13 November 2020

Latvijas Pasts launches modern processing and sorting equipment

Twice as many items will be processed twice as fast

Latvijas Pasts has launched the first fully automated item weighing, scanning, measuring and sorting equipment, concluding the implementation of the company’s most ambitious investment project in recent years. As elsewhere in the world, the amount of traditional postal items in Latvia is decreasing significantly, but due to the rapid development of e-commerce and the growing opportunities for distance shopping, the share of small packets and parcels is increasing. With the help of artificial intelligence the new line will allow efficient processing of all types of postal items, being able to sort up to 6,000 units of items per hour and ensure twice as fast processing of twice as many items overall using the existing labour resources.

The global experience of postal service providers shows that customers want the interval between the purchase of a product and its receipt to be as short as possible. At the same time the availability of labour resources for simple tasks such as item processing and sorting is decreasing. In order to tackle these challenges and provide services in accordance with modern consumer habits, Latvijas Pasts has implemented the company’s most ambitious modernisation project in recent years, having purchased modern and efficient equipment for weighing, scanning, measuring and sorting items as part of the project. With the help of artificial intelligence it will ensure high-quality processing of items, faster circulation and more accurate billing data, providing detailed information on the size and weight of items.

“The purchase of the new sorting equipment is an important step to provide the population of Latvia with convenient postal services which meet the demand. Targeted, systemic development is the only way to be successful in an increasingly competitive environment. This is important both for Latvijas Pasts and in the context of modernisation of the country’s overall communication infrastructure,” Tālis Linkaits, Minister of Transport, points out.

Digitisation and e-commerce are key concepts that have transformed the postal sector and posed new challenges. “Revolutionary change in the sphere of technology has substantially altered the global postal industry. Ten years ago traditional postal items, such as letters, accounted for the largest share of our services, but with the rapid growth of e-commerce and shopping on various online trading platforms the functionality of postal establishments and the range of services offered have also changed rapidly in recent years. Data exchange, processing and delivery speed as well as diversity of item delivery locations are basic demands of a contemporary consumer. In order to meet such demands, human resources alone are no longer enough – significant presence of artificial intelligence is required,” Mārcis Vilcāns, Chairman of the Board of Latvijas Pasts, emphasises.

According to the head of the company, the sorting equipment incorporates the latest and most modern technology – the artificial intelligence, which learns every day when using the equipment. Namely, the more items the equipment sorts, the better it recognises various labels and their placement on the items as well as the ways in which people tend to write down addresses.

One of the most significant benefits is that the new sorting equipment will substantially reduce the time and human resources required to fulfil a particular task. Consequently, Latvijas Pasts will not depend on the availability of these resources in situations where air traffic is uneven and due to a larger amount of inbound items the existing resources may not be sufficient to sort such items within the quality standards and additional labour must be engaged, but only temporarily. With the existing labour resources, the new equipment will be able to handle twice as many items twice as fast.

The new equipment has other valuable functions too. For example, with its help Latvijas Pasts will be able to provide new additional services within the flow of transit items from China as well as to improve the quality of parcel locker network operation and delivery time.

The parcel processing and sorting line is the largest investment project of Latvijas Pasts in recent years. Its principal manufacturer is BlueCrest, one of the world’s leading developers of postal item processing and service equipment and solutions. The investment in the equipment amounts to EUR 4 million.

Latvijas Pasts continues to implement targeted modernisation projects: in the coming years it is planned to supplement and improve the parcel locker network, to automate and modernise customer care and service sales processes in post offices as well as to provide automated transportation solutions in the item processing and sorting centre, connecting various item processing locations as efficiently as possible.

Source: Latvijas Pasts