Showing posts with label HDMS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HDMS. Show all posts

Monday, 17 August 2015

Profitable But Shame; True Story of India Post COD

Location 1: A Branch Post Office

A congested small half heighted room under the staircase of an office complex built by the state government authorities.  The Branch Postmaster, a lady looking nearly 65 years old, is sitting in a damaged chair with dissatisfied face near to a small table.  A fan or even proper ventilation is not available in this office.

NB: Dissatisfaction may be due to her concern about the life after retirement (Sorry- Discharge of service)

This small room is filled with undeliverable parcels with label COD.  Actually the BPM is surrounded with different types of CODs i.e. BP-COD, SP-COD, EP-COD.

One college boy approached this Post Office and asked about one COD parcel to be received in his name.  The BPM told him “Your parcel has been received and this is your parcel, but I cannot deliver this to you since the message is not received.” 

The boy asked more about the message and argued for his parcel.  He told “my parcel has been received and I am willing to pay the amount, then why you are waiting for message? I don’t want any message… I want only that parcel.”

Helpless BPM!  She doesn’t know much about message and its technicality.  Instead she acts according to the instruction received from her Account office.

Finally the boy left the office by cursing the Department.

Location 2: A Departmental B Class Sub Office

Rented building with sufficient space but no space in the counter to place a voucher because the small counter is over crowded with various devices.  But one-man-show is playing in this office due to staff shortage.  But the man working in this office looks very enthusiastic.  (NB: The expectation of salary hike in the 7th CPC may be the one of the reasons of his happiness)

One network rack is fixed in a danger condition just above the head of Postmaster and that may fall at any time. (NB: Sify people will reduce the staff strength again)

COD-parcels are dumped in all corner of this office.

One middle aged man approached this Post Office and asked about one COD parcel to be received in his name.  The Sub-Postmaster told him “Your parcel has been received, but I cannot deliver it to you because three messages have been received of for this one parcel.  So I am waiting for our System Administrator”

He looked at the eyes of Postmaster pathetically without understanding these technicalities.  After that he left the office without any complaint or agitation.  But he might have said in his mind “What Message and What System Administrator”

Location 3: A Head Post Office

Red and white colour theme and standardized furniture increase the look but old 2000 model computers and dragging printers are losing the dignity gained from Look and Feel.

One e-commerce customer is waiting at the counter for booking COD articles, at the same time one Gentle man approached the delivery branch for his COD articles.  The official in the delivery branch told “Your parcel has been reached at this office one week back, due to error in the software it cannot be included in our software.  We are waiting for the solution from CEPT.”

The Gentle man asked “What is CEPT?”

The official replied with a smile “Centre for Excellence in Postal Technology”

Part II

Have you ever gone through any of the above said scenario?  If you are a Post Office staff, surely you will be well aware of it.  Most pain full part is that it is the sorrow of operational staffs only.  But others are simply closing their eyes towards the truth (may be due to ignorance)

If it is a single case, we can leave it without giving much importance.  But if is happening everywhere, there is something wrong somewhere.  But who will answer to the questions from field units?

Have you checked the impression of India Post COD in the web world? If the answer is no, please see the Google search result about India Post COD below.   If you search in with words “India Post COD Service” you can see the same results in rank number 2.

The above said search result is not at all a good sign for India Post in the ecommerce driven parcel service industry.  Till the introduction of COD service, the market share of India Post in the parcel service related to ecommerce sector was negligible.  But now lots of ecommerce parcels are flowing through the channel of India Post and it is the main revenue source of Department of Post.

If you analyse the evolution of COD in India Post, you can see that there were so many setback in its implementation.  Let us examine the reason for this fall.

Retaining an existing customer is more important than acquiring a new business.

1.  Implementation without proper planning.

India Post has glorious track record in the implementation of various services throughout the nation and thereby it has earned good trust from the people of India.  So the expectation toward any new product or service introduced by India Post will be very high especially the trust in security since it is a Government of India institution.

A mere implementation will not satisfy the needs of a customer in long run.  An effective implementation needs proper planning.  Here in the case of COD services, I think there was no such planning in advance.  It was like somebody got an idea in the midnight and they have implemented the same in the morning.

Through the next four points you can clearly understand that the DOP had implemented COD service without much planning.

2.  Lack of time for development and testing of software.

Creating error free software is the crucial part while introducing a new service.  Without stable software, it cannot implement on a larger scale without much complaint.  At the same time it is not possible to develop stable software in one or two days.  So many stages are involved in the development of software and each stage has its own time.

