Murtaza Kanchwala Appointed as CTO
Blackbay is pleased to announce the appointment of Murtaza Kanchwala as Chief Technical Officer (CTO). Murtaza comes with more than 16 years’ experience in the IT industry spanning software development, implementation, product design and architecture. In addition to working within different business domains for major blue chip organisations such as DHL, Fonterra, News Corp, Airwave and Ahold, he has experience of a SaaS based software start-up working as their Chief Architect and CTO.Read More...
He has significant strengths in architecting and managing software product development and has achieved awards for Technical Achievement (JD Edwards (Oracle) for Data Migration and Integration, 2002-2003). He also comes with indepth knowledge of logistics, supply chain and parcel delivery businesses, having worked
with DHL, Yodel and DX Network Services.
Raised in Mumbai, India, Murtaza attended Mumbai University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1995. He then travelled to Sydney, Australia where he gained a Masters in Information Technology from the University of Western Sydney. Due to his passion and interest in Product Design and Development, he pursued a Certificate in Product Design, Development and Management from MIT SloanSchool of Management, USA in 2011.
BBC Feature Blackbay Home Delivery Innovation - "Where is my Customer"
The Royal Mail move to ask people if they mind having parcels delivered to their neighbours is the latest effort to solve a thorny issue. How can people conveniently get parcels delivered when most are at work all day?
It's an experience almost all of us seem to share.
The swift, efficient world of online ordering meets the messy realities of the analogue world we actually live in. And it all seems to grind to a halt.Read More...
Richard Wilding is both a professor of logistics and supply chain management at Cranfield University and a victim of the parcel conundrum.
"We were expecting a gift to arrive, and the courier firm told us it had been delivered. We told them we hadn't received anything, and the company said it had been delivered to a hedge. We haven't got a hedge."
Some weeks later the box was discovered, sure enough in a hedge, about half a mile away from his house.
How does this sort of thing happen? Part of the problem seems to be that individual drivers are rarely incentivised to successfully deliver a parcel first time.
Some companies even count a missed-delivery card through the door as a successful delivery when making claims about their performance.
Continue reading the main story
Blackbay and HIT Lab NZ Adapt Augmented Reality Earthquake Software for International Courier Market
Mobile Augmented Reality software that will enhance the ability of courier and postal companies to make more 'first time' deliveries is being developed by the University of Canterbury’s HIT Lab NZ (Human Interface Technology Laboratory New Zealand) under the Ministry of Science and Innovation’s (MSI) Technology Transfer Voucher initiative.
HIT Lab NZ is working with Blackbay, a software company that specialises in the development and implementation of real time enterprise mobility solutions and services for postal, supply chain and field service operations.Read More...
Professor Mark Billinghurst, Director of HIT Lab NZ, commented that this R&D project is the first undertaken by the university under this scheme where MSI will match each dollar invested by the businesses, so long as the research is completed by an accredited organisation.
''Initially we put together a demonstration model for Blackbay to show at last years’ Post-Expo based on mobile Augmented Reality (AR) software that we had developed after the Christchurch earthquakes. It was extremely well received so the next step was to integrate the AR technology into Blackbay’s existing products, and that is what we are working on now,'' said Billinghurst.
"By adding the functionality being developed by HIT Lab NZ to our solution we will be able to address the biggest challenge within the courier marketplace, which is, how to achieve first time on time delivery and eliminate the significant operational cost associated with having to revisit locations or return items to depots or postal offices for further delivery," explained Nigel Doust, Blackbay's CEO.
Augmented Reality is where virtual information can be overlaid on a live camera view of the world. HIT Lab NZ is basing its work on a mobile AR software library originally developed as a way of seeing and remembering what damaged or demolished buildings looked like on a particular site before the Christchurch earthquakes.
"In recent years the availability of smart phones with camera, GPS and compass sensors has meant that mobile devices can deliver several layers of information at the same time. When you integrate this with social media, the sophistication, speed and accuracy of many traditional activities can be greatly enhanced," Billingthurst added.
The University has four students and staff working on the project, which they are looking to demonstrate at the Postal Expo in Brussels later this year, with a commercial release in early 2013. This will be the first time that mobile AR technology has been deployed in a courier application.
The augmented reality application enables the courier arriving at premises to view the location within the building where a delivery or collection is to be made. The application displays a photograph of exactly where the package should be left or collected from as well as providing a layout of the building so that the carrier can quickly and easily find the correct location.
"By incorporating social media software a message can be automatically sent to those awaiting a courier collection or delivery, immediately the vehicle is within a certain radius of the building," explained Billington.
"Just a small increase in the percentage of first time delivery success across a courier business offers major costs savings. By using AR technology as part of our solution, Blackbay believes it can significantly increase its market share," said Doust. "AR will play a big role in continuing to establish our reputation as a technology leader. The integration of this leading edge technology will be the spearhead of our expansion into our markets in Europe and the United States."
Blackbay is a market leader in the rapidly growing enterprise mobility market. Established 17 years ago, it has over 100 employees, 74 of them based in New Zealand with annual revenue of over million dollars.
"We made the very exciting decision to engage with the HIT Lab NZ for two reasons. Firstly, it is located in Christchurch, New Zealand, as is the Blackbay Product Development team which makes collaboration very easy. Secondly, Professor Mark Billinghurst is a noted leader in the field of AR and has carved out an impressive reputation in this area. He is a key contributor to the ARToolkit software library which underpins many of the existing AR innovation implementations. Blackbay is very fortunate to be associated with his work," concluded Doust.
226 Deliveries, 12 Carriers: How Does the Industry Perform in the 2012 Home Delivery ReportThe 2012 Home Delivery: The Doorstep Experience Report is now out available.
This report focuses on the doorstep experience provided by 226 UK retailers and their chosen carriers. Did the retailer tell the customer who would be delivering the goods? Was the driver polite and smartly dressed? What tracking information was provided? And what happened if no-one was at home to sign for the parcel?
The report, sponsored and structured by Blackbay, found that:
The failed delivery experience varied hugely:
- Of 13 orders sent to a flat with no-one home, 3 were left with a neighbour not known to the customer, with no card left to explain where the goods were
- 5 orders were left outside the flat door
- 2 drivers left cards for the deliveries to be rearranged
- 1 driver left a phone message and tried to redeliver next day
- 2 orders were shoved through the letterbox
Pre-delivery, some retailers stated who would deliver the goods; others did not:
- Pre-order, 41% of the retailers tested told the customer which carrier would be delivering their goods
- 99.9% sent an order confirmation e-mail but only 6% mentioned the carrier
- 81% of retailers sent a despatch e-mail; only 41% mentioned the carrier
- 11% of the retailers sent pre-delivery text messages, up from 4% last year
- Text message content varied – some allowed rescheduling but most did not
64% of retailers provided access to detailed order tracking:
- 89% of retailers offered some order tracking to the customer, even if basic
- 64% provided detailed carrier tracking
- 69% of those with detailed tracking sent the customer to the carrier site
- None of the carrier tracking webpages mentioned the retailer’s name
On the doorstep:
- Only one of the drivers followed our special delivery instructions
- 27% of the drivers were described as ‘rude’ or ‘very rude’
- 137 orders (57%) required electronic proof of delivery, up from 50% last year
- 36% of the retailers that collected electronic proof of delivery did not surface that tracking information to the customer
Speed & timeliness:
- 81% of the retailers that gave us a timeframe delivered on time
- Deliveries were more likely to be on time if electronic POD was collected
Nigel Doust, CEO at Blackbay, said; “This year’s Doorstep Experience Report is once again a mixture of the sobering and the positive. On the one hand we see improvements in online order tracking but pre-delivery text interaction has only increased to 11%, providing a significant opportunity for the industry to improve first time delivery rates.”
