1,500 Russian postal workers discuss plans to modernise
The need to modernise the postal infrastructure for long-term sustainability and bring in innovation to improve customer service have been key themes of this year’s All-Russian Conference of Postal Workers, which opened in Moscow today. Around 1,500 Russian postal workers gathered for the annual event, timed this year to coincide with the weekend’s World Post Day.
Addressing the conference today, Russian Post director general Alexander Kiselev spoke of the nationwide effort to refurbish and upgrade post offices to improve retail service and expand access.
He stressed that for all the improvements in facilities being implemented, the real key to improved customer service was the attitude of staff who serve customers.
“One of the most urgent tasks for the Post is to improve customer service,” he said. “We need to make post offices more attractive for visitors, but this depends a great deal on the human factor.”
Today’s conference heard that efforts by staff to improve customer service are just as important as upgrades to facilities
One priority for Russian Post’s retail activity is to expand the range of financial services available, and in this respect the Post is currently working to forge links with financial companies. Some new services are already being provided at post offices, including insurance products, money transfers and mobile phone payment services.
Denis Chuiko, the deputy director general of Russian Post, said the state-owned company was also working hard to expand customer access to retail services, including efforts to increase the number of counter windows at post offices, and also to increase the number of mobile post offices available to serve rural and remote locations.
“Now, the government is actively discussing the possibility of transferring the responsibility to provide more public services, which is greatly affecting the staff workload,” he said.
As well as adding new services and improving customer service, the conference also heard about the upgrades being made to Russian Post’s logistics network, as it seeks to sustain demand for traditional postal services.
Russian Post has been upgrading its processing facilities, including the two automated sorting centres in Moscow and St Petersburg, which process around 20% of the country’s mail. Plans are to open 33 more centres that will be equipped similarly with “the most modern equipment in the country”.
The Post is also developing on a new transport navigation system to improve the efficiency of its logistics network and shorten the delivery time for shipments. It is working on technology that will make use of the Glonass satellite positioning system, a Russian equivalent of the US-based Global Positioning System (GPS).
Meanwhile, there are hopes that a fresh revision of proposals for postal reform legislation will make it through Russia’s Federal Assembly.
The proposal entitled “On Postal Communication” could see major changes to the way Russian Post is run, including a new corporate-style operation and possible public flotation. It would also provide new powers for the Post to provide a wider range of services, including more financial services and electronic communication services.
The legislation would potentially lay the framework for the next 15 to 20 years at Russian Post, delegates heard.