Case Study 11

Process & Technology

A major parcel company used a sort process for incoming parcels received at local depots, to see which were local and which needed to be sent to the regional hub.   At the hub another sort process separated out parcels to be trunked onto other hubs.   Parcels at their correct hub were sorted into lorry loads for each local depot.   At local depots another sort process matched up parcels with van routes.   Too many expensive manual sorting processes were taking place, and the sorting was inefficient at each stage.

We re-examined the processes, and the technology opportunities, and came up with an entirely new model. Some elements were simple to achieve, such as a radical redesign of parcel labels to incorporate new large format human-friendly icons, and a novel feature to improve automatic scanning.

Other elements were more complex, requiring a huge investment in buildings and IT, such as new highly automated hubs.

The new integrated process and IT systems required:

  • Local depots with much of the functionality prefabricated in ISO containers to allow fast deployment.
  • Vans designed to allow quick access to the right parcels, and featuring secure automatic door locking.
  • Labels having a novel patentable feature to help with automated sorting.
  • Purpose designed sorting codes, both manual and computer readable.
  • Highly automated hubs.
  • High capacity articulated lorry semi-trailers designed for a fast load/offload process.

The new model allowed a major cost saving to be made, including a significant reduction in personnel costs.

See other case study in this section Back to Process