Circle Opinion

It’s Time to Calculate Your Savings From Premise-Level Geocoding

Ian Abbott

Do your delivery drivers still rely on less precise data to find the right destination? Your profits are likely to be taking a hit if so.

In the pandemic and beyond, deliveries and logistics companies have proved how vital they are to keeping consumers and businesses supplied with the goods they need. With demand at an all-time high that’s unlikely to drop, getting deliveries and parcels to their destination on time has never been more important.

The demand means business is booming for logistics – an efficient and profitable operation is crucial for long-term success.

The baseline is getting the consignment into the hands or onto the doorstep of the correct recipient in the agreed delivery window. Logistics operators need to schedule an optimal but achievable number of drops per route to meet customer requirements. Unrealistic scheduling is a big problem when it means deliveries are outstanding at the end of the day. It causes frustration to recipients and stress to drivers and costs money in penalties and customer service administration, as well as the knock-on effect of redelivery costs.

Postcode Level Addressing is not Accurate Enough Today

Why do deliveries take longer than expected? One of the key reasons is insufficiently granular address information. If you’re working with postcodes, the destination shown on the satnav typically encompasses fifteen residences or premises. Your driver arrives at the centre of the postcode destination, then has to look around to find the actual delivery doorstep.

In an ordinary street of houses where it’s easy and lawful to stop on the roadside, the driver’s common sense and familiarity with the area should mean this doesn’t cause much delay. But in an unfamiliar area, in the dark, on a red route or one-way system, or when it’s a multi-occupation building or one set off the road, the seconds and minutes tick by while the driver is searching for the right address and a place to stop their vehicle safely nearby.

In rural areas, postcode sectors can cover a large area – the destination address may not even be within sight. In a block of flats, it takes time to reach a tenth-floor doorstep. If you’re delivering a sofa rather than a small package, delays relating to parking availability and the distance between the vehicle and the household are further amplified.

Pinpoint the Exact Destination With Premise-Level Data

There is a better alternative. If you use information based on specific, address-level data from CACI, your driver can receive directions to the exact household where the delivery needs to go. You can enhance this with information about road networks and conditions, parking rules and the nature of the access to the building. They’ll know if the address is on a red route with no stopping allowed, where the nearest legal parking is, what storey the delivery address is on. Your schedule can allow time for all these, and even account for the likely traffic conditions in the area at that time, which might affect the ability to find a stopping space on-street.

Time Savings Add Up Quickly Across Your Delivery Network

How much time can premise-level geocoding save? CACI’s recent research shows that if a driver can proceed straight to the correct location rather than having to hunt for the house in a wider area, it’s likely to save an average of at least 30 seconds and 110 metres per delivery. This may not sound much, but try factoring it up for the number of deliveries per vehicle, per day and the number of vehicles you’re operating, locally or nationally. For instance, in a year, a fleet of 500 vehicles, each making ten daily drops, could save over £140,000 in time and over £30,000 in mileage.

In some areas, whether rural or densely packed with warren-like housing estates and complex road systems, the time per drop using postcode level addressing only can increase by three and half minutes. We found examples of this due to one-way systems, remote country addresses and suburban destinations where the postcode covers an elongated area.

Beyond Efficiency: Customer Satisfaction and Driver Wellbeing

The efficiency and profitability of your delivery operation is a top priority, but there are other benefits of pinpointing delivery addresses accurately. Accurate and realistic scheduling improves drivers’ experience, reducing stress, increasing job satisfaction, creating less driver turnover and enhancing your ability to attract the best candidates. Customer satisfaction will be higher and your teams will spend less time resolving problems and scheduling redeliveries. Clear information about where to stop for a delivery means safer driving and less frustration to neighbours and other drivers, if vehicles can come to a halt confidently and legally. That helps with brand perceptions and PR for your organisation.

Datasets and Tools Are Available Now to Give You Accurate Insight

The benefits of premise level geocoding are so strong that we believe every home delivery organisation should adopt it as soon as possible, for efficiency, competitiveness and to improve driver and customer satisfaction. At CACI, we have a range of affordable off-the-shelf products and solutions that will deliver results for logistics operations of all sizes.

It makes clear financial sense to work out the ROI for your organisation – what would regaining 30 seconds per delivery mean in profit and additional capacity for your business? Get in touch if you would like to find out.

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Ian Abbott