| Oct 16, 2008

Oct 16/08 - Canada Post Implements RPS in Local Outlets

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Feature Article - October 16, 2008 Canada Post implements new RPS systems in Local OutletsBy Julie Druker

Parham Postmaster Cheryl Gordon and her new RPS system

By December 2009, Canada Post will have installed their brand new Retail Point of Service systems in all of their 6000 corporate outlets across the country. The process began early in the year and according to Martine Lepine, a Canada Post spokesperson from Ottawa, “Twenty-five sites are now live as we speak and as of October 8, 475 systems will have been installed.”

The automated electronic units, equipped with touch-screen monitors, hand-held scanners, and multifunctional laser printers will be replacing the 10-year-old electronic Ross systems and the decades older manual systems, both of which are currently in operation now. The change will affect all of the corporate post offices throughout the Frontenac region.

Lepine pointed out that the new system will benefit customers and Canada Post employees in: reduced wait times; availability of multiple payment options like credit and debit cards; availability of high speed internet allowing for quicker transactions; the elimination of time-consuming daily manual tasks; and the use of various paper-saving electronic forms

Micheline Montreuil, director of retail effectiveness at Canada Post’s head office in Ottawa, explained the benefits of RPS compared to ROSS. “With the ROSS system an employee has to go through seven screens in order to process the renewal of a postal box. With the RPS system, it is done on one screen only.”

Employees who are likely to be most affected by the change are rural employees who have been running their corporate offices manually for years. In the Frontenacs, these include the offices in Parham, Denbigh, Godfrey, Cloyne, Arden, Ardoch, Hartington, Westbrook, Northbrook, Maberly and Plevna.

New RPS systems have already arrived in the Denbigh, Arden and Parham post offices and will be arriving in the other offices before the year’s end.

Montreuil feels confident that there are tools in place to make the conversion from the manual system to RPS a smooth and easy transition regardless of the amount of experience that employees have with computers or the lack thereof.

She explains, “The new system has been designed with user-friendly software and comes with a built in 12-hour training program”. Employees are given time to work with the system and to go through the training program before they go live.

There is also a typing tutor program that employees can work with to improve their typing skills.

Employees will be teamed up with a mentor from a nearby post office who will answer any queries they might have and also walk the employee through certain modules of the training program.

Before any office goes live with the new system, four transactions must be successfully completed on the system: a stamp sale, the issuing of a money order, a scale transaction and a void.

Cheryl Gordon, postmaster in Parham, received the system on August 21 and has been going through the training. She commented, “After playing with it now for over a month, I don’t think its going to be too bad; it’s going to make my life easier in many aspects. I feel more comfortable with it now then I did the first day. ”

Ruth Green, postmaster in Denbigh, just received her system last Friday and commented, “The system will make busy times like Christmas a lot easier and service a lot faster… but there will definitely be an essential warm up time.”

Cindy Kelsey who heads up the Arden office has had her new RPS system for roughly two weeks and feels pretty confident. “It (the new system) doesn’t bother me. I’ve used the ROSS system before when I worked in Sharbot Lake for 2 years.”

The overall reception of the system seems pretty positive. It appears that both employees and customers will benefit equally from the new system. As both a customer and a sometimes postal assistant myself, it will be interesting to experience the system when it does eventually go live.

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