As we celebrate World Post Day today, we can look back with satisfaction on a rich history of transformation in the Post, which has always been able to find its place in the world market. Indeed, the Post can pride itself on being the oldest medium of communication, one that still plays a key role in the sending of information and goods.
From liberalization to privatization and the emergence of competition, the Post has faced many challenges to its survival, but none so daunting as the development of modern information technology. Today, the traditional postal business line – letter post – has been greatly challenged by faster and more efficient ways of communication thanks to advancements in information and communications technologies.
However, successful Posts have taken these challenges as opportunities to innovate and establish new market segments, understanding that a faster and more efficient communication medium is actually what the Post needs in order to build a new business value chain.
The transformation has not come easily. Indeed, there are still many Posts that have yet to take full advantage of new technologies to improve their business performance. Nevertheless, the message is loud and clear: the survival of the Post hinges on its ability to quickly change and innovate. Customer expectations, needs and tastes are changing, and the Post must change as well to meet these new demands.
With that realization, the Universal Postal Union, in its draft World Postal Strategy for 2017–2020, has identified postal industry reform as the key driver for the future. In its blueprint, Vision 2020, the UPU focuses on Innovation, Integration and Inclusion as the main factors that will drive postal business in the future.
The reality is that the future of the Post strongly depends on its ability to innovate and create new products and services. One of the keys to innovation will be the Post’s capacity to embrace new technologies and transfer its trusted brands into the digital space. To achieve this, it will be critical for the Post to develop digital competencies, along with the relevant regulatory frameworks that will support the new environment.
For successful integration, the Post will need to build a seamless network that is connected both virtually and physically, and that has a local and international presence. Full integration calls for the involvement of all key players in the postal supply chain, including customs and transport, and the facilitation of cross-border e-commerce.
With the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals, which have been embraced by world leaders, the Post today has an even more relevant role to play as an infrastructure for development. Given its universal nature, the Post is best placed to drive the economic, social, financial and digital inclusion of all citizens of the world. Through its vast network, the Post should target micro, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as the unbanked population as a new business frontier and create appropriate products to support the market. Achieving success in this area is one of the best ways to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, for the benefit of the global community.
The future of the Post starts now. We must all work towards creating products and services that meet the needs of our current and future customers. Let us focus on innovation, integration and inclusion in our business to create a strong Post for the future. Only in doing so will the Post be able to achieve success and maintain its place in the world market, with a presence that continues to be visible and relevant.
I wish you a happy World Post Day.