The post and parcel industry has a range of new technologies at its disposal as digital disruption takes hold, according to new research from Accenture.
Accenture’s The New Delivery Paradigm report found that for large post and parcel organisations, advanced digital technologies investment could, on average, help create more than $US500 million ($652 million) in annual value.
Digital disruption is ushering in the arrival of robots and driverless vehicles, augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) applications, according to Accenture, which analysed 25 postal organisations and delivery companies across the Americas, Europe and the Asia Pacific.
The report, which recommends organisations consider digital opportunities across their core operations, customer interactions and delivery models, points to a variety of options, including: digital marketing, sales transformation, 24-hour customer service chatbots and online loyalty programs.
Potential new business models include on-demand deliveries, drone deliveries, business-to-consumer subscriptions, sharing platforms, payment systems and digital identifications.
Industry is already leveraging the power of AI and robotics, with the US Postal Service using AI to create post office collection points that weigh, price and collect deliveries and answer questions, while warehouse robots and guided vehicles are being used in the Netherlands to pick up, place and move parcels.
UPS and Amazon are employing chatbots to create customer service assistants, with new delivery companies also testing self-driving vehicles, drones and self-driving parcel carriers.
Tapping into the power of digital technologies, Amazon recently introduced its Amazon Key service, which includes an app, smart lock and security camera to provide for in-home deliveries by allowing delivery drivers keyless access to customer homes.
According to the report, AR and support applications are empowering the workforce, with pick-by-vision providing employees real-time information and guidance, and dynamic route planning information and parcel and customer information with AR overlays aiding deliveries.
“These technologies are changing every aspect of the post and parcel business,” Brody Buhler, Accenture global post and parcel practice leader, commented.
“The cost savings and service offerings they enable will change the industry and unlock value for those organisations that have boldly invested.”