Since the rise of e-commerce, the last-mile delivery segment has evolved to become a distinguishing factor helping companies gain a strong foothold in the market. Though the pandemic has expectedly created chaos within last-mile delivery networks, they have largely refashioned to include social distancing in their processes and continued operations.
Haultail, an on-demand delivery platform, seeks to continue delivering products in a matter of hours, even in the ‘new normal.’ The startup has been working on mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on last-mile delivery, via applications it has developed to keep the delivery workforce and customers safe.
“Haultail is a mobile application that enables delivery on-demand within a few hours. This is tied to our physical products that are sold in over 1,700 stores across the U.S.,” said Bruce Williams, the CEO and founder of Haultail.
Haultail focuses on delivering products that range from a small envelope to heavy and bulky products like a refrigerator. Aside from delivering items, Haultail also hauls off unwanted junk and debris from homes, businesses and construction sites.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Haultail has ensured the drivers on its platform follow protocols like wearing masks and gloves at work, helping deliver items while minimizing the danger of contracting the virus.
“We have developed a PIN code system, which the consumer can use to tell us that the product was delivered safely. This was a security measure we developed after witnessing instances where delivery workers drop products at the door and take a photo as proof, but the parcel is still taken by someone else who happens to walk by,” said Williams.
Alex Mardikian from Haultail explained the startup can help companies ship like Amazon does, giving them tools that can track and trace products during the last-mile delivery process. Haultail democratizes visibility across last-mile networks, providing customers end-to-end transparency irrespective of the load in transit.
“When we pick up the load, we confirm the weight and dimensions of the pickup, validate pickup with photos, and provide tracking details to the customer. The customer can track it throughout the process, and upon delivery, a confirmation photo and a proof of delivery also comes up on our application,” said Mardikian.
Customers who cannot be present to receive their delivery can pass on their PIN code to someone else to collect. This ensures a smooth handover and does not require drivers to wait at destinations, expediting overall delivery operations for carriers.
“We can deliver within hours to even big box stores, just like we do with small retailers. Consumers in the U.S. have become accustomed to fast delivery, and now even the stores need their products delivered as soon as possible. We give them the same experience – they can order online and pick up their goods on the same day,” said Williams.
COVID-19 has been a reality check, as there have been seismic changes in the way end customers consume. Since the pandemic’s onset, online retail has seen an increase in sales, as people socially distanced and stayed indoors. For Haultail, getting deliveries on time was a challenge as the disruption slowed down communication. Eventually, this led the company to build new tools and software to handle the situation.
“For everyone in the retail business, the biggest competitor is Amazon. For our small brick and mortar customers to open again, we need to make sure there are no bottlenecks in the logistics, as we are a key part of their success,” said Williams. “As I see it, our delivery system is only as good as our last delivery. We want to ensure that we provide white-glove level delivery services, while also keeping every individual that works with us safe during these times.”
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