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Rohan Mathur, CEO of UK-based Emerdis Limited, spent years in the mailing business, working for giants like Pitney Bowes. After a decade in the industry, he came up with an idea for a shipping solution that a certain market segment desperately needed.

The problem he intended to solve? Small e-commerce companies, artisan sellers, and small factories did not have access to the same shipping technology that their large competitors used regularly. That’s because existing shipping technology companies targeted and served high-volume shippers, and their high-end equipment was only really suited for warehouses.

Rohan saw an opportunity in the small business sector—those that may only ship a few packages per week. These companies worked with couriers on a package-by-package basis, and they used manual processes for measurements and paperwork that were prone to human error. They also did not ship a large enough volume to negotiate better rates.

On top of that, every courier company had its own method of calculating freight, charging a surcharge on a package if it did not meet the details logged at the time of booking. To avoid this, many shippers used standard sizes, even if their products did not fit those sizes. However they approached the problem, it added to their costs and ate into their profit margins.

The Solution: ParcelKiosk

Rohan wanted to give small businesses access to a device that:

  • Automatically weighed and measured packages
  • Relayed the information to an online shipping platform
  • Gave shippers a range of options, identifying the best ones
  • Enabled shippers to manage everything from pickup to shipping to delivery, all from the platform

Rohan even realized he could negotiate better shipping rates due to the volume of business his platform would deliver to the carriers. He would then pass those savings on to his customers, empowering them to go up against large competitors.

With so many advantages, ParcelKiosk would be a no-brainer for small businesses—assuming Rohan and his team could deliver well-designed, precision IoT hardware along with an intuitive, easy-to-use software platform to manage it all.

Two Key Components: Hardware & Software

The ParcelKiosk system would consist of two key components: a machine to measure and weigh the packages, and software to handle everything else.

Two Key Components: Hardware & Software

Bedal (the Hardware): Rohan and his team contracted a Korean manufacturer to design and build the machine itself—a proprietary dimensional IoT device that delivered flawless weights and measurements, every time.

They designed the machine to:

  • Measure the dimensions of any package placed on it
  • Weigh the package accurately
  • Take photographs of the package
  • Use Lockheed-Martin’s OCR technology to read information from labels
  • Print labels in a variety of formats

Parcelrate (the Software): Rohan also needed someone to design the software that would connect Bedal to the shipping services, relaying measurements to the carriers and delivering rates and shipping options to the users. They’d also use this software to place orders, schedule pickups, and track shipments.

With the hardware component in good hands, Rohan looked into hiring Net Solutions to design and build the software.

Could They Deliver from Another Continent? Putting Net Solutions to the Test.

Could They Deliver from Another Continent? Putting Net Solutions to the Test.

Rohan was impressed with the technical talent and the range of services Net Solutions offered, but he needed to be sure he could work with a company many time zones away.

To evaluate their potential, Rohan first hired Net Solutions to build a marketing website. As the site came together, Rohan and Net Solutions settled into a rhythm, collaborating well and producing a high-quality product. Based on this experience, Rohan decided to hire Net Solutions to design the software.

A Deeper Look at Parcelrate—the Software that Makes ParcelKiosk Possible

Net Solutions got to work, designing and building a Windows-based application that would also work on Windows-powered tablets, like the Microsoft Surface. The dedicated software would connect with Bedal (the hardware) through the provided SDK, and it would communicate using an API layer created specifically for that purpose.

Parcelrate’s Features & Workflows

Net Solutions designed a multilingual software platform with two main operations:

  • Package shipping
  • Monitoring and reporting

With this in mind, they built all the key features, streamlined and simplified to perfection based on the following workflows:

  • Users enter their shipping info (e.g., shipping address, package contents, pickup requirements.)
  • Users place the package on Bedal, and the software communicates with Bedal to retrieve all the information it collects (e.g., dimensions, weight).
  • Users receive the fastest and cheapest shipping options available, based on the package’s weight, dimensions, and other details. Net Solutions made this possible by integrating the software with platforms like LetMeShip, a German company that interfaces with all available courier services to identify shipping rates, times, and other information. The user can also browse and choose a different provider if they’d like.
  • Users select shipping options, and LetMeShip delivers an order confirmation.
  • Parcelrate sends the shipping information to Bedal, once confirmed, based on the vendor and other details (like country of origin, destination, etc.). Bedal then prints a shipping label in the appropriate format.
  • Users can monitor the package through Parcelrate once the courier picks it up. The user can also receive updates via Parcelrate’s reporting features.

    The system tracks every package in real-time, from within the software, even when the shipper uses different courier services. In other words, Parcelrate consolidates all shipping information in one place, so users don’t have to consult a different shipper’s website to get the latest tracking info for each shipment.

A comprehensive reporting module provides aggregate reports for things like the number of packages shipped in a particular time period, charges, which courier services are used most often, where packages are shipped the most, and more. These reports are graphical and intuitive, allowing the user to drill-down to individual shipments if needed.

Launching in 14 European Countries

Launching in 14 European Countries

Rohan’s product impressed many small businesses that immediately saw the value in both the software and the hardware. This allowed him to successfully launch in 14 countries across Europe simultaneously.

Creating a Web-based Version of Parcelrate

Emerdis presented their solution in numerous trade fairs and conventions, and Rohan worked with local partners to expand their footprint to even more countries.

As the service grew and gathered Voice of the Customer (VoC) feedback, Rohan and his team learned they were missing out on a portion of the market that did not use tablets or computers with a Windows-based Operating System.

To serve this segment and corner the small business shipping market, Rohan called on Net Solutions to build a web-based version of the app, enabling users to access it like any other Software as a Service (SaaS) product.

With Bedal providing a local server and an SDK to communicate with the device software, Net Solutions implemented the entire Parcelrate platform using web technologies. The new solution worked perfectly from any browser, giving the same features and functionality as the Windows-based software.

This opened doors for further expansion, allowing ParcelKiosk to quickly capture additional market share from those customers who loved the technology but didn’t want to buy an additional device in order to use it.

Helping Small Businesses Thrive

ParcelKiosk managed to fill a much-needed gap in the marketplace. Thanks to ParcelKiosk, small businesses across Europe are no longer limited by manual processes and excessive shipping rates.

Today, they can compete with Amazon and others on a level-playing field—something that wouldn’t have been possible without Rohan’s clever idea and Net Solutions’ diligent work.

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