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Royal Mail upgrades hand-held devices as tech strategy continues

Royal Mail is looking to improve customer service on the doorstep, boost operational efficiency and give consumers greater visibility of their parcel orders after its latest investment in technology.

The business is set to roll-out new hand-held devices across its workforce later this summer, as part of a wider £130 million technology investment programme taking place over the next five years.

Some 76,000 of Zebra Technologies' TC75 devices, or Postal Digital Assistants (PDAs), have been chosen by Royal Mail for the task, and it is hoped the larger HD screen with improved signature capture technology – as well as the faster scanning and ten-hour battery life – will help boost service levels from a customer and operational perspective.

The supplier selection and procurement process was led by BT on behalf of Royal Mail, and forms part of its managed service agreement with Royal Mail. BT also has a role to play in on-going maintenance for the devices through its Field Force Automation service.

Royal Mail said that the new PDAs are aligned with its automated parcel sortation, which also involves scanning technology and is being rolled out at around 20 of the UK's busiest Mail Centres.

Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels, commented: "This is an exciting phase in the transformation of our parcels service.

"The launch of our new hand-held devices will deliver immediate impact for our customers, and our postmen and women. We are pleased to be supported by Zebra and BT as Royal Mail continues to innovate and preserve our leading position in the UK parcels market."

Since floating on the stock market at the end of 2013, Royal Mail has been investing in new technology as it looks to establish its position in the fast-changing home delivery market. For example, click & collect facilities have been installed across its estate, enabling online retailers to offer their customers the option of collecting their purchases in 10,500 Post Office branches nationwide.

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Zebra Technologies

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