In my knowledge, CEPT is receiving late intimation from directorate in connection with adding new option in software.  In most of the cases the inauguration of new service would be fixed in advance without knowing the status of software.

Due to the pressure from the directorate or somewhere, the programmers will be forced to release imperfect software.  They will cut off the time taken in each stage of development and in some case they may skip some stages also.  This happened in many cases especially in the case of BP-COD.  That is why it is facing so many issues even after two years .

3.  Same way of thinking in software development.

Conceiving the idea is very important for the development of software.  Software for new service can be developed in many ways.  Attaining the goal through simple steps with minimum requirement should be the first priority.

In case of COD services, programmers are thinking in same pattern followed by the introduction of eVP service.  Since they are more concerned with the rules in the volume, they cannot develop with full freedom.  This is the main issue in developing software for India Post.

India Post has very strict rules and regulations in its operation but all such rules need not be implemented while developing software.  Trying to include all manual procedure in the software will make software complex.

The developers are not trying to explore the other areas to develop stable COD software.  Even if the BP-COD software is a failure, they simply followed same procedure in the SP-COD service also.  They all are based on RNet, SpeedNet and ePayment communications.  Using multiple communications and multiple modules for handling one service will make service more inconsistent.

COD services are prestige service of India Post then why don’t they use the possibilities of web application for this service?  If it is more expensive or time consuming, why don’t they try some simple methods through existing system?

Option for ePayment booking with flexible biller ID at delivery Post Office, receiving automated token from Central Server for retransmitting COD booking messages without human intervention, etc. are some other options.

If India Post invites idea from Postal Staffs across the country for better implementation of a service or Software, they will give hundreds of amazing options.

4.  Lack of proper software support.

Software itself is a problem then think about the condition in which operating this software without proper support.  That is happening everywhere.  For the past few years the condition of CEPT help desk is pathetic.  With the introduction of COD, the support is getting worse.

We have discussed the same matter through different posts like

Unfortunately there is no change in the attitude.  The comic replies from help desk make peoples laughing. 

A latest comedy is given below.

Scenario:  The case was happened at one COD payment office.  The SA raised ticket in HDMS for not receiving payment message of a particular COD in Treasury module.  The said COD was booked in another office and was delivered from another office.

Fortunately all details were get updated in the tracking.

Support team asked for epayment database of payment office and finally they have given a reply after analysing the database that “article details not available in the forwarded database, please check with out article details providing solution is not possible

If the details were available in the database there would be no need for raising ticket.

The helpless SA not reopened the case because if he asks more questions, it will invite the dislike of support team and finally they will reach in a conclusion “Database Tampering”, the final arrow towards the questioner.

You can read the original conversation below.

Ticket No: TICNO006XXXX
Ticket Raised Date: 09 Jul 2015 15:14:46:120
Problem Description: An SP-COD EZ746000XXXX booked at XXXX HO has been delivered at destination office on 26.06.2015 and the status has been updated in the ePayment server. But the message has not reached at YYYYY HO for payment. ePayment client is running without any issue and other SP-COD articles are receiving both for delivery and payment. Kindly give necessary guidance to receive the above said SP-COD message for effecting payment. The SP-COD tracking details attached
Screen shot: Download

Suspended Information: CEPT Replied: please forward ecounter database for analysis
Suspended Date: 10 Jul 2015 15:43:00:500

Ticket No: TICNO006XXXX
Ticket Raised Date: 13 Jul 2015 11:28:36:943
Problem Description: Google drive link attached
Solution Description: CEPT Replied: article details not available in the forwarded database, please check with out article details providing solution is not possible
Ticket Closed Date: 13 Jul 2015 17:50:03:820

5.  Lag in alternative and corrective measures

Setback is common in the implementation of a new service or new mechanism, but finding and applying an alternative solution in the right time is the success in failure.  At the same time, when you following an alternative methods, correction process should be started after studying the actual causes of failure.

After the introduction of BP-COD, so many software issues have been reported from various sides but no one had given proper attention to these issues.  Finally lots of customers complained for not receiving their money for the delivered article. After a long period the Directorate has issued an order showing the alternative method of COD payment through eMO.

The first order for sending CDD collection through money order was upto a particular period and after understanding the seriousness of issues they have extended this order to an indefinite period.
No corrective measures have been done in the software side after this order and the issues are still alive even after two years, so most of the offices are sending the COD collection as Money Order.

