How The Postal Industry Can Deliver Connectivity In Cities Of The Future

Ruth Eberhart

Rapid technological change has resulted in a variety of new delivery services in the postal industry. These changes and consumer habits have forced postal companies to change their business models and diversify their services while e-commerce is driving parcel delivery growth.

In recent years, postal companies have been forced to change by the emergence of the private sector in this space.

This increase in competition forces players to meet customers’ rapidly changing demands, reduce costs, and drive innovation – making it harder for postal companies to guarantee high quality and to finance basic postal services.

Connecting the future: Postal industry delivers for future cities

With the emergence of smart connected products, assets, and always-on “things,” we now have access to unparalleled amounts of information. This – along with the evolution of mobile connectivity, machine learning, analytics, Internet of Things, and cloud technology – is enabling us to converge these technologies to make people and machines smarter and to drive end-to-end coordination and optimization.

No matter how many things change, some things stay the same. Postal services are still the trusted multi-service provider, with an established network in any country, which can leverage digitalization in future cites.

New regulations for climate-friendly transportation and security of digital information (e.g., GDPR) require new technological solutions. The need to comply with regulations, combined with the rapid evolution of products and services, has caused IT to adapt to support these needs.

Digital transformation is disrupting both the postal and the city business and operating models. For postal organizations, it is about new digital competitors that offer natively B2B2C networked delivery models that drive superior customer experience at lower costs. For cities, it is about driving economic development while improving living conditions.

And clearly mobility, proximity, and convenience are key for both industries, for postal services to deliver on the promise of last-mile delivery efficiency, and for the city to make moving around a pleasant and environmentally friendly experience for citizens, businesses, and visitors.

Transforming the future

There is substantial transformation from investment occurring as customers demand a greater level of service from their postal and transportation providers:

  1. Delivering a more personalized customer experience by creating an entirely new, efficient, and effective experience based on the customer’s needs and habits.
  1. Going beyond simply optimizing existing processes by significantly shifting operational models and taking advantage of B2B2C collaboration networks, thus enabling smart transportation for the last mile within urban environments.
  1. Simplifying complicated processes for senders and recipients by becoming anticipatory service orchestrators, information brokers, and networkers, rather than only delivering postal items, thus being the nationwide backbone for the smart city’s domains: people, transport, economy, environment, and resources.

What the postal industry must do to thrive in the digital age

Digitalization is the process of creating new business opportunities and competitive advantages by intelligently connecting people, things, and business models.

Postal organizations that place the customer’s point of view at the center of their culture to set the vision and ensure that key stakeholders across the enterprise and ecosystem are working together in well-defined processes will flourish.

Coordination and optimization using the combination of digital technologies for the Internet of Things, machine learning, predictive analytics, blockchain, and unified intelligent digital platforms will be the key enablers for long-term stability for core processes and agility where change is constant.

With new digital technologies intersecting and combining, transformation will soon happen on a massive scale. Postal organizations – and the organizations they work with – cannot afford to wait to begin their initiatives. By thinking through the likely possibilities and developing scenarios with enterprise and industry experts, you can prepare to maximize the positive outcomes in a future we’ve just begun to imagine.

Read more about how the postal industry can keep pace with change here

This article originally appeared on The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce.

Ruth Eberhart

About Ruth Eberhart

Ruth is the global solution owner for the Postal Industry at SAP. She is a member of the SAP Industry cloud team for Future Cities and is responsible for development and execution of the SAP Postal Services strategy, definition of the solution direction, roadmap and customer/partner co-innovation.