June 2012Online at www.postaltechnologyinternational.com All change How should postal services manage the move to digital alternatives? Leak proofing Postal revenue loss can be highly damaging. Here’s how to plug the leak Physical education Will perceived weaknesses in cyber security drive a return to more traditional post?
40 PARCEL DROP BOXES Boxing clever ARE PARCEL DROP BOXES ABOUT TO BE SEEN IN FORCE IN CITIES THROUGHOUT EUROPE AND BEYOND? ANDREW PICKERING FINDS OUT In 2008 Polish postal operator InPost was more cities and more locations and now, just growing rapidly in its mail business but was three years later, we have over 420 machines in well aware that future success would involve 130 cities. But to be successful with this e-commerce and parcels. Knowing that it would service you not only need locations but also a be very difficult to compete against the major large number of senders, and that is something global express carriers, the company began to we have concentrated on developing. Over the look at other ways of getting into that sector past year we have spent a lot of time working and came across automated parcel terminals. with e-retailers on joint promotions to boost “We were immediately attracted by these deliveries to EasyPack machines. We carried locker boxes and thought that they might be a out 97 joint promotions with stores and in good solution,” says Marcin Bosacki, InPost’s some cases saw an increase in deliveries of 200 head of international business. “We did some to 300 percent. At the end of 2011 we had research and discovered that all the solutions about 1,000 e-retailers working with us and available at that time were very expensive and over 3,000 regular senders from internet auction that the return on investment would be about sites. Right now we have over 300,000 users 10 years. So we decided to invest some money who regularly receive parcels using EasyPack on research and development and ended up and the number of parcels sent is also growing developing our own hardware and software month by month. In fact the total number from scratch.” grew by 400 percent between 2010 and 2011.” Looking at implementations of automated In November and December 2011 InPost terminals in other countries, InPost discovered conducted its first television advertising that many were running pilots with just five or campaign, targeted at end users of the service, 10 machines, with the only country with an affluent people in larger cities who do a lot of extensive network being Germany. InPost was online shopping. The aim was to promote the convinced that its solution would be very solution as an easy way of collecting parcels, successful and was determined to commence not sending, and was seen by 5.4 million operations with a major nationwide network people out of a population of 38 million. from day one. It is also apparent, however, that there is “We decided that we would start with 100 demand from end users who wish to use EasyPack machines in 30 cities and did so on EasyPack to send parcels. “Initially we thought 1 June 2009,” says Bosacki proudly. “We that people would use the service only for developed the solution in Poland and added collecting parcels but we started to get June 2012 www.PostalTechnologyInternational.com
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PARCEL DROP BOXES 43 Pinebridge partnership In April it was announced that InPost’s owner, Integer.pl, and global multi-asset investment manager PineBridge Investments was to make a E108 million joint investment to develop the EasyPack system across Europe and CIS countries. Integer.pl will make a cash and capital investment of E58 million over two years, while PineBridge Investments will provide E50 million. Rafal Brzoska, CEO of the Integer.pl Group commented, “We are very pleased with this project and look forward to working closely with PineBridge Investments as we roll-out our ambitious international growth strategy. 2011 was an important year of growth for the EasyPack system as we won contracts to implement the units in a number of global markets, and we have continued to expand the range this year into countries such as Latvia and Ireland. The agreement with PineBridge will allow us to further strengthen our position and capture the major growth opportunities we are seeing in this sector.” “We have been impressed with the success of Integer.pl to date and, particularly with the results achieved by EasyPack in Poland and look forward to supporting the company in its international expansion,” said Rossen Hadjiev, managing director of PineBridge Marcin Bosacki Investments (Central Europe).feedback that people were also interested insending, so we introduced that capability so “EasyPack broke have been incredibly successful and only last year signed about a dozen contracts includingthat people could send parcels as well, but itwasn’t a big percentage of our volume. One of even after only one with Estonian Post, which will deploy our solution in the whole of the Baltic region, asthe reasons for the low take-up could havebeen the need to label parcels at home prior to 18 months” well as with other companies in Russia, Spain, Chile, Saudi Arabia and a few other countries.”sending, so in the autumn last year we Since then, however, InPost hasintroduced the new service whereby reformulated its strategy somewhat. Initially itsindividuals can send a parcel without a label. If aim was to sell the whole concept to differentthey know only the mobile number and postal posts, but in many cases this took a long timecode of the receiver they can send a parcel and because the posts required formal tenderwe print the label on their behalf later on.” processes because of the a size of the investment. Others were only interested inExpansion into Europe Far from being conducting a trial of the system, which