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Everything you need to know about the Future of Posts 2020

The more immediate technology we’re seeing across the postal operator market is artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

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Escher Group CEO Nick Manolis in an exclusive interview with Freightcomms  reveals his views on the future of Posts 2020 and the company’s participation in the digital era of Posts.

Q: Do you think after COVID-19 the engagement and interaction process with customers have changed and how?

Yes, our Future of Posts 2020 research revealed that 83% of those surveyed have adopted new solutions or new approaches to adjust to the pandemic.

Some Posts introduced self-service kiosks (SSKs), enabling customers to access postal services outside of standard post office hours and eliminating the need to go during peak hours. SSKs enable customers to carry out the same transactions as they would at the post office, including preparing parcels, printing labels and paying with cash or card. The current pandemic will spur the adoption of SSKs, particularly in the suburbs where more professionals will be as their employers embrace remote working.

Other Posts have implemented or increased their Pickup Drop Off (PUDO) offerings. PUDO locations provide consumers with additional access to parcel pick up and drop offs through third-party outlets, like convenience stores or shopping malls. According to our Future of Posts survey, 48% of Posts plan to add PUDO channels over the next five years.

Q: With the current Global pandemic situation how can Posts adapt to these challenges?

According to Escher’s Future of Posts report for 2020, we can summarize the following ways that postal operators have adapted to the pandemic situation.

Changes to postal operations

Like all organizations, Posts adapted to the challenges brought on by the global pandemic. An overwhelming 83% adopted new solutions or new approaches to adjust to the pandemic and its implications. While some postal operators introduced Self-Service Kiosks and improved the sorting and handling of increased parcel volumes, other Posts introduced staff-rotation schedules or made changes to delivery policies. One in four Posts introduced remote working (where possible) and just under 10% made changes to improve overall efficiency.

Effect on postal operations

Over 43% of Posts, across all regions, experienced a substantial increase in parcel volumes, particularly in the domestic market. This is explained through the increase in e-commerce activity. The challenges (and decreases) in cross-border shipments in the first half of 2020, is due to restrictions in place to combat COVID-19.

Q: With decreasing returns in core mail business, what is your take on eCommerce and changing customer expectations?

Parcel deliveries are continuing to grow with many consumers relying on ecommerce for both essential and nonessential goods. When we asked postal operators about their top investment priorities this year, they identified parcels and cross-border e-commerce as their top to areas of focus.

Posts across the globe are handling the increase in e-commerce postal volumes by adding automation, developing new sorting and delivery strategies, adjusting handling capacity and staff and implementing new services.

The technological shifts, whether it’s adding automated mobile solutions or using AI to identify the most efficient shift schedules, will all impact the overall customer experience for the better.

Q: Do you think with the digital options available in the existing market, traditional posts need to adopt technology rapidly?

Yes, Posts have a finger on the pulse of technology and are adjusting their automation strategies by rapidly adopting technologies that improve the customer experience, streamline the retail process, and simplify points of engagement.

Adding more consumer apps, improving track and trace capabilities, and incorporating more self-serve kiosks, to name a few, are ways that Posts are increasingly offering more digital options.

The benefit, of course, is that data can then be leveraged by a comprehensive data analytics program to help Posts better understand performance, customer behavior and engagement patterns.

Adoption becomes even more pressing when one considers the growth of the delivery sector. Global e-commerce sales are expected to reach $3.9 trillion this year. It’s imperative that Posts have the correct technology in place to meet this increased demand.

Q: What are your views on drone parcel delivery, do you think it is the future of parcels and cross border e-commerce?

Drones may be in the future at some point but with the government and regulatory approvals required, I think we’re still several years away from widespread use of drone deliveries. The more immediate technology we’re seeing across the postal operator market is artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

AI provides insights into how postal networks can optimally operate. By collecting and analyzing data from all postal locations, mobile apps, retail partner systems and self-service kiosks, postal leaders receive tailored recommendations to efficiently manage their network and operations. For instance, Posts can use AI to identify peak traffic periods in order to allocate proper staffing and trucks. This reduces wait times within the branch and ensures deliveries are made within a timely fashion.

It can also help branches identify employee performance based on transaction volume, upsells or custom attributes defined by postal leaders. For lower-performing employees, managers receive recommendations for additional training or performance improvement plans.

From the customer experience side, AI can help Posts determine how to expand business operations based on traffic, peak times and services most used. By applying the data analytics to business operations, Posts can enhance overall customer satisfaction before issues even arise.

Q: How is Escher helping the postal sector with digital transformation?

