A smarter Post Office
In the build up to the 2019 World Post & Parcel Awards, we take a look back at some of the previous winners and look at what winning at the Awards has meant to them and their businesses. In this article we talk to Mr Tan Tien Po, Head of Domestic Mail at Singapore Post, winner of the Technology Category in 2018.
This article was originally published in the Winter 2018 edition of the Mail & Express Review Magazine. Subscribe to MER for free today.
In an era of pervasive connectivity, consumer expectations for greater control and efficiency over their mail, eCommerce deliveries are on the rise and traditional postal processes need to transform.
In June 2018 SingPost won the Technology category at World Post & Parcel Awards for two of its initiatives – SmartPost and the Smart Post Office. The judges were particularly impressed with SingPost’s vision of using technology to link tighter operational management and better customer service.
Mr Tan Tien Po, Head of Domestic Mail, SingPost tells us about digitalising its postal operations to create new capabilities and efficiencies required in the fast-growing eCommerce world. He says:
“As Singapore’s public postal licensee, we are transforming our operations and services to meet the postal needs of the nation as they evolve in the digital age. As we do so, we contribute to Singapore’s Smart Nation vision and become an integral part of the country’s transformation into a leading economy powered by digital innovation and technology.
We began work on the project in 2015, in line with an organisation-wide digital transformation initiative and came up with the concept of SmartPost. It is an integrated suite of digital solutions that combine mobile, imaging and other technologies to transform the entire postal operation chain for greater service levels and customer satisfaction.
SmartPost dovetails with our Smart Post Office network, in which physical outlets are augmented by our SAM Omni-channel platform, a digital solution that offers 24/7 access to postal and other essential services via a network of 300 self-service kiosks, a web portal and a mobile app.
The digitalisation of our postal operations will improve service levels for all our customers, through increased efficiency, reliability and transparency. With SmartPost, we are creating a digital backbone that will enhance integration across postal processes, as well as provide real-time, location-based data that may be analysed to further optimise work processes, even enable new services.
In terms of delivery, the use of near field communication (NFC) technology at delivery points enables the collection of productivity data, location-based tracking, process compliance and real-time delivery status. With this data, we will be able to better optimise our processes and deployments.
A pilot trial, involving two regional delivery bases and more than 200 delivery touchpoints, was carried out from June 2016 to February 2017. The roll out for the SmartPost Delivery Notification (SPDN) mobile app began in December 2017 and will be fully deployed by October 2018. It will be deployed to each of our postmen, and will enable tracking and delivery status updates, as well as provide a handy reference for the procedures of our various products and services.
Through the app, acknowledgement receipts and delivery advices will be digitalised, such that customers may sign over registered articles electronically, and be notified of missed deliveries on their smart devices. This will reduce paper usage and address the issue of misplaced delivery advices.
Like all projects, it was not without obstacles. Some of our postmen and customers, needed more help to get familiar with the smart phone and the SmartPost Delivery Notification app.
For instance, a few elderly customers did not know how to input their names through a touch screen and needed assistance from our postman. In other situations, postmen had to work out how to juggle a smart phone in one hand while handling multiple mail items – we have since provided our postmen with carrier bags to make it easier for them to carry multiple items with one hand. It was a learning experience for us all.
SingPost is delighted to receive the 2018 World Post & Parcel Award for Technology. This is a tremendous honour and we are most encouraged by this recognition of our efforts to digitalise the postal service.
Entries for the World Post & Parcel Awards 2019 open from 3 December 2018. If you have been inspired by SingPost’s story, why not enter your organisation for the Awards in 2019? Visit www.wppawards.com and share your success in mail and express!