Staying ahead: profiting from disruption
Posts and parcel companies continue to face intense competitive pressures to stay ahead of the game. Some of those pressures are well known and essentially evolutionary. However, there are signs that more disruptive forces are emerging that could seriously disrupt the existing status quo. Companies in the mail and express sector will have to become more flexible if they are to profit from this disruption.
Within mail there is the continued challenge of managing volume decline. Is the rate of decline slowing? What can be done to counter-attack in areas such as direct mail? How can costs be brought into line with volumes? Does this have implications for service levels?
In parcels the focus continues to be on e-commerce. How long can high levels of volume growth continue? How can peaks such as Black Friday and Christmas be better managed? How will the requirements of the paying customer impact upon the structure of collection and delivery operations? What are the issues that need to be addressed to promote cross border e-commerce, whether in an increasingly integrated EU or between Europe, Asia and North America where customs problems still act as major barriers to growth?
If the growth of digital communications was the key disruptive force in the decline in physical mail, what is the potentially disruptive force that could change the e-commerce delivery market?
Perhaps the increasing requirement for delivery on demand is going to be that disruptive game changer. How to define the what, when and where of delivery has become increasingly complex. Initially it was about providing more information and flexibility regarding delivery to the home, where the reach of the posts traditionally gave them a competitive edge. Then there was the move into parcel lockers, retail parcel shops and click and collect, all of which involved the consumer as an active participant in the delivery process, a form of self service. Is the next stage going to be, quite literally, delivery on demand? In this new world the parcel is delivered to the customer, if not quite same hour, certainly quicker than same day, to the ‘address’ of the customer on that day.
To stay ahead will clearly involve injecting greater flexibility particularly into the larger organisations in the sector. Is privatisation an essential pre-requisite to achieving that flexibility for posts? Many posts have already gone down the privatisation route; others are planning to follow. But some successful posts and their governments have consciously decided not to privatise. We plan to look at this and some of the other issues that need to be addressed to create flexible, quick responding companies capable of staying ahead and profiting from disruption.
Tuesday, 14 June, 2016 - Thursday, 16 June, 2016
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