CAPTURING THE PARCEL OPPORTUNITY

E-commerce challenges – making a choice.

Differentiation in the market.

Even though the volumes are increasing, handling the volumes.  Focus on operational costs, cost-efficiency. A scalable approach.

Later and later time windows for parcels into distribution.  Thruput within limited time window.

Technology exists, but huge footprint.  Floor area converts to high cost / SqFt.   Optimise footprint for handling the volumes.

INCREASE OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY

Efficiency in your operation is essential for a profitable business, whatever your mail volumes may be.  With considerable margin pressures, especially with trends in decreasing letter volumes, it makes sense to routinely audit whether your operational strategy is best-fit for volumes handled.  Sometimes the answer is more automation, however sometimes the most efficient solution is a manual process augmented with technology to ensure speed and quality control.  Prime Vision has assisted posts gain operational efficiency with solutions such as voice-assisted hand sorting, mail registration and image lifting, advanced video-coding solutions, read-rate improvement programs and database optimization and improvement.  Prime Vision can help

COMPLIANCEY TO SAFETY REGULATIONS

How can you ensure that safety regulations are used and adhered to?

The workforce and systems have to be protected against hazardous materials and oversized or overweight items. Where operators are involved, human error will be a factor in their everyday work. Prime Vision solutions are designed to eliminate those errors or mitigate the risks. For example, sorting systems could be damaged (or could cause injury or damage) if their minimum / maximum weight or size is not followed.

Dangerous goods present many threats to express parcel operators when considering your personnel and automation systems. Many organizations really rely on the operator to spot dangerous goods. In our experience you can’t rely on the operator. Operators make mistakes or they don’t see the label. Any item that contains dangerous goods - it can be something as simple as a deodorant can - that’s potentially an explosive device. What happens if you got a spillage of a cleaning solution?  Or acid escaping in the high temperatures of summer?  To comply with carriage terms and conditions, all items must be labeled, however a parcel has six sides so it can easily be overlooked. Some of these items always end up on the sorter. This is where the main danger point is and also at the moment the item is kicked off the sorter down the chute.  We have solutions to identify the dangerous goods by identifying the label on any side of the item by installing camera systems or utilizing existing cameras that are already there by adding another recognition task. In the event that dangerous goods are detected, the sorter can be stopped and the item safely removed.   Prime Vision can help.

CONSOLIDATING MAIL OFFICES

Many posts are reviewing their portfolio of local and regional mail offices and looking for the optimum network operationally and commercially.  Prime Vision has assisted many posts in this process by providing process and technological solutions to challenges raised by consolidation.  For example, many posts do a final hand sort and sequencing process in local mail offices, often by the postman or delivery driver themselves.  This final sort relies on a great deal of local knowledge of delivery routes.  When consolidating mail offices, why not prepare the mail (at your sorting centers) such that it is sequenced correctly for the route, whether by foot or in a van?  This may require deeper level reading from your OCR platforms, changes to sorting processes, capturing local knowledge into the IT systems and much more.  Prime Vision can help.

INCREASE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Parcel companies are delivering much more than parcels, they are delivering customer service!  The impact of poor customer satisfaction impacts retailers as much as the delivery company. Research by a consumer group in the UK (October 2014) found that 59% of customers that had a bad delivery experience were less likely to purchase from that retailer in the future. The parcel deliverer has a responsibility to ensure customer satisfaction to both sides of delivery. To their customer but also to the recipient.

It’s all about first time right!   Customer satisfaction drives loyalty and retention in an increasingly competitive environment, so crucial for your future success!  When something goes wrong you need to provide traceability to find out what happened, plus build in quality assurance measures to ensure error-reduction and quality of service.   Prime Vision has assisted posts in their efforts by providing more timely information, improving the quality of databases, reducing errors in reading systems, increasing quality control from manual processes and providing the IT platform behind being able to dynamically sort parcels up to the last minute based on updated information. Prime Vision can help.

