Bringing RFID to the parcel delivery business
Norway-based online eyewear shop Extra Optical recently took part in a RFID pilot project organized by Bring which offered a number of benefits, including increased traceability, faster deliveries and fewer customer service queries. Extra Optical believes that the best delivery option for its customers is to have the parcel delivered to a mailbox, and the Bring RFID (radio frequency identification) system fitted in well with this approach.
Øystein Sandø, Manager at Extra Optical, explained: “With mailbox delivery, the customer does not have to go to a delivery point or be at home to receive the parcel. Therefore, we want to deliver our products directly to the customers’ mailboxes. However, a major challenge with this type of small parcel delivery is traceability. Bring had a solution to this with their new RFID technology.”
In the Bring system, RFID is inserted in the parcel label and when the parcel approaches a RFID scanner at the carrier, the RFID label is automatically read and updated with EDI messages about the parcel via antennas. By doing so, the carrier does not have to hand scan the parcel. When the label is RFID scanned, the carrier can send a notification to the customer.
Bring tested the system internally and then invited other companies – including Extra Optical and also the Norwegian online sports shop Get Inspired – to take part in the pilot project to test the technology before a full launch.
Sandø judged the project a success.
“We have shortened the delivery time by one day, and we have virtually no errors in deliveries,” said Sandø. “Our customers experience a better service and increased degree of usability as we and our customers always have an overview of where the parcel is located. It also means that our customer service receives far fewer calls regarding tracking of parcels.
“Now, we just hope that RFID will also be rolled out in Sweden, Denmark and the rest of Europe. ”
Sandø said that Extra Optical had no problems integrating the RFID technology in the shipping process.
“We bought a RFID label printer from Bring and we also buy the RFID labels at Bring.” said Sandø. “When RFID becomes a more established product, we buy our own printer. Bring has together with their delivery management software partner, Consignor, been very helpful in setting it all up. ”
Tor Even Blom-Ramberg, Senior Project Manager at Bring, expects to see more take-up of RFID technology in the delivery sector.
“RFID is a generic technology that is used in many different industries today. Within delivery, we believe that RFID will be widely used on post around the world,” said Blom-Ramberg. “Small parcels sent to the mailbox are currently not labeled with bar codes, which is why RFID will make a big difference in terms of optimizing the shipping process. It also means that online shops through RFID labels can make their delivery more competitive like Extra Optical.”
Bring reports that it will be ready to launch RFID tracking on small parcels for all customers in the fall of 2016.