Australia Post will expand technology that allows it to estimate the arrival time of parcels down to a two-hour delivery window as part of a $20 million systems upgrade over the next year.
The postal service this week revealed it will spend $20 million upgrading its systems to “cloud-based solutions over the next year to improve parcel scanning and tracking” across the postal network
The upgrade is part of a broader $440 million investment that also covers new parcel facilities across the country to ensure Australia Post can cope with the growing demand for services.
Parcel deliveries increased by 27 percent in the 2020-21 financial year, with more than 52 million parcels delivered in December 2020 alone.
Chief information officer Munro Farmer told iTnews the funding would flow towards several “key investments”, including “the building of a cloud-native data event management platform”.
The platform, which was first revealed as being hosted on Google Cloud in July, will be used to capture all of the scans as a parcel moves through the postal network.
Farmer said this will “help [Australia Post] to quickly and efficiently scale our technology solutions and improve tracking information by bringing it closer to real-time”.
One way the government-owned corporation is doing this is using new route optimisation and sectioning technology to calculate the arrival time of parcels down to a two-hour window.
According to the 2021 annual report, the optimiser – first trialled in October 2020, but now used by over 3700 drivers – builds a route as parcels are scanned so a driver can deliver them more effectively.
The introduction of the software allowed Australia Post to provide customers with a two-hour delivery window estimated time of arrival notification for the first time.
It began piloting the two-hour delivery window ETA notification with a small number of drivers in November 2020, but is now in the process of rolling this out more broadly.
“This capability has since expanded, and we now have more than 1500 drivers across 130 metropolitan sites sending ETA notifications to our customers daily,” the report [pdf] states.
“Since the program began, we have sent over 2.5 million notifications and 96 percent of parcels are consistently delivered within the specified two-hour window.”
Farmer said the two-hour delivery window trial would now be further expanded using the $20 million investment to “include more parcels and more digital channels for notifications”.
He said funding would also go towards migrating Australia Post’s “delivery estimation capabilities” to the cloud.