PostNL's transition to a postal tech company is intended to ensure that it keeps pace with the global digital, technological evolution. Dipro Chatterjee, Lead Software Engineer, assists in the achievement of this ambition. He explains the strategic importance of the in-house developed event management platform.

I recently began as Lead Software Engineer, with the responsibility for delivering reliable software to orchestrate our logistic process. I have joined a group that impacts the lives of all Dutch citizens, because everyone is in fact a PostNL customer – and we all benefit from their excellent services. We, as engineers, make an important contribution to this goal.

Scalable applications

I have been working as a software engineer for more than 10 years. I have, throughout my career, been involved in digital initiatives that make things better and more convenient for us all. This makes me enthusiastic about PostNL's transition into a logistic technology company. The in-house development of unique software and use of cutting-edge technology are crucial.

My role is to determine the solutions and skills needed to achieve our ambitions. My challenge at PostNL is drawn from my wealth of experience in delivering enterprise applications at scale in diverse businesses such as fintech and OTT.

Real-time response

The event management platform is one of the first and most prominent themes on our internal development agenda. Our team, which is responsible for this development, is in fact the benchmark for all future PostNL technology initiatives: we are laying the foundations for the engineering culture of the future.

The platform is at the heart of our logistics. The combination of IoT, edge, cloud and analytics enables us to keep full digital track of our parcels . Live occurrences from the supply chain process are collected in a central event box and analysed by our cloud native software. EMP makes real time decisions on these live events and communicates them to the rest of the process, thus orchestrating the entire journey of every parcel.

The platform offers us possibilities such as the ‘change delivery’ option, which is an important element of our customer experience. We are expanding these options and adding functionalities, such as real-time monitoring and optimal routing of parcels by decoupling operators from orchestration. Our e-commerce partners will soon be able to intervene more rapidly when a delivery is to be made to a suspected fraudulent recipient.

In other words, the event management platform enables us to respond to events in real time and take any automatic decisions that may be necessary. As a result, our logistics operations are becoming increasingly agile, self-healing and anti-fragile.

Engineering culture

The transition to a tech company is very important for PostNL in retaining its leading position in these times of fundamental shifts from bricks-and-mortar shops to e-commerce. The full migration to the cloud over the past ten years has successfully anticipated the digitalising economy and society.

A cloud-native software architecture is key in the 24/7 processing of large volumes of data with minimal operational load and optimum scalability of application stacks. It enables software engineers to focus on their key activity: requirements specification and converting them into software.

We are currently at a tipping point in the transition to a completely different company – which for us, as engineers, makes it very exciting and fascinating. I think that anyone wishing to make an impact on developments and the lives of seventeen to eighteen million people currently has the choice between two options: health tech or postal tech. PostNL, with its history and the current developments, really is the place to be at the moment.

Find out more and read the articles Breaking Dev News 1 Bram Grijzen about a machine learning algorithm that gives the recipient more control over the delivery time and Challenge 1: Ronald Allard about building a logistic tech company together.

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