Canada Post chooses SAS® for performance and analysis
Canadian postal service Canada Post took its company intelligence to a new level by implementing the SAS Enterprise BI Server solution for Service Performance Evaluation (SPE) system, putting critical information in the hands of users throughout the organization.
Canada Post has also added the SAS Information Delivery Portal to enable decision makers and analysts to view metrics and key reports directly via the Web. In addition to deploying the company’s SAS data, reports and analysis online, the SAS solution will also ensure that only specific users can access sensitive content.
The goal of the SPE is to provide accurate, timely information about the performance of its postal services and products such as Xpresspost and Expedited Parcels. The reports measure the service performance against corporate service standards from the national level down to regional, city, depot or postal station level.
The reports have different cascading menus, graphs and crosstabs with an ability to drill through to details. They provide guidance for performance-improvement action plans. They also identify the top/worst performers as well as areas to target for improvement. The typical metric looked after is a percent of items delivered on time -- usually combined with a time period and a territory. For example: percentage year-to-date performance of Xpresspost documents from Calgary to Toronto delivered on time.
“SAS provides managers and business analysts at Canada Post with strategic information and a toolset, which allows a more refined look at our business performance than ever before -- information that supports better decision making,” says Ladas Giriunas, SPE National Director. “The result is higher-quality decisions and more informed employees throughout the company, which leads to higher customer satisfaction and greater profitability.”
The SPE solution, internally called Service Quality System (SQS), that SAS implemented replaces a dated mainframe-based system, vastly improving the operating efficiency and information readiness by introducing OLAP cubes containing pre-aggregated data. As a part of this effort, SAS engineers have designed and implemented data management and reporting systems for improved analysis and Web-enabled reporting through their portal.
Achieving operational excellence
“The system is instrumental in understanding our service operations and helps us respond in a timely fashion to operational problems, from pick up to delivery -- hence increasing customer satisfaction,” says Denis Bossé, Operation Director, Québec. “The new SPE SQS system will help increase delivery consistency and the overall quality of the delivery (such as track and trace), which will introduce yet another competitive advantage for our customers,” says Gérald Gervais, General Manager Sales Public Sectors.
Faster reporting, analytics
“When we started to look for another reporting solution, we knew that the mainframe was a dead end: no upgrades possible, restricted usage and ever-increasing operating costs,” says Luc Boilard, SPE Systems Manager. “Being the provider of the Canada Post official performance results, we needed continuity but at the same time we needed to refresh and modernize our systems. SAS was just what we needed.”
In the new SPE system, the introduction of a custom front end has significantly simplified the process of filtering the reports by time, geography, product type and more, with report-generation waiting time ranging from two to 15 seconds.
And SAS allows viewing and navigating of large volumes of pre-aggregated data related to geography, time periods and mail type, to name a few, with response time for a typical report ranging from three to 10 seconds.
Enhanced user interface
The information output was alpha-numeric and had no support for graphs.SAS/GRAPH incorporates the analytic procedures built into Excel.
Formerly, downloading data to the end-user’s computer in order to format and produce an Excel report could take from 30 minutes to three hours. The new SPE system allows rendering of an output data in HTML, Excel and PDF formats almost immediately.
The new customer report and the “customer search” feature are highly valued by the end users, who take advantage of the application’s ability to find, select and add the individual or multiple customers in their reports, allowing further analysis of the performance metrics. “This new report has brought a totally new way to pinpoint our weak processes by generating the customer’s point of view (results) and then applying direct corrective actions,” says Guillaume Goupil, Priority Courier Value Stream Leader.
The old system made it possible to get a detailed report in about 30 minutes. The new SAS system produces either a detailed report or a graph based on drill-through data in about 10 to 15 seconds. Ric Sellar, Customer Quality Measures Manager, says, “This is enabling the field analyst to directly refine analyses and eliminate the need for additional analysis through pivot tables in Excel.”
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Provide corporatewide access to the service performance information generated by SAS from different data sources such as SAP, PDTs and other external international sources.
SAS Enterprise BI Server, SAS OLAP Server and SAS Information Delivery Portal provide the ability to analyze and report on service performance indicators, enabling improved performance from origin to delivery.
Reductions in computing, training and usage time and costs. Increased delivery speed and stability, increased access and diversity of distribution, increases in mail process knowledge and direct action planning bringing customer satisfaction while providing Canada Post with a more competitive market position.
“Being the provider of the Canada Post official performance results, we needed continuity but at the same time we needed to refresh and modernize our systems. SAS was just what we needed.”
SPE Systems Manager