New OCR reader technology increases efficiency in sorting centers for Chinese parcels

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With the increasing number of parcels sent from China, new challenges are arising for postal and parcel companies. In 2019 more than 60 billion parcels were sent from China. This is good news for companies such as Alibaba, AliExpress, Wish and, but it is now always good news for the logistics sector.

A large number of these parcels are shipped to Europe and to the USA and delivered by hundreds of different courier companies. Before delivery in the last mile takes place, a complex process of handling, sorting and customs clearing is needed. To efficiently sort the shipment to its final destination and determine customs duties and taxes, most of the information written on the label of the parcel needs to be processed.

Consequences for your organization
Postal and parcel distribution centers often run into challenges with Chinese parcels. Sorting and delivery are delayed because of the poor quality of the address labels on the parcels. Many of the labels and addresses are incorrectly formatted, the detail is in the wrong order and/or critical information is omitted.

Current mainstream OCR readers in distribution centers are unable to correctly recognize the labels and automatic sorting frequently fails. As a result, a more manual sorting effort is needed in the distribution centers. This leads to increased sorting costs and delays in delivery, which may even lead to damage of the organization’s reputation and claims from its customers.

Here are the main negative effects for logistics companies handling Chinese parcels:

  • Delay in delivery of Chinese parcels to end destination;
  • Higher cost for sorting due to increased human effort;
  • Lower profit margins;
  • Stress with staff;
  • Claims from customers; and
  • Company reputation damage.

The Chinese Address Reader
Prime Vision recognized and addressed the challenges in scanning labels from Chinese import and developed the Chinese Address Reader to deal with these challenges. The solution however is much more focused on recognizing all kinds of labels that do not follow the standard labelling procedures.

The intelligence that powers this solution is based on AI and deep learning. The Chinese Address Reader is a system that learns from every label read, thus lowering the failure rate in scanning labels and sorting parcels. Parcels can now be sorted and delivered faster at lower cost.

The bottom line is that Prime Vision’s technology doesn’t focus solely on the labels themselves, but also on:

  • The method of addressing that does not conform to postal standards (duplicate and/or non-address relevant data in an illogical order);
  • The print quality of the labels that is limited (low contrast and few image pixels per character); and
  • The type of packages (small or fragile).

In 2019 Prime Vision received the Sorting and Fulfilment Hub Technology of the Year award at the Parcel and Postal Technology International Awards for its Chinese Address reader solution.

Improving efficiency for distribution and sorting centers
Reading poorly compiled labels from Asia is an industry-wide issue that until now, no-one else has been able to address seriously. Attempts to innovate traditional OCR systems haven’t come close to a practical working solution.

Prime Vision succeeded in developing the Chinese Address Reader by leveraging state-of-the-art neural networks based on AI and Deep Learning techniques. By presenting thousands of previously unfathomable addresses of individual countries to the neural network, the solution is able to learn the formats, regularities and connections within address formats.

Benefits of the Chinese Address Reader summarized:

  • Decreasing failure rate in automatic sorting;
  • Less manual sorting needed;
  • Faster delivery to end destination;
  • Low investment with high ROI; and
  • Usable as standalone solution or connected to your existing OCR readers.

The Chinese Address Reader improves the efficiency in the sorting phase of the delivery process. It cuts the cost of manual labor and speeds up delivery of Chinese parcels to their end destination.

For more information, click here.

About Prime Vision

Prime Vision is the leading software integrator in the global postal and CEP markets, developing best-in-class solutions in machine vision, recognition and identification technologies.

Prime Vision has won several Parcel and Postal Technology International Awards for its innovative work, including:

  • 2010 in category Automation Technology of the Year for WebCoding solutions;
  • 2015 in category Last Mile Delivery of the Year for Digital Mail Man;
  • 2016 in category Sorting Center Innovation of the Year for MMS Dynamic Mail Processing Solution;
  • 2017 in category Sorting Center Innovation of the Year for Projection Sorting;
  • 2017 in category Supplier of the Year for autonomous sorting; and
  • 2019 in category Sorting and Fulfilment Hub Technology of the Year for its Chinese Address Reader.

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