A Guide to Providing On-Demand Delivery Service in Healthcare
Faced with unprecedented times: you are busy serving local customers and patients, you are trying to keep operations going, avoiding becoming a hotspot for infection and serving patients that are ill, self-isolating, quarantined, physically impaired, most vulnerable in our communities and increasingly the general public. Your phone is ringing with patients demanding free delivery following the Prime Minister’s announcement, “pharmacies will deliver for free”.
You need support at the best of times but critical reinforcement is required to serve patients during the current Covid19 epidemic.
The NHS has responded with providing funding to support pharmacies to help cover delivery service costs in order to provide a safe speedy delivery service to patients. However, for many pharmacies around the country especially in towns and villages there is no infrastructure or solution to conveniently book on-demand delivery service providers or volunteers to support their requirements.
This article is a practical guide on how pharmacies, clinics and care centres can start providing on-demand delivery services today.
This guide includes:
- An introduction to on-demand delivery
- Scenarios companies and organisations can use on-demand delivery in healthcare
- How to get started with WuHu
- Advice on finding suitable couriers
- Advice booking a courier services (when to use Pay per Order or Hire by Hour)
- How to complete your compliance check on couriers
- Advice on charging customers for a delivery service
What is On-Demand Delivery? An Introduction
On-demand delivery is the service of providing customers a delivery service to meet their convenience and time schedule. This is usually local and within a 30-mile radius. This can usually be made possible by working with local independent courier service providers. This could be a delivery service to customers required in the next 30 minutes, 3 hours, next day or at a specific predefined future date and time. By offering on-demand delivery services businesses and organisations in normal circumstances are able to boost customer retention, open new revenue streams and attract local customers. During epidemics and especially Covid19 delivery services become an essential part of operations to reduce shop footfall, reduce queues from developing and for many businesses the only means of staying open to serve customers.
General delivery services have been a growing service opportunity for many organisations and businesses. According to Mintel in 2018 there was a 12% increase in courier and express delivery reaching £12.6 billion in sales. Pre-Covid19 forecasts estimated double digit growth between 2019 - 2023. This excludes on-demand food delivery which was set to to be worth £8.4 billion in 2019 according to the MCA UK Food Delivery Service Report 2019/20. For many large businesses delivery has provided a competitive advantage as customers enjoy the online choice and convenience it provides. A lot of times this is at the expense of local high streets and local shops. On the contrary on-demand delivery has the potential to revive local high streets offering a competitive advantage over global digital conglomerates that can only provide limited scheduled delivery slots at best. It can also provide the building blocks to developing innovative new services that better serve local communities and customers.
Scenarios Companies and Organisations in Healthcare are using On-Demand Delivery
- Delivery of Medication: Clinics, pharmacies and healthcare centres may provide delivery as an essential service to patients or as a value add service to customers. The service is provided a lot of times to patients that are ill, self-isolating, quarantined and physically impaired. In many of such scenario’s delivery is essential in supporting those most vulnerable in our communities. In some cases, delivery service of medication may exclude controlled drugs as listed by the NHS
- Delivery of Supplies: This is especially critical during an epidemic when pharmacies, clinics and healthcare centres are in urgent need of personal protective equipment (PPE), medication, lab tests and equipment to and from warehouses or labs to clinics, pharmacies and care centres. Being able to quickly have resources collected from warehouses and distributed to the frontline is an essential response mechanism during an epidemic in making sure staff are always adequately protected while serving customers.
- Delivery of Hot Meals: Delivery services of hot meals provide an important service making sure many of those most vulnerable in our communities are always being looked after and provided the best care possible. This a lot of times includes providing individuals dietary hot meals, basic home necessities and groceries. Such services are a lot of times provided by local healthcare centres and care homes. Such services can be increasingly difficult to provide during an epidemic. It is also critical that suppliers and couriers practice the very best health and safety practices to protect patients in all circumstances. Checkout out our Covid19 courier delivery guide on some best practices if your a courier or volunteer supporting your community with deliveries.
- Delivery as a Service: Delivery as a value-add service provides a lot of customers the opportunity to order repeat prescriptions directly to their home, shop online or over the phone and request delivery as a service. The current Covid19 epidemic highlights a greater need for on-demand delivery services in local communities to support clinics, pharmacies and care centres in such circumstances and to generally better serve local patients.
Some challenges faced by clinics and pharmacies with medical deliveries is that it is paramount that the delivery service is able to get the drugs to the right person. If for example Amazon makes a mistake with a delivery they can simply offer to replace it. If prescribed drugs are delivered to the wrong address this can have dangerous consequences. Most delivery systems and operators are not adequately developed to make sure that the intended patient is indeed the final recipient of the medication.
At WuHu we have created a unique delivery protocol which generates a unique set of delivery codes similar to a blockchain. When a pharmacy or clinic for example posts an order to be collected and delivered by a courier the system generates a unique collection code and delivery code. The collection code is provided to the courier on collection of the order whilst the delivery code can be shared with the intended patient to provide the courier on delivery. The order is only completed when the courier has received the corresponding unique delivery code for that order from the patient. This provide pharmacies, clinics and patients an accurate way to track and make sure that orders are successfully delivered to the intended patient. This eliminates some very practical and critical challenges delivering medication.
