Swiss Post to develop network of the future
Swiss Post is aiming to extend the number of its access points from the current 3,700 to at least 4,000. In the coming years, the development of branches from traditional post offices into the proven agency format, ongoing for some years now, is expected to continue at the same pace as today. Swiss Post envisages a network of 800 to 900 traditional post offices by 2020. It will avoid closing post offices without replacing them, and will provide alternative solutions in all cases. A key concern of Swiss Post is to ensure clarity concerning the development of the postal network. Important new features will be introduced such as discussing the network development with the cantons, establishing regional criteria and engaging in dialogue with the population in the municipalities. By 2020, around 1,200 employees could be affected by changes. Swiss Post aims to continue to avoid redundancies.
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The changes taking place in society shape the development of Swiss Post and define its services. Customers increasingly require services around the clock covering letters, parcels and payment transactions. Swiss Post is making major efforts to take greater account of its customers’ changing requirements and habits. It has done so by creating new access points such as postal agencies, My Post 24 terminals, acceptance and collection points and other service points, and by continuously expanding their numbers. In contrast, the trend towards digitization is reflected very strongly in business developments at the post office counter. While many customers still enjoy a trip to the post office, over-the-counter turnover has declined very sharply on the whole – by 63 percent for letters, 42 percent for parcels and 37 percent for payment transactions since the year 2000. This trend is continuing.
Expansion to more than 4,000 access points
The ongoing development of access points will continue in the coming years. By 2020, Swiss Post aims to increase the number of access points from today’s 3,700 to at least 4,000. Where possible and appropriate, Swiss Post will continue to focus on the agency format – branches with partners – successfully established for many years. Depending on local requirements, these will continue to be supplemented by access points such as the home delivery service, My Post 24 terminals, business customer points and other acceptance and collection points. This means that in the coming years, the development of branches from traditional post offices into the proven agency format, ongoing for many years now, will continue at the same pace as today. Swiss Post envisages a network of 800 to 900 post offices by 2020. The exact number depends on the outcome of discussions with the cantons and municipalities.
Key role for branches with partners
Over the past ten years, the postal agency – with opening hours that are often more than twice as long as usual and the combination with partner businesses – has increasingly established itself as a practical access point. Frequently, this trend also makes economic sense. In many cases, the collaboration with local partners means that local structures can be preserved and reinforced.
Swiss Post ensures greater clarity
A key concern of Swiss Post is to ensure clarity concerning the further development of the postal network. The implementation of its network development will give rise to a number of fundamentally new features. In future, the company will commit itself to the following principles:
- Swiss Post will avoid closing traditional post offices without replacing them. It will provide alternative solutions in all cases. In addition to the existing negotiations with the municipalities.
- In addition to the existing negotiations with the municipalities, Swiss Post will now discuss the structure of the network directly with the cantons. The process will begin this year. In addition to the statutory accessibility requirements, allowance will now also be made for regional criteria and requirements. This is particularly important for rural regions. Here for example there may be a need to create or retain access points for residents of remote areas for which there would have been no solution in the planning to date. The regional requirements and criteria may vary from canton to canton.
- Swiss Post will now also earmark traditional post offices in all cantons which will not be eligible for conversion into a postal agency in the coming years. By doing so, Swiss Post intends to create additional planning reliability and transparency.
- In the event that the ongoing conversion of post offices into branches with partners leads to special, individual requirements with respect to payment transactions, for example in rural areas, Swiss Post will provide appropriate solutions. This might apply for example to elderly people whose mobility is limited or who are still unfamiliar with digital services.
Population to have its say
Swiss Post is also breaking new ground in terms of local information, with a focus on active dialogue. Starting in January 2017, Swiss Post will invite the citizens of municipalities or districts in which the conversion of a post office is under discussion, to participate in meetings. The concerns of citizens will be taken seriously, while at the same time, a better explanation of the new, alternative access points and services will be provided.
Prudent approach to employees
As things stand today, Swiss Post expects that in the course of its network development, around 1,200 employees may be affected by the changes by 2020. The stated goal is to continue to avoid redundancies. Swiss Post takes its social responsibility seriously and is looking for suitable solutions for the employees affected. Swiss Post will continue to actively engage in dialogue with the social partners in the usual manner.