The Government-funded NICTA (National ICT Australia) is working on a new mobile app to help consumers and small businesses frustrated by delivery and payment delays.

The app, PanDA (Pickup and Delivery Assistant), was unveiled in Sydney during a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the NICTA headquarters.

Dr Merkel has a strong interest in the technological world, as a physicist by training and a research scientist pre-politics.

She was reportedly impressed by the app, which is due out in early 2015.

PanDA is aimed at ensuring accurate tracking of packages in the final leg of delivery, while also enabling small delivery companies to provide ‘proof of delivery’ (POD) to trigger payments for their work anywhere in the country.

For years, local logistics and supply chain companies have fought against inefficiencies in the ‘last kilometre’ delivery of goods and shipments, especially to far-flung customers.

They have had to rely on manual and paper-based ‘proof of delivery’ and, therefore, delays in payments.

The app promises to ‘complete the circle’ of transaction information allowing Australian operators (one-person businesses in many cases) to confirm delivery and trigger payment within 24 hours.

PanDA will cut POD reconciliation delays by 75 per cent, its designers say.

Ron Koehler, CEO of DB Schenker in Australia – a private firm working with the Australian Government-funded NICTA - said it was a proud moment for the German forwarding firm’s collaboration.

“DB Schenker, as one of the world’s biggest logistics providers, has had a presence in Australia for more than 50 years. So it was a great opportunity for us to present to the Chancellor during her visit this important joint collaboration that will ultimately assist so many Australians.” Mr Koehler said.

“Using GPS technology, we can track deliveries kilometre by kilometre across the country. But that final kilometre, or step, in the delivery process, has been a stumbling block in the full completion of any transaction and delivery.

“Our mobile app is specifically designed for truck drivers providing low-cost connectivity, via the cloud, to assist them in the pickup, delivery and payment processes.

“It will allow the driver or transport company to enter travel details, GPS coordinates and vehicle identifiers at any time during the transport process to indicate any delays, which may be caused by traffic conditions, road closures or mechanical breakdowns.

“On arrival at the destination the driver scans a bar/QR code, including Proof-Of-Delivery signature or printed name. We replace the burden of processing the paper from the truck driver’s home office with our app. After delivery has been made, we can fast-track electronic payment to the driver’s account,” Koehler said.