Proof of Delivery (POD) is a document that confirms an order has arrived at its destination and was successfully delivered to the intended recipient. PODs tend to include recipients’ name and address, order details, tracking number, and a signature that shows the delivery was completed.
In other words:
You order something to be delivered. And the POD is what you have to sign to receive it once it arrives.
Proof of delivery documents can contain a variety of information:
In general, there is common information all carriers and delivery companies add to a POD. This includes:
Here’s what that looks like:
Proof of delivery comes in two different forms: a paper POD and an electronic POD (or ePOD).
A paper POD is a physical document customers have to sign by hand once a product or service is delivered. Here’s what a printed DHL proof of delivery looks like:
An electronic POD is a digital document customers sign with an electronic signature, and/or the delivery driver has to scan a code or take a photo of the delivery at the doorstep to show completion.
Here’s what an electronic proof of delivery from DHL looks like:
(But more on this later.)
Other types of proof of delivery include:
The most common type of POD. It is used for shipping purchases to customers that have already paid for them.
This POD is used when damages occur to the shipment and it doesn’t match the delivery specifications. It is also known as a “dirty POD”.
To-order PODs are negotiable. The ownership of the delivery is transferred from one party to another through a third party who is listed in the document. This is typically used by third-party logistics providers, such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, and other large carriers.
The main difference is that the bill of lading (BOL) is used as a legal contract between a shipper and freight carrier upon pick-up. On the other hand, a proof of delivery is a receipt that confirms an order was delivered to a customer.
Put another way:
You sign a bill of lading when the carrier comes to pick up goods for shipping. You sign a proof of delivery when the carrier drops off a package to you.
Here’s an example of a bill of lading:
The goal of both a POD and BOL is to provide a contract between the carrier and service user.
And protect the liability and interests of the drivers and delivery company.
A POD isn’t legally binding. It gives customers a piece of mind and improves their satisfaction. And helps both customers and carriers prove (or disprove) that the delivery was completed.
A BOL is a legally binding contract between the shipper and carrier. It gives information about the legal ownership of the products being transported. Including their description, quantity, and destination. And the terms and conditions of the services that the carrier provides.
Proof of Delivery vs. Bill of Lading
Proof of delivery determines that a delivery is completed. That’s why it’s also called Proof of completion.
PODs help customers to know if and when their product or service was delivered. PODs also protect customers, allowing them to confirm or deny the delivery if they didn’t receive what was ordered.
For your business, PODs help you to track and confirm delivery drop-offs. So using PODs can lower unnecessary costs to replace or refund an order, or redo a delivery. And PODs can even let you know if the delivery attempt was unsuccessful and how many it took for drivers to fulfill a specific order.
POD reassures customers about their orders. With in-store shopping, customers have complete control over when they get their purchase. With online shopping, this isn’t the case. Customers can have almost no control if and when their order will arrive. In fact, 91% of customers actively track orders, with 39% of them doing it at least once a day. So a proof of delivery gives customers at least some peace of mind that they’re getting their orders delivered and when they can expect it to arrive.
POD helps customers to verify a delivery. A POD is the best way for customers to check whether they have received the products or services that they have purchased before signing off the delivery. It also makes it easier for customers to schedule returns or request reimbursement in case of a mixed up order or damages in transit.
POD makes it more difficult for orders to get stolen. When customers receive a proof of delivery, they know to bring their delivery inside their home or office. This is especially useful in case of contactless delivery. And decreases the effectiveness of porch pirates.
POD helps you to provide a better delivery experience. When drivers set off on their routes, there’s little you can do to know what they’re doing. But when drivers have to collect proof of delivery before they can mark a delivery complete, this gives you more visibility over their activities. And more control over the quality of the customer’s delivery experience.
POD improves order accuracy and keeps costs low. Customers use POD to confirm their orders have been delivered. So there is no need to spend unnecessary money to refund or replace orders. With services, field service agents can take photos to confirm the job is done correctly and according to the customer’s wishes. This prevents you from spending money to send another team to repeat a job.
POD raises the efficiency of your office staff. With an electronic POD, staff at the office receive an automated confirmation from the driver’s app that a delivery or service is completed. This cuts the time necessary to do paperwork and track driver activities. It also means you can see when the order is delivered and how many delivery attempts it took to drop it off. Which reduces late deliveries and helps you to keep track of driver performance.
Typically, delivery drivers collect POD at the customer’s doorstep.
This can be both a paper POD and an electronic POD.
With an ePOD, the driver hands a tablet or phone where the recipient can sign it.
But with electronic POD, it doesn’t have to be collected manually
A driver can simply scan a code and take a photo to show the delivery is completed.
While the customer receives an email, downloadable link, or app notification to sign off on the delivery.
Proof of delivery is a two-way verification process.
Both the recipient and sender have to sign off on the document to confirm a successful delivery.
In the case of direct-to-consumer delivery, the customer signs the document.
While the delivery driver has to collect the POD and send it back to the office.
If unavailable, the customer can authorize another person to sign the POD.
But this has to be underlined when the customer orders a delivery.
You should only sign a POD if and when:
The delivery driver should remind you to do all of this and give you enough time to do it.
To properly inspect a delivery before signing a POD, you should:
If your delivery got to you damaged, and you’ve signed the POD, there are a few steps you can follow:
Manually collecting proof of delivery still works GREAT.
(When done right.)
