6 Types of Technology Changing the Courier Industry in 2024
5 min read

In the past few years, technologies have made last mile deliveries more efficient, fast, and transparent. Here we’ve curated the top 6 tech options that have changed the courier industry for the better. We’ve got everything from the buzz around drones to sustainable e-bikes and driver software. 

6 Technologies that are Changing the Courier Industry

1 - Delivery Drones: Fly Over the Traffic Jams

Delivery drones have been a hyped topic for a few years now. They bring a lot of benefits for last mile deliveries – mainly that, they’re fast! According to Zipline drones will make one-hour deliveries seem slow. They can deliver quickly even in high-density areas, as they don’t get stuck in traffic.

Drones can also be used to reach remote areas. In Tanzania, DHL did a 6-month trial of drones delivering medical supplies to a more remote island. Within that time frame, they helped over 8,000 patients by delivering medicines with autonomous drones.

Consumers are also becoming more and more concerned about the environmental impact of deliveries. According to the National Retail Federation, nearly six in 10 consumers surveyed are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact. That could include shopping online. Drones help businesses align with this concern, as drones are electric. 

Finally, drones are cheaper as they don’t need to refuel. They also require fewer drivers, cutting salaries. This benefit can be seen as a negative as well. It’s unclear if drones will lead to workforces being cut.

2 - Contactless Signatures; Protecting Drivers and Customers

During the pandemic, a technology that became popular was contactless signatures. It protected both drivers and consumers.

As the driver pulls up to the address, the recipient gets a text message to sign for their delivery. They can sign via the link they get and provide their signature on their phone. With contactless signing the delivery is faster and more efficient, and people vulnerable to illnesses remain safe.

3 - Driver App: Simplify Driver Onboarding

Using a driver app, you make driver onboarding a breeze. All they need is a sign-up link, they login to the app, and receive information about their first delivery. Drivers can message customers through the app, and get traffic updates so they don’t get delayed. They can even see their analytics, including mileage and delivery success rates. 

Drivers love these features. Here’s what reviewers said about the Onfleet app: 

“This app makes a complex delivery route easy to do. It allows for communication between the delivery person and the recipient without compromising the privacy of either. The map function facilitates accuracy of deliveries. The ability to record a note to identify obscure addresses is helpful” - iOS app review, November 2023.

A possible concern about switching to managing drivers using technology is that the app may get hacked. Leaking sensitive data is a huge issue. At Onfleet, we follow GDPR policies to protect data. We also comply with SOC 1, 2, and 3, ISO 27001, and FIPS certifications via AWS. You can find out more in our privacy and security program.

4 - Electric Bikes: Skip the Traffic and Parking Headache

In San Francisco alone, 70,000 people live downtown. If we go across the country, there are almost 50,000 residents in downtown Manhattan. If we consider that in the US over 90% of households have 2 cars that is a lot of traffic.

Those facts make electric bikes an interesting delivery vehicle. With an e-bike, you don’t get stuck in traffic, so you can make deliveries much faster. And you don’t have to search for a parking spot. An electric bike is much more flexible than a car or motorbike, you can slip down side streets or cut across a park to get to your destination quicker.

Domino’s Europe and Australia even announced that their new e-bikes would have a built-in pizza oven to get pizza to customers fast and piping hot!

Other companies use electric bikes in a more down-to-earth way. Canadian delivery service Zipply uses electric three-wheeled vehicles, or "trikes" to make deliveries across Vancouver.

5 - Route Optimization Technology: Apply Real-Time Corrections

Use advanced software to take your last mile delivery service to the next level with route optimization. At Onfleet, our integrated route optimization engine considers time, location, capacity, and traffic to produce the most efficient route for your drivers. 

Our New York-based client, Farm to People, uses route optimization to deliver around 3,000 deliveries every day efficiently. Shelby Taylor, Director of Data and Technology told us:

"We try to do our best with route optimization and our own knowledge of the city and its traffic patterns to route in a way that's going to make it a smooth drive for our driver. But it’s always helpful to see what they actually chose to do in the moment when they encounter these obstacles in real-time.” 

Start your free trial to improve your delivery routes.

6 - Tracking Software: See Goods in Transit

Being able to track deliveries is a huge benefit to both clients and managers.

For managers at HQ, being notified when a delivery may be delayed allows you to prepare your customer service for potential questions. You can also re-route deliveries if needed.

For clients, who are at home waiting for their delivery to arrive, it massively improves their experience. With Onfleet, they receive automatic status updates, and they can track their driver’s progress on a map they get by text. If there is an issue, clients can even call their driver or HQ with a single click. Suddenly, they have transparency and predictability, making their wait much less stressful.

Book a demo with our Onfleet team to learn more.

Improve Transparency and Efficiency with Onfleet

Onfleet’s comprehensive yet easy-to-use solution has been implemented by thousands of customers in over 90 countries. With our optimized route planning, end-to-end communication tools, and industry-leading mobile applications you create exceptional experiences for your customers.

Start your 14-day free trial and start improving your delivery operations.