How NZ Post Relies On APIs To Fend Off The Threat From Uber, Others

NZ Post is New Zealand's equivalent of the US Postal Service (the USPS). And just like the USPS, the NZ Post must face down the disruptive forces of entrenched competitors and startups alike. For example, in the United States, logistics specialists like Federal Express and United Parcel Service (UPS) have relied on innovation to out-perform the delivery services offered by the USPS. While the USPS competes for its share of the delivery pie, it's getting squeezed on the envelope business by technologies like email and DocuSign (why snail mail documents for signature when you can just e-sign them?).  Earlier this year (2015), the USPS reported that for the first calendar quarter (January to March), it delivered 420 million fewer pieces of mail than it had during the same period in 2014.

Such disruption can lead to unfortunate outcomes. In that same quarterly report, the USPS reported a loss of $1.5 billion. Yes, that's "billion" with a "b" and it took the USPS only 3 months to lose it. Currently, the conversation regarding the problem involves the cancelation of Saturday service (an idea that the United States Congress has yet to support). Around the world, the private sector is giving state-run postal services a run for their money. 

Over in New Zealand for example, NZ Post could soon be feeling the heat from a company it probably least expected to threaten its business: Uber. According to Rob O'Neill over on ZDNet:

While courier companies already take a chunk of the parcel delivery market, native digital companies have their eyes on that prize as well. Last year taxi start-up Uber began trialling parcel deliveries in New York and in March, Uber announced its UberRush delivery service would be launched in Australia.

In an effort to deal with the pressures from all quarters, NZ Post is turning to APIs in hopes of reiventing its business. Initially, the NZ Posts API strategy will involve three APIs that will interface with the organization's shipping, addressing, and postal systems. The ZDNet article discusess new business opportunities for some of NZ Posts existing data, potentially putting it into businesses that it never contemplated before. For example, the NZ Post's data can be used for data cleansing or identity verification processes (the latter of which could prove useful when vetting credit applications). 

Original Article

Reinventing NZ Post one API at a time

David Berlind is the editor-in-chief of ProgrammableWeb.com. You can reach him at david.berlind@programmableweb.com. Connect to David on Twitter at @dberlind or on LinkedIn, put him in a Google+ circle, or friend him on Facebook.

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