Online retailing has increased the pressure on postal and CEP companies as they are expected to deliver increasing numbers of small parcels quickly and without any complications.
In the hope of responding to the rapid revolution of consumer needs in an increasingly competitive market, postal operators have revamped and diversified their services to reduce costs and increase operational efficiency. Below we provide three examples of how the postal service is adjusting to the eCommerce postal ecosystem.
The sharing economy
We’ve seen this trend grow recently within the hospitality industry, as services such as the US-based Uber Rush provide speedy delivery fleets for small businesses.
The concept of the sharing economy for the postal industry essentially denotes contracting delivery through crowd sourcing models. These models offer a lot of flexibility in the postal industry as they can either run in the backend of the transaction, or they can take hold of the whole transaction.
Amazon has been pegged to announce it’s own Uber-like delivery service, as it does provide a low-cost economic model that would be hard to compete with when offering on-demand deliveries.
In an attempt to speed up delivery times and reduce shipping costs, Amazon Flex will pay its delivery drivers $18 to $25 per hour, who then can elect to drive for two-, four-, or eight-hour shifts. They need to supply their own car, a driver's license and an Android phone so that they can install Amazon's driver app.
For now these services are only available in the US, but food delivery services such as EatNow are already offering people the ability to utilise the sharing economy for the delivery of their goods.
Digital products and services
There is an increasing use of digital trends including digital mailboxes, secure electronic communication and document management solutions.
A wide-range of new initiatives are being rolled out by postal operators globally in order to deal with the increasing demand for eCommerce. To provide an example of this, Swiss Post has a full range of electronic solutions called ePost Solutions for secure electronic communication including certificates & digital signatures.
Similarly, Canada Post has launched EPOST, a free digital mailbox that allows users to manage their bills and essential documents. However, it is important to note that in order to shift between the digital and physical world, postal operators may need to consider modernising their internal operation infrastructure, including optimising processes, refurbishing or opening new sorting facilities, installing automatic mail processing equipment, and improving shipment and logistic processes.
Yielding higher results more efficiently
Every business model today seems to have the task of sweating assets for greater results. Postal services are no exception.
Traditionally, employees in logistics centres were required to complete physically demanding work when unloading packages, parcels and shipping units of various sizes from different containers or vessels, which was generally a very manual and labour intensive process.
To deal with increased the amount of small packages, postal operators and CEP companies have had to introduce new machinery that can provide better results, within a shorter time frame.
The recently released BEUMER Parcel Picker can enable efficient unloading of bulk cargo, swap bodies and trailers. It is a semi-automatic discharging device that can accommodate different package sizes, helping to streamline operations.
New machinery such as the above can help to increase throughput rates of more than 2500 packages per hour, and if you combine new machinery, with digital services and the sharing economy, the future of postal services is limitless.