Nowadays, the package and mail delivery industry is advancing significantly thanks to new technologies. Even though modern tech has somewhat reduced the need for the friendly neighborhood postman, packages still get lost or stolen. And let’s face it, the last-yard delivery process, in particular, has its fair share of organizational issues.
Americans are purchasing more and more online, with 41% of the U.S. population receiving between two and five packages per month. Yet, consumers often have problems with lost or misplaced packages, as well as complications in proving that they are the correct recipient. Consumers deal with delivery problems all the time, and these issues get tiresome. Thankfully, AI has the power to improve the last-yard delivery process.
Merging delivery logging and finding the right recipient
One of the most common issues that buildings, mailrooms and front-desk staff face is the inability to keep track of the number of deliveries that come in. Logging is usually done manually, and this often leads to lost or misplaced packages. AI has the ability to log a package into the mailroom system by automatically matching it with the correct recipient.
What’s more, AI algorithms can notify the correct package recipient by analyzing the parcel label. In the case of PackageX, the user takes a picture of the label with their smartphone, and the learning algorithm sends a notification by SMS or email to the recipient. Also, if the information is not clear on the label (partial label or handwritten), AI can make an educated decision about who the correct recipient is.
Apps like PackageX use all the contextual information (receiver name, receiver address, receiver phone number, receiver office number, receiver company name) available on the package to assign confidence scores to the possible matches, and eventually select the most probable recipient without compromising accuracy.
Once last-yard delivery institutions implement AI in their processes, the learning algorithm can gather information on how the institutions operate and eventually suggest changes that could improve efficiency. PackageX, for example, uses Data Science to identify patterns when it collects data, and then suggests tweaks to improve the day-to-day end-user experience. Here are some of the ways it can do this:
- PackageX can categorize packages by labels such as Confidential, Time-Critical, Fragile, Oversize and so on. Then, it caters to each of them separately, ensuring prompt and secure pickups. One way of doing this is by sending more frequent reminders for time-critical packages. PackageX can also ensure that confidential packages like paystubs and legal documents are delivered only to the direct recipient and not to anyone on their behalf.
- By analyzing the pickup logs for a specific business, PackageX’s AI can designate a pickup representative for the business, allowing undelivered packages to be picked up on behalf of other members. Furthermore, it can set optimal timing for the reminders to be sent out to members.
- Through analysis of the pickup rates at a particular building, the learning algorithm can suggest the optimal package reminder settings to expedite the pickups.
- PackageX allows the option to route the package notifications to a different staff member, such as a secretary who usually handles packages for an executive.
- The packages can be automatically routed to relatives, friends and colleagues of the recipient who are not registered in the building. This eliminates the hassle created in the mailrooms when the package belonging to an unknown person arrives.
- PackageX’s AI can delay the notifications to be sent during a specific time period in accordance with business needs. As an example, the package is scanned over the weekend and the notification is sent to the member on Monday morning.
Eliminating package theft
Package theft should be an outdated issue, yet it’s a problem that still persists, especially in the United States. Reports show that one in four people are victims of parcel theft, and half of them know someone who has had a package stolen before arrival.
PackageX works to remove this issue by offering the option to only allow package pickup using a secure PIN code. The mailroom staff simply ask the supposed recipient for the code, and if they don’t have it, then the package is not released.
Moreover, the chain of custody of the package is available at all times through the app. This, along with its searchable history and the mailroom user activity audit logs (who delivered the package to whom and at what time), make it easier to keep a record of everything.
Finally, with signature validation, the right person always ends up receiving their package. This can either be the owner or a designated individual. Email notifications are sent to both the package owner and the designated recipient once the package is picked and the signature is captured. All this activity is recorded and available in the dashboard and can be pulled up at any time for validation and log checking.
Even though the delivery process is modernizing thanks to new technology, the battle has not yet been won and there are still areas which require improvement. With AI in the mix, we are looking at a future when consumers feel safe knowing that their packages will not be lost or stolen, and arrive in a timely manner. The future is with AI.