Post NL

Mobile computer vision integrated with a postal app at PostNL drives efficient delivery processes for 27,000 employees.

PostNL is the number one service provider in mail and logistics.

On a weekday, PostNL delivers on average 675,000 parcels and 8 million letters. PostNL has the largest and most modern logistics mail and parcel network in the Benelux, whilst it also has expanding mail and parcel networks in Germany and Italy. In addition, PostNL is active throughout the world with cross-border activities under the name of “Spring.”

PostNL is transforming from a traditional mail business into an e-commerce logistics service provider and develops services that make consumers’ lives easier, such ascollecting return parcels at home, delivering flowers and meals, or delivering and fitting kitchens and white goods.

Stating Point- Improve delivery speed and efficiency

PostNL has responded to the growth in e-commerce by ensuring that its postal and parcel delivery networks meet key performance indicators for exceptional delivery quality and exemplary customer service. Part of this has included the launch of specific solutions including track and trace, not just on larger parcels, but on smaller packages and registered mail, too. This is enabled through the use of barcodes which allow parcels to be tracked from the moment they leave the online retailer’s warehouse to the moment they are delivered to the consumer by means of mobiles and tablets used as part of the company’s BYOD policy. PostNL was experiencing some delays when postal delivery workers were trying to scan the item on the doorstep of customers, which often took too long.

Vision- Integrate barcode scanning functionality into the postal mobile app

The vision for PostNL was to finely hone the solution that was already being used in order to facilitate more efficient scanning of barcodes and speed up the delivery process. PostNL’s delivery staff use an internal application on their smart devices called “Mijn werk,” which connects directly with the central sorting system, allowing PostNL to track and trace every parcel and registered letter and notify the customer when their package or mail item is on its way. Initially, PostNL piloted an open source scanning software plug-in, but the feedback from postal delivery workers was that it was frustratingly slow. With time being wasted on their rounds, the company started looking for a new software-based scanning tool that would be capable of quickly reading barcodes in any condition.

Solution- A barcode scanning solution that overcomes adverse weather conditions

Knowing that the type of solution they required was more commonly associated with traditional handheld scanners, PostNL embarked on a detailed search for scan technology that had already been proven. The technology had to overcome the challenges presented by torn, blurry or worn barcodes in multiple adverse weather conditions. Their research showed clearly that the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK provided the highest degree of reliability and accuracy, and that it enabled rapid scanning even in the most challenging scenarios, such as glaring sunlight or pouring rain. In addition, the Scandit solution had the advantage of being able to work across the wide range of devices used by PostNL’s 27,000 postal delivery personnel. It was also important that the scanning tool was easy to use and that Scandit could provide PostNL with the straightforward integration they were looking for to move seamlessly from one tool to another.

The Results- Easy to use solution improves delivery experience for customers and staff

The Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK was very easy for PostNL to integrate, as they had hoped, and there have been no compatibility issues with the “Mijn werk” mobile app. Furthermore, it is the speed and efficiency that it provides which is prompting complimentary and positive feedback from postal delivery workers across PostNL’s mail network. The company now feels assured that the quality of its service is being fully supported by barcode scanning of the highest caliber at every stage in the process, allowing it to comprehensively track parcels and quickly pinpoint and manage any issues that arise.

PostNL is currently handling and scanning between 250,000 and 350,000 deliveries every week with the added Track & Trace service within its mail network. The company anticipates that the number of scanned items as part of its track and trace service will increase as it continues to improve efficiencies and speed up deliveries. In addition, Scandit has developed the ability to read KIX barcodes, which are specific to PostNL, and they are already including these KIX codes on mail.

The partnership between the two companies is also expected to develop with the use of Scandit’s MatrixScan solution, which allows an augmented reality layer to provide real-time feedback. Scanning technology, thanks to Scandit, will have a big part to play in the future of postal deliveries at PostNL.

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