But there’s one big problem when it comes to using paper POD:
And if you want to compete with your delivery, your business NEEDS to stop using paper.
First, it’s slow. It takes a lot of time for your customers to check and fill out a POD.
That means the delivery driver will spend more time with the customer.
Which can prevent him from reaching the next stop on his route on time.
And he’ll qualify for overtime. Or he won’t be able to deliver all of the orders in his schedule.
Your company will lose money either way.
Second, it’s frustrating. Both for your customers and delivery drivers.
Imagine finally receiving your order, only to spend 10 minutes filling out a form.
Or waiting on a customer to do it, while you have 30 more stops on your route.
And having to carry a stack of papers together with a heavy package. Not great.
Third, paper PODs are difficult to store. For example, take a look at Amazon.
Amazon ships 1.6 million packages PER DAY.
Imagine if their office staff had to process and store all 1.6 million PODs each day.
They’ll need an extremely large office.
Now imagine if something were to happen to that building.
Which brings us to…
Fourth, a paper POD can easily get damaged.
And that can happen even before it reaches the office.
If that happens, there’s no chance of recovering it.
Which means a customer can claim reimbursement, and you’ll have to comply.
Finally, there is room for human error.
If the paper POD is illegible, your office team can make bad decisions.
Or it will take time to check the information.
So when you do the math, using paper POD and collecting it manually can cost you a whole lot of money.
Luckily, there is a solution:
It’s called electronic proof of delivery. Or ePOD.
At this point, you’re probably considering electronic proof of delivery.
But to drive the point home, we want to take a second to highlight the benefits of ePOD.
And how it raises the efficiency of your operations.
Electronic POD relies on software. And like any other software solution that you use, this promotes automation. Which is important on so many levels.
Case in point:
51% of businesses are investing in automation. Which in some industries gets as high as 66%.
Automating with proof of delivery software:
Collecting ePODs is faster. Which means it’s less frustrating and easier for customers.
It also means drivers don’t spend too much time with customers at their doorstep.
Which can give them a chance to build relationships with customers. Or use the extra time to gather feedback.
Electronic POD is transparent. Customers have much more oversight over their delivery.
Which gives them a greater peace of mind. And improves their satisfaction with your service.
It also gives a clear overview of drivers’ performance in the field. Since you can check their activities to ensure quality control.
And whether or not they are actually delivering products and/or services to your customers, the way you want them to.
Because drivers collect electronic POD via software, you have visibility over each POD in real time.
It also means you get notified when a POD is collected. And when it isn’t.
So you can immediately manage the situation, if something unexpected happens.
Or check-in with the driver to see why he hasn’t delivered a package to the customer.
And prevent customers from having a bad delivery experience.
With complete visibility and control, you can optimize for better performance of your workforce.
You can analyze performance over time because you have all the data on hand.
Which means you can track historical data, and:
Uncover problems and fix them.
Implement strategies to improve performance.
And then repeat the steps to continuously optimize your operations.
The electronic POD has been an integral feature of eLogii from the beginning.
In fact, it’s so important for our users that it’s available for all three plans that we offer:
As you can see, drivers can use the app on their phone to collect POD in six different ways:
Our electronic POD also comes with task geo-stamps and time-stamps.
Which means staff at the office knows where and when the driver collected the POD.
You can also customize how drivers collect proof of delivery for individual customers:
This makes it easier to meet specific customer demands. Or to provide more security.
And we’ve also added a .CSV file import history:
Which makes it easier to access and review past POD at a moment’s notice.
And our proof of delivery capability falls under a wider software suite that includes route planning and optimization:
Live tracking and dispatching:
Delivery data analytics:
And many more features out of 97 in total. (With more coming every month.)
eLogii is a SaaS product. Our platform has two main components:
To set up proof of delivery, you use the dashboard.
Here you can select what you want drivers to collect:
Review collected POD for each task:
And even print them out, per POD or in batches:
eLogii also lets you to create labels for all tasks (to scan codes as POD):
To collect proof of delivery, your drivers use the driver app on their mobile devices:
If you mark POD as required, the driver can’t complete a task without collecting the POD.
Once he does collect it, the app marks the task done. And sends that information (including the POD) to the dashboard:
A dispatcher, for example, will receive a notification about this.
While all PODs are collected and stored on your account.
Which are accessible at any time, since our software operates using cloud technology.
And that’s basically how proof of delivery works with eLogii.
Of course, there is a lot more you can do with eLogii and our proof of delivery feature. To get a better understanding of what both can do for you, please BOOK A DEMO. And one of our professionals will walk you through the entire software suite.
Here’s the deal:
eLogii isn’t the only route optimization software with electronic proof of delivery.
In fact, we’ve reviewed 29 other route planning software solutions.
And you can find a lot of in-depth reviews on our blog.
Plus, there is 258 other similar tools on Capterra:
But we still think you should consider eLogii.
Especially if you want to improve your delivery, end to end.
But we understand that this may not be enough for you.
eLogii is an end-to-end cloud-based delivery management platform. Our powerful solution solves the biggest challenges of modern distribution and field service businesses, including route optimization, planning, and execution.
BOOK YOUR DEMO in less than 2 minutes. Fill out a quick form, and one of our experts will get in touch to show you how eLogii works in action. The demo will be tailored specifically to your business needs, and you’ll get a pilot period to test out our expert’s bespoke configuration for yourself.
Start saving time and money in your operations today!