Canada Post has signed an $80-million renewal contract with a Quebec-based business process outsourcing company to provide document management, billing and marketing services over the next five years.

Relizon Canada, which has been working with the Crown corporation for the last two decades, beat out approximately 20 other bidders for the contract, which was signed in December and took effect on Jan. 1. When it came down to it, Relizon was able to offer a more cost-effective solution compared to its competitors, said Phil Gaudette, manager of national contracting at Canada Post.

“The incumbent was able to provide us the same services that were being tendered at a cost that was more attractive than the other parties,” said Gaudette.

Under the new deal, Relizon will continue to manage interdepartmental workflow documents including shipping and receiving forms, for example, but has added more external workflow services to the mix.

“This contract carries a bigger component of their workflow solutions and day-to-day activities they’re involved in,” said Mohamed Yacoub, president and chief executive officer of Relizon Canada, which is headquartered in Boucherville Que. in Canada and Dayton, Ohio in the U.S. Relizon, which offers document management, billing and marketing services, has over 3,600 employees across North America and 12,000 customers across various industries, including the financial sector. Relizon last March struck a five-year $90 million deal with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to provide the bank with similar services.

One of the main differences between the old contract and the new one, said Gaudette, is that Canada Post is now outsourcing part of the design and management of forms, tags and labels to Relizon. “We’re not designers per se,” said Gaudette. “(Relizon) provides us the professionalism in the design of our products and the consistency we need. In today’s market, things have got to be right. If you put a document out on the street and there’s an error in it you could be liable for it.”

The agreement also includes enhanced Web support for some of Canada Post’s commercial clients. With the advent of more Internet-based business in the last few years, Canada Post’s Web presence has become increasingly important, said Gaudette.

“Canada Post has one of largest e-procurement systems in North America,” said Gaudette, adding that Relizon’s services will make up a portion of that business. “Our commercial clients can go in, order and configure some of the items they need online as opposed to making a phone call or sending a fax copy to somebody. It’s now more of a formal process as opposed to a manual one that was prone to errors.”

Services provided also include basically anything that carries tracing tools like on-demand valuable imaging or barcodes to trace customers’ parcels. While the barcode remains a safe and reliable way to do that, Yacoub said many of his clients are taking a serious look at radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. “We’re looking at how to introduce that to clients like Canada Post,” said Yacoub, adding that Relizon is involved in a couple of taskforces looking at the technology. “We’re still in the early stages but the economics still aren’t there.” Yacoub added he hopes to see this type of technology in an environment like Canada Post within the next three to four years.

Beyond moving parcels, Relizon is also engaged in direct marketing activities like putting gift and phone cards in Canada Post’s 7,000 retail locations across the country, to help draw more customer traffic in its stores, said Yacoub.

The contract terms also require Relizon to look after Canada Post’s nationwide document warehousing and distribution. “Our job is to make sure we service them on a daily basis,” said Yacoub. “We have facilities of our own where we ship products and we use their facilities. We make sure they are in a position to deliver those products.” Canada Post also has the ability to order every Relizon product online via an e-commerce portal called Relizonline, which has been in place for about two to three years. “That’s key in terms of simplifying transaction side of things,” said Yacoub.

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