We are delighted to have you join the Azure Standard community of drop point coordinators, and are grateful you volunteered to organize the drop for your local community! This guide is designed to answer all of the questions you may have as the coordinator. You can also find additional, general customer information under the Getting Started, the Policies, and the Web Tips tabs. You are encouraged to contact the Azure Customer Service Department at ANY TIME if you have questions. Sometimes a quick phone call is the easiest way to get an answer! Or, if you prefer to send an email, we will respond as quickly as possible. Click the following link, if you would like to download and print the Drop Point Guide.
1) Determine and Maintain Drop Site Location
Things to consider when setting up a drop site:
- Is it within 3 miles of the route? If it is not, the minimum order amount increases according to the distance from the route. Typically, we require an additional $85 worth of product be purchased for each mile off the main route.
- Is the location big enough and safe enough for a semi truck to negotiate? Look out for low hanging wires or branches, signs posting “no trucks allowed,” low clearance structures or bridges, weight limits, cul-de-sacs, gravel roads, etc.
- Is there protection from the weather and elements? Consider the rain and snow in the winter, and the hot days in summer.
- Does the location have amenities such as refrigeration?
2) Keep Drop Point Members Informed and Organized
- From the Azure Standard website, not only can you manage your own order, but you can monitor the orders of the other members of your drop point at any time. Simply log in and click on the “Manage Your Drop” link. From there, you have access to pending and previous orders at your drop– for you and each member of your drop, which you can print out as needed. You can review orders to see, for example, if cool storage will be required for any of the items ordered (if that is a relevant concern for your drop site). You can also see at a glance the contact information for all of your drop members. Remember, pending orders can be changed at any time, right up to the cutoff time. Only one person per drop (the drop coordinator) is authorized to view and monitor this information.
- See “Making the Most of Your Azure Website” on page 4 in the customer section of this guide for additional, general information on utilizing the Azure website.
- If possible, remind group of upcoming order deadlines and delivery times.
- Notify group of any possible delivery delays.
- Utilizing any/all forms of social media (Facebook, twitter, groups, etc.), email, and texting have become popular and efficient methods for keeping groups informed with the least amount of effort. We encourage you to use whatever method works best for you. Ask us for a copy of a custom Azure logo (COMING SOON!!) that shows you are the volunteer drop coordinator!
- Give drop point number to new members, and assist them with initial deliveries- especially checking in items and following the appropriate protocol for returning items.
3) Establish and Maintain Relationship with Delivery Driver, and Receive Deliveries
- Your drop point delivery driver will generally be the same person time after time. You will build a relationship with him and communicate directly with him on or just before delivery day, to confirm the precise delivery time.
- Unforeseen delays in delivery can happen due to weather, accidents, equipment malfunction, etc. It is important that you ensure both you and your driver have up-to-date contact information for each other, and that you have efficient means for contacting members of your drop point group.
- While delivery drivers do work closely with Azure Standard on one end, and drop point customers on the other end, they are not employees of Azure Standard. Long haul and local delivery drivers are privately contracted individuals or businesses.
- As the drop point coordinator, please be sure to explain to all members the importance of being on time for deliveries, if the drop site cannot store items. The drivers are on tight schedules on normal days, and can be very pushed for time when everything is not going smoothly. Depending on the route, a driver typically has 20 drops per day, or more!
- Determine ahead of time with the driver whether he will unload product on his own, or if he wishes/needs help from the group; each driver & location could necessitate different arrangement.
DROP POINT POLICIES & PROCEDURES
Drop Frequency and Attendance
- Although we don’t require a monthly order, it is very helpful in maintaining consistency in the route– for timing purposes and for service to your community.
- The drop point coordinator is not required to place an order each time a delivery is scheduled. However, as your drop is growing, it might be helpful to spread out your own orders, to help ensure that the minimum is made each time.
- As the drop point coordinator, you are not required to be present at every delivery. However, we ask that you determine a back up member who will be there when you are not, unless specific arrangements are made for leaving product. Oftentimes, a back up person (or two) is chosen at the time the drop is established. We ask that you provide us with that person’s contact information so we can provide it to the delivery driver.
