proof of Delivery.

ePOD is essentially the same as regular Proof of Delivery, with the same requirements for its’ collection, but with the addition of technology (usually a smartphone or tablet device) to make the job more efficient.

The Gov.uk Electronic Signatures and Trust Services Guide makes it clear that there is no legal difference between an electronic signature and a manuscript (or pen-and-paper) signature, and defines an electronic signature as “a way to sign documents in the online world, much like one signs a document with a pen in the offline world“. Electronic signatures can come in a variety of forms, including “an electronic representation of a handwritten signature“, most commonly used for electronic Proof of Delivery.

What are the benefits of ePOD?

Using an electronic device (whether that is a consumer smartphone, an enterprise-grade mobile touch computer, or any kind of tablet) is seen as the normal standard for deliveries. Customers now expect modern businesses to operate using ePOD, alongside other technological advances that improve the customer experience, like proactive email and SMS updates and access to a self-service customer gateway.

Industry norms and customer expectations aren’t the only reasons for businesses making deliveries in their own vehicles to moving towards an electronic system to collect Proof of Delivery. The benefits of ePOD include:

  • Reliability Collecting Proof of Delivery electronically is more reliable than collecting Proof of Delivery on paper. Records that are collected on a device are securely stored in a cloud-based system as soon as the device is connected to a network, so there is little-to-no chance of Proof of Delivery becoming lost or damaged between collection and storage
  • Immediacy Both back office staff, and customers, can have immediate access to the Proof of Delivery when it is captured and recorded electronically. This makes it faster to begin the invoicing process and improve cashflow. It also makes it easier to tackle issues head-on, as soon as they occur, and to quickly find historical records with a search too.
  • Accuracy Using an electronic system to capture Proof of Delivery also means that you can collect more information, with a higher degree of accuracy. ePOD systems can capture:
    • Signatures – Using sign-on-glass technology, drivers are able to take a signature as electronic proof of delivery using a smartphone
    • Photographs – Drivers can use the device to take photos, both of the address (to prove whether the driver was in the correct location – useful for proving whether drivers who missed deliveries were knocking on the right door), and of the delivered goods in place (which may be particularly useful in the case of installations)
    • Notes – Drivers can write down any relevant notes for customers or back-office staff to view (it is usually far easier to accurately read typed notes than handwritten ones)
    • Time & Location Data – Electronic devices will capture time-stamps and GPS locations with pinpoint accuracy (arming you with indisputable data about the precise time and location the delivery was made – or missed)

Stream Go, our award-winning delivery and transport management software, includes an inbuilt ePOD solution via the Mobile Driver App. It is easy to capture electronic Proof of Delivery and collection, electronically recording signatures, photographs and notes stamped with the time, date and location for successful deliveries and collections, as well as recording missed deliveries, and deliveries with issues.

Customers and back-office staff receive the notifications they need in real-time, and records are securely stored in the cloud. Schedule your demo today, to learn more about Stream’s award-winning proof of delivery functionality.