CAPTURING (BIG) DATA OPPORTUNITY

Trigger operators to have a strategy, what data sources do you have.  How to use big data to reduce operational expenses, increase customer knowledge and new revenue streams….customer experience.

The media is awash with stories on ‘big data’ – but how do these new capabilities apply to posts?  Well, posts are full of data!  The question is how can you turn all that data into added-value.   As a high volume, transactional business, data is collected for individual processes from the first mile to the last mile, however individual systems often are not connected or built to talk to each other.

The big data opportunity for posts is really about seeing the big picture, across the organization, how can data from one process help you in other processes.  Technology now exists to process these high-volume data streams in real time and do all sorts of analysis on them.   Prime Vision systems are a case in point, and traditionally at the heart of the central sorting operations that gather a huge amount of data.  With big-data techniques, our systems can now reach out across the operation to integrate additional data useful to sorting tasks, or feed data to a central platform for many new applications.  Examples include improving decision-making systems for sorting operations dynamically based on a range of factors, such as weather and incidents across the network, traffic issues, operational capacity at facilities, staffing and much more.  Another example is collecting low-level status information from automation systems in order to establish a predictive maintenance system for your mission-critical systems, spotting at the earliest stage where a fault may impact operations and taking timely action or mitigating the impact by diverting workflows.  Improving databases and address learning techniques from a wide range of data sources is another example of how data across the organization can be processed and applied.  Prime Vision can help.

SMART WAYS OF HANDLING NO-READS

We offer solutions for maximizing the automation rates by identifying the root-cause of parcels that require manual handling. Even in a bar code world, read rates are 95 – 98%, however that last 2-5 % can be highly inefficient. Prime Vision solutions can help with handling the last 5% bar code no reads by using video coding rather than physical handling or OCR. Prime Vision can help.

HOW TO MAINTAIN PROCESS FLEXIBILITY

Adapt your process to situations by having flexible systems. Open systems and configurable sort management are key here. Our solutions offer the ability to reconfigure your sort plans at the last moment. Is one sorting center not available or do you need to shift volumes to another center? Everything is possible with a re-configurable process. Adapt it live and on the fly. You can have the configuration consoles in the sorting centers but also centrally where your operations team can configure the process up to the last minute. Live, immediately. Prime Vision can help.

SMART DATA-LED SERVICES, SUCH AS TRACK AND TRACE

Even if your processes are highly automated the challenge often then lies in data integration, bringing together several sources of tracking information to one platform. We can do that; we create interfaces for existing systems and we can make one platform for track & trace data and archiving.

That’s not all though.  Even if you are not utilizing automation, how can you implement track & trace capability when you are not thinking about investing in systems or sorters? Perhaps our Digital Mailman initiative could be your strategy. Not just last mile but through operators in sorting centres but also through the distribution network. How do you get that track & trace visibility if you don’t have automation? We have possibilities for that as well: Big data. You can do much more in terms of preparing your whole operation if you know critical information earlier rather than later. Big data processing enables you to have much greater visibility and enhanced planning tools. It is not just about the customer expectation but also what new capabilities you have operationally if you have that broad view on your data. Prime Vision can help.

OPTIMIZE PARCEL SORTING AUTOMATION PROCESS

  • Handling increasing volumes of parcels

There is so much that can be done, even if you have great barcodes!  What do you do with your barcode no-reads?  Even the best operators reach only 98% read-rate, so what do you do with the rest?  Typically, they go to a manual handling chute for new labels to be applied or other secondary processing.  You don’t necessarily need to add OCR to fix this issue; having an easy to integrate, cost-efficient video-coding solution may just fit the bill.  Adding new recognition software to meet specific needs, either enhancing existing software with additional read-rate, reducing error-rates or adding new capabilities (such as indicia recognition).

