An Post, Ireland’s national postal operator implemented an (ePOD) solution, as part of a wider programme of quality improvement.  Liam O’Sullivan, An Post’s Director of Mail Operations is confident of success as Christmas beckons.

What triggered An Post to prioritise implementing proof of delivery?

Liam O’Sullivan: Well, as one of Ireland’s largest indigenous businesses, we are constantly looking for ways to improve quality and efficiency using technology to enhance internal processes. Obviously Christmas is our busiest time and this season we are providing people who buy gifts online or through catalogues the facility to track their purchases in real-time.

What’s different about the way An Post approached this project?

Liam O’Sullivan:  Electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD) has been around for some time, but no other national postal operator has completed an implementation spanning its entire postal workforce .  An Post was first to equip all 4,200 postal delivery staffs - foot, bicycle and van based  workers - with Zetes’ ePOD solution running on Intermec CN50 scanners to confirm and track deliveries or returns in real-time. This means we can deliver on An Post’s brand promise of reliability and the best possible doorstep experience every working day.

"We’ve introduced 3-in-1 mobile working across a huge workforce, combining in-van scanning, mini track and trace and real-time traceability of consignments."

What project objectives did you specify?

Liam O’Sullivan:  We had four objectives when we commissioned the project: improve the overall delivery experience by providing real time tracking data; reduce the manual administration required for proof of delivery (POD); ensure we can take advantage of future developments in mobile technology and finally, improve our environmental footprint through lower paper consumption.

Which achievements are particularly innovative?

Liam O’Sullivan: Firstly we’ve introduced 3-in-1 mobile working across a sizeable workforce, combining in-van scanning, mini track and trace and real-time traceability of consignments. Secondly, the system confirms that a parcel or letter has reached the recipient within two hours of delivery. Lastly, Zetes’ delivery of the solution itself as a three year ‘managed service’ is highly  innovative. An Post simply pays a fixed monthly fee which includes hardware, software and support, rather than incurring a single capital cost.

What challenges did you overcome?

Liam O’Sullivan: We opted for a three-phased implementation to cope with the scale of the project. Eliminating paper from delivery processes required extensive internal change management among 4,000+ postal workers, but involving our people in the selection and testing of handheld devices ensured their buy-in.

How did you find working with Zetes?

Liam O’Sullivan: Zetes delivered each stage of the project within budget and on time . We have been impressed by the project team’s communication skills and knowledge. The practical advice they’ve given us on achieving additional cost savings, e.g. maximising battery lifespan, was invaluable.

How will your investment improve business?

Liam O’Sullivan: Driven by the boom in e-commerce, postal operators work with trusted international partners to cross multiple borders and complete ‘last mile’ deliveries. Ensuring a parcel gets to the right recipient at the right time is the most important stage of the process and An Post wants to continue being the ‘last mile’ partner of choice. This Christmas gives us a perfect opportunity to showcase what we can achieve.