- If a customer does not show up for a delivery and there is no storage available, every attempt needs to be made to reach the person. If those attempts fail, it is helpful if you or another local drop point member is able to take the products home for the customer to pick up at a later time (but, this is notrequired). If that is not a possible, the driver will wait a determined amount of time, and then reload the items on the truck; the customer will be charged a 10% restocking fee.
Orders & Financial Responsibility
- Each member of your local drop point needs to set up their own Azure Standard account. They place their own orders via website, phone or mail, and they establish their payment terms directly with Azure, via credit/debit card, COD, or other pre-established terms.
- The drop point coordinator is never financially responsible for the purchases made by another drop point member.
Setting Individual Drop Point Rules
- It is not uncommon for drop points to set up rules and guidelines for their individual group, such as pertaining to COD, no shows, etc. Each drop develops its own identity and culture in a sense which we respect and applaud! That said, we do request that you get approval from Azure Standard Customer Serviceprior to creating a rule or policy that could impact a customer’s order or ability to order. We are happy to put a note in our database regarding local policies, for any orders placed to that drop point. However, Azure will not police or enforce the rules of individual locations.
- We encourage drops to keep rules to a minimum and to be as flexible as possible in order to meet the needs of your community. In our opinion, the best drops are the ones where the people work closely together as a collective. It is helpful if your group periodically reviews the rules, and that they are included in your general correspondence.
- COD: Some drop points elect to not allow COD orders to be placed from their location. Azure will note this in the database, but will not prevent customers from ordering COD.
DAY IN THE LIFE
Delivery day is nearing, and you want to make sure you and everyone else are ready for the wonderful bounty about to arrive…
Reminders– Start PRIOR to Order Cutoff Day!
- Utilize the website to monitor your drop point activity. Once you have logged in, choose “Manage Your Drop” to view real time information about who is ordering and how much.
- Utilize your established form of group communication (email, phone call, texting, Facebook, etc.) to remind everyone that the order deadline is close. Be sure to let them know if you have not yet reached the minimum order amount.
- After the order deadline, check website again to see who ordered so you can communicate directly with them for specific delivery information, if need be.
- Communicate directly with the driver for delivery status and pass any changes along to the group.
- As the coordinator, you will greet the driver upon arrival. He will hand you all the invoices for the drop which you will pass on to each individual. He will also hand you the drop cover sheet which will show the total number of cases for the drop.
- Unload product with driver.
- After all products are unloaded and confirmed, you will sign the drop invoice.
- The driver will collect any COD’s and items to be returned, then move on. The average drop takes 15-30 minutes.
- Help any new customers who might have items to be returned—be sure they complete the required Return Merchandise Authorization for any wrong, damaged or not desired product.
Azure Gratitude is a program designed to show our appreciation to drop coordinators whose drops are open and growing. It is simple. When the order total for your drop is $1000, you receive a $15 credit to your account. You receive an additional $5 Azure Gratitude for every $500 in orders after that. For example, if your total drop order is $2800, you will be credited $30.
You are eligible for Azure Gratitude if:
- You have filled out your drop’s Preferences
- You are an open drop. You don’t have to allow people to be freely added to your drop, and the name of your drop does not have to be published on the Azure website, but you need to be willing to receive new members.
- You don’t charge a fee to members
- You are not a distributor, retailer, or re-seller of any kind
Each time the order for your drop ships, Azure Gratitude will be automatically credited to your account according to the order total ($1000 and over), and an email will be sent to notify you. Your Azure Gratitude credit is reflective of the total drop order, even if the shipped amount is less due to out of stock items. You may also transfer your Azure Gratitude to another Azure customer, if you so desire.
*Azure Gratitude is not cash redeemable, and is intended for Azure purchases only.
*Azure Gratitude is subject to change at any time without notice.
GROWING YOUR AZURE DROP
Think of growing your Azure drop like growing your bread starter. You can keep adding to the base, but at some point the starter will out-grow the container, so you split off some and give it to a friend. That’s the way you grow your drop. When it gets to its point of capacity for your location, you split it by helping someone in your group step up and become a Drop Coordinator as well- from their own home or another location. We have found over the many years of assisting with drops and drop development that this type of transition happens quite easily and we are always happy to help if you need it!