Monday, May 26, 2008

Boosting services with the latest technology

Yayat Suryadi is fed up with one particular courier company because for the past three months the late delivery of his credit card statements has meant he has been charged a late payment fee on his two credit cards. "My main complaint is that the billing statements always arrive much later than the cards' due payment date," said the employee of a state-owned enterprise.

To avoid similar problems, many courier services make available information on the status of their deliveries on their websites. Some also inform customers via cell phone text message or multi-message service.

This system was first introduced here by Caraka Groups, which consists of Caraka Logistics and Distribution (for domestic services) and City Courier. The service is called the Caraka Image Tracking alias C-IT. Hence, customers need not be confused or keep asking questions as to whether their consignments have been delivered because monitoring is made easy, especially during delivery time.

Using a simple technology based on a particular software and a Nokia 6670 cell phone that incorporates the Symbian system, Caraka couriers are required to take a photo of a delivery being made. The photo is sent to the cell phone of the consignment sender and includes delivery date, the recipient's name and other relevant delivery information. "This way our customers feel confident about the delivery," said director of PT Mitrapiranti Usaha (Caraka City Courier) Rocky Pesik.

Other courier companies also apply similar tracking systems, made possible with the rapid development of the Internet and cell phone technology. CV Titipan Kilat (TIKI) Bandung, one of the country's oldest courier companies that was established in 1973, also makes use of technology. To disseminate complete information on TIKI's service, one simply has to check its website.

The tracking system of courier and cargo services have become a must for accurate information on a consignment's position. DHL, the world leader in international express courier and freight services, has for some time applied the system. Indeed DHL leads in land and air freight as well as sea freight and logistics.

DHL has developed a powerful yet simple tool using your email system to track express shipments and bring you the latest shipment delivery information. DHL eTrack can track up to 50 airway bills at one time and operates on any email-enabled device, whether it be a PC, mobile phone or handheld device.

Customers can track their consignments by using the airway bill number. The company was established by Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn in 1969 and it guarantees that should one forget their airway bill number, the shipper reference can still be used.

DHL also provides a convenient online SREF Tracking. However, should a customer encounter a problem then there is always the company's customer service. Besides using the company's website, a customer can also use a cell phone with the WAP facility to activate the mobile tracking. Realizing that not every cell phone incorporates the WAP facility, DHL has developed a much more simple tracking system via DHL ExpresSMS, that is using an SMS.

Judging by the emergence of a number of new players, the courier business in Indonesia has grown rapidly over recent years and does indeed have promising prospects. In developed countries the courier service accounts for about 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Here, similarly the courier and logistics business is about Rp 376 trillion, which is 10 percent of the country's GDP.

With such fantastic figures it is only natural that competition is tight among domestic and foreign-based companies. It seems that companies that provide the best IT facilities can provide the best services to their customers and thereby win their patronage.

GPS technology, for example, facilitates courier and cargo companies in using their tracking systems. GPS is a satellite-based navigation system that provides accurate information on the position of couriers. Meanwhile, Web-based mapping enables couriers to navigate their route. Other systems used are GSM, GPRS, and CDMA incorporated in cell phones, PDAs and other devices.

So, courier and cargo service, from the smallest document to a jumbo package is no longer a simple delivering service. It is a quality and professional service that involves, among other things, speed in delivery that includes safety. However, more than the excellent service provided by using sophisticated technology, courier companies are in fact providers of various solutions, from express delivery to chain supply management. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, May 25, 2008

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