When you come to SP-COD, the scenario is not different.  So many issues are reporting from all sides but no effective action has been taken from any side. The higher authorities are not hearing the crying from the ground level, they simply admitting what CEPT is telling.  The ground level facts are more important than conceptual talking of software developers.  Everything will be fine theoretically but in practical it may not be like that.

No alternative method has been adopted for the payment of SP-COD collection so far.  India Post has all the facility to adopt an alternative method of payment quickly.  Then, why should they wait for long to introduce this.  The lost customer will not approach again so quick and effective remedy is needed.

Deploying a disaster recovery site or modules after the failure of software as a result of false implementation is not at all a good exercise.


After reading all the above points, you should not think that COD service of India Post is worse compared to others.  Compared to the benefits which one ecommerce customer is getting, the internal issues pertaining to India Post COD are negligible.  Since it is the prestigious and future deciding service of India Post, it should be completely error free and reliable.  If the issues reported from ground level are addressed properly, COD business of India Post and its rating in web will be raised to a new height in the near future.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

See how CEPT support team distract employees through HDMS

This time I am trying to show you the pathetic condition of Software support team at CEPT Mysore.  As you know, support for all software except savings bank and PLI related modules are given from CEPT Mysore.  But today’s support team is only the shadow of glorious olden days.  Now persons from the support team making confusions instead of giving solution through their contradictory replies.

You may heard about HDMS i.e., Help Desk Management System which has been developed for easy handling and monitoring of complaints related to software issues registered by System Administrators or other staffs.  Until the introduction of HDMS, email was the means of communication between CEPT and technical staffs.

Most of the employees especially higher level officials think that Help Desk at CEPT Mysore is giving timely support for all technical issues faced by Post Offices.  But the ground reality is different.  The solution from the CEPT is like a rain in the desert.

With the introduction of HDMS, support staffs are crazy for closing the complaint instead of giving solutions.  In most of the cases, support staffs are playing with ready-made replies.  They are just copy-pasting the same wordings as replies for all issues.  Their ultimate goal is to close the ticket just by giving a reply.
The unfortunate thing is that no one has any control over CEPT, Mysore on such matters and there is no monitoring mechanism for HDMS.  As a result of this Support staffs are acting like arrogant and they are not giving due respect for even Chief PMGs of the Circles. 

Earlier, delays were count in days but now the delays are count in months.  Most of the delays are intentionally created delays and which could have been solved in the earlier stage itself.

Inorder to convince the scenario, I am incorporating two actual incidents in this post below.


A System Administrator registered a ticket through HDMS on 17.01.2015 in connection with Day End issue in Postman module of a Sub Office.  Even though the issue can be solved with in one day, it has taken 52 days to get a solution from HDMS.  That means, the ticket has been closed on 10.03.2015.

Since no solution has been received from CEPT until 30.01.2015, the case has been reported to Circle Office by the Division. Circle Office has sent an email to CEPT on 30.01.2015 (ie, after 13 days from the date of registering ticket) for reminding the case.

But the reply was irresponsible and thereby shows the attitude of CEPT support team towards the Circles and Circle Heads.  You can read the reply below.

“From: CEPT Mysore Help Desk <>
Date: Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 11:22 AM
Subject: Re: Solution not given by CEPT Mysore reg.
To: "XXXXXX(Tgy)" <>
       As we giving priority to HDMS, we will look into your ticket sequentially and reply suitably. Please don’t send such reminding mails over support email id, however you may please use the remainder option for each delayed ticket in the HDMS itself.  Such email over support unnecessarily takes our time.

With Regards,

Help Desk
Centre for Excellence in Postal Technology
Nazarbad, Mysore 570010”

CEPT has not given any solution even after 50 days.  The Postman module had not been worked for 52 days in that office and as a result of this Account MIS data (DET) could not be sent during those days.  The CEPT was unnecessarily dragging the case.  You can understand the same by reading the conversation between SA and the Support Team below.

(Identifiable portions have been removed for privacy purpose)
Ticket Raised Date: 17 Jan 2015 16:36:41:363
System Admin:  On 16/01/2015 the delivery details of one BO COD article have been updated with old delivery date ie 10/11/2014 in BO remark option in Postman module. Now it cannot do the day end in Postman module due to BOCOD verification issue. But no details are available in verification screen. The database attached, kindly give solution.
Suspended Date: 27 Jan 2015 15:44:37:840
Support Team: XXXX Replied: Please mention the article number.

