• Panasonic Built to Deliver Whitepaper: Addressing the challenges of the European postal and logistics industry with rugged mobile computing

Foreword

With the explosion of ecommerce, the pressures on the postal and logistics industry and its workforce are increasing.

Online sales across Europe amounted to €232.6 billion in 2016 and are expected to rise by 94% to €450.2 billion by 2021 – a compound annual growth rate of 14%. This change in business and consumer buying habits has had a massive impact on the postal and delivery industry, with a 69% increase in European parcel deliveries forecast by 2021.

With this increased workload has come an urgency to find new, more efficient and effective ways of working, as the technology infrastructure and the workforce struggle under the strain. And there can be no doubt that there is strain. 

Our own commissioned independent research has shown that 60% of workers from the delivery, warehouse and logistics industry feel their mobile barcode scanner device is only fairly effective or not effective at all.

These devices are already being used to scan an average of 197 times per day and workers predict year-on-year growth of 24%.

The dramatic increase in workload – combined with outdated technology – is also having an impact on workforce health.

More than 60% reported suffering from wrist or arm aches and pains, with 69% forced to take time off for an average of 2.75 sick days in the past 12 months. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) also affected 52% of the workforce, with 78% of those affected having to take an average of 3 sick days in the past 12 months.

To successfully grow to cater for the increased demand across Europe, postal and logistics businesses should examine their use of mobile computing solutions.

The latest hardware, combined with specialist software solutions, can keep their organisation at the forefront of the delivery revolution.

This whitepaper aims to show just how technology can deliver for the industry, and how forward-thinking European businesses are already adopting these solutions successfully to ensure they are efficient and keeping their workforce healthy.

Jan Kaempfer
General Manager for Marketing
at Panasonic Computer Product Solutions

The delivery challenge

The ‘last mile’ of the delivery service has become a key differentiator in the buying process, and as consumers gravitate towards home delivery, the industry faces unprecedented growth in demand but shortfall in resources. Reducing repeat deliveries while improving ‘delivery in full, on time’ (DIFOT) will significantly benefit all parties.

Additionally, embracing new technology specifically designed for these processes will unlock performance gains. For example, logistics and delivery employees say the pressures of work coupled with poorly designed mobile barcode scanners are affecting their productivity.

 

Device issues

The top device design complaints from the workforce are:

Failed electronic signature capture is also reported as a productivity drag, with workers witnessing an electronic signature capture failure once every two days.

The top three suggestions to improve barcode scanning and signature capture are:

The impact on health

The design of many barcode scanners and the increased demands for scanning are also having an impact on workers’ health.

Major health and productivity improvements from design changes

Workers unhappy with their mobile devices reported that significant productivity improvements could be made by incorporating certain recommended design changes.

Panasonic rugged handhelds – designed to deliver

Engineered to address workers’ feedback and meet the needs of the postal and delivery industry, Panasonic has developed the slim and lightweight 4.7” Toughpad FZ-N1 rugged handheld.

The Android™ 6.0 device, with the rear-angled barcode reader, is one of the thinnest and most lightweight tablets in the category.

This device offers the same unique features, including a rear-angled barcode reader to protect users from repetitive strain while enhancing productivity, and an optional passive and active pen for precise handwriting and signature capture.

It combines the best of handheld, smartphone and barcode reader functionality in a single rugged and hardworking 4.7” tablet. And thanks to its fully-rugged design – MILSTD-

810G certification, IP68 rating, 1.8-metre drop resistance and the ability to withstand as many as 1,000 tumbles from a height of 1 metre – each device delivers a long-life span and very low TCO.

User-replaceable and warmswappable batteries combined with a range of accessories such as carry and mounting solutions, make it a truly mobile device. It is powered by a state-of-the-art Qualcomm® quadcore processor, together with 2GB RAM, guaranteeing high performance.

A secret ingredient for success

While choice of technology is key to optimising important areas of the logistics process, clearly integrating processes into a cohesive whole and bridging information siloes will further transform any business.

With current demand for increased service levels, reduced delivery windows, and the ability to modify delivery choices en-route, real-time visibility and an agile process execution layer are also fundamental to any company looking to thrive.

Panasonic recognises this and has recently strengthened the breadth of its business solutions for the postal and logistics industry. How?

With the acquisition of Zetes. Zetes is an innovative technology company helping businesses achieve agility, visibility and traceability across their end-to-end connected supply chain. What does this mean for postal and logistics companies? Faster and more accurate process execution with real-time insight and control.

The powerful fusion of Panasonic and Zetes was recently demonstrated when ZetesChronos and the Toughpad FZ-N1 were deployed in unity for Post NL. ZetesChronos is high-performance electronic proof-of-delivery software which helps control and improve collection, delivery and related management processes.

It connects drivers, back-office workers and logistics management to provide real-time visibility on goods, vehicles and returnable assets. This ensures perfect delivery, every time, and offers customers visibility on the status of their shipments.

Parcel delivery giant transforms operations with Panasonic

PostNL chooses Panasonic handhelds for their scanning speed, long battery life and angled barcode scanner.

Panasonic has signed an agreement with PostNL – the largest parcel delivery company in Benelux – for almost 5,000 rugged Toughpad FZ-N1 handhelds. Using these new devices, installed with ZetesChronos software, PostNL plans to offer customers improved real-time tracking of their deliveries, from sorting centers to delivery address.

Various devices were field tested by PostNL employees during the selection process. Taking into account their feedback, the company chose the Toughbook FZ-N1 handheld. Some of the most important factors in determining the choice were scanning speed, long battery life and durability, but in particular its ergonomic design and angled barcode scanner.