Hand-held mobile scanning for Courier Express at SingPost

With the advent of wireless communications and internet, SingPost had to face expectations for faster and better service from its customers for express parcels.

Manual tracking of express parcels, with reduced accuracy and efficiency, more human resource involvement, and paper wastage, seemed so outdated.

SingPost which provides efficient and high quality domestic and international postal services in Singapore, recognized the problem. It became determined to meet and exceed the rising customer expectations. To do this, it had to do away with its existing system (in operation until 2004) whereby the old barcode readers were outmoded and the Internet service provider providing the public wireless network was decommissioned.

SingPost consulted with its information technology partner NCS Private Limited, over a period of six months, to define the project specifications and mapped out the entire process of the project.

Bring it up to the speed

After a series of stringent equipment definitions, preliminary research and testing, the task force identified that the Intermec 760 handheld mobiles were ideal for the barcode scanning function for its Speedpost operations, based on product reliability, customer service and technical support.

These devices were manufactured by Intermec, Inc., a firm which develops, manufactures and integrates technologies that identify, track and manage supply chain assets

The Intermec handheld mobiles were subjected to drop tests, splash tests, battery power consumption when using GPRS (general packet radio service) connections and field barcode scanning reliability. With the advent of wireless communications and internet, SingPost had to face expectations for faster and better service from its customers for express parcels.

Manual tracking of express parcels, with reduced accuracy and efficiency, more human resource involvement, and paper wastage, seemed so outdated.

SingPost which provides efficient and high quality domestic and international postal services in Singapore, recognized the problem. It became determined to meet and exceed the rising customer expectations. To do this, it had to do away with its existing system (in operation until 2004) whereby the old barcode readers were outmoded and the Internet service provider providing the public wireless network was decommissioned.

SingPost consulted with its information technology partner NCS Private Limited, over a period of six months, to define the project specifications and mapped out the entire process of the project.

Bring it up to the speed

After a series of stringent equipment definitions, preliminary research and testing, the task force identified that the Intermec 760 handheld mobiles were ideal for the barcode scanning function for its Speedpost operations, based on product reliability, customer service and technical support.

These devices were manufactured by Intermec, Inc., a firm which develops, manufactures and integrates technologies that identify, track and manage supply chain assets

The Intermec handheld mobiles were subjected to drop tests, splash tests, battery power consumption when using GPRS (general packet radio service) connections and field barcode scanning reliability.

In 2005, SingPost streamlined its Speedpost express delivery services with the procurement of 300 units of Intermec 760 handheld mobiles running proprietary software Tracks III by Newspage, to track packages through the scanning of barcodes on consignment notes.

All these changes helped SingPost speed up its operations. When Speedpost customers require parcels to be delivered within 1.5 hours in Singapore, they simply call the Speedpost hotline. Information on the service request will immediately be entered into the control center system. When the courier gets the request on his Intermec handheld mobile, he will arrive at the customer's location to scan the barcode on the consignment note with the mobile, which then feeds the information wirelessly back into the control center system.

Success breeds expansion

The modifications have made a huge difference in SingPost’s operations. It now handles about 10,000 courier items per day, and the Intermec 700 Series handheld mobiles have empowered its field couriers and its operations team to increase its overall productivity significantly over its previous system.

Its field couriers can now handle more collections and deliveries per day, and its operations enjoy higher accuracy. Additionally, SingPost customers are now able to track online where their parcel is at the Speedpost website, and even get an email or SMS (short messaging service) alert.

After the deployment of the 300 units of Intermec 760 handheld mobiles, SingPost has since purchased another 60 additional units, of the updated Intermec 761 handheld mobiles. The couriers were trained by SingPost on the usage of the Intermec 760 and 761 handheld mobiles.

The road ahead

While the Intermec 760 and 761 handheld mobiles will serve SingPost for more years to come, the company is also looking into expanding the usage of such devices, and exploring alternative tracking parcel technologies.

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