Client profile

Croatian Post is the national postal operator of the Republic of Croatia.

1016 post offices form one of the widest service and retail networks in the country.

As well as postal services, Croatian Post offers payment solutions and retail outlets across the whole territory of Croatia.

Croatian Post is one of the founders and a full member of the Association of European Public Postal Operators (PostEurop), a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) as well as the International Post Corporation (IPC).

Business challenge

Croatian Post was established in 1999 as a result of the separation of HPT-Hrvatska pošta i telekomunikacije (HPT Croatian Post and Telecommunications) into two separate stock companies. The state-owned company competes in a liberalized market with international rivals such as DHL, UPS and DPD. Croatian Post dominates the letter business with around 98% of the market and has approximately 20% share of the parcel delivery sector. To continue to compete, it needed to be equipped with the latest technology.

“Our parcels used to pass through several sorting processes and the process had to mostly be done by hand,” Antonio Videka, Croatian Post’s executive director of the optimization sector explains. “There were only eight chutes and the capacity was 2,000-2,400 parcels an hour, which wasn’t fast enough as business kept growing. The new automatic sorting machine in Zagreb has 55 large chutes for parcels, which allow us to program 150 destinations, and we’ve got a further 90 smaller chutes. Capacity has risen nearly 700% and we can reach speeds of 15,000 parcels per hour.”

“The new BlueCrest automatic parcel sorting machine in Zagreb has 55 large chutes for parcels, which allow us to program 150 destinations and we’ve got a further 90 smaller chutes. Capacity has risen nearly 700%.”

— Antonio Videka, Executive director

Keeping pace with change

When Croatian Post officially opened what it understandably calls ‘the most advanced sorting centre in Southeast Europe’ in September 2019, it was the culmination of seven years of planning. The €45.5m (US$53.6m) centre on the outskirts of Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, is the largest investment in the company’s history and an essential development to enable Croatian Post to keep pace with its double-digit annual growth rate.

The new automated parcel sorting machine is capable of sorting 15,000 parcels per hour, with weights ranging from 100g to 30kg. Croatian Post’s letter sorting machines based at the new centre, can sort 180,000 letters an hour.

“We’ll probably be able to reduce our total number of hubs to six nationwide, with the Zagreb location able to expand to deal with the growth from e-commerce in the years ahead.”

— Antonio Videka, Executive director

Solution

The project was implemented in two phases. Firstly, letter sorting equipment was delivered and installed at centres in Split and the old city centre facility in Zagreb. This phase of the project started two years before the new facility was due to come online and gave the benefit of an immediate improvement in capacity performance and serviceability to the letter sorting operation.

A total of 5 Vantage sorters were installed, 4 at the city centre facility in Zagreb and 1 at the sorting centre in Split. In addition, at Zagreb a mixed mail VariSort was installed. The systems are connected to a central computer system.

The solution features advanced software functionality, including highly accurate centralised OCR for machine printed and handwritten addresses and automatic detection and forwarding of mail to recipients who have changed address. A series of inline printers print all required information on the envelope.

Phase two of the project included the installation of a high throughput state of the art parcel sorting solution at a brand-new purpose-built facility near to the international airport on the outskirts of Zagreb. The cross-directorbelt equipment was installed during the construction of the building. This system has 5 input lanes, each lane with 2 WATCH operator stations for inducting parcels and manual keying.

This phase also included the relocation of the letter sorting systems from the old city centre location and re-installation at the new facility, all completed with minimal impact to the operation.

Both phases of the project were completed to schedule thanks to the close co-operation and partnership between Croatian Post and BlueCrest.

“We are very satisfied with the level of service and have established a very good partnership with BlueCrest. We were looking for the best sorting solution available to replace our existing systems, which we could no longer operate and maintain with a sufficient level of security. BlueCrest has extensive experience and knowledge of the postal business in general and all aspects of mail sorting, which has proved very valuable to us. Our new sorting systems are quicker and more reliable and help ensure timely delivery, even during our peak loads of 2.5 million mail items a day. This new technology will enable us to be more efficient while ensuring document integrity and security. I look forward to future cooperation with BlueCrest.”

— Ivan Culo, CEO Croatian Post

Benefits

Investing in this latest technology is paying off in many areas of the business. The massive increase in processing capacity has enabled Croatian Post to increase its market share in the parcel delivery market, streamlining their operation with increased efficiencies.

“In every way it’s better than our older locations” says Antonio Videka, Croatian Post’s executive director of the optimization sector. “We’ve been planning it since 2012 and when it finally opened it was a relief for everybody at Croatian Post. We used to be on the edge of failing to honour our promise of meeting delivery deadlines. Now we have enough space to increase the number of parcels and deliver them all on time, even during periods of peak traffic.”

Technology used

Five Vantage™ mail sorters for accurate, intelligent high-speed sortation, yielding high operational throughput

VariSort mixed mail sorter for magazines and small packets

TrueSort Pro provides throughput, logically sorting by address, weight, and priority

A central Computer System provides OCR for all sorters with a throughput in excess of 230,000 items per hour. It controls all central administrative functions, sort planning and address data

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