The postal industry is changing; Letter volumes are continuing to decline while parcel deliveries are on the rise. The challenge here is that the parcel market is very competitive. We’re helping forward-looking postal executives understand how data and technology can identify new revenue streams, streamline operational processes, and delight customers along the way.

To do this, Posts will need to expand their mandate. Delivering letters and packages well is no longer the primary objective. It’s part of a larger mission focused on exceeding customer expectations, anticipating their delivery needs, and offering the services they want before the competition can do so. This means actively incorporating advanced customer engagement technology, artificial intelligence, cross border solutions and more.

With our technology and experience, we’re showing postal operators how they can capitalize on new market opportunities whether it’s across different channels (e.g. mobile, PUDO), different services (e.g. parcel, retail, government, finance), modes of engagement (e.g. full-service, guided, self-service), or locations (doorstep, branch, office, PUDO, third-party retailer).

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Logistics & Supply Chain

Geek+ launches S100C for intelligent sortation of large-size packages

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Geek+ launches S100C for intelligent sortation of large-size packages. Image: Geek+
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Geek+, a global AMR leader, is proud to announce the launch of its new S100C large-size parcel sorting robot, advancing its already extensive line of intelligent sorting robots and expanding the possibilities for automated sorting.

S100C is an efficient, stable, and affordable solution for solving many of the complex logistics scenarios brought on by increased online sales and the need for systems that can flexibly handle a wide variety of goods. The robot can support unit sortation, parcel sortation, and bins transportation, making it applicable to many industry scenarios, from 3PLs and distribution centers to cross-docking facilities and airports.

Equipped with an independent rotating control chassis and collision avoidance, S100C can operate narrow spaces, saving 30% of the sortation area. High-speed control belts allow the robot to process two items in one go or deliver one large item at a speed of 2m/s. If a package is positioned too close to the edge of the control belt, the robot will slow down and adjust the position of the package to ensure accuracy and safety. Additionally, the mechanical structure and load-bearing components of S100C allows for seamless handling of packages weighing 100 kg or more, reducing labor-intensive operations and associated risks and costs.

Kai Liu, Co-founder, VP Picking & Smart Warehouse, Geek+, says: “At Geek+ we strive to develop robotics solutions that won´t make it a choice of efficiency or safety. With S100C, companies will be able to ensure a safer working environment, while meeting the needs for accuracy and more effective handling larger order volumes. The robot is also a good economic choice since the system powering S100C allows easy deployment and quick scaling of operations.”

Built on AI-driven AMR technology, the sorting system powering S100C enables quick deployment in less than 2 weeks. The flexibility of the system leads to lower implementation costs and allows businesses to quickly scale operations by adjusting the number of robots. Similarly, the robot can be easily integrated with existing infrastructure and collaborate with other robots to realize comprehensive systems for automated warehouse operations. Lastly, the system can be easily customized to support RFID technology or bar code scanning for more efficient sortation.

Today, companies across the world are looking for solutions that can help them handle fluctuating demand and a tight labor market. S100C is the most recent step in Geek+ mission to provide businesses with automated, customized, and safe solutions for meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow.

 

Geek+ launches S100C for intelligent sortation of large-size packages. Image: Geek+

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Environment

Amazon’s new steps towards zero carbon emissions by adding 1,800 electric vehicles to its fleet in Europe

Amazon is including 1,800 electric powered transport vehicles from Mercedes-Benz as a part of our journey to set up the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world.

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Amazon’s new steps towards zero carbon emissions by adding 1,800 electric vehicles to its fleet in Europe. Image: Amazon
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Amazon announced extra 1,800 electric powered automobiles from Mercedes-Benz Vans to its transport fleet in Europe this year. Amazon and Mercedes-Benz have committed to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. 

Mercedes-Benz additionally introduced that it has joined The Climate Pledge, which calls on signatories to be zero carbon across their businesses by 2040 – a decade in advance of the Paris Agreement aim of 2050.

“We welcome the ambitious management of Mercedes-Benz by signing up to The Climate Pledge and committing to ambitious action to deal with climate change. We need continued innovation and partnership from auto manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz to decarbonize the transportation industry and address the weather crisis,” stated Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. Amazon is including 1,800 electric powered transport vehicles from Mercedes-Benz as a part of our journey to set up the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world, and we accelerate to get those trucks on the street this year

“At Mercedes-Benz, we have  set ourselves the progressive target to make the transformation of mobility a victory.. By joining ‘The Climate Pledge’ we are building on our intention to constantly pursue free mobility and sustainable automobile production,” stated Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG. “We stand with Amazon, Global Optimism and the other signatories of The Climate Pledge, in a commitment to being net zero carbon by  2040 – ten years beforehand of The Paris Agreement. I am thrilled that we are able to gain even greater momentum on our sustainability offensive with this step.”

