Play Detective with SingPost event (video)

Everyday when you open your mail box, the letters will be waiting for you. But do you know how it gets there? Well, thanks to SingPost’s invite to their facility, I get to know more about their services and what goes on “behind the scene”.

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Actually, this event, Play Detective, is about sorting out the Postal Codes. During the presentation, I realized that I know so little about SingPost and its services.

FYI, SingPost is not just about mail, parcel deliveries. It has actually expanded its services in many areas. Here are some of them which I think might be of an interest to you.

Sample Store

Do you know that SampleStore.com is a member of Singapore Post group of companies?

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So, what is Sample Store?

It is a website that you can register for free. Once registered, you can request samples of products to try for free (of course there is a handling fee that you need to pay). In this way, you can try out the products first without buying. Below is a simple graphic to show you how it works.

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Click Here to Sample Store

Next, do you know that there is a gadget shopping site from SingPost? It is called Omigo.

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From my understanding, some products that are not sold in Singapore can be found in this site. There are quite a number of brands and products in it. One of them is the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX.  The price will be slightly cheaper (according to SingPost). I have not really compare them.

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Click Here to Omigo

As mentioned, there are many more services but I am not going to mention every one of them here. However, I would like to highlight one service which I think is very good and if you are a blogshop owner, this might be very useful.

SmartPac

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Check out the SingPost SmartPac. It is a box that you can put your items up to 3kg to be delivered anywhere in Singapore in the next working day. You will only need to pay S$4.70 for it. Here is a video about SmartPac.

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Click Here to Find Out More about SingPost SmartPac

Do you have the frustration like me when the postman came to the house and you are not around? You will have to make a trip to the Post Office to collect it. SingPost has come up with a solution.

POPStation

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POPStation actually means Pick Own Parcel Station. As the name implies, you can collect the parcel at your own timing and location. Currently, there are 15 POPStation around Singapore.

Basically, you choose this POPStation option for your parcel delivery (However, do note that not all sites have this option). It is very simple to use. I will be showing you more about POPStation later, based on our actual hands-on.

After the presentation, we formed up two teams to play some games. The first one is to identify what’s wrong with the letters and the other game is how to pack a certificate and a high value item.

The Letters

Can you guess what is wrong with each one?

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Some template to help us nail the problem.

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This envelope doesn’t fit the standard size.

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Checking our answers.

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Basically, for the first envelope, the address can mean a private housing or a HDB block. However, because there is not enough details (no unit number), this letter will NOT be delivered.

The second letter seems legit but this unit number does not exist (I guess only the post man working in the vicinity will know) and it is NOT the standard size envelope. This letter will NOT be delivered.

Packaging

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For those who always need to send package, do download the SingPost app (Android or iOS). I find it quite useful, especially if you want to know how much stamps are needed to deliver based on the weight.

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Certificate

For the certificate, please remember to use cardboard to ensure that it is not crumpled. It is useless to put fragile or etc on the letter. And a Pro tip: White envelopes are better to detect the words (via OCR – Optical Character Recognition) during scanning.

Parcel

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Pro tip: For high value parcel, do not cheat on the insurance. Please declare the right amount in the form because you will not get back the amount if it is damaged or lost.

Basically, the good must be able to handle some drop from height once it is packaged. Anyway, as expected, since we are not the pro, non of us get full marks for our attempt.

Next, the highlight of the event. We got to see what’s inside the facility. It is an eye opener.

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The Video Coding Room

In a normal circumstance, once the envelope is scanned and converted to characters with OCR, it will be sorted out to be ready for delivery. However, in some circumstances, OCR is not able to pick up the characters. In this case, it will need human intervention to decode the postal code. The action happens inside the Video Coding Room.

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The task of the people in this room is simple: Watch the screen as it will flash out the envelope. Check out which is the postal code and key in the postal using this funny looking pad.

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Another view.

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Once done, the next envelope will appear and you will repeat the whole process.

We had the chance to try out and I can tell you it is not as simple as it looks. First, we log in to the system as a trainee for some familiarization exercise. Some instruction on how to use the keypad.

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Once we are confident, we had to take the “test”. It is only 10 minutes but it felt much longer. After some time, you realized that your finger is not following what you see. Anyway, I am not really good at it. Here is my score. I failed the test.

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Here is how it looks like when you are on it.

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Kudos to those who works in the room for hours per shift and still able to attain 96% and above accuracy. For your information, the average speed is more than 1,000 letters per hour.

Next and final stop, we visited the POPStation.

POPStation

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The POPStation is like a locker room with various sizes. First, if there is a delivery via POPStation, you will receive an SMS and email to inform you about the collection.

SMS

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Email

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So, when you reach the POPStation, you can just key in the Pin and the locker number, or you can scan the QR code.

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It will be easier if you use the phone (instead of tablet) for the QR code scanning.

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Once keyed in properly, the system will indicate the locker that had been opened.

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There will be a flashing white light on the locker.

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Once completed and you have closed the locker door, you cannot open again. A POPStation Delivery Receipt will be sent via email.

I have made a simple video of the POPStation. Check it out.

That is it! It is a fruitful event. SingPost has provided us with some promotion codes for Omigo, vPost and adidas. Do check the next post for the codes.

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