Touchless delivery may become post-pandemic standard protocol

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged almost every supply chain globally to rethink its members’ face-to-face interactions. From the loading dock to the front door, freight carriers must do their best to ensure that packages are the only thing transmitted throughout the supply chain.

“From the final-mile perspective, we’re starting to see touchless PODs (proof of delivery) become standard as customers aren’t interacting physically with drivers,” said John Hagi, AIT’s Director of Residential Delivery and Special Services. “This means no handshakes or the exchanging of documents or signatures.”

On this episode of White Glove Residential Briefing, presented by AIT Worldwide Logistics, FreightWaves market expert and analyst Zach Strickland connected with Hagi to discuss the lasting impacts that the coronavirus pandemic will have on last-mile delivery.

Hagi noted that white-glove services have migrated to a noncontact form of delivery. With the exception of threshold delivery, white-glove services won’t extend beyond the doorstep, for the time being, as a means to further reduce human contact.

“Though we continue to provide white-glove services in the commercial market (delivering items such as medical products), on the residential side we’ve definitely seen a shift toward curbside and threshold delivery only.”

Chicago-based AIT Worldwide Logistics provides sea, air and ground supply chain solutions for market sectors including aerospace, cold chain, government, health care, residential and retail. Its logistics network consists of more than 60 offices globally, with regional headquarters in London and Hong Kong.

While wide-ranging safety measures are in place momentarily to protect both workers and consumers throughout the supply chain, Hagi believes that certain precautions will remain standard long after the COVID-19 pandemic. He predicts that a touchless system for the residential POD process will persist as attitudes on cleanliness and safety continue to remain a top priority for most consumers.

“The touchless POD process may remain in place forever,” said Hagi. “Moving forward, I think people will be extremely cautious about their interaction with other people out of precaution for their own health.”