Royal Mail tests real-time delivery tracking?

Royal Mail is said to have run a real time tracking pilot in December. The Tamebay blog reports that a reader of theirs said that the national postal operator had GPS tracking on their parcels.

Tamebay looked into this report and contacted Royal Mail who released a statement saying, “We ran a very small trial in November and December among a group of volunteer recipients and postmen/women on selected delivery routes. Participants in the trial received SMS/email notifications on the day of delivery of Tracked 24 and 48 parcels with 2D barcodes, linking to a live map of their delivery route.

The statement concluded, “A position in the delivery queue was given eg, ‘we are 5 deliveries away’. However, no estimated delivery window was provided. Participants could follow their delivery in real time, allowing them to plan their day in the knowledge that they had visibility of when the delivery would be made. This was small trial. The results are not yet available and we have no current plans to roll it out further.”

Current tracking systems are based on reports from systems that will often tell the customer that the item is due for delivery that day, but other than DPD will not give a very narrow time window. The idea that GPS enabled tags could be put on Royal Mail parcels and a live feed be given to customers would be ground breaking and quite disruptive to the marketplace. Customers could get a very good idea as to when their goods will be delivered and this would feed back into the delivery chain so with more customers being home for a narrow timeframe, fewer parcels would go back into the loop.
 
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