With online retail in higher demand than ever before, delivery giants like UPS and FedEx are now not the only go-to for delivery services. Amazon is turning to you, the Delivery Service Partners, to rely heavily upon to get their products out efficiently and cost-effectively. The question is, what do you need to be able to effectively handle Amazon’s business?
WHAT SOFTWARE DO YOU NEED?
Amazon provides an online portal dedicated to running routes each day which undergoes continuous updates. However, each DSP needs to subscribe to various third-party software packages to run an efficient business. Software needs include:
You can run your entire operation off an office software package, but we recommend that you vet options and choose a program that offers functionality specific to your needs.
You must be able to communicate with your staff and drivers in three modes – real-time chat with media, video calls, and email.
Real-time chat with internal staff is crucial during daily operations. You need to be able to contact drivers quickly and be able to keep a record of communication. Amazon offers their own app, but research what will fit your business best.
Video conferencing is an excellent form for communication and large meetings. If you have Microsoft Office, Teams is a free app that is included and is comparable to Zoom and Skype.
In addition to your real-time applications, choose an email package that fits your needs for non-urgent communication to send files and onboard new hires. Purchase a domain for your company and give each employee their own business email. Your best options for doing this are to work with Office 365 or Google.
As your DSP grows, so will the size of your fleet of vans. Keeping track of vehicle status, outstanding maintenance items, and upcoming preventative maintenance requires a robust tool. Some companies also provide in-van cameras, so if you are interested in tracking driver behavior and recording incidents, you should pay special attention to this offering.
Weekly and Daily Scheduling
Scheduling drivers and dispatchers on a daily and weekly basis will quickly outgrow a spreadsheet, particularly when you need your employees to be able to access the latest schedule changes from their phones.
The Amazon DSP portal provides a scheduling tool that DSPs must use, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you will be able to use it for your internal scheduling – it does not track things such as PTO, no-shows, late shows, etc., which are crucial if you want to track driver behavior. Be sure the package you choose also includes a comprehensive mobile app offering.
A DSP owner’s to-do list is never ending and always changing. You will need some type of mobile phone-based app to track your outstanding items that need to get done. Having a web-based version that syncs with it is a huge bonus. Asana, ClickUp, and Monday.com are some of the best apps for to-do lists.
Hiring and On-boarding
The driver on-boarding process can be complicated and lengthy. You can use a spreadsheet for a while, but once you are interviewing upwards of 20 drivers each week you will need to use a professional solution.
Most packages will offer far more than you need but focus on the ones that offer a flexible workflow that you can customize for the DSP world. BambooHR, Sapling and ClearCom are some of the top contenders.
Payroll providers Paycom and ADP offer an onboarding solution and have the advantage of populating your payroll system form the beginning. However, these solutions tend to be costly and inflexible, so you will be better off with a solution dedicated to onboarding workflows.
You have 2 options for payroll with Amazon – Paycom or ADP. ADP has been around for a long time, which means they have their process streamlined, but it can sometimes be difficult to use. Paycom is a more recently established company, and as such has a much smoother workflow that is easier to understand. You could choose either one depending on how you want to work through each process.
Skip the software and hire an accountant. Your time is much better spent growing your business, not learning how to be an accountant.
HR Documentation Review
This is important: the documents you have drivers sign when they first start must be carefully crafted. If you do not take time to ensure proper agreements are drafted and signed, you will encounter lawsuits and increased unemployment claims that you cannot fight. Subscribing to an outside firm review your documentation from a legal standpoint is important.
Do not subscribe to an online service that does this unless they guarantee access to real people with real HR experience. Using generic templates will result in nothing but frustration for you and your staff.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED?
Always have a lawyer on retainer to have legal counsel ready for anything from a 15-minute conversation to represent you in court in a full-blown trial. Paying a lawyer to have on stand-by might seem costly, but not as costly as dealing with a lawsuit from a vehicle accident that you have no counsel for.
In-van dual-facing cameras are an absolute must in additional to the Netradyne cameras already in place. You need access to your own feeds to monitor daily activity – and you do not get access to the cameras that Amazon provides.
What are the benefits of dual-facing cameras?
- In case of an accident, it is likely (80% at least) that the front-facing camera recorded a portion of the accident, and this footage can be used to fight lawsuits as well as to insurance companies who claim it was your driver’s fault. The driver-facing camera also allows you to see fi the driver was distracted at the time of the accident.
- In case of a crime, it is likely that one of the cameras recorded a portion of the event. This can be used to identify and prosecute criminals.
- The driver-facing camera allows you to spot-check your drivers at any time during the day to ensure they are in full uniform, wearing seatbelts properly, and are not placing packages up front on the floor or on the passenger seat.