“However, the failed delivery experience still leaves a lot to be desired. A quarter of the failed orders were left with a neighbour not known to the customer, with no card to explain what had happened. We still have work to do to make this process as simple, secure and successful as possible for the customer, the retailer, and the carrier.”
Carlo Rimini, Business Unit Director for E-commerce at MICROS UK said; “Our annual Online Retail Delivery Report always shows progress and improvements in how retailers are handling the delivery of online orders. Thanks to Blackbay we’ve been able to produce this extra report looking at what actually happens on the doorstep.”
“Some of the findings are disappointing; the failed delivery experience is still highly unpredictable, many retailers are still not offering detailed order tracking to the customer, and a quarter of the drivers that delivered our orders were described as ‘rude’. However, we believe that carriers and retailers are committed to resolving these issues and we expect to see improvements next year.”
The 2012 Home Delivery: The Doorstep Experience report, sponsored by Blackbay, is available free of charge at
E-Retailers and the Carriers Still Not Getting Delivery Right
The recent UK Consumer Home Delivery Review - 2012 from Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) highlights that, as shown in last year's survey, consumers continue to have the same frustrations around un-successful first-time, on-time delivery of their goods and the lack of real-time information as to the whereabouts of those goods during the delivery process.Read More...
"One reason as to why consumers are not being sent real-time updates on the progress of their deliveries, is centred around who 'owns' the data captured during the delivery process," explained Nigel Doust. CEO of Blackbay, supporters of this and the 2011 IMRG Review. "Is it the carrier who is responsible for ensuring deliveries are made on time or is it the e-retailer, who has the expertise in communicating with its customers and delivering quality of service?"
This conundrum will not be quickly resolved, but both parties need to give it their full attention especially as 77% of respondents to the IMRG Review, stated that their delivery experience is influential in positively affecting further purchasing decisions.
"With in excess of 1bn parcels being shipped from online purchases in the UK each year, it is astounding that carrier companies are not using technology, available today, to eliminate consumers' fears around home delivery," added Doust. "Today's enterprise mobility solutions capture the information consumers are demanding, but not all carriers are utilising it and making it available to e-retailers so that they can pass it to their customers."
The UK is Europe's leading e-retail economy with sales estimated to have reached £68.2bn in 2011 which, despite the recession, represents an annual growth level of 16%. For 2012, the UK market is forecast to grow a further 13%. "The UK's online spend per shopper per annum is £1,850, so e-retailers and their carriers are in danger of missing out on this ever growing revenue opportunity if they are not providing a good delivery experience," Doust continued.
Interestingly, this 4th Annual Review, shows that the main concern for consumers is ensuring that they are at home and available to accept a delivery. Consumers are looking for the ability to specify a delivery time slot so that they receive their goods when they expect with no delay i.e. first-time, on-time delivery.
To help achieve first-time on-time delivery, consumers want consistent communication from the e-retailer and/or carrier throughout the delivery process as to the status of the delivery. Specific delivery instructions, dictated by the consumer at the time of placing the online order, must be followed by the delivery driver.
Blackbay's enterprise mobility solutions already track every event in the delivery process. The captured data can be passed to consumers ensuring they receive the proactive communication they want providing the status of their goods and expected delivery time.
“Up to date market research around the Home Delivery market place, like that supported by Blackbay, plays a key role in helping us keep abreast of what consumers want and helps identify where
e-retailers and their carriers need to work harder to meet those demands. Consumers’ expectations are driven by their experience of the wider digital world and e-retailers and carriers need to deploy the right technology solutions to make sure that they keep pace," said Andrew Starkey, Head of e-Logistics at IMRG
"Consumers are not necessarily demanding lots of delivery choices. They are simply looking for reassurance that when they select a specific delivery option, it will be met and that their home delivery will be made first-time, on-time. Blackbay can help e-retailers and carriers achieve this, right now." concluded Doust.
NB: All stats sourced from IMRGAbout IMRG
Hermes Achieve Industry Leading 1st Time Delivery Rate
Hermes enterprise mobility solution enables 94% first time, on time delivery - beating the industry average by 11% and saving over 50mins per courier per day at the doorstep with Blackbay's Delivery Connect solution.Read More...
Hermes is the UK's largest delivery network, handling over 115 million collections and deliveries each year. It oﬀers its customers, which include household names: Lakeland Limited, LandsEnd, Next Directory, QVC, sit-up channels and Store Twenty One, a dedicated business to consumer residential delivery solution, speciﬁcally designed to meet the demands of the UK and European retail, mail order and online shopping markets.
Hermes operates a network of over 7,500 lifestyle couriers who operate in close proximity to their homes, enabling them to oﬀer a high quality door-step delivery, combined with a friendly and local approach.
Over the past several years Hermes has been experiencing considerable growth, with expansion into European delivery, and the consumer to consumer market through myhermes.co.uk, which oﬀers a door to door parcel delivery service, ideal for consumers who would like to save time and money on their shipping costs.
With a growing number of customers demanding timely and accurate information on deliveries and collections, Hermes realised that it needed to replace its existing paper based delivery system with an enterprise mobility solution which would provide real-time visibility both of its couriers and the status of deliveries and collections. In order to ensure that its customers could access this data quickly and easily it needed to be available on the Hermes website.
"We realised that the existing paper-based system was not providing us with the information our customers were demanding," explained Mike Leyland, Hermes' IT Director. "Waiting for paper based records of collections and deliveries to be returned to local depots and then manually input into our back oﬃce systems could be a lengthy process, and was prone to human error from illegible hand writing. We could not track and trace parcels during the actual collection or delivery process which made it diﬃcult to provide accurate conﬁrmation of collections and deliveries to our customers."
Download the full case study from the Knowledge Centre.
DPD and Blackbay First to Deliver Revenue Increasing Opportunities for e-Retailers at the Doorstep
By taking full advantage of the latest release of Blackbay's enterprise mobility software, DPD Ireland will be the first to market with innovative services which provide real-time data captured from consumers at the doorstep directly to e-retailers. This data will enable e-retailers to deliver the highest levels of customer service and increase revenue opportunities.Read More...
"The appetite for access to real-time data is growing in both the B2B and the B2C markets. The B2B sector remains very important to us, but the weakening economy has shifted consumer buying habits.
