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Royal Mail acquires cloud platform

Royal Mail acquires cloud-based delivery company as automation and better use of data become essential in a rapidly changing sector

Royal Mail has acquired cloud capabilities through its purchase of shipping and parcel data management company NetDespatch.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, will see NetDespatch operate as a standalone subsidiary.

NetDespatch has in excess of 100,000 businesses customers in more than 100 countries. The cloud-based platform enables order delivery data to be automatically transferred from a retailer’s system to its chosen carrier. Other processes are automated and data is collected and acted upon.

“Our aim is to make what is a relatively complex process simple, delivering improvements and savings to everyone in the supply chain, from retailer to carrier to consumer,” said Matthew Robertson, commercial director at NetDespatch. “E-commerce is exploding in the run-up to Christmas, and we expect to continue to steam ahead in 2016 and beyond.”

Royal Mail said the takeover would boost its e-commerce credentials.

“It allows customers with complex IT estates to integrate with us quickly and with the minimum of effort, allowing them to improve the service they offer to shoppers,” said Nick Landon, managing director at Royal Mail Parcels.

Logistics companies are increasingly investing in their e-commerce capabilities. In a September 2015 report, Accenture said delivery companies must change if they are to share in a global sector that will grow by 9% annually to more than $343bn by 2020.

“As postal organisations around the world continue to face revenue challenges created by dramatically reduced mail volumes, focusing on competitive parcel delivery products, services and supply chains will help close the revenue gap,” said Accenture.

Read more about IT in the logistics industry

Singapore Post is a good example. The organisation has 60 branches across Singapore and has provided postal services to the city-state for almost 200 years, but a few years ago the organisation faced a choice if it wanted to survive much longer.

With reduced demand for postal services in the digital age, the organisation had to make a decision about its future direction. It decided to become an e-commerce platform, supporting businesses with white label services across South East Asia.

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