Corona, Background

“Long-standing partners should help each other out”

Fredy Gasser

At the beginning of April 2020, Swiss Post held a round-table meeting with retailers, logistics representatives and its social partners to discuss joint strategies for handling the parcel volumes recorded during the coronavirus crisis, which are well above average. The situation is exceptional because, under normal circumstances, Swiss Post would be able to process parcel volumes of this size. At the moment, however, the quantities pose a challenge for Swiss Post, as a number of employees are absent – some are sick, some have to look after their children and others belong to high-risk groups. Due to social distancing requirements, it is not possible to increase staff numbers in sorting. So, what’s the verdict after a month of joint assistance? The mutual support works perfectly.

A good example of this new cooperation is the Competec group, whose most well-known company is BRACK.CH. With more than 780 employees, the group generates annual revenue of around 811 million francs. Its belt conveyors are currently running at full steam: every day, 22,000 parcels leave its highly automated logistics center in Willisau and are transported to Swiss Post’s parcel centers. The key benefit is that the consignments have already been pre-sorted when they are passed on to Swiss Post. This is possible thanks to Competec Logistik AG’s highly automated infrastructure and its CEO Riet Steiger.

And the preliminary sorting works: at Competec Logistik AG, parcels that were ready for mailing previously travelled along with a conveyor system towards a loading ramp, where two swap bodies from Swiss Post were waiting. These were filled one after the other, and Steiger’s employees moved the points on the conveyor system to guide the consignments into the correct container. Now Steiger’s team has programmed the preliminary sorting in such a way that parcels for the Frauenfeld parcel center are directed into one swap body, while those destined for the Härkingen and Daillens parcel centers are guided into the other. And the advantage for Swiss Post? At Härkingen, the work step of sorting parcels destined for the Frauenfeld parcel center is eliminated completely. Competec also sends the data concerning which swap body is destined for which parcel center to Swiss Post.

As a long-standing major Swiss Post customer, Riet Steiger is aware of the current challenges for everyone involved. “At the moment, we are handling order quantities that we usually experience only in the run-up to Christmas,” he says. That’s why it is clear to him that mutual assistance, such as preliminary sorting for Swiss Post, is the natural response during the coronavirus crisis: “Long-standing partners should help each other out during difficult times.”

written by

Fredy Gasser