A Day in the Life of a Parcel – Part Three
Editor’s note: This blog post is part of a three-part series on A Day in the Life of a Parcel. The first segment discussed new innovations in the economics of supply chain and logistics. Part two discussed innovations in package labeling and efficiency gains for a carrier. This segment covers game-changing innovations in the mail delivery last mile and return logistics.
Most packages delivered come through a carrier to a residence or retail location. However, today’s busy consumer may often find themselves unavailable to pick up the package during normal retail hours or to sign for it at their home. And, in some areas, packages delivered without signature can disappear at the hands of a modern “porch pirate.” Finally, the packages delivered to university and corporate campuses overwhelm the mailrooms. Often times, they remain unequipped to deal with today’s high volumes.
Interestingly, a new delivery-point solution developed in Europe is beginning to gain traction in the U.S. and Canada.
Smart lockers, Internet-enabled kiosks, notify recipients with a simple text message. Kiosks alert them that their package is waiting for pickup. Once there, the consumer scans the provided barcode from a text message to retrieve their package. This solution addresses inconvenient delivery challenges and package theft.
The latest game-changing innovation in the smart locker space – PackRobot – combines sophisticated robotics and a dynamic shelving system into a climate-controlled outdoor enclosure with capacity for up to 500 packages, bringing dramatic efficiency gains to this already convenient solution.
Finally, one area that carries many issues in its manual process remains returns and reverse logistics. While exploring our mailing technologies in the parcel world, we stumbled into mobile phone returns.
Our high-performance vision systems are generally used for very high-speed image capture, recognition, decoding and high integrity assurance in transactional mail applications.
Here, the reverse logistics processor uses our precision vision system to reduce the process of capturing the IMEI number from smartphones. What was once five minutes occurs in 20 seconds. I expect automated transport will soon bring that down further. So this one application shows a 15x improvement over the current manual process.
We have followed the parcel from start to end. From point of origin at the warehouse, through high-speed packaging and labeling, through automated sorting and transport by a carrier network, and finally to the last mile where it can be deposited and retrieved safely and securely. Imagine all of this happening within the course of one day.
Cascading the improvements from all these innovations into one workflow is game-changing and adding new value in the economics of supply chain and logistics.