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It’s an exciting time to be a postal operator on the African continent.
As internet penetration rates in Africa rise, so too does the consumer’s eagerness for online shopping channels and quality goods. According to McKinsey, there are more than 400 million internet users across the continent, and that number is growing every day. In addition, the number of online shoppers has grown yearly by 18 percent since 2014.
For postal operators, there’s a huge opportunity to position themselves as a vital, day-to-day service for millions of Africans. Today, a lack of distribution and logistics services hinders the growth potential of Africa’s e-commerce industry. With a history of specialization in getting mail to the right people at the right time, postal operators have the people and the experience to meet the demand.
While postal operators are a natural fit to facilitate Africa’s emerging e-commerce industry, there are some challenges. Postal operators, not just in Africa but around the world, are struggling to adapt their systems to the monumental shift happening in the postal industry. Previously, posts largely managed letter mail. Currently, individual package delivery is the name of the game. This year alone, the number of packages delivered worldwide is expected to hit the 100 billion mark.
If posts want to claim their rightful slice of the e-commerce pie, they need to grab the right ingredients to set their business up for success. Naturally, this means embracing innovation across the board. This includes both digital transformation and business transformation.
Escher has served as a trusted partner to posts for over 30 years. We have provided guidance on industry changes to postal operators who want to keep their business ahead of the curve. Recently, we’ve been sharing one key piece of advice with postal operators: Your business and digital changes must be transformational, not incremental, particularly when tackling operational challenges.
For instance, posts in Africa tackling cross-border, parcel deliveries will face several challenges including:
Overcoming these challenges in a way that ensures long-term success requires transformational changes to both your business and your technology.
For instance, a postal operator trying to master the first and last mile may make an incremental change like adding more employees to its routes. This is unsustainable over the long term. On the other hand, a transformational change is entering into relationships with third-party retailers or installing pick up, drop off (PUDO) locations.
At this year’s SAPOA Postal Forum Conference, we’ll be discussing this topic in detail. We’ll be talking about the technology available to posts and strategies they can use to execute the necessary transformations with minimal business disruption.
If you plan on attending the 8th Annual SAPOA Postal Forum Conference and would like to learn more about how Escher can help, book your meeting with Escher now to schedule a time to speak with us.
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