By William Salter, CEO, Paragon Software Systems
Santa is amazing, delivering millions of gifts every Christmas Eve to children, whether naughty or nice. So is technology. You can even track Santa’s journey on the NORAD website. But technology is also there to help Santa complete his gargantuan annual delivery task with a twinkle in his eye, and one particularly useful tool is electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) software. With it, he can surmount any Grinch-generated problems and add an extra dose of sparkle to home delivery, to boot. Here’s a whimsical look at how ePOD makes Santa’s job easier.
The Grinch likes nothing more than making sure Santa never leaves the North Pole, or that his sleigh breaks down on the way. With the taxing conditions the sleigh will encounter – snow, ice, sleet and rooftops with limited landing space – it’s essential to make sure everything is in tip-top shape before Santa sets off.
An advanced electronic proof of delivery system will give Santa step-by-step instructions to follow on his handheld device for a pre-departure sleigh check. Have the sleigh rails been greased? Are the reindeer’s halters nice and tight? Are there warm blankets for the ride? Is there a full flask of eggnog? Is Rudolf’s nose-glow fully functional?
Ensure reindeer are available
The routing software that feeds a super-efficient route plan into the electronic proof of delivery software will also have made sure in advance that Dasher isn’t taking a meal break, or that Dancer isn’t about to exceed his government-mandated HoSS (hours-of-sleigh service) limits. All the reindeer present and accounted for? Off we go!
Santa is five minutes away – are the children asleep?
An advanced ePOD system lets you know exactly when a delivery is going to arrive, and can even send an alert via email or SMS when the sleigh is an hour or five minutes away. This means Santa can be confident you have enough warning to make sure the kids are in bed and (at least pretending to be) asleep when he arrives, so nobody’s surprise is spoiled.
Manage electronic signature requirements
Many deliveries come with a standard requirement for the recipient to sign for them upon receipt. If little Tommy is the recipient, it’s going to spoil the surprise if he’s hauled out in his pajamas to put his signature on Santa’s handheld device. With advanced electronic proof of delivery software, someone else (like a grown-up) can be designated as an approved signatory, or Santa can take a photo of the presents in situ or his empty glass of milk, to count as his proof of delivery.
Fine-tune delivery requirements
With plenty of advanced ePOD functionality that allows for specific instructions regarding delivery, Santa can be directed to leave the gifts right under the tree, at the end of the bed, or in a secret hiding place, ready to be found the next morning. He can also be reminded to take his boots off before he puts muddy prints all over the rug, or to make sure he partakes of the milk and cookies left out for him before he leaves. Ho-Ho-Ho!
Resolve problems in the twinkle of an eye
Blocked chimney? No room under the tree? Delayed at the last house? No problem! Santa can report any problems on the fly and receive immediate attention, including new instructions, from Mrs. Claus back in the North Pole.
Santa can send photos and videos in order to clarify any tricky situations such as a chimney he can’t get down, and attach them to the delivery record for help now and analysis later. If there’s damage to the sleigh, details of the needed parts or maintenance can be relayed to the elves for lightning-fast attention. Faster than the shake of a jingle-bell, they can have repair parts or a fresh sleigh ready to dispatch and meet Santa in the field.
Deliver Christmas cheer… every day
Although Santa is a bit old-school at heart, he’s not averse to making the most of the wonderful world of technology. In fact, he’s already exploring the possibility of Santa-less sleighs and reindeer-powered drones. Look out for them next year!
You don’t have to be Santa to know how hard it is to make multiple deliveries to many different sites efficiently and to tight time-windows while keeping your customers merry and bright, not just at Christmas, but into 2020 and beyond. Take a tip from Old Saint Nick and make a New Year’s resolution to check out the capabilities of advanced electronic proof of delivery software.