Bosackicontent with its achievements in the Polishmarket, InPost is planning a major expansionof EasyPack throughout Europe. “The systemhas evolved a lot over the past year or so,” saysBosacki. “As well as developing all thehardware and software by ourselves, one of ouradvantages is that we are also real users whotalk to senders and end users, so we knowwhat we should be improving to make oursolution successful.” There’s no doubt that this approach hasworked for InPost because EasyPack brokeeven after only 18 months. “We proved inPoland that the concept worked and wewanted to gain additional benefit from ourinvestment. So in 2010 we showed themachine at Post-Expo with that aim ofexporting the whole business solution to otherpostal operators. We received very positivefeedback and started discussions with postsand express carriers all over the world. We Soon to be a familiar sight throughout Europe? June 2012 www.PostalTechnologyInternational.com
44 PARCEL DROP BOXES believes would be doomed to failure as there is little point in putting five or 10 machines in a big country. Creating profit from boxes Bosacki explains how this plan was Cleveron is currently the only parcel delivery solution provider to succeed in creating a implemented. “With the help of the private profitable and adaptable business model. In 2010 this led the Finnish logistics company equity we announced in April, we intend to Itella to acquire SmartPost, the brand created by Cleveron to market its self-service parcel place our machines all over Europe and charge delivery system in Estonia. Running on Cleveron’s initial business model, Itella SmartPost senders, postal operators and express carriers went on to conquer 40 percent of the parcel delivery market in Estonia in just 2.5 years and on a pay-per-parcel model. No one except us with support from the growing e-commerce sector is now rapidly expanding in Finland. will have to make a decision about the huge What is behind this extremely rapid adoption? In Cleveron’s experience, it is the whole investment required as we take the whole risk package of business processes, operating principles and technology – not simply involved in installing the machines and will technology alone. In designing its model, the company has emphasised a customer-centric build the whole European network ourselves. approach. While many novel technology providers focus their efforts on satisfying the “We see ourselves as partners with other needs of the postal provider, Cleveron has found that it is far more effective to start by postal operators and express carriers. This year determining and building around the needs of the customer. This ensures that the eventual we want to start our network in five or six operating model revolves around the people that actually make the business profitable and countries. Among these will definitely be is certainly one of the reasons behind reaching 20 percent market share in e-commerce Poland, Russia, Slovakia and the UK, plus two parcels in Estonia just 12 months after launching in 2009. or three more in western Europe.” Cleveron’s existing partnerships in Estonia, Finland, Russia and Kazakhstan have InPost’s implementation plan is indeed benefited from the company’s experience in fast-track implementation, which has been impressive, with the goal being to place 16,000 able to save providers from costly experimentation. Now that the business model has been machines in Europe by 2016. Almost 1,500 of proved, new projects in Denmark, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine will be able to these will be in place by the end of this year, skip the pilot stage of implementation and head straight to the fully operational phase. 4,500 by the end of 2013, 6,800 by 2014, 11,000 by 2015 and 15,000 by the end of 2016. “That is more or less the timeline for that project and in addition we are still “If the market is Neopost also has a web-based application for e-commerce along with track-and-trace integrating systems in the countries we won contracts with last year,” says Bosacki. big enough we services. When we add our EasyPack parcel terminals into that mix we get an impressive can install an combination with which we can work to carry Partnership Earlier this year InPost and leading provider of mailroom equipment entire network” out joint investments in various countries all over the world outside Europe. Neopost announced that they had entered into Bosacki is keen to emphasise is that he a strategic partnership to set up a network of doesn’t want InPost to be thought of as a EasyPack terminals outside Europe. “Basically competitor to postal and express carriers. “We we want to make use of the expertise of both want to work with them. One strategy would companies,” says Bosacki. “Neopost has a be to form an exclusive partnership with a major presence all over the world and enjoys major player in a particular country, where the good relationships with many posts and obvious choice would be one of the incumbent express carriers that we can benefit from. postal operators or large express carriers, which could be granted exclusive use of the network. But in some countries we are also looking into a multi-carrier strategy, where if the market is big enough we can install an entire network and work with various express parcel and postal operators. The important point is that in every single country we need a partner and that’s why we’re still making the final decision as to which countries we should start working with in the first instance. “We’re not simply selling machines. We are selling a whole business solution and that’s what our partners tell us they want. We want to provide a solution that’s simple and convenient to use and the feedback we get from our customers is really positive.” n June 2012 www.PostalTechnologyInternational.com