So we have worked with Blackbay to develop new B2C solutions to meet a demand from our customers for services which provide business benefits at the doorstep, and the demand for more flexible delivery options from consumers," explained Brendan O’Neill, DPD Ireland's CEO.
Using Blackbay's new Survey Module, DPD will be the first parcel delivery provider to enable its drivers to carry out real-time customised questionnaires with consumers at the doorstep.
"The real-time data captured as consumers take delivery of their goods, will help e-retailers improve their customer service by checking whether drivers have complied with specific delivery instructions, such as delivering goods to a designated 'safe place' or that all the components of the goods ordered have been delivered," added O'Neill. "Any discrepancies are passed back to the e-retailer who is then able to deal with them immediately."
The ability to check delivery compliance plays a key role in helping DPD overcome the biggest challenge to both the carrier and e-retailer – the last mile. The transfer of data between the e-retailer and the carrier ensures that individual drivers have full visibility of consumers' intentions regarding delivery when placing their orders.
"Complying with consumers' delivery requirements at all levels helps us meet our key objective of delivering first time, right time, every time," said O'Neill. "Blackbay's solution has enabled DPD to achieve a 98.6% delivery success rate, which is considerably higher than the industry average. Our aim is to improve this."
The Survey module will help e-retailers increase revenue through up-sell and cross-selling opportunities. The Survey module is triggered by the delivery scan and a questionnaire will then prompt the driver to ask the consumer questions relating to additional services or product offerings for the product delivered. If the consumer is interested then the data collected by the driver is automatically sent to the e-retailer and a 'warm lead' call can be made almost immediately.
"One of our customers estimates that a 60% conversion rate is possible for warm lead opportunities which are identified during a doorstep delivery and followed up within an hour," continued O'Neill. "This statistic perfectly highlights the power of Blackbay's Survey module and the benefits it can deliver to our customers."
DPD has been deploying Blackbay's enterprise mobility solution for the last three years and has recently extended its contract for another five until 2016. Blackbay's solution has already allowed DPD to increase market share by increasing volume by 19% since 2009, despite the fragile state of the Irish economy.
"We have been able to make operational and driver efficiencies which in turn has enabled DPD to make our own business more cost efficient," said O'Neill. "We continue to offer very price competitive services which have filtered back down to our customers, benefitting the entire supply chain.”
Blackbay's latest software release will enable DPD to build on the concrete business benefits already delivered by further streamlining its business processes, and allowing DPD to provide the highest level of customer service by positioning themselves as an extension to their customers’ business at the doorstep.
"We made the decision to renew our contract with Blackbay as the foundations of the initial deployment were extremely strong. Blackbay's team has extensive knowledge and expertise in the parcel delivery marketplace and always brings positive ideas to the table. Its technology has become fundamentally essential to how we deliver quality of service to our customers and importantly, to their customers," stated O'Neill.
"The strong partnership between Blackbay and DPD is a great illustration of how companies can, and should, work together to achieve a successful enterprise mobility deployment that is versatile enough to exactly meet, not only the customer's needs but the demands of its customers," added Nigel Doust, Blackbay's CEO.
Looking to the future, DPD will be working with Blackbay to aggressively expand its B2B and B2C products and service offerings. There will be a particular focus on enhancing the service around the handling of returns as DPD sees a gap in this sector of the marketplace.
"We will work to provide services that deliver more relevant and time sensitive information to customers and consumers. The access to real-time data is the linchpin that holds first time, right time, every time deliveries together," concluded O'Neill.
About DPD Ireland
Interlink Ireland Ltd was founded in 1986 with 10 depots. Following substantial growth, it is now the premier parcel delivery company in Ireland, with 38 depots handling in excess of 6 million parcels per year. In 2000, Interlink Ireland became part of GeoPost S.A. the parcels and express division of La Poste, the French Post Office. In February 2008, Interlink Ireland changed its name to DPD. Its parent company, La Poste, united its express parcel companies under one single brand - DPD - to provide its customers with one united delivery partner throughout Europe and beyond.
Visit Blackbay & Motorola at Post Expo
Blackbay will be exhibiting at Post Expo, the 15th international postal technology exhibition and conference.
This year held on 27, 28 & 29 September at the Stuttgart Messe in Stuttgart, Germany.Read More...
Post Expo is universally recognised as the world’s leading annual event for the international postal, express and mailing industry.
Blackbay will be exhibiting with Motorola Solutions and Zebra (Stand 5014) and will feature solutions designed to provide the ultimate doorstep experience, increase efficiency, improve customer service and drive revenues.
Blackbay currently has over 50,000 postal workers using Blackbay solutions to manage over 3,000,000 deliveries per day.
27, 28, 29, September 2011
Stuttgart Messe, Stuttgart
Booth #: 5014
Home Delivery - Doorstep Experience
The latest Snow Valley report highlights the need for improved real-time communication between e-retailers, their delivery companies and the recipients of goods ordered online, to allay consumer fears around home deliveries.Read More...
The report, Home Delivery in the UK – The Doorstep Experience, sponsored by Blackbay, a provider of real-time enterprise mobility solutions enabling service and productivity improvements to postal, field service and supply chain operations, shows that consumers still have cause for concern about whether goods will be delivered 1st time, on time and to the right place. Of specific concern is what happens to a parcel if no-one is at home to receive it.
“The last mile and doorstep experience is the most critical part of the online shopping experience and is often the only part of the process where there is any human interaction,” explained Nigel Doust, Blackbay’s CEO. “The performance of the delivery company during this vital stage is inextricably linked to the e-retailer and can play a key role in the consumer’s decision to purchase online again.”
“To ensure that the consumer receives a first class experience, e-retailers and their delivery companies must improve the level of communication with consumers,” commented Sarah Clelland, Marketing Manager, Snow Valley. “Individual parcels need to be tracked through every part of the collection and delivery process. The data captured can be communicated in real-time to the e-retailer, the delivery company and most importantly the consumer.”
Surprisingly, the Home Delivery report shows that only 57% of e-retailers gave their customers access to their delivery company’s tracking information.
“A customer who has purchased online goods from an e-retailer deploying an enterprise mobility solution, can at any given time check the delivery or collection, status of their goods. They always know where their parcel is,” added Doust.
A further 95% of retailers did not provide any kind of pre-delivery text alert to customers giving an expected time delivery slot.
“This simple communication with customers helps to improve their perception of the service they are receiving. Blackbay’s enterprise mobility solutions can be tailored to deliver this option and also allows the delivery agent to offer the option to change the delivery time,” commented Doust.
The Home Delivery report highlights the lack of predictability that consumers are experiencing if they are not at home to accept delivery. There is a lack of uniformity around ‘carded’ deliveries and delivery agents need to understand exactly what they should do in this scenario and how their actions can be communicated to the consumer.
“We placed extra orders during our delivery research this year so we could see what happened when the customer was not at home to receive them. We were really surprised that the experience was so different on each delivery – for a customer it feels as if there is no way of knowing what the driver will do if you aren’t at home,” said Clelland.
