POS technology for manual LPOs

Posted: October 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Out of Australia Post’s network of nearly 3000 LPOs, 464 do not have access to EPOS (Australia Post’s electronic point-of-sale network).

This means that there are 464 LPOs that cannot offer many of the services available through EPOS, including: EFTPOS banking transactions; CBA debit card deposits/withdrawals; mobile phone top-ups; proof of identity transactions; Local, State or Federal Government services; and business banking.

Postal services are evolving as a result of advances in technology and the growth in e-commerce. Demand for track-and-trace products is growing. It is becoming increasingly important for all LPOs to have EPOS. And with the recent announcement of the rollout of PDTs (hand-held scanners) to all EPOS LPOs, the technology gap is widening.

POAAL has pointed out to Australia Post that some manual LPOs handle significant volumes of carded parcels. We have asked Australia Post to make PDTs available to these manual LPOs. We will keep the matter before Australia Post’s attention and keep Licensees posted on further developments.

As Licensees at manual LPOs would know, Australia Post has not installed EPOS at manual LPOs because they process a small number of transactions (typically less than 2500) each year. There is therefore no compelling commercial case for Australia Post to install EPOS at these LPOs.

Without access to EPOS, and all the products and services available through the EPOS network, it is unlikely that a manual LPO will ever grow its business to such a level that the LPO’s transaction levels meet Australia Post’s minimum criteria for the installation of its electronic point-of-sale system. The minimum criterion for EPOS is 10,000 transactions per annum. If the LPO has EPOS and does not achieve 10,000 transactions p.a., then the Licensee is charged 43c per transaction under 10,000. This is called a shortfall fee.

POAAL has been lobbying for Government assistance for the installation of EPOS at these 464 manual LPOs. Licensees would recall the Rural Transaction Centre (RTC) and Bank@Post programmes that provided Federal Government funding for the installation of EPOS at about 400 manual LPOs across Australia. Funding for EPOS under the RTC Programme was only made available after extensive lobbying of the Government by POAAL.

When POAAL met with the Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy, earlier this year he was receptive to the idea of the Government providing a leg-up for manual LPOs and the communities they serve.

More recently, POAAL made submissions to the Parliamentary NBN Inquiry, outlining how the rollout of the NBN not only hastens the need for EPOS to be installed at all LPOs but could be used to facilitate its installation. POAAL’s argument has been summarised in the most recent report of the Parliamentary NBN Committee.

POAAL will continue to lobby the Federal Government and the Opposition for Government funding for the installation of EPOS at manual LPOs. The benefits to Licensees and the communities they serve are clear: a more viable LPO and greater services (including banking) available to the local community.

POAAL believes that all Australians deserve access to a first-class postal service, regardless of where they live. The changing nature of the postal industry, driven by factors such as improvements in technology and the growth of parcel delivery volumes, means that the post office continues to be relevant to Australian businesses and everyday Australians.

Summary of survey results

In recent months, POAAL surveyed manual LPOs Australia-wide to find out how EPOS would improve their businesses and assess what other services are available in their local communities. The survey was sent to every manual LPO, and there was a strong response to the survey.

The survey showed that almost 90% of Licensees of manual LPOs want EPOS facilities at their LPOs because of the wider range of income streams it would offer their communities and their businesses.

Almost 80% of communities served by manual LPOs do not have access to a bank or an ATM locally. Considering that the average distance to the closest post office with EPOS facilities is 28km, this is a significant statistic. Some towns with manual LPOs are up to 100 and 120km one way from the nearest LPO with EPOS.

Thank you to all those Licensees who responded to POAAL’s survey. Your input gives us a valuable insight into your situation and assists us in our discussions with the Government and Australia Post.



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