Ticket reopened Date: 28 Jan 2015 11:27:36:633
System Admin:  Article number is CXXXXXXXXXXIN

Ticket Closed Date: 28 Jan 2015 12:43:48:800
Support Team: XXXX Replied: Sir, The said article is delivered and payment also done. Please check in parcel net website. The article verification is also done properly.

Ticket reopened Date: 28 Jan 2015 11:27:36:633
System Admin:  But the day end for 16.01.2015 could not be completed since the pending for verification of COD amount message is shown. The postman module is not working for the last 12 days.

Ticket Closed Date: 02 Feb 2015 09:36:38:293
Support Team: XXXX Replied: Please forward error screen shot with postman database backup.

Ticket reopened Date: 02 Feb 2015 12:26:50:113
System Admin:  The screenshot and database attached.

Suspended Date: 03 Feb 2015 20:16:51:347
Support Team: XXXX Replied: Kindly intimate the status of the article CY5XXXXXXIN.

Ticket Reopened Date: 04 Feb 2015 11:06:58:880
System Admin:  Delivered on 13.10.2014

Ticket Closed Date: 09 Feb 2015 10:26:10:300
Support Team: XXXX Replied: The said article is not properly disposed.That is the reason for the error coming for the day end process. Please check.

Ticket Reopened Date: 04 Feb 2015 11:06:58:880
System Admin:  How can we trace out and solve the issue.

Ticket Closed Date: 13 Feb 2015 15:47:30:283
Support Team: XXXX Replied: Sir, You have not properly given remark in Postman for these two articles. In order to provide solution Please send fax duly signed by the divisional head mentioning the status of the following two COD articles : CXXXXXXXXXIN CXXXXXXXXXXIN Kindly mention the date of delivery and date on which the amount accounted.

Reopened Date: 19 Feb 2015 11:31:43:443
System Admin:  Delivery details and accounted details have already been sent by the divisional office on 16.02.2015 duly signed by the divisional head. Kindly check and give solution.

Ticket Closed Date: 10 Mar 2015 14:56:47:807
Support Team: XXXX Replied: Sir, If the COD article is deliverd in BO and accounted on a particular day, then the same day itself the remark has to be given in the Postman BO remark.The article CXXXXXXXXIN has found to be given remark delivered on 16/01/2015 where as the account date is 13/10/2014.In such case we are unable to provide any solution. Kindly intimate whether you are still having the day end issue.

Reopened Date: 10 Mar 2015 15:40:50:670
System Admin:  Yes. Postman module is not working in this office since 17.01.2015 due to this issue. Please read the history of this case for better understanding.

Ticket Closed Date: 10 Mar 2015 21:31:39:537
System Admin:  XXXX Replied: Please run the attached script. the day end will be done for the date 16-01-2015.


In an office, one SP-COD article has been received for return to the Sender.  But the same cannot be transferred to the Postman module from Speednet module for invoicing.  The System Administrator seeks the help of support team, but the result was pathetic.

In this case, I am showing another face of support team.  They are not properly reading the case (or they don’t understand English language) and they are giving ready-made reply for all the issues.

You can understand the same just by reading following conversation.

Ticket Raised Date: 07 Mar 2015 15:39:41:107
System Admin:  How to deliver the SP-COD article received with remark 'pincode miss match' for return to the sender. The article was booked at XXXXX HO with return address under YYYYY HO. Now one SP-COD article has been received at YYYYY HO with above said remark for return to the sender. When we try to transfer the article to Postman module it says that it is not possible to transfer the article since the pincode mismatches. Kindly give necessary guidance to dispose the returned SP-COD article.

Support Team Replied: Sir, As per the SOP on SP-COD, SP-COD articles booked with addressee Pin code other than your office Pincode can't be delivered at your office. Please check the addressee details mentioned on the SP-COD article. If the article is a missent article then send it to correct addressee. If not, as per the SOP on SP-COD, SP-COD articles can't be redirected and hence, you need to return the said articles to the Sender.

System Admin:  Dear Sir, Please read the case carefully and give reply. The article was returned by the delivery office.

