Handling 25,000 parcels and 8,000 deliveries a day, the Rangel Group is one of Portugal’s leading express and logistics service providers. To allow their business to expand, they implemented a Proof of Delivery/ Proof of Collection solution from Zetes. The key results were faster deliveries, improved traceability, expanded efficiency and optimised customer service. The sturdy, flexible solution, developed and supplied by auto-ID specialist Zetes, is already being used by more than 170 drivers in the Rangel Express division, and will shortly be rolled out to the rest of Rangel’s business units. Plans to expand the solution further, offering services such as mobile payment and authentication via eID, are also in the works.

Guaranteeing tight delivery times

Rangel Express, one of the business units of the Rangel Group, specialises in shipping parcels weighing less than 30 kg within Portugal. From 8 distribution centres, spread across the country, almost 180 drivers set off each day to collect and deliver parcels from/ to B2B and B2C customers. To guarantee the promised delivery times (e.g. by 10 a.m., by 13 a.m., etc.), the parcels must be shipped as rapidly as possible and traced as effectively as possible. To do this, Rangel used to rely on an internally developed system based on RF terminals. With this system, mobile operators used to scan the “master list” of delivered or collected goods, but not the individual parcels. This meant traceability was less than optimal and left considerable room for error. To improve service, in terms of accuracy and traceability, and to offer customers additional functionality, the system needed to be upgraded.

Standardising processes

Jorge Rafael, CIO of the Rangel Group: “In the past we developed all of our software internally, but in this case developing new features in the existing system was bound to consume too much time and resources. We also wanted to be able to easily add extra functionalities to the solution in the near future.” Thus, Rangel contacted Zetes who delivered us a total solution. Nuno Rangel, CEO of the Rangel Group: “From the very beginning it was clear that Zetes had the skills we were looking for. They had plenty of experience in the sector and a good understanding of our processes. Their solution is sturdy and flexible, and the building blocks could be easily adapted to our specific needs. From the onset, they provided us with ideas on how to develop the solution further. We’re always thinking ahead and in Zetes we found a partner that could allow us to continue growing in the coming years.”

Individual scanning, 100% traceability

The new solution required a significant adaptation to the existing process. Previously, only the master list of a shipment was scanned, while now each parcel is scanned individually at various stages of its journey: from reception, through dispatching from the distribution centre, to delivery to the customer. To accomplish this, all operators are equipped with new PDAs (CN50 from Intermec). Edgar Monteiro, Project Manager: “We were convinced that individual scanning would make the process a little bit slower, but also that the benefits would compensate for it.”

These benefits include:

  • Accuracy: far fewer mistakes are made, both when loading trucks and during delivery or collection. The terminal issues a direct warning if elements are missing or the wrong parcels are scanned. After loading, an accurate inventory is also produced of the parcels still in the warehouse, allowing for efficient monitoring.
  • Visibility: thanks to real-time communication between the terminals and the host system, not only does Rangel now know precisely where all parcels are during the collection or delivery phase, but customers can also check the location of their shipments at any time via Rangel’s web portal.

Additional functionality, better customer service

The real-time communication between mobile operators and the back office also brings with it other benefits that make the work of both field operators and back-office staff more efficient:

  • Communication during absence: if a driver arrives at the delivery address and the parcel recipient is not present, the operator notes this in their terminal, which is then immediately communicated to the back office. This way, customer service can immediately notify the recipient and make arrangements to complete the delivery. The mobile terminal also acts as a telephone, enabling operators to be reached directly.
  • Efficient route planning: the 3G receiver in the terminal allows optimal integration of additional deliveries or pick-ups into the drivers’ pre-planned routes. All the necessary information regarding pick-ups and deliveries is displayed quickly and efficiently on the terminal screen.

Reduced administration and less paper

  • If there is a dispute concerning a delivery, the mobile operator can enter all the details so that they can be retrieved easily within the system. A photograph showing the condition of the parcel can also be taken.
  • If a delivery is made on behalf of a third party, the signed document is scanned and immediately forwarded to the host system, serving as digital evidence.
  • Cash on delivery: customers can choose to pay the cost of the shipment at the time of delivery; in Portugal, such payments are still frequently made by cheques, which can now be scanned and verified using the terminal.

Future-proof system

“With the new system, Rangel has already taken a major step forward,” says Jorge Rafael, “but that is not the end of it. Together with Zetes, we are discussing the possibility of implementing other innovative applications. We are considering mobile payments, integrated with the mobile terminals, customer authentication using eID ( also developed by Zetes), GPS-assisted navigation, and much more. The possibilities are endless, and with Zetes we have an auto-ID expert on our side that is able to back us up in a wide range of projects.”

Short deadlines, large-scale roll-out

The Rangel Express project was rolled out in just 8 months. After a pilot phase in one of the smaller distribution centres, the 170+ Rangel Express drivers are now using the solution. Not only are customers satisfied but employees are also happy, says Edgar Monteiro: “After initially being reluctant to adopt the new processes and technology, employees are now coming to us and asking when new functionality will be added to the system.” The CIO is also satisfied: ”It was a tough decision to change our procedures and bring in an external partner, but thanks to the constructive cooperation and excellent work of Zetes, it has been the best decision we’ve taken in the past few years. However, the work is not yet done for Rangel: over the next few months the business units Rangel Expresso (international deliveries), Rangel Pharma, and Rangel International Sea & Freight will also be equipped with the new solution, bringing in another hundred or so empowered drivers.”