An on-demand delivery services open the opportunity to create innovative new services and product lines previously not possible. The above are just a few of the most common ways on-demand delivery is being used by the healthcare industry in local communities.
How to Get Started with WuHu:
Businesses and organisations must be based in the UK to take advantage of the WuHu platform. Users will be able to access the WuHu vendor application from the following link. For support on creating a profile checkout our Guide to Creating a Vendor Profile.
The WuHu Vendor web app provides users the following benefits:
- View all local independent couriers in a 30 mile radius of your business or organisation
- Option to search by specific couriers in the UK
- Book couriers on-demand on a Pay per Order or Hire by Hour bases
- Filter couriers in your vicinity by delivery method
- View individual courier profile listings
- Invite local couriers, volunteers and freelancers to join the local courier network
- Track all deliveries and hires from start to finish
- Automated payments to couriers through the platform to couriers with 45 day activity reports for recording keeping
- Contactless sharing of collection and delivery codes. Digitally share tracking codes. No pen/ no paper, no signatures, no contact required. Use options in the app to digitally share and communicate collection and delivery codes with couriers.
WuHu makes providing an on-demand delivery service super easy with new features and functionality coming soon allowing you to focus more time growing your business and better serving customers.
Advice on Finding Suitable Couriers
Firstly, you should make sure that your profile description on WuHu matches your courier delivery requirements. This helps couriers better match their courier service with your delivery requirements. Once that is sorted, use the filter options to find the type of couriers required. Use the option to view courier profile listings including their past history and delivery description. This can include insurance, vehicle type, profile delivery history, accreditations and experience. This is usually enough to find a courier match.
However, if you cannot find the courier you are looking for you can use the post to network option notifying the local courier network of your delivery requirements and get notified when a relevant courier accepts your delivery request. As you use more couriers the platform is able to build a network of reliable couriers who best match your exact delivery requirement and behaviour.
Advice Booking a Courier’s Services and when to use Pay per Order vs Hire by Hour
So you have established the courier and now you would like to book their service and tell couriers about the important delivery opportunity at hand. First you need to determine do you need the courier for one delivery or multiple deliveries. If you have multiple deliveries it is usually more economical to hire the courier by the hour at their private hire rate and benefit from a dedicated courier to whom you can provide a list of all deliveries to be made. For one-off deliveries use the Pay per Order option to book couriers on a pay per order basis. Pay per order is most suitable for specific one off or ad hoc delivery jobs.
Use these options to better manage your delivery requirements securing couriers to match your exact delivery requirements.
How to Complete your Compliance Check on Couriers?
Before providing a courier the collection code to start the Pay per Order or Hire by Hour engagement make sure the courier is able to present the following details especially before their first delivery for you:
- Verify their profile name matches their ID.
- Details of their proof to work in the UK ( ex: residence card, passport, EU national, work permit, driving license or ID card).
- Verify couriers are 18 years or older
- Proof of sufficient goods in transit or haulage insurance if relevant. This covers the cost to any damage that may occur while the order is being delivered.
- Verify they have a valid driving license when applicable.
- Verify couriers have any specific accreditations or training that maybe required or relevant.
- Proof of vehicle Insurance which must insure their vehicle for business purposes as a courier if relevant. Note that standard vehicle insurance does not generally cover courier insurance. For this, couriers are required to get insurance that covers their courier service activities.
After verifying a courier for the first time helps you determine that the courier is compliant with all relevant legislation and saves time booking their service in the future. This helps protect your order while it’s in transit for delivery.
Advice on Charging Customers for a Delivery Service
You will need to decide an approach or strategy to providing your on-demand delivery service. This can be offered as a free service, fully charged to the customer, partially charged or a threshold approach. Here’s a list of approaches to charging for delivery:
- Free Delivery: A free delivery service can be great for attracting customers or best serving local patients. This is usually provided by businesses and organisations that have a minimum order value or subscription service to cover the cost of delivery or able to subsidise the delivery charges.
- Delivery Charge: In some cases businesses and organisations provide customers a delivery service if they are willing to cover the delivery fee. Customers when ordering online or over the phone are charged a delivery fee if they wish to have their order delivered.
- Shared Delivery Charge: Partially charging customers is one of the most common approaches especially for small local deliveries. This usually requires the customer to pay a fixed fee for example £2.50 - £4.99 as contribution towards the delivery cost to cover fully or partially the delivery. The remaining cost is covered by the business or organisation.
- Delivery Charge Table: A threshold approach is a great way to incentivise customers to increase the value of their shopping basket or subscription and benefit from delivery discounts or for free delivery. A delivery charge table can be based on delivery distance, order value and size. If a delivery charge table is best for you, try to make sure your charges are clear and simple to understand.
Businesses and organisations with multiple orders from different customers, charging a fixed fee from each customer can spread the courier hiring cost. This can a lot of times cover all expenses and make hiring a courier by the hour an ideal approach to providing a delivery service and managing costs.