Sander Hak
June 29, 2022

Active Ants deploys Tracey data tools to provide parcel recipients with a better delivery experience

After one year, the cooperation between Active Ants and Tracey has led to a better information supply to Active Ants' customers and insight into the performances of involved parcel carriers.

Growing need for control and insight into parcel shipments

The enormous growth in the number of packages sent out and the increasing demand from customers to be kept proactively informed have ensured that companies want to keep an overview and control of the shipments sent out. This also applies to Active Ants, where the need for immediate insight into irregularities during parcel delivery has led to a cooperation with Tracey.
Currently, Tracey detects problems at all the different parcel carriers within 30 minutes and sends the information back to Active Ants' system. This then allows Active Ants' online store clients to proactively keep the final recipient informed and automate their customer service processes.

Make or buy decision

"By mid 2021, the call from our clients for more insight into the performance of the carriers we use became increasingly clear and loud" says Roeland Lengers, IT Director at Active Ants. "Of course we are happy to comply with the wishes of our customers, and of course we prefer to do that with our own IT department. At the same time, tracking shipments is essentially a new activity for Active Ants; our core business is sending packages as quickly as possible. We realised fairly quickly that uniformly tracking the status of a shipment could work as a black box for us, one that we just had to interact with in the right way. The choice fell on Tracey at the time as it was a young, innovative club with which we could share our wishes. I would be so bold to say that Tracey also learnt a few things from Active Ants during that period. In symbiosis with Tracey, we were able to link the systems together quickly and effectively. Active Ants uses the Tracey system as a black-box in two ways:

  1. We receive the most important status transitions and exceptions per shipment without having to survey carriers;
  2. The KPI screens within Maya are built on the basis of WebComponents. The load for generating these screens can be very high, something we would like to be done on Tracey's systems and not on those of Active Ants. In my opinion, this is a successful example of the right make-or-buy decision".

Improving the delivery experience before shipping

Tracey provides "plug-and-play" business intelligence visuals to evaluate carrier performance. With data from each carrier converted into a standard format, carriers can easily be compared against each other based on these reports.These data-driven reports enable web shops to make well-founded choices for the right use of parcel carriers in different countries. For example, an objective choice can be made for the highest delivery speed or for fewer irregularities. This enables an online store to choose the carrier that scores well on the points that are important to its customers; this ultimately leads to higher conversion. This makes expensive and separate business intelligence solutions for the analysis of parcel carriers obsolete.

Deployment of artificial intelligence

Both parties also see various opportunities for strengthening each other in the future: the shipping data from Active Ants provides a good basis for Tracey to make predictions about the on-time and correct delivery of packages. "These models are currently being developed but are already showing results with an accuracy of 89% or higher", says Sander Hak, Product Manager and co-founder at Tracey. "This means that we are already predicting delays with a high degree of certainty and can report this back over ten hours earlier than the carrier itself."

Use and value of shipping data for Active Ants' customers

Jean Lahaye, co-founder of Active Ants says: "We pass on the data we receive from Tracey to our customers, enabling them to get value from it. We are already seeing our customers anticipate this and adjust their work processes to better and proactively inform their own customers. This ensures that we, Active Ants, can offer just that extra bit of service to support our clients in their e-commerce activities.

About Active Ants

Active Ants was founded in 2010 with the idea of making e-fulfilment more accurate and efficient through innovation and automation - and it has! Active Ants has grown to become one of the larger fulfilment players in the Netherlands with over 250 customers and over 3 million orders per year.

In 2018, Active Ants entered into a partnership with bpost, who have since held a majority stake in Active Ants. This collaboration has led to the roll-out of new warehouses in Roosendaal, Willebroek (B) and Dorsten (D). The opening of the UK site is planned for September 2022.

About Tracey

Tracey is a Dutch data company founded in 2019 to help parcel shippers get more value from their shipping data.

The company has developed its own unique Parcel Engine that can be easily connected to ERP, WMS, DMS and webshop systems to read, process and analyse shipping data from carriers. These AI-driven analyses include carrier performance monitoring and benchmarking, near-real-time monitoring, and notifications and predictions of irregularities during parcel delivery.

All of Tracey's products help to provide an optimal delivery experience through carrier selection, customer service automation, shipment monitoring, and delay and anomaly forecasting.