The Jersey Post Group is the licensed universal service provider of mail service for the Bailiwick of Jersey. Jersey Post employs more than 200 postal delivery workers, serving around 100,000 inhabitants across all mail service requirements. Jersey Post has undertaken a major change project to ensure that it is able to continue to offer a sustainable post office without the need for government subsidy. In recent years, higher margin letter traffic has reduced and been replaced with lower margin parcel volumes. Therefore, the organisation as a whole has needed to adapt its operation and leverage technology in order to ensure improved, more efficient service without escalating costs where margins are typically lower. The initiative, underpinned by mobile workforce and item tracking software SmartTask POD, was designed to enhance its offering for recipients and business partners, so that it could:
- Gain competitive advantage
- Generate new revenue streams
- Create cost savings
- Improve the customer experience
- Streamline supply chain processes
First Time Delivery the combination of increased choice and improved customer communications is helping Jersey Post to reduce the number of undelivered parcels, with first-time deliveries now up to 96%. This has contributed to an annual decline (2016 to 2017) in counter collections from Jersey Post’s headquarters of almost 50%.
Customer Service the number of incoming calls received by Jersey Post regarding undelivered parcels reduced during Christmas peak from 100 in 2015 to just 10 in 2016 as a result of improved visibility and reduction first-time failure rates. During 2017, there was an annual reduction in incoming redelivery (18%), Ship2Me (55%) and business (15%) calls as the availability of parcel information improved.
Customer Satisfaction 23% increase in the number of residents describing Jersey Post’s delivery network as very good and 10% increase in those rating the service provided by postal workers as being very good since the start of the project.
Connectivity SmartTask POD is integrated with seven partners including Royal Mail, Parcelforce, UK mail, Yodel, Fed-ex – so Jersey Post can share tracking data with a range of different business systems.
Streamlined Processes continued enhancement of the item tracking and proof of delivery technology is helping to simplify and automate processes and procedures that had previously used paper-based or manual systems. For example, average customs clearance has reduced from 5-7 to just 2-3 working days.
Improved Productivity Following a recent contract win, Jersey Post is processing up to 4,000 additional parcels a month without the need for any additional labour. In fact, Jersey Post has been able to handle a 21% increase in parcel traffic since 2015, without the need to increase workforce headcount.
Cost Savings As a result of automating operational processes, Jersey Post has been able to reduce Average Unit Cost by 54%
Jersey Post recognised that it did not have the sufficient infrastructure in place to take full advantage of the growth in Internet retailing. Online shoppers are increasingly demanding a delivery service that includes added elements such as real-time visibility of the progress of orders and greater choice of where and when purchases are delivered.
With around 50 per cent of delivery rounds still using a paper-based system and not having the means of capturing electronic proof of delivery, Jersey Post recognised the need to extend track-and-trace capabilities across its entire network. Meanwhile, the company wanted to enhance its offering to customers to gain a competitive advantage and generate new revenue streams, while creating cost-saving opportunities and automating existing processes.
As Royal Mail’s sole on-island delivery partner they had traditionally utilised equipment provided by the Royal Mail Group (RMG) for tracking RMG deliveries however this equipment was ageing and RMG began working with Jersey Post to look at strategies that would remove the need for dedicated RMG equipment.
Jersey Post teamed up with Skillweb to develop an advanced parcel management solution that would provide the infrastructure to take full advantage of the growth in Internet retailing. This has provided added visibility and control; helped expand delivery choice for the customer, and streamlined supply chain processes.
Initially, SmartTask POD was deployed on Honeywell Dolphin CT50 mobile computers to replace an outdated system that used bulky handheld devices and could not be upgraded with the latest technologies. This has been rolled out across 124 delivery routes that are serviced by a team of 160 postal workers to provide added visibility of all parcel deliveries for both the recipient and business partners.
SmartTask POD is providing consistent tracking events across its network, making it possible to share the whereabouts of a parcel in real-time to customers through a web portal or application on a smartphone. Furthermore, the system is being used to underpin the deployment of new innovations to enhance final mile delivery and streamline operational processes.
"SmartTask POD is a reliable and robust tracking system that is an integral part of our parcel delivery operation and provides Jersey Post with the capabilities to adopt the latest technology innovations in the future. As a highly-effective decision engine, it underpins the successful delivery of parcels across the island and helps improve the overall experience to both residents and our business partners.” Tim Brown, CEO, Jersey Post
Channel Islands Delivery
SmartTask POD provides an end-to-end mobile communications platform for Ship2me, an innovative home delivery service for Jersey and Guernsey that helps Channel Island residents import goods from UK retailers. The tracking solution monitors the status of an item at every stage of delivery from Ship2me’s UK hub in Portsmouth.
Electronic signature capture provides proof of delivery and email confirmation is provided when an item has been received along with a provisional delivery date. Subsequent communications are sent when goods have been shipped to the islands and then when they have onto a van on the day of delivery.
Enabling Royal Mail Group Services
Skillweb worked closely with Jersey Post and Royal Mail Group to undertake a feasibility study to explore if SmartTask POD could be used as an alternative to a legacy tracking system. It was quickly established that the software solution’s infrastructure was ideally-suited and the software capabilities of the delivery process were a close fit.
