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smart company article

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    http://www.smartcompany.com.au/economy/20111011-auspost-trials-after-hours-locker-service-to-cope-with-influx-of-parcels.html

    Australia Post is teaming up with a technology company to create new lockers that will allow customers who cannot be home to retrieve parcels during work hours to retrieve packages after hours.

    The move, some of the biggest in Australia's Post's history, has been welcomed by ecommerce advocates, who say the business is reacting positively to the increased use of parcels and the general move towards internet retailing. Australia Post says 70% of parcels are due to online retailing.

    Phil Leahy, head of the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance, says he welcomes Australia Post's ability to respond to a changing market.

    "People just haven't been able to pick up their parcels, and it's a big customer service problem. It's great for ecommerce, of course, and makes it more convenient for the consumer."

    "The changes that are being made right now will help them."

    Australian business TZ Limited has struck a deal with Australia Post to use its subsidiary Telezygology and distribution partner Pitney Bowes to supply and deploy lockers in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, which are set to come into use by next week.

    The lockers will be used to hold packages that cannot be delivered to recipients. Usually, cards are issued to customers to advise them of when they should pick up their goods. Instead, participating users are given an email with a pin code, to open a specific locker door containing their package.

    Australia Post has previously said that backlogs of packages were taking up too much room and the shift towards online retailing – and a subsequent increase in packages – had demanded crucial changes to its infrastructure, IT systems and logistics planning.

    "It's just not convenient and 10, 20 years ago you might have gotten one or two parcels a year, now some people are getting one or two a day if not more so we really need to change our entire network, external affairs general manager Alex Twomey told the ABC.

    "We are also seeing now for Australia Post over 70% of our parcels are now generated by online shopping, which is amazing to think of because five years ago that just would not have been the case.

    TZ Limited chief executive John Wilson told SmartCompany this morning the new model is all about "providing convenience" – Australia Post will also have some locations where customers can pick up parcels after hours.

    "The whole idea is to provide 24/7 convenience to customers. Customers will now have options as to how they want their parcels delivered."

    "We need the flexibility for customers for them to be able to pick up parcels outside of working hours, and this will enable that to happen."

    Wilson says if the trial is successful, Australia Post will look at putting the lockers elsewhere. But overall, he believes convenience must be at the heart of whatever strategy the organisation adopts.

    "There is a need for Australia Post to manage the hundreds and thousands of parcels that are people are receiving from international online retailers. I certainly believe this whole issue centres around one-click convenience – we need the flexibility to be able to pick up parcels outside of work hours."
 
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