Again, Blackbay’s enterprise mobility solutions can be tailored to meet best practice requirements for failed delivery for example, the delivery agent can check if the customer has designated a ‘safe place’ for the goods to be left, and if this is the case the delivery agent can SMS the customer confirming this action has been carried out.
“In order to keep pace with the growing demand for online deliveries, e-retailers must be thinking about how best to retain their existing customers and win new ones. Being able to tell customers that they will always know where their parcels are and when and where they will be delivered is a key differentiator. It’s all about communication. Enterprise mobility solutions enable that communication,” concluded Doust.
To download a copy of the report click here
Blackbay a Positive in Leading Analyst Report
Blackbay, one of the longer-standing independent software vendors in the enterprise mobility marketplace, has been recognised by Gartner with a rating of 'positive' in the 2011 Gartner MarketScope for Packaged Mobile Applications Platforms1.
Demand Drives Expansion In North America
North American market demand for Blackbay's proven software as a service (SaaS) enterprise mobility software solutions, which can be deployed for as little as USmodule per user per day, has led to the company establishing an operations presence in Ohio, USA.Read More...
"The decision to extend our UK, European and Asia Pacific operations into North America, initially within our key business sectors of Field Service and Supply Chain, was driven by our understanding of the importance of meeting the increasing requirement for our mobility solutions with a local presence," said Larry Klimczyk, CEO, Blackbay. "Additionally, Blackbay has a strong financial position which enables us to grasp this growth opportunity firmly with both hands."
Growing Reputation as Market Leader
"The North American interest in our products is a direct result of Blackbay's growing reputation as a leading global provider of robust enterprise mobility solutions that provide real-time visibility of information to and from the field. This delivers a competitive advantage in lowering costs and improving service," continued Klimczyk.
Interest in Blackbay is also driven by its ability to provide a SaaS offering, which enables its products to easily integrate with additional applications such as remote device management, satellite navigation, telematics, route and job scheduling etc.
The features and functionality of Blackbay's solutions are only one of the reasons why it has a proven track record of delivering enterprise solutions to blue chip organisations such as DHL, Royal Mail, Hermes, Dyson, and National Road and Motorists Association (NRMA). What differentiates Blackbay from its perceived competitors is how it has used its extensive industry knowledge and expertise to deliver robust highly scalable solutions.
"Blackbay has tailored its project management methodologies to exactly meet the unique requirements of individual enterprise mobility solutions. Our methodologies, combined with Blackbay's collaborative approach with our customers' project teams, allow us to ensure that we are able to help our customers to meet the objectives of their mobility solution as quickly and easily as possible," explained Klimczyk.
Improved Marketplace for Enterprise Mobility
2009 was a turbulent year for the global economy but there are clear signs that worldwide markets are on the road to recovery. Aberdeen's latest field service survey(i) backs up Blackbay's view that 2010 is set to deliver an improved marketplace for enterprise mobility solution providers. It shows there is an increasing trend towards the deployment of customised solutions rather than mobility development platforms, which often require a higher initial outlay of capital.
"There is a significant amount of interest in the deployment of mobile solutions across the enterprise field service market and our recent research shows that Best-in-Class companies are more than two times as likely to have mobile field service applications in place," states Sumair Dutta, Senior Research Analyst at the Aberdeen Group. "In response to cost, customer satisfaction and productivity pressures, service organisations are not only looking to become more mobile with regards to the purchase of mobile tools, but also with the workflows and processes that can be enabled in the field on a mobile device. Solutions, such as the on-demand offering provided by Blackbay, present evaluating service organisations with an incredible opportunity to empower their field workers and drive needed improvements to productivity and profitability."
Crucially, Blackbay has strong relationships with leading rugged mobile device hardware manufacturers.
"Working closely with Blackbay we are able to ensure that its software integrates with our hardware to deliver proven feature rich solutions that meet the unique mobility needs of our customers. Our continuing relationship with Blackbay has helped us to gain additional market share and will help us to meet the increasing need for mobility solutions across all sectors in the North American marketplace," added Patrick J. Byrne, Intermec President and CEO.
"Blackbay has worked closely with leading market analysts and believes that its SaaS model, combined with the strength of its managed services, available from as little as USmodule per user per day, can help North American companies to invest in enterprise mobility technologies that will deliver significant return on investment," concluded Klimczyk.
(i)Aberdeen Group Field Service Survey June 2009 - Sumair Dutta, Senior Research Analyst
Blackbay Latest Members of IMRG
Blackbay are pleased to announce our support as a listed supplier for the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) online retail delivery initiative, which accredits e-retailers who offer online shoppers superior purchase and delivery processes.Read More...
To support the IMRG in efforts to establish industry best practice in the e-commerce market, we have supported IMRG’s latest research on the Consumer Delivery Experience.
The requirement for retailers to ensure that they offer a high quality delivery service to consumers has been underscored by new research carried out by IMRG and eDigitalResearch and supported by Blackbay.
The annual IMRG Consumer Delivery Report, now in its third year, has revealed that 46.5% of consumers are still influenced on their choice of retailer by the delivery service available.
Nearly 1 in 2 Consumers’ Choice in Retailer Influenced by Delivery Service
The requirement for retailers to ensure that they offer a high quality delivery service to consumers has been underscored by new research carried out by IMRG and eDigitalResearch and supported by Blackbay.Read More...
The annual IMRG Consumer Delivery Report, now in its third year, has revealed that 46.5% of consumers are still influenced on their choice of retailer by the delivery service available.
- Almost half (46.5%) of online shoppers are influenced on their choice of retailer by the delivery service provided
- A significant influence on consumers’ positive perception of a retailers’ delivery offer is the Internet Delivery is Safe (IDIS) icon, up 125% year on year
- The single biggest concern for online shoppers remains the additional cost of home delivery
Andrew Starkey, Delivery Director at IMRG, said: “Delivery is absolutely fundamental to consumer satisfaction, as it is the final step and can convert an otherwise positive shopping experience into a negative one if the retailer’s delivery offer is not clear or provides too few options to the consumer.”
One very encouraging sign from the report is that nearly 25% of respondents said that seeing the IDIS logo on a website has a positive influence on their decision to shop there, a rise of 125% on last year’s report and more than the impact of social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
The biggest worry for online shoppers remains the additional cost of home delivery (concerns being slightly raised when compared with last year) and the risk of failed delivery due to no-one being available to accept the order; although this has improved on last year despite the fact that the percentage of homes likely to be unoccupied during normal delivery hours remains constant at 55%.
Apart from lower delivery costs, the main solutions sought by consumers to make life more convenient and to encourage them to shop online appear to be:
- Specific day and 2-hour timeslot deliveries.
- Improved delivery information; clearly accessible during the product browsing phase, at the time of dispatch and in advance of delivery.
- Improved returns services with access to more drop off and collection options and better information about the ‘return’ in transit and confirmation that the goods have been safely received.