Subsequently, an interface was developed to allow Royal Mail Group and SmartTask POD to exchange data. This meant that Jersey Post could now deliver items from all seven of its business partners, including Royal Mail Group, using SmartTask POD. Therefore, employees could now capture a single signature and then SmartTask POD would ensure the correct partner received the appropriate tracking and proof of delivery information. This integration alone has more than doubled the number of items tracked by SmartTask POD within Jersey which will continue to grow further as additional RMG products are added.
Parcel Sorting Automation
Jersey Post has invested in parcel sorting equipment from BÖWE SYSTEC at its Rue des Pres headquarters in order to increase operational capacity and efficiencies, as well as enhance the overall customer experience through the ability to automate the processing of parcels and packets. As part of this initiative, the highly-versatile packet and parcel sorter has been integrated with SmartTask POD, using its barcode and optical character recognition (OCR) reading capabilities to automatically capture data and feed it into the item tracking system.
Streamlined Customs Clearance
For any online purchases from outside Jersey that are worth more than £240.00, it is necessary for this to be declared to States of Jersey Customs and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid. SmartTask POD is helping Jersey Post to manage this process electronically to minimise any delays resulting from a parcel being detailed.
Initially available via Ship2me, Jersey Post can automatically identify when tax is due and can contact the customer via email or SMS to provide a status update and prompt them to make the payment prior to the goods arriving on-island. This is not only improving the overall customer experience, but also reducing storage requirements at the central warehouse. In fact, the process has reduced from 5-7 to just 2-3 working days, while the use of handheld scanners has removed the risk of quarantined items accidentally being delivered without GST being paid.
SmartTask POD is enabling Jersey Post to deliver a greater range of value-added final mile services including SecureDrop, parcel lockers and customer collections from a post office. In particular, SecureDrop enables a resident to nominate a safely accessible, weatherproof location within the grounds of a property, which can be used when they are not at home. This service development has proved to be especially popular with customers and has been made possible through the new technology. For any items requiring a signature or special delivery, a SmartTask POD-enabled device simply has to scan a unique barcode that has been affixed to the delivery point.
Jersey Post has also invested in a network of parcel lockers, which have been set-up at convenient locations across the Island. These secure lockers have been integrated with the tracking system, so registered customers can be alerted when an item is received and provided with a unique pin code to gain access.
Jersey Post’s award-winning Call and Check scheme is using SmartTask POD to enable postal workers to check on the welfare of elderly or vulnerable people. The system provides a list of questions that need to be asked on each visit and a signature is required via the handheld computer to provide proof of attendance. Data can also be inputted into the device and issues can be immediately escalated. The scheme is currently being run as a pilot and is available to the local health authorities, care organisations and individuals.
The success of the technology initiative has been measured using a wide range of parameters and key performance indicators (KPIs):
Without the technology that was implemented in this project, Jersey Post would not have been successful in winning a major contract in Q3 of 2017 for on-island delivery for a large UK retailer. The bid for this contract was focused on the increased capabilities and unique selling points that the automation technology gives to Jersey Post, versus those of its on-island competition. This contract has meant that Jersey Post now handles an additional average of 46,000 parcels a month, along with improved margins.
Given the investment in automation and the associated services, the solution that is now live is ensuring that Jersey Post is able to continue to offer a sustainable postal service without the need for government subsidy, unlike many European postal operators. With lower margins experienced through the provision of parcel services, Jersey Post has had to adapt and leverage technology in order to ensure improved, more efficient customer service whilst maintaining costs at a consistently low level.
The technology implemented through this project has ensured that Jersey Post has not had to increase headcount in order to accommodate the increase in parcel volumes. Furthermore, cost per item (for volumes that incur inward parcel costs from business partners) has been driven down by 54%.
Having won a very significant contract for a large UK retailer, Jersey Post is now handling a huge monthly increase in inbound parcel volumes, thanks to the increased capacity and capability that the automation and hand-held technology delivers. With the technology now fully functional, Jersey Post has increased the number of parcels it handles on a monthly basis whilst reducing the Average Unit Cost compared to 2016.
The annual Jersey Post customer survey has shown an increase of 23% in the number of respondents rating Jersey Post’s delivery network as very good, and 10% increase in those rating the service provided by delivery officers as being very good since the project began.
In addition, with improved real-time tracking and updates, the number of calls to the Customer Services team has reduced in 2017 versus 2016: - Jersey Post main number – 18% decrease - Redelivery – 18% decrease - Ship2me – 55% decrease - Business calls – 15% decrease
“The parcel automation and handheld technology has had a significant and very positive impact on the workload and working environment of the customer services team. Calls have reduced across all areas of measurement, and there is a notable reduction in process duration for the Customs GST procedures that we manage. We are now able to better serve the customer with tracking information, either via the website for self-service queries on parcel location, but if customers do still need to call us, thanks to the enhanced level of information available, the type of call is more upbeat and the department is more buoyant as a result. Staff turnover has reduced to just one person being replaced since the technology became operational in 2017."
Sue Stubbs, Head of Customer Services, Jersey Post