Support Team Replied: Sir, Please find the following information for the referred issue: i) In order to return / despatch RTS SP COD article in SpeedNet, please take the correct RTS remarks (Pincode mismatch is not a RTS remark) in Meghdoot Postman and run the SpeedNet Communication after Submit Account. This will allow despatch of this SP COD article under 'Closing of SP Bags' option in SpeedNet. ii) Running of SpeedNet Communication is mandatory after Submit Account to update the returns taken by Meghdoot Postman. iii) Pincode mismatch is not a RTS remark and hence, SP-COD articles with "Pincode mismatch" remarks will not be allowed to be despatched in SpeedNet. Note: In Meghdoot Postman 7.9.2, "Pincode Mismatch" remark is not available. As such, upgrade the Meghdoot Postman to Version 7.9.2 (available at iv) Unless local database is updated with RTS electronic data, your office will not be allowed to transfer the SP COD articles to Megdhoot Postman for effecting delivery to Sender / Customer, who booked the SP COD article. As such, please track the SP COD article on India Post Speed Post Tracking and check whether the RTS remarks is updated by the office of return concerned. Note: Unless RTS remark is updated against the article at SpeedNet Central Server, RTS delivery office will not get the RTS electronic data instead they will get electronic data with addressee pincode and transferring to Meghdoot Postman will be denied due to mis-match in Pincode. v) Since this is an operation issue, CEPT can't provide any guidance except suggesting you to contact the office which has returned the SP COD article without updating the proper RTS remark. vi) For more details on handling of SP-COD articles, please go through attached document and SOP of SP-COD.

System Admin:  Dear Sir, This is not an operational issue. This is purely a software issue so CEPT cannot evade from this issue. You are giving a contradictory reply because as you know that the article with wrong pincode cannot be transferred to Postman module in delivery office. Then how can we give correct RTS remark while returning the article. If any other option is there in the speednet to overcome this issue or if I am wrong kindly let me know the correct procedure. Kindly give the correct procedure to return the SP-COD article with wrong pincodein in delivery office through speednet.

Support Team Replied: Sir, Regarding the issue under reference, following is provided for your information and necessary action: i) In order to return RTS SP COD article, please take the correct RTS remarks in Meghdoot Postman and run the SpeedNet Communication after Submit Account. This will allow despatch of this SP COD article under 'Closing of SP Bags' option in SpeedNet. ii) Running of SpeedNet Communication is mandatory after Submit Account to update the returns taken by Meghdoot Postman.

System Admin:  You are giving answers blindly without reading the case carefully. Closing the complaint should not be your motive. Your job is to give the correct solution for the issue after understanding the case. If you want more information to understand the case please ask the same. Please read the history of this case once again and give proper reply.

Support Team Replied: Sir, We have already provided the following guidance on the subject. However, the same is reproduced below: Unless local database of your office is updated with RTS electronic data, your office will not be allowed to transfer the SP COD articles to Megdhoot Postman for effecting delivery to Sender / Customer, who booked the SP COD article. As such, please track the SP COD article on India Post Speed Post Tracking and check whether the RTS remarks is updated by the office of return concerned. Note: Unless RTS remark is updated against the article at SpeedNet Central Server, RTS delivery office will not get the RTS electronic data instead they will get electronic data with addressee pincode and transferring to Meghdoot Postman will be denied due to mis-match in Pincode. If the above guidance is not satisfactory, then in order to analyse the issue at our level, we require the following input: a) SP COD article numbers b) Office (mention Pincode) which has returned the SP COD articles c) Whether RTS remark is shown against each SP COD article in India Post Speed Post tracking As such, the ticket is being suspended. You may 'Respond' to the ticket and provide above mentioned additional inputs for further necessary action at CEPT level.

System Admin:  Sir, I understand what you are saying but you don't understand what I am saying. The given guidance is applicable only if the article can be transferred to the Postman module (or the pincode of the article is correct) in the actual delivery office that is the Addressee side. In this case the pincode of the delivery office and the pincode in the article is different. In such cases the article cannot be transferred to the Postman module.( This portion is not related to my office. This is the issue at actual addressee's Post Office). In such cases the actual delivery office will return the article to the sender's Post Office by merely closing the speedbag without making any remark. They have no option to give the TRS remark in such cases. (Here my office is sender's Post Office) Please consider the addressee's delivery office is XXXXX PO and Sender's Post Office is XXXXXX. If the article is received at XXXX PO with wrong pincode, they cannot transfer the article to Postman module and give correct RTS remark. In such cases they will simply return the article to XXXXXXX by closing a speed bag. Here at delivery office, we cannot transfer the article to Postman module for delivering the article to the sender. The window delivery through speednet is also not possible. If you don't understand the case, I have nothing to say more about it and we will deliver the article manually and give report.

Bla.. bla.. bla.. bla…. from CEPT continues… but the solution is still a mystery.
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