‘On time’ is a critical metric in the context of delivery, be it express, same day or scheduled

‘On time’ is a critical metric in the context of delivery, be it express, same day or scheduled

Tips for on-time delivery

Vladimir Nesterov, General Manager – Middle East, RouteQ, details the four areas that logistics companies should focus on in order to improve their OTD metric

01 August 2022

The UAEs’ fast upward surge in online shopping has led to an equally noteworthy rise in the demand for logistics services. Express delivery shows a CAGR of 11.2 per cent between 2015 and 2020, despite the period’s overlap with the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Non-food delivery businesses in the country are likely to use 2022 to embrace scheduled delivery models. There is broad acceptance among consumers for deliveries on scheduled days, provided they are within reasonable time windows. And such models are more suited to delivery companies. Whether delivering for themselves or a third party, more flexible delivery windows allow better planning and the opportunity to deliver more orders in a single roundtrip.

Vladimir Nesterov

Vladimir Nesterov

But “on time” is a critical metric in the context of delivery, be it express, same day or scheduled. Brand loyalty hinges on the honouring of promises; and modern customers are not known for their patience. On-time delivery (OTD) is a pivotal metric, and the rise in its demand coincides with a range of supply-chain shortages, as well as competition from would-be industry disruptors. Traffic accidents, breakdowns, and congestion may be unforeseen, but there are some things that remain under the control of logistics professionals. Here are some tips that will help to ensure that deliveries get to customers on time, every time.



Getting the precise address of the customer is more of a challenge than one might think. Imprecise addresses are relatively common in the GCC — a region that is undergoing construction of residential communities at a dizzying rate. Where this issue occurs, geolocation challenges emerge from it and make it difficult to find a location once the delivery vehicle reaches the vicinity given by the customer.

To get around this, modern logtech solutions offer customer-facing widgets that send SMS or WhatsApp messages to customer contact numbers requesting them to place a pin on their location via a rich map interface. This input is mapped to accurate GPS coordinates that allow digital systems to efficiently guide delivery drivers to correct locations.



Still a manual process with many companies, route planning must be digitised to be efficient — companies need to be able to deliver as many packages as possible with as few vehicles as possible, if the goal is to save money, or deliver less but give customers more service time (for example, the ability to try on clothes), if the level of service is what is a priority for customers.

Accuracy (OTD delivery) and efficiency (optimising the number of vehicles on the road) require consideration of factors such as the physical size of goods being delivered, whether the goods are perishable or non-perishable, capacity of vehicles, special equipment needed in the vehicles (for example racks for clothes), etc. Fleet size and the distribution of locations for deliveries and returns must also influence planning decisions. And those are just the known variables.

What of traffic congestion, for example?  After you feed the system all operational parameters and restrictions, route planning solutions overlay the data with a traffic forecast – based on historical data – giving you the ability to predict traffic conditions at any time of the day or on any part of the route.

The most advanced routing platforms can plan thousands of orders for deliveries in windows as small as an hour, while reducing costs by up to 20 per cent and achieving accuracy levels of as much as 99 per cent.



If warehouses do not load deliveries in such a way as to synchronise them with the drop-off order on a vehicle’s roundtrip (first delivery loaded last; and last loaded first, for example), drivers will waste vital time at delivery points. Getting this right at the warehouse, through smart automation, saves time at customer locations, which means more deliveries per roundtrip, which means smaller fleets. 



Tighter windows for delivery benefit both customers and delivery companies. Accounting for the service time — the minutes spent at a location before moving on to the next one — is a vital component of maximising deliveries per roundtrip. And customers will be happier with tighter windows for their scheduled deliveries because they will not have to set aside large portions of their day waiting for a package. If they have a longer window, they may risk leaving the house, meaning the courier must either wait for their return or skip that delivery. Neither option is desirable.

With modern digital logistics platforms, both deliverer and consumer can track the progress of an order and be supplied with accurate ETA predictions. This is all part of digital track & trace service, which provides rich, real-time information to both couriers and recipients, and allows them to directly communicate with one another through the platform.



Keeping customers happy has been the preoccupation of every business since the dawn of commerce. Keeping customers happy through the provision of digital experiences that put them in control of every transaction, from purchase to delivery, is the modern version of that preoccupation.

But unlike on-time delivery, digital transformation is not a journey with a scheduled destination. It isw a closed loop of continuous evaluation and improvement. By using technology, CEP companies, or companies with their own fleet of delivery vehicles, can harvest data for review and action, allowing them to deliver on time, every time, and keep customers happy today, tomorrow and every day to come.

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