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Case study: Post Logistics

STREAM supports An Post and DB Schenker's pallet collection and delivery service

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DB Schenker and An Post (the Irish Post Office) have implemented STREAM (our delivery and transport management software developed in-house on the IBM i), to establish a pallet collection and delivery service for Irish SMEs exporting goods across Europe.

 

An Post, DB Schenker and STREAM have:

 

  • Given Irish SMEs (Small- and Medium- sized Enterprises) a simpler process for exporting goods
  • Offered a reliable freight forwarding service into Europe for Irish SMEs
  • Provided Irish SMEs complete visibility of their pallets, keeping the service accountable at every stage in the journey
  • Given Irish SMEs a faster and more efficient option for delivering goods to their customers throughout Europe

 

Based in Ireland, Post Logistics is a pallet collection and delivery service which helps Irish SMEs to ship across Europe. The process is a collaboration between An Post (the Irish Post Office), who collect up to seven pallets from small businesses anywhere in Ireland; and DB Schenker, who deliver those pallets to any address in Europe. With STREAM, the process is efficiently and smoothly managed from end to end.

Background

An Post have expertise in providing regular postal services, both to business and to personal customers, throughout Ireland, making deliveries and collections at the most remote locations.

At Proximity, we’ve worked closely with DB Schenker for a number of years. The relationship far predates the development of STREAM. We develop, support and maintain a number business-critical applications for DB Schenker, which have optimised and improved the efficiency of their wide network and extensive logistics operations.

As one of the largest global transport and logistics providers, DB Schenker have 91,000+ employees in 2,000 offices across 130 countries, and together with Proximity have a deep knowledge and expertise in software innovation for the logistics industry.

The Challenge

When Irish SMEs wanted to export pallets, they have always had to trust small transport companies and local couriers, often at great expense, with little-to-no tracking capabilities and without properly meeting their requirements.

Thanks to An Post’s fleet of specialised vehicles and drivers with logistics expertise throughout Ireland, coupled with DB Schenker’s considerable expertise in delivering pallets and parcels throughout Europe, and worldwide, Post Logistics is able to provide Irish SMEs with a door-to-door pallet collection and delivery service, perfectly suited to their needs.

Since An Post launched Post Logistics small Irish manufacturers and retailers have finally been given the opportunity to easily export their goods to Europe. The service is reliable, simple and cost-effective, and allows them to have goods collected from any Irish address and quickly delivered to wholesalers, retailers and consumers in the UK and across continental Europe, with full visibility of the pallets throughout the process.

So how could the process be efficiently managed, whilst ensuring cost-effectiveness, simplicity for users and accountability through each stage of the delivery?

The Solution

Having worked with DB Schenker for many years, Proximity knows exactly how to provide the bespoke solutions that are required by a large, specialist logistics provider.

But, having developed STREAM as a off-the-shelf software product for organisations managing deliveries and collections in their own vehicles, Proximity knew that the required functionality was already built into the software, and that it would easily scale to meet the high volumes expected by Post Logistics, with one of the largest nationwide fleets in Ireland.

Stream was deployed to manage the collection process in Ireland, and integrate with DB Schenker’s existing system to deliver across Europe. The entire process is outlined below:

  • Book - It is quick and easy for businesses to book a job of up to 7 pallets. They just go to the customer portal, fill out a couple of details and receive an instant quote, then book and pay for it in one simple transaction, printing and securely attaching the barcoded shipping label.
  • Collect - Once a job has been booked, An Post use STREAM’s route planning, alongside the STREAM driver app, to collect from any address in Ireland the next working day.
  • Transfer - The pallets are tracked, as An Post transports them to the national depot in Dublin for transferral to DB Schenker. Every movement is traced, using the scannable barcode affixed at the start of the journey.
  • Transport - The freight forwarding process is completed by DB Schenker, who deliver across Europe. The customer still has full visibility of their pallets as they move through DB Schenker's shipping system, thanks to the close integration with STREAM.
  • Deliver - At the point of delivery, drivers collect ePODs (Electronic Proof-of-Delivery), complete with photos, signature and timestamp. Notification of delivery is immediately sent out, both the the Irish SME who sent the pallets, and to their customers at the final destination in Europe.

The implementation of STREAM for Post Logistics offered some specific benefits, which have made it particularly suited to a national service provider offering a solution to small businesses:

Simplicity

STREAM has made exporting and freight forwarding really simple for Irish SMEs.

The entire process, from the self-service booking system to the tracking screen, is easy to use and accessible for all.

Reliability

As a household name in Ireland, An Post is already trusted by many to deliver parcels within the country. DB Schenker has the credentials, experience, and sheer size to offer fast and reliable shipping across the rest of Europe. By integrating the two together, STREAM makes the door-to-door process smooth and consistent. It is almost impossible for pallets to get lost or mixed up, thanks to scannable barcodes and the STREAM driver app, offering customers full visibility at all times.

Accountability

The track and trace functionality of the STREAM driver app means that Irish SMEs and their end customers can view the location of their pallets at any point during the journey. This reduces queries from end customers about the location of their delivery and allows questions to be answered quickly if they do occur. Disputes and ambiguity are practically eradicated, thanks to the use of ePODs that combine barcodes, signatures, photographs, timestamps and GPS location tracking to accurately capture every detail of the delivery.

Speed

Post Logistics’ deliveries are always timely, thanks to An Post’s capability for next-working-day collection at even the most remote addresses in Ireland; STREAM’s map-based route optimisation and streamlined service; and DB Schenker’s extensive transportation network across Europe. Accurate estimates of delivery time, coupled with simple, immediate communication, mean that end customers always know exactly when to expect their pallets.

“An Post’s ambition is to do more business. The landscape we operate in is changing rapidly and we have to adapt and grow. In many ways, it was the customers who shaped what Post Logistics is all about: we matched all that is best about An Post with a very real demand from customers for a freight forwarding service that is simpler, faster, reliable and offers real value. The real win is that we can actually help the nation trade more effectively on the global stage and make some money along the way.”

Liam O’Sullivan, Director of Mail Operations at An Post, on the benefits brought by Post Logistics, both to An Post, and to the wider Irish business economy. logistics.anpost.ie.

Awards

Proximity has been shortlisted for this use of STREAM, for the Retail Systems Awards 2017 and the SHD Logistics Awards 2017

 

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