“Preparations for moments like these begin months in advance, always working in close cooperation with customers. The action plans build on the work done in previous years and are confirmed as the volume plans are updated by the customer”, explained Daniela Ottomano, Head of Engineering at SDA-Poste Italiane, about Amazon Prime Day on 12 and 13 July, which put the company on the front lines to deliver e-commerce parcels. “In that particular period,” she points out, “we processed more than 700,000 items per day in the SDA hubs alone. The Poste network worked hard overall to deliver around 850,000 items per day”.
Extensive delivery networks and state-of-the-art hubs
“SDA offers the Poste Italiane group a delivery network with 90 points nationwide and a sorting and transport network to serve Poste’s delivery networks”, Ottomano continues. “The latter has been profoundly transformed in recent years. Between 2019 and 2021, three new hubs were opened in Bologna, Passo Corese and Landriano. These hubs are the result of huge investments in innovative, state-of-the-art technology for sorting and handling shipments”, Ottomano adds, “which have completely transformed our process, increasing the overall production capacity of the system and making it more efficient”.
Investments in technology
“The decisions made were to invest in technology for the sorting and mobilising parcels and to automate these processes as much as possible”, explains the SDA Head of Engineering. “The technologies range from the most traditional to using robots for sorting. Systems are specialised according to the size of the items, and this enables us to handle all kinds of parcels, from some that fit in the palm of your hand to others over two metres long”.
The journey of a parcel
So how does a parcel reach its destination? Daniela Ottomano describes the “journey” of a parcel and the work of Poste to get it to its destination. “The parcel usually has a very short journey, taking less than 24 hours, but for us, the process is much more complex,” she explains. “It begins with collecting the parcel, which is carried out in various different ways and processes. The parcel may be dropped off at a Punto Poste, a tobacconist or post office, or a courier may collect it at the customer’s address. Then, the parcel is channelled to the last-mile systems, and from there, it is routed to our sorting hubs. These hubs sort the shipments and direct them towards the delivery centre that will take care of the final delivery. Then, there are various delivery methods: drop-off lockers, mail carriers or couriers. Poste Italiane is the operator that offers the widest range of options to meet customers’ needs”, Ottomano concludes.