Hermes UK is the second largest parcel company in the UK, processing more than 335 million parcels each year.
The company has enjoyed double digit growth over the last six years and is now seeking to become the UK’s carrier of choice by 2021.
At the heart of this mission, is an ambition to continuously evolve their last mile offering to become the provider of choice. As a result, there is a focus on increasing transparency throughout the parcel journey with regular communication and the ability to make returns online or through a mobile app.
Modernizing operations and customer experience with digital transformation
To realize its growth ambitions and continue delivering exemplary service in the future, Hermes UK initiated a digital transformation strategy, known as Digital Futures. The strategy has evolved across two phases over the last three years – Digital Futures and Digital Futures+, which launched at the beginning of 2019. The program aims to modernize the business by combining new technology, smart use of data, innovation and unique industry insight.
“We are one of the highest volume consumer delivery enterprises in the UK. As the number of deliveries that we make continues to grow, we need to remain focused on achieving higher levels of service,” explained Chris Ashworth, CIO, Hermes UK. “Our investments in IT and tech as part of our Digital Futures strategy have transformed our operations and support us as we strive towards creating the best possible customer experience.”
Replacing Costly Legacy Hardware with Smartphone Scanning in Last Mile Delivery
With a network of nearly 15,000 independent last mile delivery couriers and 5,000 independent ParcelShops, Hermes UK partners with 80% of the UK’s top 100 retailers, including NEXT, ASOS, BooHoo and John Lewis. The last mile delivery couriers play a vital role in getting items to their final destination, moving deliveries from a transportation hub and local delivery depots to the customer’s doorstep. Since last mile delivery couriers are so critical in the customer’s purchasing journey, Hermes UK wanted to include them in the digital transformation, to achieve operational efficiency gains and improve customer service.
In the past, couriers have carried a dedicated barcode scanning device while out delivering parcels, used to verify deliveries. However, these scanners are cumbersome and expensive to purchase and maintain. Hermes UK is now in the process of retiring dedicated scanners and replacing them with smartphones running an app with barcode scanning provided by Scandit.
Hermes UK initiated the first phase of a hardware refresh by replacing the oldest dedicated devices with Samsung XCover 4 smartphones equipped with a Scandit-powered Android app. The program started in October 2018, just in time for the peak holiday season when close to 4,000 couriers received the barcode scanning-equipped smartphones.
By replacing these dedicated devices with smartphones, Hermes is able to significantly lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) while providing couriers with a much more flexible and intuitive solution. The app was enabled with the Scandit Barcode SDK so that couriers now perform barcode scans quickly and accurately even in difficult conditions such as bad light or with damaged labels.
Couriers Perform All Delivery Tasks From One Familiar Device – A Smartphone With High Performance Scanning – And Total Cost of Ownership is Lower
By utilizing Scandit’s technology, Hermes UK has transformed their last mile and delivery verification process. The robust, reliable barcode scanning capability provided by Scandit, streamlines the delivery service, making the lives of its couriers easier and ensuring a premium customer experience. Over the next three-years, more than 15,000 dedicated devices will be replaced with a lower cost Scandit smartphone-based solution. Hermes UK believes this approach is essential to realizing a digital future that provides a flexible platform to manage the consumer delivery demands of tomorrow. It also allows Hermes to move towards a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model, which significantly reduces operational overhead.
“Scandit technology allows our couriers to do everything from a smartphone quickly and easily. From scanning a barcode to recording an electronic signature, verifying an ID and taking a picture of where a package has been left. At the same time, we have been able to add new mobile handsets and retire old barcode scanners as they reach the end of their lifespan, ensuring there is no disruption to our operations and that we can continue to make the best use of our existing scanning infrastructure.”
Next Steps: Scandit MatrixScan and Augmented Reality (AR)
At the conclusion of the three-year device migration period, much of the last mile delivery process will be managed on a low-cost Scandit-enabled mobile platform and couriers will begin using additional Scandit features: MatrixScan-AR. This means couriers will scan multiple barcodes at once to search and find a specific item really quickly and view parcel/customer information overlaid on the device screen. Some couriers are already using these AR-overlays on Samsung XCover 4 device screens for code identification.
Hermes is also testing how it can leverage Scandit-powered drone technology. Hermes’ innovation lab has been using Scandit-powered drones to explore projects beyond conventional scanning that will help to optimize their depot operations, for example using drones to locate and scan misplaced parcels in hard-to-reach areas of a depot.