UPU: Posts must be agile in uptake of technologies
The Universal Postal Union (UPU) has concluded that “one resounding message” came through clearly from its World Postal Business Forum in Geneva this week: Posts must use technologies to their full advantage to offer customer-centred services. The annual forum, which is organized by the UPU within the context of the POST-EXPO exhibition, brought together operational experts from the UPU, Post and private sector for discussions on the theme “Connecting the dots: e-commerce, technology and the postal sector”.
“This business forum is a very inspiring source of ideas to take forward with us as we plan for gatherings with various stakeholders in the future,” said UPU Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz in his closing remarks.
“Of course we need to put designated operators in the forefront of the digital space … everybody is aware today that the postal sector is one of the last real universal service sectors,” he continued.
Panellists’ dialogue touched on challenges of the global logistics supply-chain, how to unblock barriers for cross-border e-commerce, payment solutions and the impact of cloud and mobile tech. They agreed that while technology is available, the Posts have not been agile in taking up these solutions, which could help them address e-commerce challenges.
Speakers noted that competition from start-ups offering customizable services is ever-increasing, meaning Posts will need to employ a user-centred approach. They suggested that operators quickly adopt technologies that allow consumers track their item and allow them to control last-mile delivery, whether that be by developing tools themselves or partnering with start-ups. They agreed that both operational and private big data could be harnessed to provide a better customer experience.
They also noted that technology would be important in unblocking the barriers currently facing cross-border e-commerce, such as lack of communication between supply chain partners like transport agents and Customs. UPU experts affirmed that the organization has already been working toward this, developing standards between organizations and deploying technologies, such as the Customs Declaration System (CDS), to facilitate these exchanges.
“Affordable technical solutions is very important to us as it is our role to make sure that solutions are there,” explained the Deputy Director General.
He emphasized that the UPU would be there to assist countries interested in implementing these technologies and to listen to the changing demands of postal operators. Furthermore, the Deputy Director General assured participants that the UPU would continue its work with partner organizations in the supply chain to facilitate global e-commerce for everyone.
“This event shows that the UPU itself is a forum to open up dialogue and ensure that we are listening to our stakeholders from across the entire sector and find multilateral solutions through these discussions,” said Clivaz.