Where Is My Parcel
As the COO you are feeling pretty good about the strides you have made in raw cost, core productivity and service consistency. Your service stats are now consistently above 99%, your operation has a sweet metronomic daily rhythm and you are therefore feeling pretty comfortable and confident in your position.Read More...
Yesterday of the 500000 parcels due for delivery, only 5000 failed and maybe more missed whatever the end customer had got into their minds but was within SLA. Not your problem, you are within contract SLA and budget! Account management and Customer Service need to get their act together to manage the expectations of Clients and Customers; after all they aren’t paying enough for a ‘white glove service’. If only you had better support from your peers.
Frankly, ecommerce and mcommerce have rendered your point of view as old fashioned. Customers and their Clients expect to be treated as if they were your only customer. Your c-suite colleagues are appalled at what they read on the blogs and review sites, even if it is only the exceptions in your defence.
A wise CFO will add up the true failure cost of your easy to manage daily routine: the call centre, the redelivery of all the carded and failed SLA parcels. A wise CEO will sense the damage to Client relationships and understand they will move to the best value supplier that can deliver parcels right first time.
Perhaps feeling aggrieved that solid performance is taken for granted, you can sense the world has changed but how do you move forward, from where your operation is with all its baggage, towards becoming a customer driven business at heart?
(1) Accept the current situation cannot be sustained and build consensus for change
(2) Design an operational way of working as if it was a start-up parcel business, your business
(3) Create the business case for change, work out how to implement it
(4) Define the tools and information you need to run the new operation to show success as well as measure compliance
(5) Lead the change programme with support from your c-suite colleagues
The new operating model is likely to have all the things you have been trained to avoid over the years:
- multiple waves of activity to cover extended hours and redelivery flexibility
- constant rescheduling of the parcels at hand for the most efficient use of labour
- contact with drivers on the road so common sense joint decisions can be made
- real time operational monitoring to drive customer care
- pro-active communication sharing everything to those who might need to know
- easy contact with end customers to allow them to change what they want to happen
- partnerships for alternative delivery locations managing risk vs service for Client
All of this increases obvious costs but will drive down the costs of re-delivery and reactive customer care. Maybe yours will be the first parcel business that is ‘liked’ by its customers?
The relationship with the CIO is key to enabling the new way of working. The CIO is in the unique position of being able to provide the tools you need to be successful in creating this customer centric operation. The trick is in knowing how to get the best out of the CIO and vitally knowing what you need.
If we vision the environment of the new parcel depot, it will be an environment with a buzzing feel, where the manager will be on the shop floor leading from the front: encouraging, coaching, raising standards, instilling pride and care. A wall of the depot will have digital media devices creating the feel of the best call centre. These devices will stream KPIs, escalations, information of all types such as intake statistics. The whole business will feel inside out where the depot is the place to be, where the action happens, no longer at the bottom of the organisational hierarchy diagram. It will be as if the local management had MBO’d the depot and therefore everything matters so much more.
In this information rich depot environment, the CIO needs to provide:
- the base physical infrastructure – high speed, secure for all the private customer data and of course giving full access to the web allowing useful information to be found when required
- instant and precise updates from the road, active parcel scans and embedded GPS tracking
- every conceivable means for Customers to contact your people about their parcel
- smart data routing, getting the information to the right person who can action it
- ‘push’ technology where the necessary information is brought to the attention of those who need it when they need it
- anagement reporting that intelligently uses comparator drivers, routes and depots to suggest performance and compliance issues; sifting from the morass of activity data
visualisation of information in a planned vs actual manner displayed over geographical image linked to real time feeds such as traffic data
and most critically:
A single system application that allows your most critical customer service representative (the driver) to feel empowered and to know what they should do next and where the parcel should go next. This application is of course usually delivered by their hand held terminal.
Scalable, reliable and intuitive
Designed for the Customer Centric parcel business
Proven with the complexity of a network business, but hides it well
Fast and safe to change, protecting service
This ‘what next, where next’ system should be bought and not built. Your CIO should focus on the configuration to your USPs and integration with the customer facing systems, and not engage on an exercise in being expert in solutions that are available from the IT market.
I guess you currently have one of those systems from the ‘Track and Trace’ category, the type that tells you what happened if you have the will to look and piece the information together. That’s probably why you can’t answer the question.
This is the second in a series of articles by Chris Airey, Former HDNL CIO, for Blackbay.
Confidence at the Doorstep
It’s one of those meetings. The courier’s Account Director is shuffling in her seat. Everything she says sounds eminently plausible. However well sugar coated, the message is still one of all the issues, challenges, complexity, and difficulties with consistency, long timescales to implement and train drivers which means the service is what it is, and no one else does it better as they are all at heart white van drivers.Read More...
It’s one of those meetings. The courier’s Account Director is shuffling in her seat. Everything she says sounds eminently plausible. However well sugar coated, the message is still one of all the issues, challenges, complexity, and difficulties with consistency, long timescales to implement and train drivers which means the service is what it is, and no one else does it better as they are all at heart white van drivers.
Then of course the nail in the coffin is delivered, it’s too close to peak to embark on change. If you could roll your own eyeballs any further they may actually start to spin. You know the rest of speech off-pat; you even throw in a few other negatives through gritted teeth and emphasise that Christmas gets followed by Valentines, Mother’s day, Easter, short weeks in May and then the Summer holidays. Sometimes you feel that it’s an industry of “can’t do and won’t do”, and you get pulled in deeper into history lessons as to why things are the way they are.
Maybe that extra sugar in your cup of tea gave you the energy to rile back this time, after all you are the client and the carrier is your supplier who should want and fight for your business. You decide to list out your requirements and give six months’ notice on the contract to the Account Director to get her attention. The right response will be a price offer no doubt as part of the industries commoditisation, but it is no substitute for the increased sales from a delivery and collection service your customers like using. You write the list out for the avoidance of doubt:
If it’s the first time delivering or collecting for us for that customer, we would like a welcome script read.
For certain categories of product we would like your driver to mention the returns policy and provide accurate information as to how to get installation help; so there may be multiple things to say on bigger orders.
For swaps and collections we would like a checklist appropriate to the product confirmed by your driver to ensure they remember to collect items or parts for return, there may even be special instructions for this customer.
For certain customers we would like to have the security digits on the back of the credit card captured or other ID information so we can match it with credit application data. Trust you are PCI compliant?
On a sample basis we would like questions & answers from our marketing team appropriate to the customer captured on the doorstep.
We wish to move away from signature proof of deliveries to one-off barcode proof where we will MMS a 2D or 3D barcode image to our customer’s mobile phone (or email for printing) and your driver will scan from the phone screen. We then know it was really them receiving the correct delivery. It also allows us to trigger payment on delivery.
Initially for Platinum customers, off the beaten track and high query customers we are going to provide them with passive RFID tags to keep by their front door. We wish you to detect these and pass back these ‘scans’ as proof of attendance at the property. We all want to get rid of phantom carding?
