Swiss Post is tackling the deficit in its post office network by changing the structure of the network - while increasing public access to postal services.
A four-year expansion plan
In the autumn of 2016, Swiss Post announced its plans for the postal network up until 2020, including increasing the number of access points from 3,800 to at least 4,200.
Swiss Post has already reached its target of 4,200 access points - two years ahead of schedule.
In the last year or so the benefits to Swiss Post are starting to become apparent. The deficit in the postal network has been reduced by CHF 28 million compared to the same period in the previous year.
How did Swiss Post do it?
A key factor was transforming self-operated post offices (that is, owned and staffed by Swiss Post) into partner post offices.
Swiss Post opened its thousandth partner-operated branch in May, and there are currently 1,033 such branches. In the next two years other access points will be added and further self-operated branches will be transformed into partner-operated branches.
At the beginning of the transformation programme back in 2016, Swiss Post promised open dialogue with the cantons and municipalities.
Since then, Swiss Post has held over 550 discussions with the cantons and municipalities across Switzerland, as well as consulting with citizens. Over 270 information events for the general public have been held since 2016.
“We’re aware of the fact that the restructuring of the postal network is a sensitive issue − especially in rural areas.” - Thomas Baur, Head of PostalNetwork and a Member of Executive Management, Swiss Post.
Post office modernisation
Like some other national postal operators, Swiss Post is investing in modernising its post office network.
“By investing some CHF 40 million, Swiss Post is sending out a clear message in this respect and is modernising some 300 self-operated branches across Switzerland.” - Thomas Baur.
Swiss Post is growing its range of services which are available 24/7. By 2020, some 200 My Post 24 terminals will be set up. Swiss Post is also testing self-service stations.
Postal network deficit declining
In recent years, Swiss Post has posted deficits of up to around CHF 200 million in the postal network. Swiss Post’s objective of restructuring the postal network is not to lead to a break even, but to stabilise the deficit and pay for the universal service without public subsidy.
Compared to the same period of the previous year, PostalNetwork made an important contribution in this respect by reducing the deficit in the half-year results by CHF 28 million to -CHF 60 million.
Over-the-counter business decline
Falling letter volumes might usually grab the headlines in the postal world, but over-the-counter transactions are in decline at Swiss post offices. Since 2000, payment transactions at the counter have fallen by 44%. This decline, and the associated deficit, are driving network renewal.
Access at the doorstep
Swiss Post has been trialling a new service where customers can request postal services at the doorstep.
The Post Home Button is a small device that sends Swiss Post a signal via a wireless network at the push of a button. Customers can request predefined products and services, such as mail collection or A and B Mail stamps.
During a recent trial, customers could also order from Migros Aare, Qualipet and Domino’s Pizza.
Some interesting developments in how customers will interact with the post.
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