Ten top scenarios for ‘Posta’ amid a digital disruption

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020 00:00 |
Communication Workers Union of Kenya Secretary General, Benson Okwaro says the State corporation owes its workers Sh282 million in salary arrears.

The Internet and the flourishing of private package-delivery services brought the Postal Service - known as Posta in Kenya - to a crossroads. As a matter of fact, the Internet and e-commerce generate more postal volume, daily. Amid inevitable clashes with companies offering innovative e-commerce services, what are the options for Posta?

1. Maximising traditional mail business

To transform, postal services must prioritise the defence of their core business by improving operational excellence, generating new revenue streams with innovative new service offerings, and providing best-in-class e-commerce and postal services experiences to increase customer loyalty and citizen demand for postal services.

This can be achieved through a process of digital transformation. By integrating all aspects of the business into a powerful digital core, a platform is created for re-engineering business processes and transforming business models.

Predictive analytics powered by machine learning can guide decision-makers as they seek greater operational efficiency, and in the development of new revenue streams.

2. Integrated “New Retail”eco-systems

Today’s Posts are often seen as governmental, hierarchical and administrative in culture; totally unsuited to an increasingly competitive and fast changing environment.

However, tomorrow’s Post can still dominate the growing international, incoming and outgoing parcel market.

Successful Posts will partner and totally integrate with online retailers and integrate fully each other’s data, warehouses and shipping centres’.

Posts will also facilitate e-commerce by being the intermediary between their country’s SMEs and foreign online retailers.

They will know what products sell in the right markets – particularly the booming markets in China, South East Asia, India and the emerging markets.

3. Parcels service

Borrowing from online marketplaces such as Alibaba, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Newegg, Walmart and Jet among others, who seem to continue growing despite the fact that they vary in business model can help.

This includes charged commission and profitability. eMarketer has estimated that global retail e-commerce sales, those purchased over the internet, makes up 7.4 per cent of the total retail market worldwide but retail e-commerce will still account for just 12.8 per cent of retail purchases. Research also shows that Africa will also contribute to this bucket as well amid rising mobile technology.

4. Value added services

Value-added services such as lifestyle banking can be supplemented with analytics-driven personal finance management to increase customer loyalty and optimise cross-selling and up-selling.

This will enable businesses that already have a digital core to incorporate the postal supply chain into their business processes in real-time, thereby offering their customers end-to-end visibility value, integrity of goods, and automatic crediting and debiting of accounts via a connection to banks.

5. User satisfaction and expectations

Some Posts will focus on corporate owned facilities, self-serve kiosks and intelligent parcel lockers in locations such as gas stations and shopping malls.

They will continue to incur higher than necessary costs or require government subsidies.

Others will opt for competition, partnerships and franchise strategies – a further evolution of the symbiotic business strategy of a “business within a business.”

This evolution will create a small, largely automated or self-serve post office or shared-counter postal franchise.

This low-cost franchise partnership, within an existing business, allows the Post promote self-serve kiosks.

6. Self-serve kiosks

A low-cost franchise partnership allows the Post to become increasingly receiver and customer-experience focused and gives them the flexibility of variable cost and capacity.

While the franchisee receives a very small payment per parcel delivered; he makes his money on the purchases made by incremental, customer traffic or footfall.

The fixed-size parcel boxes allow for space efficiency and transportation lower cost. Each parcel will be tracked end-to-end anywhere in the world.

7. Autonomous parcels and tracking technology

The parcel is now self aware and will report back to the user on its location, condition and security in real time, no matter the country.

The user will also be alerted to any events with the parcel such as it being dropped, opened, or exceeding a temperature range.

8. Customer centricity

In future, the Post must accommodate customers who want to track and decide, in real time, where they want their parcel delivered.

The Post will deliver, 12 hours a day, within the city using electric vehicles powered by fuel cells or battery packs. It will deliver to the home or place of work or where the customer directs that particular parcel.

It can also leave the parcel at intelligent parcel lockers throughout the city – located in office tower lobbies, pathways, subways, stores, etc

9. Disruptive innovation

Mail volumes continue to decline as digital forms of communication proliferate. Posts also need disruptive innovation and strategies to survive and thrive.

They need a new set of capabilities: visionary leadership, focus on much longer-term planning and success measuring, partnerships particularly in last mile delivery, multi-channel customer engagement to allow the consumer to choose delivery options, variable pricing models, big-data driven knowledge of each customer, and agility to change among others.

10.Managing last mile delivery

Delivering to low-density or rural residential customers will continue to be expensive. However, customers everywhere want same-day delivery e-commerce fulfilment.

Technology has improved parcel traceability, with proof of delivery and tracking information.

Regional and local last-mile delivery organizations don’t necessarily have the technology bandwidth to provide that data but smartphone apps have revolutionized the process for tracking with GPS.

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