Seller’s Guide for Understanding Proof of Delivery (P.O.D)

Understanding proof of delivery

Currently subject to significant disruption is the last-mile delivery operations, especially of parcels, which are rightfully getting a great deal of attention in the media and from investors. The cost of worldwide parcel delivery, excluding pickup, line-haul, and sorting, amounts to approximately 80 billion, with China, Germany, and, therefore, accounting for quite 40 percent of the market. Hence understanding the proof of delivery is important.

However, the market is not only large, but it is also highly dynamic, with growth rates in 2015 ranging between 7 and 10 percent in mature markets, such as Germany or the US, and almost 300 percent in developing markets like India. This means that, in mature markets, volumes could double the subsequent ten years, reaching roughly 5 billion and 25 billion parcels per annum in Germany and, therefore, the US, respectively. So the proof of delivery plays an important role in the scenario.

The most significant driver of this growth isn’t surprisingly e-commerce, which has shifted market share from the B2B to the B2C segment. B2C once made up approximately 40 percent of the market but has since exceeded 50 percent in several countries. Besides, the last mile’s hefty share in total parcel delivery cost– often reaching or maybe exceeding 50 percent – makes it a critical process step for those seeking to gain a competitive advantage. At an equivalent time, it’s precisely at the walk that a lot of incumbents are struggling, as they often shoulder significant labor cost disadvantages and thus, all else being equal, competitive disadvantages. Size, growth, and therefore the problematic positioning of incumbents alone already provide ample grounds for studying the longer-term development of the walk. But there’s another critical factor supporting the case for taking a better look: the trail is seeing disruption from new business models that address customer demand for ever-faster delivery. It is one of those new technologies that are likely to succeed in market readiness over the subsequent ten years, including drones and autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs). 

Before we jump into the details of our vision of the last mile, we would like first to summarize the basic operations involved in the last mile tasks. These last-mile operations are proved to be successful only when the customer and seller sign a Proof of Delivery. It is a document that gives the advantage of being sure of the conditions of their shipment is required. A proof of delivery is one such document that helps conduct this sign up in an organized manner. Read on to learn more 

Defining Proof of Delivery

A Proof of Delivery or POD (pronounced POD) is a receipt that notifies the receiver’s acknowledgment of the freight or package received in good and healthy conditions. POD carries all the information related to the carrier, including the name of the customer who physically received the product, the date and the time when the package was delivered, and other related shipping details. A POD can either be a hardcopy format or also an electronically generated document.

In the logistics sector, POD is considered a critical step in the delivery system. POD (Proof Of Delivery) plays a significant part in the delivery process as it notifies the delivery of goods to the customer. Understanding proof of delivery plays a dual role as a receipt and a confirmation document that proves that the shipment has been delivered successfully.

The proof of delivery is mostly written consent acknowledging the received goods of an order made with a specific amount of money on a particular date and time. The name of the person who is planned to receive the goods will sign the POD, agreeing to the fact that the product was delivered safely. 

Importance of Proof of Delivery 

1. Once the product leaves the seller’s warehouse, and on the way to the end customer, the responsibility is shifted, as it is now the duty of the end customer to inspect the package and check for any damages that might have occurred during delivery, before accepting it. Hence, customer education is necessary. 

2. The freight need to be examined for torn outer covering opened the cover, tampering, or leakage of any kind on the outer surface. In case any disruption is spotted, the customer is requested to post a remark on the POD copy immediately. Failure to do so will make it impossible to file for a complaint later.

3. The customer has the option to refuse or deny acceptance of the product if not happy with its condition.

4. It is advised to verify and be satisfied with the condition at the time of delivery and quality of the product before signing acceptance of the package in the POD. If the customer fails to follow this procedure, then the carrier is not held responsible for the damaged goods.

5. A similar procedure should be employed during an RTO delivery as well. If in the case of RTO delivery, The customer finds the outer packaging of shipment has been tampered with or torn, it is necessary to give remarks on understanding proof of delivery instantly. 

6. In case the received shipment is damaged or if the contents of the package are missing, it’s is critical to raise a complaint within 24 hours to 48 hours of receiving the shipment, with mandatory negative feedback POD as well.

7. It is essential to remember that the courier is not only liable to deliver the shipments intact with outer packaging. As they do not check the health of inner contents, therefore liability can be imposed only for outer packaging.

Benefits Of POD

These are just some of the starting benefits of POD. Here are some additional benefits:

Blazing fast invoicing and order to cash

Proof of delivery is exactly that: proof. With that proof, invoices tend to clear much quicker. You can even integrate payment methods into a tool. Invoices are approved during a fraction of the time that paper copies undergo.

