Located in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, Here East is an innovation and technology campus that covers over one million square feet of space. Comprised of dedicated and versatile working spaces for creative and digital companies – including Neopost – along with canal-side cafes, shops and restaurants, Here East occupies the site of the former Olympic Press and Broadcast Centre.
The resident businesses and their respective employees will receive thousands of mail items each month. Incoming mail is delivered to three central security areas, where time-consuming manual processes were being used to distribute items and log collections.
Here East implemented a test of Neopost’s WTS (Web Tracking System) in the Press Centre. Neopost’s WTS enables organisations to automate and manage the handling of mail and other items. Whether by tracking the chain of custody of inbound packages, or managing the whereabouts of physical assets, WTS is designed to provide greater efficiency, visibility and accountability.
With WTS in place, Here East was able to automate the scanning, tracking and notifying processes related to inbound items, saving hours of time per week.
Although Neopost happens to be located at Here East, the same level of assistance and support was provided as would be to any customer. The WTS trial was implemented and fully utilized within a week, with modifications rapidly addressed by Neopost during the process.
Real-time parcel tracking at Here East
Here East is a vibrant and rapidly growing community in East London. Being located at what was the press and broadcast centres for the London 2012 Olympic Games, the site is modern and highly connected – both in terms of power and fibre networks – making it a popular choice for innovative and disruptive companies in the technology, media and creative industries. Indeed, Neopost itself decided to relocate its UK headquarters there in late 2018. Due to the amount and diversity of the individual businesses located there, Here East receives a high volume and wide variety of incoming mail items. All of these must be received and processed before securely finding their way to the right person; no small task for those involved.
As with many office locations, incoming mail items at Here East are handled centrally before being distributed to their end recipients. There are already multiple businesses letting space on the campus, including BT Sport, Ford and Loughborough University London, with as many as 4,000 people on the campus each day – a number that will rise as additional firms fill up the remaining space.
Jake Ellis, Property & Infrastructure Manager at Here East says that thousands of packages and parcels are received on campus each month, many of which are urgent.
“Due to having universities, fashion retailers, design and tech start ups on campus, we’re taking delivery of important things like printed models, textiles and other prototypes that people around campus will be waiting on,” said Jake.
Historically, items have been sorted by hand, and a nominated contact at the tenant businesses would be manually notified that a package is available for collection at the loading bays. “Packages are arriving all the time,” continues Jake. “Over the course of a week it’s going to take hours of time to sort through packages and make the necessary notifications. We don’t want to cause any hold ups for our tenants, plus we only have limited space in our loading bays – we need to keep a constant flow of items passing through.”
Here East is always looking for the best, most forward-thinking technologies that will provide its tenants with efficient service. Following Neopost’s move to Here East in October 2018, it quickly became apparent to the Neopost team that its Web Tracking System (WTS) would help to optimise incoming mail processes on site.
“Having tenants that are so innovative and disruptive means we’re constantly on the lookout for new and improved technologies,” adds Jake. “When we learned from Neopost what its solutions could do, we were very keen to trial it out, both to see how it could save us time, as well as offer an improved customer experience to the tenants.”
WTS was created to simplify and automate processes relating to tracking items. Using a handheld device, existing barcodes on parcels are scanned to create a record in an Amazon-hosted database. If a parcel has no barcode, a dedicated printer is used to create one. The system will then automatically notify a parcel’s end recipient that a parcel has arrived for them. The handheld device can be used to record signatures and even photos, ensuring much greater accountability and assurance.
“Implementing WTS was very quick and easy indeed,” continues Jake. “We rolled it out over a week, but in total it took just a few hours. It’s intuitive, so training requirements are minimal.”
Delivery and results
The WTS trial immediately enabled Here East to make significant time savings, totalling many hours each week. At the time of the trial, Here East was separately evaluating a wider platform for property management which includes some similar functionality. Although Here East ultimately adopted that platform to serve its wider needs, based on the trial it would recommend the use of WTS and adopt it in the future, should requirements change.
“WTS was just seamless to use – it just worked,” said Jake. “By making our processes more efficient, we saved our own time while also demonstrating to our resident businesses how committed we are to continuous improvement in how we service them.”
Jake Ellis says: “It’s easy to take for granted that solutions like WTS will integrate smoothly, but it absolutely did. We were up and running in no time and could immediately see the time it was saving us. What’s more, it helped us show our customers how professional we are as an organisation in providing them with the best service.”