We are going to provide an iPhone/iPad application that allows our customers to provide us with a constant GPS tracking stream. This will allow us to forward our customer’s location to your driver when it’s a critical delivery that must happen. You should show the perhaps changing location on the Sat Nav. We also wish your drivers to be able to call the customer but not see their private phone numbers.
When our customer care teams get an update from the customer – we want to push it directly to your driver tagged to the correct parcel record. Preferably we will be able to get replies and answer their questions in an instant messaging style. Once we have that working we will want to allow our customers to message the driver that has their parcel from their iPhone or Android device; all with hidden private data of course.
You have more ideas to drag up customer satisfaction, but that’s a good starting list. Anyway the Account Director is sucking in through her teeth so strongly you are beginning to fear for the oxygen levels in the room. After a long silence followed by a long stream of objections countered by your assertive use of the Kipling Questions, you get to the core of the answer and start having a good conversation with the Account Director. She leaves to take an opportunity back to Head Office; one that will make them the leading customer centric service provider. You hope they can see the benefits of keeping your business and saving millions from the ‘failed delivery’ cards they regularly delivery instead of the parcel.
The answer you gave her is as follows:
Implement a standard system application for your drivers that allows them to access all the information they need to deliver the requirements:
Scripts triggered by data related to the household or parcels
Checklists for Client and parcel content specific process steps
Fast and safe change management capability for Clients to innovate service
Messages and messaging facility linked to the parcel information
This should be designed around an easy to change mobility platform rather than having the ‘rules’ scattered around a number of legacy systems.
Review your IT architecture and most importantly your data architecture for two key things
Stop the sequential daisy chain mind-set of data flows from the Clients web platform through to the Clients fulfilment platform through to FTP through to your core Operational systems through to the Hand Held Terminal. Think about what data really needs to go that way for core volume planning and routing, and what new data can go from the Clients web and Customer Care systems directly to and from the Mobility platform via web services. This is the key to change agility.
Invoice clients based on the activity triggered by the personalised level of service now possible for each parcel.
Embrace consumer IT and messaging that exists outside of corporate IT thinking. It is starting to get embarrassing that the customer receiving the parcel has better tools on their iPhone or Android device than your call centre or drivers. Go hire some teenagers perhaps.
The key is about having an Enterprise Mobility solution that becomes the data and integration hub for managing a configurable and personalised door step experience consistently. The rest is then down to motivating and leading your drivers to offer a compliant, value adding and friendly service now they have everything they need at their fingertips. They become customer service colleagues that are experts at doorstep experience rather than being seen as van drivers being narrowly managed. Which way of thinking will help everyone increase ecommerce sales for all of our benefit?
Rudyard Kipling wrote a short poem outlining a powerful set of questions:
I keep six honest serving men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
Keep asking these questions until you get to the heart of the issue.
Article written by Chris Airey, Director of Vie Solutions & Former CIO at HDNL.
Prior to joining HDNL, Chris was the Group Director of IT Systems for international print and data services firm RR Donnelly covering Europe. Before this, he was on the board of the consulting division of Vertex, responsible for the front-end of engagement, solution design and overall IT strategy.
Chris also has two degrees; a BEng (Hons) in Information Systems Engineering and an MBA.
Resolving the Redelivery Conundrum
Why do consumers agree a time for you to deliver to them – and then seemingly do everything in their power to avoid the delivery person?
What can be done to help the consignment and its destination customer to coincide? Sometimes it seems easier just to send out a whole new consignment than to work with your delivery agent to redeliver the original.Read More...
Why do consumers agree a time for you to deliver to them – and then seemingly do everything in their power to avoid the delivery person?
What can be done to help the consignment and its destination customer to coincide? Sometimes it seems easier just to send out a whole new consignment than to work with your delivery agent to redeliver the original.
There are opportunities to improve at every stage;
- Sending a consignment that won’t be accepted
- Customer not present at time of delivery
- Getting the consignment to the customer second time round
- Learning from experience
The current scenario seems to constantly return suspicion to the delivery person in the eyes of the customers; did he even try to deliver it? Where is the “safe place” he [alledegedly?] left it in?
Thankfully technology is allowing changes to this scenario, allowing the future to be implemented today:
- In scanning a consignment “out for delivery” an error message alerts the operator that there is only 3 boxes in a consignment of 4, so checks can be made before the vehicle leaves the depot with a delivery, that would otherwise be refused.
- With advanced route scheduling, the order of deliveries is recognised and a pre-alert, text or email can be sent to the recipient at a predetermined interval prior to delivery to confirm their availability.
- If, on arrival the recipient is not in, similarly a text or email alert can replace the traditional “delivery card” allowing options to be presented to the absent recipient in real time; “AA Fast Couriers are trying to deliver consignment number 123465 from ABC Corporation, but you are not in. What would you like us to do?
- a) Deliver to your nominated safe place
- b) Divert to your PO Box
- c) Return to depot for you to collect
- d) Try to deliver same time tomorrow - Text your preference to 123 or respond to this email within 2 minutes, otherwise we will try again tomorrow.”
In the worst case, the recipient doesn’t respond and the delivery agent is left with the traditional options – no worse than today - however on receiving a response, the need for a redelivery could well be averted. However, better tools are at hand to support the actions of the delivery agent in either situation;
- The consignment could be left in a safe place - but now the delivery handheld device can be used to photograph the consignment in that location, plus a text description can be added, then both the photo and text can be attached to the scanned consignment reference and all of that information can be stored by the carrier’s database, be sent to the recipient and even to the supplier if required.
- If it is more appropriate to return the consignment to the depot, the handheld device can record this and similarly update all parties, including the delivery database. Following this notification the recipient may have now responded to the failed delivery alert and expressed a preference between requesting redelivery or nominating to collect from the depot.
On arrival at the depot the recipient can show the text or email on their mobile phone screen – allowing easy identification of the consignment, which has been sorted and stored by reference number, rather that the previous haphazard “all failed deliveries” cage or sorted by route, or most recently returned. More detailed and flexible communication is not just good for customer service – it is a key enabler for improved data and consignment management.
Realistically the best way of managing a failed delivery is to avoid the cause of the failure. Every delivery has a significant data associated with it – analysing and interpreting this information will allow future deliveries to be dispatched with greater success. One possible outcome of this experience is finding multiple “failed delivery’ exceptions being entered by one driver within a period of a few seconds. This could show that the driver has already learnt from experience what you are trying to learn from the data – that consignments of a certain type to be delivered to a type of location or at a given time of day are destined to fail – the driver becomes frustrated and begins to give up even trying to deliver those jobs.
Smart delivery software can report exceptions (or failures) by region, by driver, by exception type, by time. It can also show successful deliveries in the same format for comparison. Any patterns which emerge from this analysis are opportunities to minimise “planning to fail”. This can prompt the carrier to change delivery or route scheduling to allow a better match of consignment to a more appropriate time for delivery. Alternatively, it may result in feedback to suppliers, which allows them to agree delivery instructions with their customer which conform to the “successful delivery” profile for that product or recipient type.
