Our top-tier SE Asian postal client was seeking to deliver upon its commitment to bring state of the art products and services to its citizens. As part of the organization’s strategic transformation plan, this large retailer needed a technology solution that would unify their nationwide network and expand upon their service offerings.
Our client has a longstanding history that can be traced back to the early 1800s in letter delivery. Through the years, they have transformed into a multiple services provider.They began to operate in parcel delivery, insurance and financial services and eventually began to facilitate many government services such as bill payment collections, pensions, and various provisions of licenses.The company holds an exclusive concession to provide mail services through its network of over 1,000 branches and mini post offices throughout their country with over 16,000 employees.
Today, no longer the traditional postal organization they once were, they are a private business corporation that has faced the difficulties of operating in a demanding digital global environment. As such, the organization looked to solve a multitude of technology challenges in order to support its modern day operations and effectively serve every citizen of their country. In order to stay competitive, ensure a successful business infrastructure and be able to offer and deliver relevant, in-demand products and services, these technology challenges had to be met with a future-proofed strategy.
The Business Landscape: Dated and localized software
Our customer faced increasing business challenges as a result of changing consumer needs, eroding mail volumes, rising costs and growing competition. Disruptive technologies such as e-commerce, social media, mobile and non-traditional retail models had placed significant strain on many of their business offerings. These issues, along with a dated and localized software infrastructure that was not capable of being customized or efficiently upgraded, made the client realize that they needed a modern and agile enterprise solution.
The Digitally Sophisticated Consumer: Diversify spatial strategy/modernize distribution network.
This post office recognized the need to realize new revenue streams and expand its ability to provide its products and services to a customer base in traditional retail decline. With their customers ever-increasing demands to access products and services in real-time through online, mobile and other forms of digital access, our client needed to move their offerings beyond the postal store front.
The Physical Landscape: Geographical challenges
The SE Asian retailer also needed to solve the enormous geographic problem of the fragmented landscape. With mountainous terrain and almost 60% of land covered with forest, this country poses one of the most extreme geographic logistics challenges of any country in the world. What’s more, and perhaps most crucial, it consists of hundreds of islands. Employees were working on independent, local systems without the support of a centralized and unified enterprise network.
In 2012 the organization chose Escher Group to deliver their comprehensive transformational program, and develop and implement a robust, scalable and intelligent infrastructure to support the growth of their business well into the future.
They chose Escher Group for our innovation, expertise and world-class reputation. They were not disappointed. Right from the beginning, Escher understood their objectives and drove the project with confidence and 100% professionalism.
The Riposte® Essential software solution deployed by Escher Group delivered upon all of the requirements for the most commercially and technically viable solution to meet business, functional and technical requirements. The solution includes Postal Services, Bulk Mail, General Product Sales, Sale of Local Products, Agency Services, Peripherals support, SAP Integration, PO Box and Data Migration. It also includes supporting features such as user management, reporting, settlement, cash & stock management and accounting. The comprehensive software solution is a strategic enabler for the client’s network. It is modular, extendible, configurable, and maintainable and supports the one-stop provider.
In addition, Escher’s eMoney platform was used to implement a robust Money Transfer system for the customer. The solution complies with all Anti-Money Laundering rules of the Central Bank of the country and provides a secure Money Transfer system for Money Transfer across the country. Implementation of the Money Transfer system involved migrating 3 years of Money Transfer data from a legacy system, inclusive of over 12 million records. It was a big step for the customer towards de-commissioning a legacy platform, which had become a financial burden for the organization.
Today, our customer has updated their Business Landscape with its new Postal Retail System servicing 29 million citizens. Over 2,000 PCs were successfully rolled out across 722 offices in less than two months, averaging almost 14 offices per day. This rollout included setting up entirely new workstations, installing Riposte®, setting up all peripherals and working with the branch managers on stock imports and other efforts. Engineers successfully conducted NOI (night of installation) activities within the extremely tight timeframe of 7 pm to 2 am, even in remote locations.
The implementation also included the installation and networking of “Post on Wheels”, utilizing VSAT satellite connectivity and transporting the counter machines and hardware directly to the vans for installation. The installation was cost effective in that many existing peripherals could be retained in addition to the introduction of new peripherals needed to fulfill the counter system installation. Engineers successfully navigated the unexpected challenges of location, network connection and other difficulties, and completed installations, often times within as little as two hours per location. The implementation was a seamless transition from their previous counters, with the new counter system running in parallel until the entire network was unified and ready to go live before decommissioning the retired system. In addition to the implementation, the post was quickly able to satisfy a new requirement by government to introduce Goods and Services Tax (GST) for all transactions, this was successfully deployed within 2 weeks of completion of rollout.
One example of their new revenue streams was enabled by the Riposte®Agency payment solution, which helped to configure more than 150 agency payment transactions without the need for any technical development work. The customer can add any new agency payment transaction at the counter system within a day or two. Each post office only sees those agency payment transactions relevant to their particular location. This helps reduce mistakes of counter clerks choosing the wrong agency for payment collection as well as speeds up the on boarding of new billers.
Another example of a benefit that helps with time management, the Riposte® messaging platform and in-built automatic message replication feature allows the Postal Outlet employees to spend less time for the end of the day operations. Prior to the implementation of Riposte® based solution, postal outlet employees had to manually upload all data to central systems on a daily basis, now all transaction data is updated automatically saving significant time.
On top of all the new functionality, the system is now a centralised and unified enterprise network. No physical intervention is required while doing updates, it is all instant. Transaction data from post offices in remote locations used to take days or even weeks to reach the main office, and now they are completed automatically. Today, our customer has positioned itself as a next-generation technology leader in the global postal industry, they are currently preparing to implement Digital Mailbox and Digital Mobile Money Solutions.
Our customer is a premier logistic and communications service provider. They have a widespread network of over 1,000 touch points countrywide that includes Postal Outlets, Franchise Outlets, Stamp Agents, Kiosks (Self Service Terminals), Post-On-Wheels (Mobile Outlets), and Postal Agents, making it one of the most extensive retail networks in their country. Throughout the years, they have grown from strength to strength and is progressing from being a mail and postal services provider towards becoming a dynamic communications, financial services and supply chain solutions provider. Moving forward, our customer will continue to transform and innovate itself in order to maintain its relevance and competitive edge as well as continue to connect their citizens with the rest of the world.&nbps;