The Executive Series: Five Aspects of Transformation for Posts18 March 2016
Transformation is key to Posts in the increasingly digital world that we live in. Transformation needs to be focused, purposeful, as well as strategic. There are five significant areas that Posts should invest transformation efforts in to remain relevant in the new, digital marketplace.
Transformation in the Postal Sector
By leveraging its strengths and building on its assets, Posts are in a unique position to ride on the booming eCommerce marketplace and develop into a key logistics player.
Transformation and the shift towards eCommerce will require an organisation-wide, integrated approach with direction, intent and purpose. Posts should establish clear goals and at the same time, identify areas for improvement and investment in order to achieve these goals.
Notwithstanding the approach, successful transformation should comprise five key areas: People, Technology, Processes, Partnerships and Mind-set. These five key areas are significant in determining the success of Posts’ transformation in the fast growing digital economy as well as allow them to be relevant and a sustainable entity for decades to come.
Key Areas of Transformation
People – Despite advancements inspired by the digital revolution, people still are, and will continue to be, the main drivers of innovation.
For Posts to truly transform, they will need to invest in highly-skilled employees who have the drive to push change. By harnessing expert professionals across various fields, Posts will be able to excel across various fronts in its value chain, from customer relations, operations, processing, logistics, and eCommerce. Industry professionals of varying backgrounds can collaborate on new, innovative solutions to address the growing set of challenges in the digital marketplace.
Despite the organisation’s multi-disciplinary background, the singular vision towards positive and purposeful transformation allows Post to work as a unified team, not only as a high-performing service provider, but as an organization of industry-leading professionals.
Technology – The catalyst for Posts to invigorate old practices and be on trend is advanced, cutting-edge technology. Posts are able to evolve from a traditional letter and courier service to a multi-faceted, full-service logistics and processing partner by leveraging technology in their operations.
SingPost, for example, has incorporated technology into its products and services, such as its very own SingPost app, which puts Post services at the fingertips of its customers, providing access to services such as parcel tracking, shipping cost calculation and additional services like product discovery. Other platforms that have incorporated advanced technology are SingPost’s SAM terminals and the SAM mobile app that allows users to make online payments and manage their digital mail anytime, anywhere.
By utilizing technology, Posts are able to adopt an omnichannel approach that connects customers and post operators across an endless variety of contact points, both physical and digital.
Processes – Posts should also shift towards more precise, customer-centric and standardized processes to aid their transformation.
As the scope of Posts grows, scalability in processes is required to efficiently and reliably manage both traditional and new services. By adopting a modular approach to its processes, Posts gain flexibility in adjusting to the ever-changing needs of its customers, rather than customers having to adjust to the processes.
As processes (delivery, logistics, processing, etc.) become more efficient as well as consumer-focused, customer experience is enhanced and will ultimately generate the support and brand loyalty Posts need for future growth.
Partnerships – Partnerships are critical in growing the value chain for Posts. In the business of eCommerce logistics, customers expect 24/7 and 360-degree access to brands and services.
In the case of SingPost, its partnerships with online sampling service Sample Store and private storage service Lock & Store provide a larger portfolio of services to its customers while reaching out to new, underserved, and less tapped markets.
In an always-online, highly-connected market, the digital consumer is always seeking newer, faster and more convenient ways to experience brands and consume information. Strong and reliable partnerships allow post providers to expand their suites of services by leveraging on the expertise of partners.
Mind-set – Finally, it is essential to transform the mind-set of Posts in order to maintain a relevant and sustainable future for the sector.
Executives, managers and industry leaders must be open to taking on the risks and challenges that come from the evolving digital landscape. Rather than focusing on revenue on a quarterly and annual basis, long term strategic thinking must also be a part of the equation in adopting true transformative change in the sector. Given the fast-changing nature of the digital marketplace, postal operators must also be willing to take risks, learn and adapt as the need arises.
Posts will inevitably meet obstacles in the pursuit of proactive, positive change and they will need to be ready to rise up to the challenge to future proof their businesses.
Transformation via Leadership
Leadership undoubtedly plays a vital role in the transformation of Posts. Any organization positioned for change should be inspired by leaders who are passionate about the transformation, and lead the transformation with the rest of their staff.
While this approach is crucial for success, it also demands that every individual that is part of the value chain must embrace that very same transformative mind-set. Thus, genuine transformation is an elegant marriage of both a top-down and bottom-up approach. As leaders share their vision for the organisation, employees will need to embrace the same vision and reflect it in their various tasks and responsibilities.
This synergy between employees and management is critical to the sustainability and success of Posts. As the sector progresses, Posts who are ready to adopt an organization-wide transformation will reap the benefits of a first-mover, tapping on the high growth potential of the digital marketplace and the opportunities it offers.
Dr. Sascha Hower, SingPost