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Contactless Deliveries: How Digital Technology Is Helping Businesses Adapt And Reopen



There has been plenty of media coverage about the changes happening front-of-house as restaurants and their guests adapt to the next normal. Some measures - such as the introduction of hand sanitizers and leaving extra space between tables - are relatively straightforward. Others - like the introduction of mannequins and stuffed toys to make restaurants appear fuller - seem designed to attract headlines.


But what’s happening back-of-house? In a recent survey, 85% of respondents indicated that they are equally concerned about developing plans to equip their backroom teams to deal with the next normal, especially when it comes to complying with new social distancing rules. In particular, they are keen to keep deliveries from their logistics providers contact-free.


The good news is that work is already underway on rolling out digital tools designed to do exactly that. We recently caught up with Torsten Oldhues, Director Global Operations at HAVI. Torsten and the HAVI team are leading the implementation of paperless delivery tool called HAVI Digital Delivery (HDD) at customers’ restaurants and convenience stores across Europe. We started by asking Torsten about the impact of Covid-19 on the roll out.


THCF: Can you talk us through the issues that you and the HDD implementation team have been facing as a direct result of the pandemic?


Torsten: For a start, the pandemic delayed the implementation because many restaurants and convenience stores stopped operating during lockdown. Once businesses started to reopen, it was clear that the pandemic was going to make implementing HDD even more challenging and complex. Not only did lockdown trigger changes to familiar operational processes, but social distancing rules also brought additional challenges to the delivery process.


Potentially, these challenges could have compromised the trusted working relationships that HAVI drivers enjoy with crew members at their delivery points. They also raised a number of other very practical questions. For example: how do we encourage our customers to embrace HDD’s digital sign-on glass and its many other functions while still ensuring that our drivers remain two metres away from anyone else during a delivery?


THCF: In other words, you needed to strike a balance between old and new, between introducing advanced technology and managing the human factor?


Torsten: Correct. Importantly, resolving the issue meant working closely with our customers. Together, we came up with a plan that would keep everyone involved in the delivery process at a safe distance from each other while still allowing them to enjoy their close and valued working relationships. Under this plan, our driver alerts the restaurant or store with a personal phone call giving their arrival time, ensuring crew members are in the right position to take delivery. Instead of a crew member having to sign on the HDD device, the driver simply adds the crew member's name to the device and our HAVIConnect collaboration platform does the rest.


THCF: In practice, of course, we all know that restaurants and convenience stores can be busy places. What happens if crew members can't take the driver's call or get into the right position to meet them?


Torsten: As a last resort, our driver goes back to the old-fashioned way of doing things by standing outside the restaurant or store with a sign reading Goods Delivery HAVI to catch the crew’s attention. Who says we can't get creative while working towards our next normal?


If the crew explicitly needs support from our driver to move goods into the customer's backroom, our drivers are permitted to enter the area - provided they are wearing a mask covering their nose and mouth.


THCF: You have obviously been on a testing but valuable learning curve with HDD. What are the most important lessons to come out of the process?


Torsten: Perhaps the most inspiring lesson is that combining innovative digital technology with good, old-fashioned teamwork really makes it possible to keep deliveries contactless from start to finish. The key word is teamwork. And by keeping deliveries 100% contact-free, HDD can open up new opportunities that help our business adapt and thrive in the next normal. So, yes: we are excited about the changes that HDD is bringing to HAVI's operational processes. It is simple but fantastic - and customers love it!



Keeping Things Personal


This case study of life in the next normal demonstrates why it is so important for us all to get involved in the conversation and help build a safe and sustainable future - collectively. In this case, combining the personal touch that delivery drivers bring to customer relationships with a digital back-of-house delivery process is a simple yet effective example of how companies like HAVI are working with customers on finding unique ways to solve real-world problems and keep our sector moving forward into the next normal.


Looking ahead, HAVI plans to introduce HDD and contactless deliveries to all the European countries where it operates by the end of 2020. So far, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands are online while many more countries are in preparation.


What Is HAVI Digital Delivery?


HAVI Digital Delivery (HDD) is one of the features on the HAVIConnect collaboration platform. It is designed to eliminate paper from the delivery process, allowing customers to sign for their delivery on the screen of the HAVI driver’s device. You can read more at HAVI-Connect.com


Beyond enabling paperless delivery, HDD syncs delivery data in real time, leaving customers with a definitive source of facts at their fingertips to use alongside their level of HAVIConnect access.


Contributing Authors: Gwendy Krijger, Torsten Oldhues, Dirk de Monchy

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