This Technical Specification will specify the interface between the e-merchant (any commercial customer sending parcels) and the first logistic operator.
The interface is composed on two items:
- the physical label stuck on the postal item: contents, sizes, minimum requirements to guarantee the quality and efficiency of the logistic process (sorting, delivery).
- the electronic exchanges between the sender and the logistic operator with the description of the data to be provided, the format of the exchanges.
While designated operators of UPU have drawn up business requirements using proprietary standards and related data components, online merchants have developed open, not-for-profit standards for final delivery which are integrated into their existing supply chain management environment.
The Technical Specification aims to specify the interface between the e-merchant (any commercial customer sending postal items) and the first logistic operator composed by incorporating the 3 elements:
- physical label attached to the postal item with information for item identification;
- electronic exchanges between the sender and the logistic operator concerning parcels dispatch;
- data needed for various delivery chain parts, in particular final delivery to the recipient, in order to facilitate exchange between the item-specific identifiers.
NOTE 1 The last element enables the growth of integrated, data-driven systems which support highly efficient and customer-driven cross-border ecommerce. This reflects the current trend to B-to-B-to-C delivery solutions in the European and international cross border e-commerce markets. Delivery from original source to final consumer can be split over more than one service provider.
NOTE 2 C-to-B-to-B-to-C solutions will be an extension, in particular when returns are specified. The “first C” would indicate that consumers wishing to return items, or induct items themselves, will be able to print labels following the fundamentals specified in this standard.
E-merchant exchange data with logistic operators (i.e. the postal operators, but not limited to those designated to fulfill the rights and obligations of UPU member countries) to help, simplify and enable the consequential logistic and transactional tasks. The establishment of common definitions and electronic formats, safeguards the reliability and decreases the overall costs by avoiding software development costs, multiple printing equipment, over-labelling during the process, and the manual sorting.