Reduced paperwork

Paper is simply hard to deal with. Forms are very susceptible to error; they’re easy to lose, damage, and maybe confusing to the receiver. In a data-driven society, the truck-based paper is one of the last items remaining in a paperless supply chain. POD can help companies make that final jump and become paperless organizations.

Integrated location or Hours of Service data

A POD system alone is powerful. A POD system that will think about Hours of Service tracking helps with fleet safety. Dispatchers can know what loads are within legal hours. Drivers can worry about the load, and not hours tracked. Drivers and dispatchers are often on an equivalent page.

 More stops in a day

POD systems allow a driver to gather information faster, getting them back on the road quicker. That can build up to increased stops per day.

Fewer missed appointment windows

POD systems help drivers remain within their delivery windows. Adding longer from decreased paperwork helps get more out of the day.

Various methods to record Proof of Delivery

The two ways to record the proof of delivery for the order are. 

Paper Invoice

It is the most commonly used method and requires the receiver to sign an acknowledgment after the delivery of the product is carried out.


A document that refers to the electronic proof of delivery. Usually carried by the carrier agent, it is a device that requires the receiver to e-sign a certificate verifying the delivery of shipment. It is much efficient than paper POD as it offers several other features, like, geotagging, real-time status updates, and also saves paper in the process.

The advantages of utilizing an E-POD


Traceability across companies, 3PL, and drivers have been an actual headache for quite a while now. This is usually the case of companies that don’t have the resources (time/staff) to manage intricate manual work, gathering information from all the paper-based sheets utilized within the delivery workflow, which suggests that a lot of times information gets lost or altered within the process.

Using an electronic proof of delivery system can streamline the tactic of delivering goods and services, increasing efficiency and accuracy across the entire business, and resulting in improved customer satisfaction, a stronger income and increased stock accuracy.


Manual processes, like paper-based proof of delivery, are quite common in most companies. But these processes are a well-known source of problems and may directly impact daily operations and, therefore, the customer experience.

The challenges brought on by paper-based work usually prevent real-time data access to ongoing problems within the delivery process, causing a sequence reaction throughout the whole process, thus slowing down productivity in the whole supply chain area.

By integrating an EPOD system with the delivery process, you’ll expect to reduce paper-based work and paper handling, improving efficiency in an increasingly mobile workforce by enabling the use of smartphones and tablets to stay track of driver deliveries. This intuitive change fits seamlessly into the comprehensive workflows of your delivery processes, eliminating paperwork, reducing errors, and increasing productivity among drivers and managers.

In both cases, the softcopy of the POD is then sent to the e-mail id of the customer. They can download it from a link provided by the carrier agency.

More and more companies are choosing e-P.O.D rather than continuing with the old-school paper method. It’s easy, tech-savvy, and efficient while recording the notes and remarks/information associated with the freight.

Take-aways of the article

• The critical point is to educate the customers to cross-check the freight’s condition before accepting the package. 

• Raise a complaint and provide negative remarks on the POD if, or while during the RTO delivery, the packaging is subjected to damage.

• In case it is found damaged, The customer should either not accept it, or ensure that the POD has noted down the issue regarding the same. Only this way, the process is more comfortable for the customer to post a claim later and avail the right product.


The future last-mile delivery offers a tremendous opportunity for existing and new service providers in the field, given the fast expected growth over the next years, as well as the significant changes to the operating model. However, before companies can move ahead and convey to life the new walk, they ought to take one step back, because it is crucial to develop a technique that aligns with the market environment and the company’s strength. It is also essential to bear in mind the competitive landscape with at least three groups of companies battling for predominance in the future the last mile: incumbents, e-commerce players, and highly dynamic start-ups disrupting the marketplace. Players from each of those peer groups have already started pushing ahead: small droids are currently being tested for delivery by incumbents, drones are already flying a day operated by incumbents and e-commerce players (if only with major exceptions to current law), and start-ups are aggressively pushing into the market to realize access to new profit pools. 

Looking at these three archetypes – which of them is usually best positioned to win the race? Incumbents have the advantage of already having a robust and suitable network in place, enabling them to win in at least the markets served with drones or AGVs with lockers. But will they be quick enough to adapt their IT and HR strategies to stay pace with e-commerce players who are heavily investing during this space? Start-ups have mostly focused on the point-to-point market. But will their agility in adopting new business models be sufficient to debar the e-commerce players or the incumbents?

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