The Control Tower Approach

The Control Tower Approach

Eamon Kehoe, Marketing Manager at Escher explores the  of potential of new technologies to improve Post’s Delivery and Operations. 

“It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for many tech firms and especially so for any company in the crypto space. But if we can tune out the noise for a moment and consider the potential of the underlying technology – blockchain – we’ll see that the applications of this new technology are truly limitless and are already beginning to improve the world around us. 

 Take crypto stamps, for example, which are already in circulation and are simply physical stamps with a digital twin in the blockchain — complete with all the security, transparency, and trust benefits associated with blockchain networks. Since its introduction just over four years ago, we’ve seen a great deal of innovation in crypto stamps – a positive signal for further blockchain technology innovation throughout the postal industry. 

 Digital transformations like this will continue to evolve, improving how Posts operate and interact with their customers. One increasingly salient digital transformation concept based on current, widely accepted technology standards leverages the control tower approach. Given the current environment, postal operators will appreciate how it can be a key digital transformation differentiator. 

 The relentless demand for faster and faster deliveries at lower costs and the desire to provide an exceptional customer experience has resulted in many Posts re-thinking their approach to delivery. New, nimble competitors, without the constraints of legacy systems or profitability expectations, are free to focus on market share gain and delivery innovation. And there’s a lot at stake too. 

 The Control Tower and Delivery 

Simply put, the control tower is multiple eyes in the sky that oversee your entire delivery network. From these vantage points, managers can automate course corrections and make timely, real-time adjustments to ensure SLA’s are met and not just the average performance but the range of variability around that average continues to improve.  

 Of the many benefits of taking the control tower approach, the most apparent is enhanced visibility, not just for Posts but customers but for partners too, such as retailers, e-commerce vendors, and other shippers who all gain tremendous value and insights. This unified delivery solution provides real-time visibility into every step of the delivery process, from induction and throughout the delivery chain all the way until it reaches the consumer or recipient. Flexibility is another key benefit. We’ll expand on this below, but the ability to enable real-time hold and release, reschedule or reroute deliveries or update delivery routes are valuable benefits for Posts, customers, and partners. Finally, the control tower approach helps ensure profitability is a reality for Posts. In this article, we’ll explore several ways Posts can gain cost efficiencies as well as grow revenue by expanding existing services or adding new services without the IT friction or headaches so often associated with such initiatives.  

 Improving Post’s Delivery and Operations 

The benefits of the control tower approach to delivery extend to every part of a Post’s operations. Below are a few practical ways this approach can benefit your Post from a delivery and operational perspective.  

Delivery flexibility

With all the changes unfolding across global e-commerce and supply chains, there’s never been a better time for Posts to provide delivery flexibility to their customers and partners. Package or parcel holds and rerouting are two examples. With greater visibility and control, packages, parcels, or mail items can easily be held back from last-mile delivery due to a lack of VAT/tax payment, regulatory issues, or at the customer’s request. These holds can be managed systemically by a control tower-based delivery system and held earlier in the process, rather than a carrier holding items at the delivery unit via a manual process, saving valuable time and resources. 

 Similarly, if the recipient wishes to reroute the last-mile delivery, the control tower can receive a request from the Post’s website or the counter or self-service device and systematically change the routing and direct sortation, TMS, manifesting, and so forth to respond accordingly. This enables full delivery chain orchestration from one conductor (i.e. the control tower). 

Recipients Gain Real-Time Visibility

Overlapping with delivery flexibility, track and trace features are essential for any successful delivery service. With greater visibility as to the location of a parcel or package, Posts can offer an improved delivery service and customer experiences with better cost efficiencies. But when track and trace functionality is overseen by a control tower, everything is so much better!  

