Malta is a small island state in the centre of the Mediterranean. It is the European Union’s most southerly member state and home to a population of just under 402,000. MaltaPost is the local postal operator and has a network of 40 branches. Today, MaltaPost is wholly-Maltese owned and part-privatised.
MaltaPost faced a challenge similar to that facing most smaller postal organisations around the world: its traditional postal revenues were falling and it faced increased competition from sectors such as the courier market and electronic media. MaltaPost realised it needed to modernise and re-engineer its business if it was to grasp the opportunities afforded by its widespread counter network. It also needed to fulfil its postal service obligations, but more efficiently and profitably.
MaltaPost came to the conclusion that the functional requirements of running a small postal network were almost identical to those of a much larger network. However, it had a proportionately smaller budget than its larger counterparts with which to achieve its commercial aims and public goals. MaltaPost evaluated the postal service automation software then available internationally and realised that the options were beyond budget and did not offer value for money.
The development covered three phases:
While tailored to MaltaPost’s requirements, the software was future-proof; it could be customised to accommodate new service requirements at MaltaPost, or indeed any postal organisation’s specifications.
The Swift Response
MaltaPost took the decision to commission Ascent Software, a retail software development house with offices in Malta, UK and Ireland to develop a suite of postal service automation software products to their specifications. Following a business re-engineering process, Ascent developed ‘Hermes’ automation software, which became the forerunner of Swift Retail.
MaltaPost has now been running Hermes successfully since late 2003, and the versatility and scalability of the software has enabled MaltaPost to develop new, commercial revenue streams for both domestic and corporate clients.
MaltaPost is satisfied that it took the right decision in commissioning Ascent to develop its postal service automation software The decision was based on two important criteria: 1) Ascent Software had significant experience in providing retail solutions to the industry; and 2) Ascent gave MaltaPost a cost-effective solution that runs on standard PC hardware, thereby enabling MaltaPost to avoid lock-in to costly proprietary systems.
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