This story was updated on 9 November 2018
Singapore’s postal services (SingPost) announced on 5 November the launch of two digital platforms designed to improve postal operations and facilitate ecommerce transactions.
The first of these solutions, SmartPost, will digitalise Singapore’s postal operations through the use of a mobile app to be used by the company’s 1,000 postal distribution workforce.
Mail carriers will use Near Field Communication (NFC) tags present in 15,000 delivery points across the country, helping the tracking and e-signing of registered mail.
The second initiative unveiled is LaMP – a first-of-its-kind integrated last-mile platform. LaMP integrates courier services, parcel lockers and collections, allowing retailers to offer customers the option of receiving purchases through any delivery node in the network, which will span all countries in the ASEAN region.
“This is an opportunity for ASEAN postal operators and other players to ride the ecommerce wave not just locally, but also regionally,” said S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, during the 25th ASEAN Postal Business Meeting on 8 November. “We should leverage each other’s delivery networks and local expertise to enable seamless last-mile ecommerce delivery across the region, and further integrate the ASEAN economy`.”
The launch of SmartPost and LaMP comes amid a month-long celebration by SingPost to celebrate 160 years of Singapore’s postal services.
What’s Smart Post?
SmartPost is an integrated suite of solutions that harnesses mobile and digital technologies to improve customer experience, service quality and operational efficiency.
With the SmartPost app, tracking, operational and productivity data is logged in real time as mail carriers hold up their smartphones against NFC tags on mail sacks when they make their deliveries.
When registered mail is signed over on the SmartPost app, the status of that item is updated in real time onto the SingPost website, without requiring post staff to return to the delivery base to log in the updated status.
Over the next year, additional features are being developed to provide delivery alerts and status updates by SMS or email, as well as electronic notifications to collect missed deliveries, in place of the physical delivery notes that are currently used.
Last-Mile Platform (LaMP)
SingPost’s new last-mile platform (LaMP) logistics software consolidates various last-mile delivery services, such as courier services, parcel lockers and brick-and-mortar collection points into a single platform.
Through LaMP, retailers will be able to offer their customers the ability to receive their online purchases via any last-mile delivery node in the network in any Southeast Asian country. Consumers may even redirect en-route deliveries to an alternative delivery node on the platform if and when required.
“We want to be the regional last-mile delivery and urban logistics platform of choice for Southeast Asia,” said Alex Tan, Group Chief Digital and Technology Officer at SingPost, in a recent interview with CIO Asia. “We plan to build asset-light, tech-driven platforms and partner with the region’s local champions to provide an ecosystem to enable ecommerce in the region.”
Singapore is building a network of conveniently located lockers – such as PoPstations by SingPost and Blu lockers – to fulfil its last-mile infrastructure. Through the strategically placed lockers, customers have flexibility to collect and drop-off parcels at any time of the day and allows organisations to cut costs and run their deliveries more efficiently. This locker network solution, which is also being tested in Japan, is being rolled out in phases.
Another milestone for the Smart Nation
These innovations in the postal and logistics industries are another step in SingPost’s digital strategy to facilitate ecommerce within the region.
“SingPost has a long and storied history and the business has evolved tremendously over the past 160 years,” said Paul Coutts, Group Chief Executive Officer of SingPost. “Yet our fundamental ethos remains unchanged: to deliver the best experience for our customers. In digitalising the postal service, we look to contribute to Singapore’s Smart Nation vision, bringing fresh customer experiences, powerful urban logistics solutions, and opportunities to upskill our people with new capabilities for the future.”
“SmartPost and LaMP build on our strong culture of innovation, harnessing technology to enhance our strengths in postal and logistics operations, and advance our position as a global ecommerce logistics and postal leader,” he added.