How AI is Reshaping Mail and Postal Delivery

Accenture study finds AI is having a drastic impact on how your post is delivered

Post offices are often at the forefront of new technology, as developing efficient systems for delivering mail is essential for keeping costs down for users. Computer systems, in particular, hold tremendous potential for scanning and routing mail, allowing post offices to lower costs.

Accenture has released a report, entitled “The New Delivery Paradigm,” that examines 25 post offices through Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific. For an average post and parcel industry, the analysis reveals that $500 million per year in value is possible through investment in advanced digital technologies. Increased competition and lower demand for mail is placing pressure on many post offices, but new investment could help cut costs, particularly when it comes to handling the so-called “last mile” of delivery.

Some of the technologies discussed by Accenture include artificial intelligence, connected vehicles and lockers, digital warehouses, and robotic process automation. Digital technology can lead to faster and more reliable delivery services, and it can bridge the gap between current post offices operating with last-century technology and what customers expect in the modern world. The always-connected world has changed how customers relate to businesses, and post offices can benefit by functioning more like their private-sector counterparts.

Potential areas for investment include digital marketing to reach a broader audience. Modern sales paradigms can help, as can 24-hour chatbots, which provide convenient customer service at a lower price point. Online loyalty programs, popular among online retailers and other companies, can help to build and maintain the sizable customer base post offices need to bring in reliable revenue.

Robotics can also have a transformative effect. While automation has long played a role in post offices, advanced robotics can lead to ever faster and more accurate sorting. The US Postal Service is using new technology that lets artificial intelligence at access points weight, collect, and price mail, while post office warehouses in the Netherlands are relying on guided vehicles and robotics to move parcels. The report also discusses augmented reality, which can help those working in post offices to receive real-time information and operate more efficiently.

More findings from the report are explained in this slideshow