PostalVision2020 8.0 was either inspiring or a terrifying view of the future. Two months later, I'm still not sure which it was. Perhaps it was both.
Let's start with the customer. Customers have more power than ever before, according to John Hagel, MD of Deloitte's Centre for the Edge.
What is power? It can be the power of choice. The power to negotiate. In other words, the sorts of power that make (current and former) monopolies tremble.
This shift in power towards the consumer is leading to mounting performance pressure on individuals and institutions. And, in turn, it's accelerating the pace of change thanks to a compression of product life cycles.
A change in strategic approach
As more and more posts dabble in (or in some cases, fully commit to) centres for innovation, traditional strategic planning methodologies are becoming outmoded.
What point is there in having a five-year plan, anyway? Do we need to change our decision horizons? John Hagel suggests a "zoom-in, zoom-out" approach, where short term initiatives are pursued with long term goals in mind.
So how can posts integrate innovation into long-term strategy? PostNL has set up its innovation centre separate from its "main" operations, giving the team freedom to operate. The question remains as to how innovations can then be integrated into legacy operations - if indeed they should be integrated at all!
Jeff Peoples posed the question: why get a human to do something that a machine can do better?
Delivery automation is in the spotlight at the moment. Jessica Raines from the USPS Office of Inspector General highlighted use cases for autonomous vehicles in the postal sector. Some of the start-ups involved in PostalPitch were bringing automation to various parts of postal operations, including delivery.
What about Amazon?
Amazon did rate a mention at PostalVision2020 this year. Well, more than a mention. Paul Misener, Amazon's Vice President for Global Innovation Policy and Communications, spoke about some of Amazon's key principles. You can watch a video of his presentation on YouTube.
Here's a statistic for you: 44% of online spending in the USA is with Amazon.
(My interview with Cooper Smith from L2/Gartner will be online soon!)
Free, fast, controllable is the future of delivery, according to Brody Buhler, Global MD Post & Parcel at Accenture.
Then there's the concept of continuous delivery, where parcels are collected and delivered continuously, eliminating non-value-add activity.
The second PostalPitch was held as part of PostalVision2020. There's a lot of creative thought in delivery at the moment - let's see if any of this innovation translates into viable products that meet customers' needs.
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