RealTime IT News

Australia Post Moves Online

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] Australia Post has announced its e-commerce strategy, supported by a package of electronic commerce services for business and consumers.

The services provide an integrated Internet-based solution to warehousing, fulfilment, delivery, billing and payment needs, with particular application to e-tailing.

The key to the logistic arrangements is POSTeDeliver, an "electronic spinal cord" developed by Australia Post which links the World Wide Web, consumers and retailers to Australia Post's management and delivery systems.

The services, which underwent trials began with POSTlogistics, a service which provides a full range of warehousing and fulfilment facilities, including inventory management, pick-pack-and-dispatch, returns processing and cross-docking capabilities for both traditional and on-line retailers servicing national and international markets.

POST eParcels is the second initiative, integrating the placement of orders with their preparation, lodgment and tracking through to signature on delivery, including an after-hours service, while POSTbillpay complements Australia Post's existing billing services by enabling online bill payment services.

For security conscious online shoppers, Australia Post has introduced a service called Pay it at POST, whereby customers can buy goods online but pay for them at their local postal outlet.

The suite of services also offers real-time information on orders, inventory, deliveries and bill generation, collection and remittance to meet the needs of both small and large companies, in particular opening new opportunities for businesses in regional Australia and their customers everywhere.

Australia Post's "electronic spinal cord" has been developed over 18 months under licence from the USA computer company, InterWorld. "This is a further important step in Australia Post's evolution," managing director Graeme John said. "We're using the Internet to offer companies access to seamless and integrated services, reducing their costs and opening up new opportunities.

"With this suite of services Australia Post has decisively entered the online economy and is now set to become a significant player as it develops in Australia."

Mr. John said that Australia Post had not lost sight of the fact that its core mail business remains vitally important to commerce in Australia.

"After an investment of $500 million, we now have one of the most advanced mail processing systems anywhere, using optical readers, computers and bar code technology to lift efficiencies," he said. "It will effectively meet the nation's mail needs in the foreseeable future."

Australia Post's move to secure leadership in the sector has been endorsed by a KPMG Consulting survey of Australia's major e-tailing businesses. The survey shows critical success factors in e-fulfilment include local and national distribution capabilities, a strong brick and mortar presence to manage return orders, capability to track inventory in supply chain, economies of scale and a flexible service.