Coronavirus Prompts Delivery Services to Promote a ‘Zero Contact’ Approach

Delivery companies take new measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 among employees and consumers

Zero contact delivery service
Delivery driver checking phone
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Delivery service companies in Japan are implementing a number of measures, including a zero-contact system, to reduce the risk to their staff and customers of contracting coronavirus as face-to-face interactions can put them at increased danger of infection.

The realisation of the high-risk nature of the delivery industry came after a Sagawa Express Co. driver in his 60s tested positive for COVID-19. The company has now launched an investigation to determine which customers may have come into “close contact” with the driver so that appropriate action can be taken.

Customers not required to sign for deliveries

Last week, Yamato Transport Co. announced it will introduce a temporary drop-off system which would allow customers to receive packages without having to deal directly with drivers in an effort to curb the spread of the virus across the country.

Under the new system, a customer can request via their home intercoms that the driver leave their packages in a specific spot outside their door. Customers will not be required to sign for their delivery, and can avail of this option until the end of March.

“We have decided to take this measure because we received some requests from our customers that they want to avoid face-to-face interaction with drivers as much as possible,” Takafumi Nakagawa, a spokesperson for Yamato said.

Sagawa has also suspended its digital signature system, which uses drivers’ smartphones, as the practice can greatly increase the likelihood of the virus being transmitted between employees and consumers.

As the digital signature system requires one smartphone to be used by a number of different customers each day, Yuki Yamada, a spokesman for the company, said they “wanted to prevent the risk of [their] customers getting infected, as well as to minimise such risks for [their] employees.”

Sagawa has also suspended its digital signature system, which uses drivers’ smartphones, as the practice can greatly increase the likelihood of the virus being transmitted between its employees and consumers

Zero-contact pizzas

With more and more people confined to their homes to avoid exposure to the virus, the use of delivery services to procure vital items has greatly increased so delivery firms recognised their own need to limit the spread of infection.

Domino’s Pizza Japan launched an initiative similar to Yamato’s, which enables their delivery service customers to receive their orders in a “zero-contact” manner.

The delivery driver will place the pizza order wherever the customer has specified, setting it down on an empty box to avoid putting the pizza box directly on the ground.

Once the driver notifies the customer that their food has arrived, they will “step away at least 2 meters from your front door or designated location, and confirm that you received your product(s),” according to the company website.

What do you think about the delivery industry’s measures to limit the spread of coronavirus? Have you used any of the zero-contact services? Let us know in the comments below.

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Business have to adapt the way they operate during this COVID-19 outbreak to protect both their employees and their customers from infection.

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Written by Catherine McGuinness

Writer and journalist with a love for all things Japan.

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