 Real-time parcel traceability, proof of delivery, real-time parcel redirect and intercept capabilities, a simplified and integrated inbound process, route optimization, and more have become simple and easy. Parcels get to where they need to be as quickly as possible. This operational efficiency saves Posts money, which trickles down to highly competitive prices that can be offered to e-commerce companies or retail partners. At the same time, partners like retailers and e-commerce marketplaces can delight customers with speedy delivery and real-time updates.  

 How is this possible? With the control tower approach, every scan of a trackable item by hand-held devices, RFID, OCR, or sortation device is held in the central control tower system along with its location, scan type, and time-stamp. With this approach to internal tracking, postal operators have maximum visibility over parcel or mail items and can provide delivery dates via seamless connectors to the external track and trace apps of retailers or e-commerce partners. 

 Reduce Delivery Costs 

The control tower approach also ensures every process is optimized for speed, quality, and cost-savings while ensuring efficiencies wherever possible. For a great example, look at the local depot, which is underutilized by many Posts today. With rising real-estate costs, the high-cost depot can be transformed into highly localized fulfilment services to shippers of all sizes. Their location (often in prime urban areas) combined with these specialized fulfilment services appeals to shippers as they can leverage them for last-mile delivery. Repurposing in this way is a compelling solution for delivery companies and online retailers to conduct tasks such as warehousing, order picking, distribution, and last-mile delivery of goods to anyone.  

 One of the key technologies enabling the depot transformation is OCR which helps improve sequence sorting, reduces labor and delivery costs, and can drive substantial net new revenue for Posts. AI-driven, deep-learning technologies like OCR enable sortation to the route level right in the mail plant, freeing up sorting spaces in post offices and them ready for a localized fulfilment conversion. 

Gain Share of Shipper’s Volume

Whether it’s a Post’s PUDO network, a third-party shipper, an e-commerce vendor, or a retailer, the value of partnering with a Post that leverages the control tower approach is dramatically enhanced. 

 Posts that offer last-mile delivery services for third-party shippers ideally should be providing real-time visibility over the shippers’ deliveries rather than creating a series of one-off, temporary solutions bolted onto existing processes and solutions. The approach enables third-party shippers and logistics suppliers to add parcels into a Post’s network without an IT project. It also provides real-time API visibility over their items as they pass through a Post’s network.   

 Much like third-party shippers, retailers and e-commerce marketplaces also demand real-time visibility from pre-advice to the doorstep and delivery documentation for the items deposited into a Post’s delivery chain. The control tower approach with an API network makes this possible without spinning up an IT project for each new marketplace or retailer that joins. 

Organic revenue growth

Finally, whether you’re scaling the delivery solution to more PUDO locations, adding new services and features, or even expanding into other complementary lines of business, leveraging the control tower approach helps ensure this is accomplished with simple system configurations as opposed to a large-scale, expensive and time-consuming IT project. 

 One final note is that while the control tower approach to postal delivery leverages a unified solution, it can still be based on a modular architecture and phased in over time. Doing so would not only allow Posts to gain benefits early on while planning toward incremental roll-outs of future modules, but it also future-proofs the postal operator.    

 While we’ve only scratched the surface in terms of benefits and use cases associated with the control tower approach to delivery, it is easy to see the simplicity and appeal of this method — complete visibility of parcels anywhere and anytime, improved efficiencies, cost savings, new revenue sources, smart decision making based on real-time data, enhanced customer experience, and unique solutions for your partner network.   

Relevant Directory Listings

Listing image


KEBA is an internationally successful high-tech company with headquarters in Linz (Austria) and subsidiaries worldwide. KEBA is active in the three operative business areas: Industrial Automation, Handover Automation and Energy Automation. The company has been developing and producing for more than 50 years according to […]

Find out more

Other Directory Listings




P&P Poll


What’s the future of the postal USO?

Thank you for voting
You have already voted on this poll!
Please select an option!

MER Magazine

The Mail & Express Review (MER) Magazine is our quarterly print publication. Packed with original content and thought-provoking features, MER is a must-read for those who want the inside track on the industry.


News Archive

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This