Ely members give a big ‘thumbs up’ to new Royal Mail PDAs

Postal, Royal Mail Group (EMP)

Carla Penny, Raj Tailor, Melanie Campbell

The East Anglian delivery office is the first in the UK to switch to the updated handheld device, and the feedback so far is all positive…

“It’s lighter, quicker, has more memory and doesn’t freeze in the rain,” says Carla Penny, CWU committee member at Ely.

“The old one kept doing that and it took a while to restart it each time, which was frustrating. This new model’s quicker to log onto and scanning is easier,” she continues, as she busily preps her delivery.

“And I can keep this one in my pocket – the old one was quite a bit heavier and it dragged down too much!”

Carla’s colleague Amya Brown agrees that the new postal digital assistant is an improvement, recalling how the older model would regularly lock and shut down, and had perhaps too many apps. “It’s not a problem on this new PDA,” she says.

Project manager Raj Tailor explains: “The new device is the TC57X model and it’s significantly slimmer and lighter to carry. It processes faster because it’s got 8 giga-byte of RAM capacity, compared to the 1gb of the old TC75 PDA.”

Melanie Campbell, deployment manager, says that the improved performance in wet weather is due to improved waterproofing technology used on the device’s IP68 sealing.

“It also has improved battery life. The cameras are better on the TC57X and so are the maps,” she adds, “which improves the RON (route optimisation and navigation) application.”

Also busy at his frame is Nicky Martin (pictured right on front page image) one of Ely’s workplace coaches, who tells CWU News: “This went live last Tuesday and on the first day, my PDA was on without charge from 8.30am – and it still had 39 per cent charge when I came back at 5.30pm.”

Mark Anger

Mark Anger works on a central delivery route and, like Amya, says that the old device “kept crashing, was overloaded and had too many apps.”

The replacement PDA is “easier to scan with and has not failed in the rain,” he comments.

Our CWU News reporter was invited to accompany Mark on part of his round and, where he needed to scan an item, the procedures were unchanged from before.

“We still do it the same way and in the same situations as we always did – but the functionality is better all round,” explains Mark.

“I think all of us at Ely have found this a big improvement and I think our other colleagues around the country will like it too. It’s good that the company is working with our union and investing in new kit and equipment in my opinion.”

Garry Mackenzie  (pictured left on front page image) is the CWU unit rep at this delivery office and he tells us: “The feedback so far on this has been all positive. There are more houses being built around here and more people moving here and we’ve been getting busier – as you can see today.

“So, it’s important that we get the investment in new kit that we need to get the job done – and the Pathway to Change agreement, which we all stood together and fought for, is the reason why we’ve got a joint commitment to this.

TC57X (New)

TC75 (Old)

“Now, we need to also make sure we’re fully resourced for the job as well.”

CWU outdoor secretary Mark Baulch told CWU News: “Clearly the feedback on the new device which has been received so far is very positive indeed, and is great news.

“The frequently reported problems to us, such as poor battery life and the power draining from the devices quickly, along with poor or no performance in the rain and the device constantly crashing are those issues which now seemingly have been overcome with the new device given the feedback already received.

“The new PDA will be warmly welcomed by our members who have had to overcome these issues for far too long whilst still trying to carry out the job whilst providing the brilliant service that they perform.”

The lead postal executive committee member for this project said: “It’s great that pilot activity has commenced in Ely D.O. and will be further extended to Plymouth Processing and Collections in due course. The feedback on the new devices has been extremely positive and our members have already welcomed that previous issues around the device’s ability to aid them during their operational roles has been fixed.

“The challenge now for both Royal Mail and the CWU is to conclude the pilot activity and then progress into national deployment to be completed by the end of September, so that all of our members are able to receive the new device – which will be welcomed without a shadow of a doubt!”

  • Raj and Mel will be heading to Plymouth with the new device next, and the nationwide TC57X Royal Mail rollout is scheduled to be completed by September. Parcelforce and Royal Mail Relay are expected to see the new devices next March. 

For further details, please see LTB 261/21