In summary, use your tools to plan to succeed; capture all data about each delivery to deliver excellent customer service alongside each consignment and review your performance data to discover opportunities for continuous improvements.
Blackbay Announce New CEO Nigel Doust
As part of its growth strategy Blackbay, a provider of real-time enterprise mobility solutions, has today announced the appointment of enterprise mobility solutions expert Nigel Doust as its new CEO.Read More...
“Despite the prevailing economic climate, Blackbay is experiencing an increase in year-on-year revenue growth. Our strong financial position and excellent pipeline of potential customers, means that now is absolutely the right time to drive the company to the next level of its development, establishing Blackbay as one of the leading enterprise mobility solution experts within the field service, postal and transport and logistics sectors ,” said Avi Azulai, Blackbay’s Chairman. “Nigel is the right person to propel Blackbay forward into a market leading position.”
Doust will take up his position as Blackbay’s CEO in early September and joins the company fresh from his position as Vice President at Sybase where he managed and led the Sybase enterprise mobility business in Europe. Previously, Doust was VP Europe for mobile specialist Pointsec where he drove significant market growth. Doust also served as Vice President World Wide Mobility for Extended Systems, another mobility specialist software company. Again he grew the global business and was instrumental in the sale of Extended Systems to Sybase.
“Nigel brings with him extensive experience of enterprise mobility solutions and strong relationships within the market,” continued Azulai. “Importantly for us, Nigel has already displayed outstanding leadership qualities, combined with the ability to continually strengthen and enhance relationships with existing customers and drive revenue from new customers, and new markets.”
“My position at Blackbay provides me with a fantastic opportunity to take a fast growing company to the top of its market,” explained Doust. “Initially, my focus will be on continuing Blackbay’s commitment to deliver market leading levels of service and support to our existing customers, driving sales, and expanding the company’s operations within the North American enterprise mobility solutions space.”
Doust also plans to work closely with Blackbay’s R&D team to drive investment to further increase the features and functionality of the company’s field service, postal and transport and logistics solutions. “It is increasingly important that Blackbay is able to deliver innovative, highly scalable and integrated solutions which support the needs of our current customers and those of new customers, across multiple platforms,” added Doust.
“With Nigel at the helm, Blackbay will be in the best possible position to grow our enterprise mobility solutions market share and to exceed our revenue expectations,” concluded Azulai.
It is not always easy being green but, it is easier than you think. As we all become increasingly aware of just how potentially fragile our planet is, it remains a frightening fact that businesses of all sizes, across all sectors, continue to view the need to operate a Green business as a ‘nice to do’ rather than a ‘must do’.Read More...
Aberdeen Group’s recent State of the Market 2009 report backs this up by suggesting that operating a Green business takes a back seat to efficiency improvements , cost reductions and improved service delivery. Perhaps in today’s fluctuating economy this is not surprising. However, one third of respondents indicated that efficiency and productivity improvements which could be tied to green IT initiatives would have a significant impact on their companies desire to become more socially responsible from an environmental perspective.
Now, more than ever, it is possible for supply chain organisations to ensure that their operational processes, including those relating to their mobile field workers drive Green business. The key to achieving this is the deployment of enterprise mobility solutions.
Enterprise mobility solutions, when implemented to leverage their full potential deliver increased efficiency and productivity, enhance customer service and reduce operational costs, all of which increase the ever present bottom line.
But what is often not made clear to organisations looking to put a toe in the enterprise mobility marketplace, or even those deploying first generation enterprise mobility solutions, is that these solutions provide a huge opportunity to operate a Green business.
Putting ‘Green’ at the forefront of business
Let’s take a look at a few specifics. The ability to replace paper based mobile workforce management systems with electronic data capture solutions make mobile workers and back office admin employees more efficient and productive.
Mobile workers no longer have to make frequent visits to the main office to collect their paper based work schedules. These are sent directly to their hand held mobile computing devices. They no longer have to manually complete work sheets and return them to the main office where admin staff often struggle to transcribe before manually entering the data, correctly or incorrectly, into the back office systems. The mobile worker simply enters data into the mobile device and it is then sent directly to the back office systems.
The time mobile workers spend on recording their tasks is greatly reduced enabling them to increase the time they can actually spend carrying out tasks. The risk of losing paper based work sheets is eliminated. Admin staff no longer need to input data into back office systems and so are able to concentrate on other perhaps revenue generating areas.
The automatic transfer of data from the field to the back office systems can activate the invoicing process immediately a job is completed, hugely speeding up the time invoices are despatched and helping to reduce the risk of cash flow issues.
Save paper, save trees
As well as achieving all of the above key business benefits, just think of all the pieces of paper that are no longer having to be passed around the office!
Capita, the UK’s leading provider of BPO and integrated professional support services solutions, has deployed a Blackbay solution to improve the TV licensing service it delivers to the BBC. The mobile worker software has enabled Capita to benefit from tangible return on investment (ROI), including the elimination of a staggering 52 tonnes of paper from its operation per year.
But what does a reduction in the amount of paper used within the business world actually mean? Well that’s easy to calculate. Every tonne of paper saved, saves approximately one tonne of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere. The more paper we save, the more trees we save, the more trees we have, the more we reduce CO2. It really is a no-brainer.
Looking to the future, and the likelihood of legislation around offsetting carbon and carbon trading, organisations will be looking to offset their paper usage. If a business using 1 tonne of paper per week needed to offset this, it could cost them approximately £23,830.00 a year! This is without even taking into consideration other CO2 emissions which could increase the cost of offsetting this even more!
Save fuel, reduce CO2, save money
The ability to deploy integrated mobile worker software and GPS navigation software provides another massive opportunity to reduce the amount of fuel used and therefore CO2 emissions. Savings in CO2 not only have huge implications for the environment but also can be translated into hard cash savings through reduced fuel costs.
Navigation software helps to ensure that mobile field workers take the most ‘fuel’ efficient routes to and from jobs. The GPS capability of today’s mobile devices enables mobile workforce managers to allocate their workers on a geographical basis. This visibility of a mobile workforce enables managers to send the nearest worker to the nearest job, once more increasing productivity and reducing the amount of fuel used and the resulting CO2 emissions. Getting mobile workers to the next job as quickly as possible improves customer service.
We have already talked about reducing the need for mobile field workers to travel to and from the main office to collect and return work schedules, but with an enterprise mobility solution there is no longer the need for them to deliver signed collection and delivery notes. Not only is this saving paper and fuel, it again improves customer service. The transfer of electronic signatures (we are all getting used to ‘signing on glass’) from the mobile worker’s hand held device directly to an organisation’s back office system allows customers to speedily track the progress of goods.
In a rather scary way from an environmental perspective, the above examples of Green business may be considered as a ‘by-product’ of the business benefits delivered by enterprise mobility solutions. After all, the research referred to at the beginning of this article shows that Green business is still taking a back seat.
I wonder how long it will be before businesses are deploying enterprise mobility solutions because of their ability to deliver Green business as a ‘must do’ along with increased efficiency, improved service delivery, improved customer service, and a reduction in operational costs?