As a part of Mercedes-Benz’s commitment as the brand signatory of The Climate Pledge, the company is doubling down on its commitment to “Ambition2039,” a road-map to CO2-impartial mobility. The company is comparing methods to put off carbon from its whole cost chain, from improvement to the provider network, from its own manufacturing to the electrification of merchandise and beyond, in addition to making sure renewable energies for the use segment of electrical vehicles. With its intention to have a CO2-neutral fleet of the new vehicles in much less than 20 years, Mercedes-Benz is making a crucial contribution to slowing weather change. 

The company is already making accurate development in this direction: By the give up of this year, the automobile portfolio will contain 5 completely electric powered fashions and greater than 20 plug-in hybrids. Signatories to The Climate Pledge additionally have the possibility to proportion get admission to technology, exceptional practices and improvements in delivery chain enhancements. They also are capable of co-invest on new technology and rising solutions. 

Amazon’s Delivery Service Partners could get entry to the brand new fleet of zero-emission vehicles to make deliveries to clients in Europe this year, supporting to save thousands  of metric tons of carbon. The order is a milestone for Mercedes-Benz Vans, marking the largest order of electric vehicles for the manufacturer to date, and makes Amazon its biggest sustainable transportation associate worldwide.

More than 1200 EVs the order could be made from the latest electric powered industrial van to be had at Mercedes-Benz – the eSprinter, a larger model than the manufacturer’s first zero-emission vehicle, the eVito.  The eSprinter consists of contemporary protection capabilities including, electric parking brake, active brake assist, reverse camera, blind spot assist, and more. 

The final 600 vehicles could be made from the  manufacturer’s midsize electric powered van, the eVito, to give Delivery Service Partners operating in terrain that require a smaller-layout vehicle entry to a zero-emissions shipping option. “We are intensifying our long-standing partnership with Amazon and operating collectively at the battery-electric powered future of transportation,”said Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans 

With the eVito and the eSprinter, we’ve got electric powered vehicles in our portfolio that are perfectly suited for the necessities of the courier-, express- and parcel-provider industry for goods delivered on the  last mile’ delivery range. They display that emission-free driving, convincing performance, and low operational costs will combine perfectly.

“Amazon’s investment is a robust and visible signal of its dedication and alignment to EU priorities,” said Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Vice President of the European Parliament. “Amazon maintains to make contributions to the fulfillment of the EU Green Deal goals, foster technological innovation and generate resilient and sustainable jobs in Europe. 

Amazon is devoted to powering its developing electric powered fleet with clean energy.  As a part of The Climate Pledge, Amazon is making an investment in renewable power as an essential step closer to addressing our carbon footprint globally and has devoted to run on 100% renewable power with the aid of using 2025. Globally, Amazon has 91 renewable energy projects  which have the potential to generate over 2,900 MW and supply extra 7.5 million MWh of power annually. These projects consist of 31 utility-scale wind and solar renewable power projects and 60 solar rooftops on fulfilment facilities and sort facilities across the globe.

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Logistics & Supply Chain

Siemens VarioRoute now as modular solution: Maximum flexibility for parcel sorting centers

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Siemens VarioRoute now as modular solution: Maximum flexibility for parcel sorting centers. Image: Siemens Logistics GmbH
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Siemens Logistics is bringing to the market a new variant of its tried-and-tested VarioRoute for flow splitting in parcel sorting centers. Thanks to this enhancement, splitting parcel flows, filtering out rejected parcels or rerouting consignments can be tailored to specific customer requirements.

As a modular system, the fully automated VarioRoute can not only be adjusted for different plant layouts in the sorting centers. It can also be flexibly adapted to the range of parcels to be processed. This includes an optimized configuration for fast and reliable processing of typical e-commerce parcels, which also cover a wide variety of small, lightweight consignments.

“In addition to the modular design, what distinguishes our enhanced VarioRoute is its plug & play system design,” says Michael Reichle, CEO of Siemens Logistics. “With this highly modern system, the flow splitter can be expanded with additional modules without major outlay, making it easy to adapt to the changing requirements in the sorting centers.”

The robust VarioRoute allows the best possible use of spaces in logistics centers thanks to its independent modules which can be put together in various different ways. Its unique architecture is made up of roller units, independent of each other, pivotable by +/- 45 degrees and each equipped with its own integrated electric motor. This is a purely electrical solution without pneumatics.

Up to 12,000 packages and parcels per hour are split or diverted by the powerful system. Consignments weighing from 0.1 to 50 kilos can be processed reliably depending on the configuration. Maintenance and servicing are simple due to the service-friendly design; repair times are less than 30 minutes.

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