Four years ago our showroom saw an alarming uptick in items disappearing from job-sites. In most cases, contractors or electrician called and insisted that the items had been missed on the delivery. Without proof otherwise, we just ate the cost of re-delivering new fixtures.
Here’s how we’ve now cut that problem down to almost non-existent:
- ANDROID CAMERA PHONES
We decided that preventing theft was far too expensive and largely out of our control. Besides, how could we be certain that our delivery teams weren’t forgetting items?
We added inexpensive camera phones – always Android because of how seamlessly they work with Google Drive – to our cell phone plan for every delivery truck. Drivers were then instructed to take photos of every delivery as proof of what was delivered (I found this approach to be much easier and cheaper than a GPS-stamping scanner like those used by FedEx, UPS, etc.).
Note: Make sure the camera has a decent wide-angle shot, is at least a 12-megapixel, and the cell plan has unlimited data. In our case, adding each phone cost less then $15 per month.
- BOX PLACEMENT
In order to get a good photo of the delivery, and to keep things simple, we trained delivery drivers to place all boxes into one pile – with labels facing outward – in either the Master Closet or the Pantry. There the items are out of the way of other subs and it’s easy to take a photo or two to capture the entire delivery.
- HOME ADDRESS OR LOT #
Rather than worrying about a location stamp, we have delivery drivers snap a photo of the front of the house – and the photo must include the address or lot number – when first starting a delivery. This gives easy evidence of which items were delivered to which job-site.
- GOOGLE DRIVE
Link each camera phone to a shared Google Drive account. Set each phone to automatically back up all photos to Google Drive. Train delivery drivers to tap on the name of each photo as it’s taken (android makes this really easy) and rename the photo to match the order number.
- SALES TEAM ACCESS
The final step is to give the sales team access to that same shared Google Drive. The Google Drive mobile app makes searching for images super simple, just enter an order number and all delivery photos for that order are instantly available on any computer or mobile device with internet.
When a contractor/electrician calls up to report that an item is missing from an order our sales reps get onto their phone and search by that order number to pull up the delivery photos. If the item is there in the delivery photo, they can then forward it on as evidence that the item was on site and was not forgotten.
We’ve found that over 85% of missing items were delivered and likely subsequently stolen. Now that contractors, electricians and other subs know that delivery evidence exists for every lighting order, and people can’t just easily blame “the lighting guys” for missing items on a delivery, we eat far fewer costs of sending free replacements… and magically we’ve also seen a BIG drop in job-site thefts.
Jason Petersen owns Hansen Lighting Inc. a lighting company with multiple showrooms in Utah.
Jason acquired Hansen Lighting out of near-bankruptcy in 2004 and turned the company around by implementing outside-the-box systems and ideas. The company is now one of the fastest growing companies in America (#3087 on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list) and has been recognized as one of the most profitable privately-owned retailers in North America.
Jason is also the co-founder of XOLogic and Lit Living Inc.