Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) is the world’s leading logistics company, and its German Post & Parcel division is DPDHL Europe’s largest postal company. Its unique nationwide transport and delivery network includes more than 118,600 couriers who deliver nearly 49 million letters and 5.9 million parcels across Germany every business day. Yet, couriers were finding it difficult to manage their delivery processes using the consumer smartphones and enterprise devices previously deployed. And DPDHL’s in-house software system was falling a bit short of original expectations. So, DPDHL called Zebra and third-party integrator Prograt-IS for help.
Delivering a Better Experience to Couriers – and IT
The primary goal was to help increase the efficiency of mail and parcel couriers with mobile technology. However, the couriers wouldn’t be the only ones impacted. DPDHL also wanted to provide relief to the IT teams responsible for rolling out and managing the new mobility solution. In turn, it heavily weighed the Professional Services offerings of several technology providers.
‘This deployment was all about the service element,’ said Dominik Schmidt, CEO of Prograt-IS, in a recent post-deployment debrief. ‘Although the functionality, performance and reliability of the devices and software were important for DPDHL, the company also wanted a complete services and support package to ensure the long-term success of its investment. That’s why it ultimately chose Zebra.’
After DPDHL selected Zebra’s TC57 touch computers, several Zebra Professional Services offerings, and an in-house software solution, the Zebra team enlisted the support of Prograt-IS (formerly MigratIS) during the transition and rollout stages across 4,500 depots in Germany. The Zebra team led all planning and the Prograt-IS team helped to manage each key action. Together, they successfully delivered numerous pre-launch workshops in addition to other project deliverables, including a bespoke DPDHL web-based application so all stakeholders could follow the deployment progress in real time. Ultimately, the seamless roll-out was completed three months ahead of schedule.
Why the Implementation Was So Efficient and the Solution Has Since Proved Effective
Before the deployment, Zebra’s Professional Services team developed Intelligent Cabinets based on DPDHL’s strict requirements. Zebra’s Professional Services consultants worked with the DPDHL software development team to customise the Android™ operating system (OS) running on the TC57 touch computers. Once DPDHL was ready to roll out the devices, the Zebra Professional Services team managed the on-site device commissioning process while the Zebra Learning Services team followed on with personalised user training to drive rapid adoption of the devices.
Thanks to this highly tailored and well-coordinated effort, the entire process took just seven months which was less time than expected!
Zebra’s support for DPDHL is far from over, though, as the customised enterprise mobility solution and management strategy includes everything from device staging to end-of-life actions.
For example, the TC57s include Zebra Mobility DNA enterprise applications to give DPDHL enhanced management, productivity, integration and app development capabilities. DPDHL also subscribed to the Zebra OneCare™ maintenance program for technology support and comprehensive repair coverage and is leveraging Zebra’s Circular Economy Programme to decommission the devices formerly used by DPDHL. Defective devices are disposed of in an environmentally friendly way, while Zebra is refurbishing those still operational for potential reuse. This process will continue with the currently deployed generation of devices as they approach end of life, even though that will be several years down the line.
The Takeaway: ‘Service Quality Always Matters’
Today, all Deutsche Post mail and parcel couriers exclusively use Zebra TC57s to manage the delivery process – from accessing schedules to scanning items. They also take photos in case a customer later reports a damaged item and capture customers’ electronic signatures indicating receipt when permitted. This is a big deal considering the liability and accountability placed on couriers to get packages to customers on time and intact.
‘We have received excellent feedback from the end users about the devices’ ease of use and reliability,’ Schmidt added. ‘Of course, IT has been exceptionally pleased as well. It’s why there are over 100,000 now deployed in the field.’
The responsiveness of the Zebra and Prograt-IS teams and collaborative service experience enabled us to understand exactly what the customer wanted and deliver it, ahead of schedule, no less. I know my colleagues have said this before, but it’s so important to approach each technology project with a fresh slate. You can use key learnings and best practices acquired from previous initiatives to inform your strategy and guide execution. However, there is no such thing as ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to technology implementations. The only thing that will indeed benefit all of you reading this, regardless of your industry, organisation size or technology ambition, is a Professional Services consultation.
Even if you think you have everything mapped out brilliantly, a second expert opinion will never hurt. With a bit of scrutiny, the technology pros can either confirm you’ve got every detail covered or provide recommendations on a few changes that will personally cover you. It is a Professional Services consultant’s job to make sure you don’t lose your job because of an oversight or mistake that leads to larger-scale project failures down the line.
If you don’t believe me, read this:
Secrets to a Smooth System Migration: A Step-by-Step Guide for All Technology Owners, Operators and Overseers
These insights are also very enlightening:
And if you’re interested in learning more about Zebra’s Professional Services offerings, you can check out these resources.
You can learn more about DPDHL’s deployment by reading this full success story.