Implications of Service Management Systems
The subject of integration of service management systems with enterprise-wide solutions and the potential to achieve company-wide benefits is discussed in this month’s main feature.Read More...
An enquiry from a reader of Service Management emphasised how field service suppliers are becoming more aware of the possibilities provided by technology and are increasingly discussing the advantages of integrating their service management systems with other solutions.
This question was passed to the industry’s suppliers and their response provides food for thought in a number of areas.Ian Evans, Astea International managing director, EMEA, said few would argue that integrating service management software with enterprise systems can deliver many benefits.
‘But while the big ERP players appear to provide integrated packages, these are often ‘one-size-fits-all’ and fall short of meeting organisations’ specific objectives,’ he said. ‘Solutions from niche SM vendors contain greater functionality and flexibility in accommodating current and future needs, but can be too specific to meet wider business objectives.’
Evans highlighted the trend for suppliers to collaborate with complementary vendors to create ‘pre-integrated’ solutions. ‘Technologies based on service orientated architecture (SOA), and standardisation of platforms has accelerated this shift, as software can now be integrated easier than ever before,’ he said.
The current shift in integration is two-fold, he summarised, with service management systems becoming easier to integrate through vendors undertaking the work involved. ‘Ultimately this means that an organisation now requires fewer integration points for each software implementation, thus freeing up resources to focus on strategy, driving efficiencies and maximising profitability,’ he said.
Mobile Direct Access
Clive Fearn, The Barcode Warehouse marketing director explained how enterprise mobility software companies have developed solutions that integrate directly into ERP systems, allowing mobile direct access to SAP stock records in the field.
‘When items were sold from vans and once the screen was signed, the stock in the vehicle was down dated, allowing the invoice for the items to be generated in the field,’ he said. Other areas include CRM data capture software running on mobile devices deployed by sales agents, Fearn continued. The agents capture information into electronic forms and the data is automatically transmitted to the back office system.
With deployments frequently carried out by enterprise mobility solution providers, service companies looking to integrate a similar system are able to establish if it had been integrated before and by whom. ‘This knowledge enables service companies to feel confident that a successful deployment is possible and can help to deliver significant ROI,’ said Fearn.
Integrated Service Management & Mobility
Larry Klimczyk, Blackbay chief executive officer stated that integration of mobility software solutions with service management systems, ERP or CRM systems is key to the successful deployment of enterprise mobility solutions providing access to obtain information from, and input data to them all.
Read the Full Article - http://www.servicemanagement365.com/Service_Management_Software/Article415185.aspx
One Tonne of Paper Saved Per Week
Field Officers increase number of visits made and increase number of licences sold, volume of paper work reduced by 1 tonne per week, 80% reduction in number of internal support calls.Read More...
London, 13 April 2010 - Capita Business Services run the majority of the administration and collection of TV Licensing, including the field force of Enquiry Officers. Capita has completed a project working with Global IT Service Provider CSC to deploy Blackbay’s Service Connect mobile worker software as a key component of an enterprise mobility solution to enhance the service it delivers to the BBC. The mobile data capture technology has also enabled Capita to benefit from tangible return on investment (ROI), including the elimination of one tonne of paper per week from its operation.
“Deployment of Service Connect, which runs on Motorola MC70 hand held computers, has led to Capita’s TV Licensing field operations staff increasing the number of visits they are able to complete in a day, to both private and commercial premises resulting in an increase in licence fees being collected. Our operations staff have less paperwork to deal with which has in turn significantly reduced time spent on administrative tasks by the field officers,” commented Colin Jones, Capita’s TV Licensing Field Operations Director. “Our staff quickly accepted the mobile data capture solution, which has, as far as possible, replaced our paper based systems. Many have said that they wouldn’t want to return to the old paper process.”
With over 1,200 employees working on the contract Capita’s role includes processing queries, applications and payments and maintaining an accurate licence database which identifies those addresses which are unlicensed. Capita’s TV Licensing field force of enquiry officers are expecting to complete circa 4 million visits to unlicensed premises this financial year.
“Capita wanted the mobility solution to deliver real-time visibility of its field operations staff, cut the high level of manual processes they had to carry out, replace the existing paper based system to help improve staff self efficiency, increase manager efficiency and reduce back office workload and costs” stated Larry Klimczyk, CEO, Blackbay.
Paper Based Systems Out, Mobility Solution In.
Capita’s paper based system has been replaced with work schedules being sent electronically to its field staff rather than being posted. The schedules include all relevant details of the individual or premises to be visited including past visit history. Previously records of field activity would not be available for up to 4 weeks. These are now available in minutes. Visit results and timesheet data are now automatically sent from the MC70 to Capita’s back office systems instead of being recorded manually and put in the post.
“CSC, who are leading the overall project to deliver a complete enterprise mobility solution to us, working with Blackbay and Motorola have clearly met our objectives on this project” explained Jones.
“It was necessary for Blackbay and Motorola to develop an innovative solution to meet Capita’s TV Licensing unique requirements, to meet the needs of the complexity of its business processes and the volume of data to be captured from circa 4 million visits this year. The ability to collect this much data, store it and then access it on the MC70 was a unique challenge. Our long standing partnership with Blackbay enabled us to draw on the experiences of our strong customer base already deploying our integrated solution,” said Eamon Lyons, Account Executive at CSC.
Increase in Efficiency and Reduction in Cost.
The self sufficiency of Capita’s TV Licensing field staff has increased through the automatic removal of cancelled visits from their schedules and the ability to query the licence status of a property directly with the central database.
Manager efficiency has been increased through automated reporting for teams and officers and the real-time visibility of Capita’s TV Licensing field staff allows managers to balance work load by re-assigning visits as appropriate.
An 80% reduction in the number of calls to the support team to check address/licence enquiries has helped to cut back office workload and costs with less data input having to be carried out. Previously the call centre was handling between 25,000 and 30,000 calls per month; this has now decreased to 4,000 to 5,000 calls per month.
“We can now produce reports around visits made and the resulting actions which have improved our ability to meet our service level agreements (SLA’s) with the BBC,” added Jones.
“From a financial perspective, the solution has had a positive impact on the cost of the field force. The impact on the environment has been positive as the reduction of the usage of paper in the system has led to us eliminating the use of over one tonne of paper per week,” concluded Jones.
Blackbay Awarded Motorola ISV of the Year
Blackbay was recently selected by Motorola Enterprise Mobility as the 2009 Australia/New Zealand Independent Software Vendor (ISV) of the year. Blackbay was chosen for the third year running based on its ability to provide market-leading solutions in partnership with Motorola. Blackbay and Motorola’s largest clients in ANZ include Australia Post and Australian Air Express with over 10,000 users throughout Australia.Read More...
Microsoft Gold Certification with Mobility Competency
This announcement follows Blackbay's continued success with market leaders in the mobility space. Blackbay has recently achieved Microsoft Gold Certification with mobility competency for the fourth year running and continues to participate as an active member on the Microsoft Windows Mobile Advisory Council.