What Are Postal Proximity Services?


You heard about postal transformation and how CEPs are embracing the final mile in our last blog posts (part 1, part 2). But what are postal proximity services and why does it matter?

What are postal proximity services?

A postal proximity service describes a service that is close/proximate to “traditional” postal services such as delivering letters or parcels but offers add-on value and additional service for end customers.

With a workforce that already visits citizens and businesses almost every day of the week, the potential business driven by “Postal proximity services”, such as installing home equipment or visiting isolated or elderly people, is getting more and more attention all around the postal world. (Source)

How does a postal proximity service play out in reality? In Japan’s ageing society, one postal company in Tokyo’s Shinagawa district has made it its mission to improve life quality for the elderly. Postal workers from Japan Post check up on people over 65 once a month to ensure mental and physical wellbeing and counteract loneliness. This is just one of the many examples of what a postal company could offer in the future.

Why does it matter?

It is clear that the CEP industry has undergone a shake-up due to the rapid growth of eCommerce and disruptors such as Amazon. CEPs face a competitive market environment and consumers are demanding free, quick and flexible delivery and returns. As a result, profit margins are getting smaller and postal, parcel and courier providers are looking for new ways to expand their portfolio and diversify their services:

Diversification is the new mantra of postal organizations looking for additional sources of revenue to overcome the decline in mail volume and carry on their postal transformation journey. […] Accenture estimates that the potential market for these new proximity services worldwide could reach US$10 billion in the next four years based on current workforce levels alone—helping to accelerate postal players’ progress on the journey to postal transformation. (Source)

How ALK can help

Due to the increasing pressure on profit margins and the expected increase in postal services (traditional or proximate), it’s clear that guiding the mobile workforce to the correct end customer location safely, efficiently and punctually is crucial. Highly accurate ETAs generated by CoPilot Professional for postal service providers give reassurance to the end customer (a potentially vulnerable person), that the knock on the door between 10:00-11:00 am is legitimate.

CoPilot Professional’s Advanced Route Optimisation is a proven technology that increases first time delivery success by matching customers with a convenient, precise time window. Because of the rise of Advanced Route Optimisation and better quality navigation through technology, there has been a shift in mobile workforce recruitment to focus on hiring customer-oriented staff. This could be a precursor to postal proximity services as it demands postal employees to not only hand over a parcel, but instead to connect on a human level.

Additionally, the ability for drivers to reorder their schedule, could potentially help them to factor in extra time for known vulnerable people they know on their route.

Find out more about our solutions for the postal, parcel and courier industry here >

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Reliable, Integrated Navigation – To Maintain a Competitive Edge


For both domestic and field engineers within the Utilities Sector, increasing the number of installations or site visits performed each day is essential.  A significant contributor to this increase is through the combination of vehicle navigation and automating field service processes on the handheld device.

Here through our Industry Spotlight Series, we outline how a combination of ALK mapping, advanced routing and back office mapping visualization tools enables utilities companies to maintain a competitive edge.

Increase Field Engineer Productivity Through Optimized Routing

Depending on the engineer’s preference, CoPilot Professional can preview an appointment list of addresses from which to select each job, or overlay all the day’s planned locations as custom pins on a detailed map view. Engineers unfamiliar with the locality can use the route optimization facility in CoPilot Professional on their handheld to provide the most efficient route between appointments, based on either fastest or shortest criteria.

For engineers with a more thorough knowledge, CoPilot Professional provides the facility for them to select their own job sequence.

In both cases, the details when the engineer is expected on-site with the customer are conveyed back to the office, generating an accurate ETA time window of one hour or less. This ETA can be communicated to the customer.

Reliable GPS Navigation In Remote Locations

The field engineer receives job details directly to their handheld, with latitude and longitude co-ordinates, showing the locations mapped to the nearest road.

The off-line mapping and GPS connection means that the engineer can rely on robust GPS navigation even in the remotest locations – often a challenge with navigations systems reliant on mobile internet connection for navigation.

Should the work requirement be some distance from the roadside, the engineer can use CoPilot Professional to record the exact vehicle location, thereby making it easier to find during night time emergency call outs or in adverse weather.

You can learn more about our Utilities Engineer solutions at copilotpro.com

Reliable, Integrated Navigation – Down to the Hour

For Postal, Parcel and Courier Services, first time delivery success and high customer satisfaction are key.  With highly accurate navigation and powerful advanced route optimization technology, companies can provide their customers with advance notice of delivery right down to the hour – a highly competitive edge in today’s market.

In the next post of our Industry Spotlight series, learn how ALK has built a reputation for providing solutions that take routing efficiency to the next level to meet the specific needs of Postal, Parcel and Courier fleets.

postal infographic

Establishing Superior Customer Service with Customer Convenient Time Windows

Building optimized routes is crucial to generating precise delivery time windows. The process begins when a driver generates a manifest of deliveries on their hand held. ALK’s CoPilot Professional integrated navigation solution then takes the manifest and factors in pre-agreed time windows, driver wait times and rest periods to optimize the stops to find the most efficient route.  In addition to removing the need to manually plan a driving itinerary, it also provides the driver the opportunity to see if a particular delivery will be a challenge to deliver in the specified time window.

The final optimized route with defined ETAs for each stop is then passed to the back office for review and fine-tuning as needed.  With this knowledge, companies can confidently communicate precise 1 hour time windows to customers as well as offer the option to reschedule if the timing is inconvenient. With back office monitoring of a driver’s location in real-time, the option to notify a customer of delivery delays is also available.

Improve Driver Productivity with Post-Trip Route Visualization

The ability to visualize your entire fleet’s activity post-trip provides an additional advantage to back office planning and driver productivity. ALK Maps’s route visualization platform is built from the same source of commercial mapping and data as CoPilot Professional and provides the ability to interactively modify routes, view ETAs and even overlay weather and traffic information directly on the map.  You can visualize your entire fleet or drill down to a vehicle/driver level for detailed reporting of missed SLAs and planned versus actual routes to assist with driver coaching.

You can learn more about our Postal, Parcel and Courier solutions at copilotpro.com

Reliable, Integrated Navigation…When Every Second Counts

Emergancy IconEmergencies come in all shapes and sizes, but the one constant is the need for a fast response time. No one understands that better than members of the Emergency Services sector. Routine is not in the vocabulary of an Emergency Service worker, thus the demand for adaptability based on varying emergency conditions must be met with technology to quickly and safely reach those in need.


Learn how ALK has built a reputation for providing solutions that improve routing efficiency while meeting the varying needs of police, fire and medical emergencies.

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