Company: CapscanCustomer: NetDespatchSubmitted by: MCC InternationalDate: January 2000With all the hype surrounding e-business, it is tempting to forget that this is simply a new, albeit more convenient, medium for an economic transaction. For goods transactions, the seller still cannot email vital manufacturing components or a bouquet of flowers but is dependent on real world logistics to reach the customer. Thanks to e-commerce logistics is undergoing a minor revolution behind the scenes.NetDespatch – www.netdespatch.com – is a company at the forefront of this revolution. It is an ‘e-business enabler’ for any company involved in delivery or despatch, providing fast easy access to a solution for customers to book and track despatch jobs on the internet. The system can be used either for on-line consumer purchasing, or as part of a B2B e-commerce engine. NetDespatch provides companies with a quick and efficient web-based service where their customers can book and track deliveries, request quotes and use a versatile query system.Web based retailers see service speed as a priority, because with many customers likely to be buying goods on the internet for the first time, they need to create the right impression by processing orders and getting the goods delivered quickly and efficiently. Similarly, more traditional mail and telephone-based retailers now have to compete on efficiency to survive against web-based alternatives.
NetDespatch provides these and other dispatch clients with fast and highly accountable service.NetDespatch realises that whilst speed means competitive advantage, even on the web, despatch and delivery is about delivering real products to real addresses, where reliable and accurate information is vital. For the user an incorrect delivery address can mean possible losses or late delivery penalties, increased problems of finding out the correct address and then the cost of resending goods.NetDespatch needed to turn these challenges into a competitive advantage and knew this could be done by incorporating an address management software system into their on-line booking process. A system was required that could check names, addresses and postcode details captured against the most up-to-date electoral roll and the Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File (PAF) data. PAF is a database of 25 million postally correct UK addresses.
This system also had to run on Linux, – NetDespatch’s operating system of choice due to it’s robust and nature and fast processing – both essential for e-commerce. Matthew Clark, CEO of NetDespatch had used address management software from various vendors in the past but was keen to try Capscan’s Matchcode.Clark comments, “The intelligent nature of Capscan’s software means the user requires fewer keystrokes and therefore less time to gain an accurate delivery address. But fast efficient software loses all its advantages on a website if it is not well integrated into the front end and running on the application web server. Capscan was the only supplier who could provide us with a solution compatible with our Linux web server.”As a result, NetDespatch integrated Capscan’s new Matchcode 5.
25 for Linux – into the online booking process in September 1999. NetDespatch users now enter as little as a postcode and a street number and Matchcode will return an address that can be relied upon. Another factor that made Matchcode stand out from the crowd was its ‘fuzzy matching’ system. This means even when users are unsure of the postcode, by entering just the street and town, they are provided with a list of possibilities, and through a simple process of elimination, can find the complete correct address.Matthew Clark describes the advantage they now have.
“Quick accurate addressing is essential for efficient booking of same-day or next-day delivery or passenger services. Capscan’s software plays a vital role in this area and definitely increases our clients’ successful delivery percentages. By incorporating Matchcode into the website we are able to provide a far superior service, compared to traditional telephone booking or simple web booking forms.”However, as NetDespatch is a service provider, despatch clients are only one side of their business. On the other, anyone from courier or taxi firm to a parcel delivery service can use NetDespatch as a front end for a 24-hour web-based booking service. This provides a fast, efficient service for existing customers, access to a new and lucrative global customer base and cost savings on a more traditional telephone call centre.
Companies can achieve all these benefits without capital outlay on hardware, software or the expense of recruiting IT staff to install and maintain the system. In addition, as the web application and servers are already in place, companies using NetDespatch as a web-booking front end, have a very quick time to market for a reliable, proven solution.For these despatch companies using the NetDespatch front end, the incorporation of Matchcode means their customers receive a better service, especially when an incorrect address means wasted time and money. As mis-addressing fines are not good for client relations, it is vital they rely on NetDespatch to assist the customer in providing accurate information.Although accurate addressing should not be undervalued, NetDespatch uses Matchcode for far more. Once you have an accurate postcode it is possible to gain other valuable information.
The software is used to gain the Easting and Northing grid reference for the pick up and drop off point. For national delivery networks, or companies with automatic vehicle location, this can then be used to automatically delegate jobs to the most appropriate provider. As a result, the customer receives the quickest and most rational service with no extra effort required. In addition, the information is then automatically fed into another software package to provide a detailed map of the pick-up and drop-off point for the despatch company!Clark concludes, “The benefits of using Matchcode are clear, we don’t save money, but we add substantial value to the service we provide, Capscan’s software enables us to provide a superior service, and maintain our position as market-leader.”Terry Hiles, commercial director of Capscan, observes, “Its clear that E-business and the information revolution represent a massive change in business environment of the 21st century; but it is about far more than an attractive website.
A good website can provide your customers with a quick and convenient way to make their purchases but to provide a reliable service, goods must also be delivered on time. Delivery is about real-world addresses. Capscan has recognised for a long time that address management must become an integral part of e-business and we have been working to integrate our software seamlessly into e-commerce websites.”