Australian Post - why are we doing their job?
I have a problem
My issue concerns automation and human-based services. The Australian postal service was originally based on the daily delivery of mail, however, with email and automated billing fewer mail is delivered. So the efficiency of maintaining a full fleet of mail persons is questioned - fewer posties are required.
However, corresponding automation of delivery has occurred - that is buying consumable products through online services such as Amazon. Online services require fewer retail staff, however, they need people to deliver the order to complete the order.
My problem is that we (the customer) are using our resources to complete the transaction. Both companies are relying on our time and cost to complete the transaction.
In Australia much of the online delivery is achieved by the Australian Postal services, however, the manual delivery method hasn't much changed to accommodate online orders. There are perhaps more delivery vans than ever before and fewer mail bikes, however, logistical timing has not changed. Delivery is still restricted form 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Delivery occurs within the hours when the bulk of customers are at work. If the parcel is left at the door the risk of theft is high - so more people have door security cameras (user cost). If a notification of parcel pickup occurs the time of pickup is also when most are at work. There is no online interface to the cardboard notification. So then the cost of transportation becomes the user cost.
I like many people-users become frustrated by this catch-22 cycle to have ordered a product online to then have to find the time to pick-up the product. The national collective impact on productivity needs some research. When I go to pick up I often stand in queues (my time and perhaps even work time).
Overall, this failure to make the transaction as intended almost removes the purpose of having an automated service. If convenience is one of the essential drives of automation the delivery service is not meeting the efficiency intention.
So my question is - Why have drivers deliver products when a high percentage of drop-off customers are not at home to accept the transaction?
I believe that the current delivery service has built-in people-based problems. So my solution is to identify the best times for drop off and best times for pickup. Customer service research is required by the Australian Post to enable proper automation. My gut feeling is that the 9:00 am to 5:00 pm service is not user-friendly, however, a 5:00 am to 9:00 am and a 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm could be.