  • Reducing parcel processing time

They say “time is money” and that certainly applies for parcel operators!  However, its much more than that; time is also now competitive advantage and flexibility amongst other things.  For major shippers, such as e-commerce retailers, being able to offer a later shipping window whilst still offering next day delivery is a major differentiator.  A recent project at a major operator resulted in an extension of the window to 11pm whilst still offering nationwide next-day delivery.  How do you do that?  Well, network density and configuration play a part, alongside achieving maximum process efficiency in sorting locations.  Such efficiencies meant implementing a one-step process that means items are processed immediately on arrival rather than previous methods of holding items in batches for processing.  With such focus on limited processing windows, even more effort is necessary to eliminate issues for items that fail automation either as a reject or items that are not suitable for automation due to their size or weight.  For items on the sorter, all efforts are put into strategies for handling rejects whilst they are still on the sorter and for items that are not suitable for automation, having semi-automated lean processes.   Prime Vision can help.

DANGEROUS GOODS DETECTION

Dangerous goods present many threats to express parcel operators when considering your personnel and automation systems. Many organizations really rely on the operator to spot dangerous goods. In our experience you can’t rely on the operator. Operators make mistakes or they don’t see the label. Any item that contains dangerous goods - it can be something as simple as a deodorant can - that’s potentially an explosive device. What happens if you got a spillage of a cleaning solution?  Or acid escaping in the high temperatures of summer?  To comply with carriage terms and conditions, all items must be labeled, however a parcel has six sides so it can easily be overlooked. Some of these items always end up on the sorter. This is where the main danger point is and also at the moment the item is kicked off the sorter down the chute.  We have solutions to identify the dangerous goods by identifying the label on any side of the item by installing camera systems or utilizing existing cameras that are already there by adding another recognition task. In the event that dangerous goods are detected, the sorter can be stopped and the item safely removed.   Prime Vision can help.

LEVERAGE AVAILABILITY OF DATA SOURCES

As a high volume, transactional business, data is collected for individual processes from the first mile to the last mile, however individual systems often are not connected or built to talk to each other.  The big data opportunity for posts is really about seeing the big picture, across the organization, how can data from one process help you in other processes.  Technology now exists to process these high-volume data streams in real time and do all sorts of analysis on them.   Prime Vision systems are a case in point, and traditionally at the heart of the central sorting operations that gather a huge amount of data.  With big-data techniques, our systems can now reach out across the operation to integrate additional data useful to sorting tasks, or feed data to a central platform for many new applications.  Examples include improving decision-making systems for sorting operations dynamically based on a range of factors, such as weather and incidents across the network, traffic issues, operational capacity at facilities, staffing and much more.  Another example is collecting low-level status information from automation systems in order to establish a predictive maintenance system for your mission-critical systems, spotting at the earliest stage where a fault may impact operations and taking timely action or mitigating the impact by diverting workflows.  Improving databases and address learning techniques from a wide range of data sources is another example of how data across the organization can be processed and applied.  Prime Vision can help.

DEVELOP BIG DATA PLATFORM

The platform itself is a basic starting point.  Added value, creating smart data models and algorithms for analysis of data (what we can do with the data).

REVENUE PROTECTION MEASURES

We can protect your revenues with our DWS (Dimension Weigh Scan) solution. This provides a check on the physical aspects of the parcel whether at point of entry or verifying the data the sender has declared during the sorting process. We have the technology to measure 100% of the stream and ways of collecting that revenue. Prime Vision can help.

INCREASING AUTOMATION RATES

At Prime Vision, we have decades of automation experience in the express parcel market.  We look at the root-cause issues for failures in automation rather than looking at just a step in the process.  There is so much that can be done, even if you have great barcodes!  What do you do with your barcode no-reads?  Even the best operators reach only 98% read-rate, so what do you do with the rest?   Typically, they go to a manual handling chute for new labels or processing.  You don’t necessarily need to add OCR to fix this issue, having an easy to integrate, cost-efficient video-coding solution may just fit the bill.   Adding new recognition software to meet specific needs, either enhancing existing software with additional read-rate, reducing error-rates or adding new capabilities (such as indicia recognition).

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