What keeps Postal Chief Executive Officers awake at night? According to new Accenture Study

Geneva, October 10, 2001 – - Postal chief executive officers (CEOs) worldwide say customers are their primary concern, followed closely by the impact that the Internet and other changes occurring on the competitive landscape are having on the delivery of traditional postal services. Findings from a survey recently conducted by Accenture, the leading global provider of consulting and technology services, also found that CEOs of the mail, express delivery and postal distribution industry are concerned about changing customer requirements and expectations to a far greater extent than CEOs in other industries.

The postal marketplace
The mail, express and distribution industry is undergoing significant change with an increasingly demanding and competitive environment, which is presenting many new challenges for the Postal industry. Coupled with liberalisation of the industry in Europe, postal organisations are facing the need for more complex delivery structures, changing customer demands, and the impact of new technologies. As a result, Posts are re-assessing their capabilities and creating new solutions and partnerships across geographical and industry boundaries.

Accenture’s research probed postal CEOs about today’s marketplace and management challenges. Change in customer requirements and expectations were among the top ranked marketplace challenges, with 64 percent of CEOs ranking such requirements and expectations among their top three challenges. CEOs also view these concerns as their main challenge, with clients expecting faster, cheaper, more reliable and more customer-focused services.

“Given the declining demand for letter delivery and provision of post office retail services in the face of increasing demand for electronic payments, it is not surprising that changing technology combined with the Internet’s impact represent the second greatest concern of Postal CEOs, ” said Chris Brennan, an Accenture partner with the Postal practice. “However, the 57 percent of Postal CEOs who expressed this concern should recognize the situation presents an opportunity, not just the threat of emails eating away at the letter delivery business.”

Brennan projects that postal organizations will experience increasing demand for delivery of domestic and international parcels, and continued use of direct mail for marketing. He said, “With the increasing shift from traditional mail towards electronic mail and new competition, it is understandable that 57 percent of Postal CEOs view changes in the nature and the level of competition as their third main challenge.”

New marketplace competitors include foreign Posts entering other country markets, private logistics firms and new electronic communication channels. The smaller national Posts view the new competition as a threat. Larger, more competitive national Posts believe they are well positioned to compete in this market environment.

Management Issues
In the face of new competition, a number of Posts are taking action to defend their market position and have changed their management techniques and style considerably in the past few years. These changes are reflected by the 57 percent of CEOs who ranked the competition for and retention of talent among their top three challenges, highlighting the importance of employees to a postal organization’s success.

Many Postal CEOs recognise that the key to satisfied customers and future success is a motivated, valued and satisfied workforce. In their quest to become modern, profitable and efficient organisations, Posts increasingly seek highly competent employees, who are ambitious and responsible. Some Postal CEOs even see this as crucial for competitive success in the coming years.

Half of the respondents cited better operational efficiency and effectiveness as the second most important management challenge. They recognize operations hold the key to meeting customer demands for increased speed, reliability and flexibility at lower cost. The result of these efforts is expected to be increased customer satisfaction and retention, and the challenge of achieving that end ranked third in the list of management challenges. Forty-three percent of those surveyed sited this challenge.

A comparison of these research results with a similar survey across a range of industries worldwide (published earlier this year by Accenture with the Conference Board), reveals that most concerns of Postal CEOs also preoccupy CEOs of other industries: changes in competition, the impact of the Internet, and the restructuring of industry. “While this is normal, it is striking that the change in customer requirements and expectations was ranked first by Postal CEOs,” said Brennan. “They also see recruiting and retention of talented people as a more significant issue than their peers in other industries. As long as Postal CEOs address these concerns effectively, the postal industry will survive and grow stronger than ever.”

About the report
Accenture’s report was based on the responses of 14 CEOs from the major Mail, Express and Distribution Industry companies worldwide. Sixty percent of the respondents participated in the survey through the personalised website www.my.accenture.com. This is an encouraging indicator of the CEOs access to and comfort with Internet technology. None of the participants responded to the survey by using traditional mail.

About Accenture
Accenture is the world’s leading provider of management and technology consulting services and solutions, with more than 75,000 people in 46 countries delivering a wide range of specialised capabilities and solutions to clients across all industries. Accenture operates globally with one common brand and business model designed to enable the company to serve its clients on a consistent basis around the world. Under its strategy, Accenture is building a network of businesses to meet the full range of any organisation’s needs—consulting, technology, outsourcing, alliances and venture capital. Its home page ishttp://www.accenture.com.


Edward Claessens

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