Parcelforce went live last week with a parcel tracking service on its Internet site. The company is following in the footsteps of US delivery companies such as Federal Express and UPS. The package tracking systems on these companies' Web sites are often cited as some of the most successful commercial Internet applications in existence, and are extremely popular among customers. Paul Watkinson, IT consultant at Parcelforce, said customers have been keen to access a similar capability in the UK. "Every day we get asked for this service," he said. "People say it's very important to them, and I think it will be very popular." Customers can simply enter their package number into the facility on the site, and find out details such as where their parcel is, whether it has been delivered and, if so, when and who signed for it. "This is exactly the sort of thing the Internet should be used for," said Adam Daum, analyst at research firm Inteco. "It delivers a positive benefit for users, takes the pressure off support lines, and is cheap to implement. I applaud Parcelforce for setting up this system." The system is expected to save the company money by cutting down telephone enquiries. "It won't save every phone call," commented Watkinson, "but even if it saves 10%, that's an awful lot (of money)." Watkinson said the system has been in development for several months on the company's intranet. Parcelforce uses its intranet to test out technology before loosing it publicly on the Web. Although the company's Web site now lists parcel tracking as a service, the official launch is not expected until later this week. www.parcelforce.co.uk.
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