Smarter Shipping: The Impact of Innovation and Automation

Smart organizations capitalize on innovation — in technology, process, and business model. The shipping and mailing industry is no different.

There is little question that automation and innovation drive efficiency. There are certain tasks only humans can do, but adopting cutting-edge technology can boost productivity, ensure accuracy, and drive data-driven decision-making.

Whether it’s through artificial intelligence (AI) or data science, Dr. James Fairweather, Chief Innovation Officer at Pitney Bowes, understands that building a culture of innovationis critical to addressing not current business demands, but the challenges of the future. Says Fairweather, “One of the things we try to do is ensure our definitions of innovation are quite broad — so they encompass everyone at Pitney Bowes, and not just the members of my team.”

Categories of Innovation

Technology (or product) Innovation.

The most recognizable form of innovation — this encompasses any new or improved product that is significantly different from the technology that proceeded it.

Process Innovation.

This type of innovation is typically the lowest risk for an organization and improves a process or processes — driving cost efficiencies, improving or enhancing productivity, and creating a better overall client experience.

Business Model Innovation.

Due to its disruptive nature, business model innovation is usually the most challenging — as it nearly always drives a radical shift away from the status quo. Though some large, established organizations have leaned into the approach, the easiest example would be AirBnB’s model vs. that of the traditional vacation rental market.

Automation trends in shipping and mailing

Artificial intelligence.

There are few people who don’t have some opinion about AI — which in layman’s terms means allowing computers to process, and learn, on their own. If one thing is certain, it’s that AI is here to stay. It impacts industries’ predictive capabilities and drives efficiencies. Considerations for the shipping and mailing industry include providing real-time analytics, improved scheduling, and even optimized box packing on truck beds.

Big data.

We live in a digital world. Data collection and analysis are critical for understanding what’s happening in your shipping operation — from detailed visibility into usage, spend, and performance, to insights into trends and ways to improve operations — data provides actionable information to help your business make informed decisions to drive your business forward.

Bringing it all together

Today’s best organizations not only welcome innovation and automation to drive efficiency, monitor performance, and action solutions in real time, but utilize technology to empower employees. New ideas are not created in a vacuum, and in our current hybrid or work from home environment it’s critical that employers not only drive a high-performance culture, but ensure employees remain engaged with peers, leadership, and clients.

The goal of every organization is to enhance the customer experience and build a sustainable, meaningful environment for employees. Embracing innovation is critical to both. It allows you and your team to improve client relationships, face business challenges, improve overall operations, and ultimately boost your bottom line.

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