The Swiss Post of tomorrow
Swiss Post unveiled its new strategy for the period 2021 to 2024 to the public on 14 May 2020. CEO Roberto Cirillo outlines the new strategy’s goals in an interview.
Roberto Cirillo, you presented Swiss Post’s new strategy to the public today. What’s the thinking behind this strategy?
We’re certain that a dynamic Switzerland needs an equally dynamic postal service. When we look back at the history of Swiss Post – going back over 170 years – it’s clear that Swiss Post has always adapted to social and technological changes. Whether it’s the introduction of Postcheques in 1906 or postcodes in 1964, Swiss Post has always supported the modernization of Switzerland. With our “Swiss Post of tomorrow” strategy, we’re setting a new course to maintain the high quality of our public service over the long term.
Is Swiss Post completely reinventing itself or how would you sum up the strategy in a few words?
No, Swiss Post doesn’t need to reinvent itself as we’re performing extremely well in many respects. This is underlined by the “world’s best postal service” award from the Universal Postal Union. “Swiss Post of tomorrow” is a growth strategy. But we aim to achieve growth in a targeted way in our traditional core competencies of logistics and communication. These are our strengths and this is where we can make the greatest contribution for Switzerland.
Why is Swiss Post seeking to achieve growth? Does Swiss Post have to generate ever-higher profit?
We need to grow to ensure that our profit, which has been declining for a number of years, increases again over the medium term. We also need to generate profit so that we can continue to provide a nationwide universal service without state subsidies in future, and can invest in our development using our own resources. Remaining relevant to the people of Switzerland is important to us. But that means keeping pace with them.
That primarily concerns logistics, but what about the communication market? What role does Swiss Post see itself playing here?
A key raison d’être for Swiss Post is that we deliver information confidentially from sender to recipient. We want to continue to apply this principle in the digital world and are developing solutions for confidential, efficient and secure communication – such as for the healthcare sector or communication with authorities. In the digital world it’s about ensuring we have independent, trustworthy infrastructure in Switzerland. Swiss people’s awareness of the value of digital confidentiality and control over their own data will be much greater over the coming years than it is today.
The postal network is a recurring political issue. Will Swiss Post turn more branches into agencies as part of the new strategy?
We want to stabilize the network of our own branches at around 800 – that’s the figure stipulated to us in the last strategy period – and retain these physical access points. We’re also opening our network up to service companies and authorities. Many companies can practically only be reached digitally today and are finding they lack physical points of contact with their customers. We’ll enable these future partners to engage in personal contact with their customers at our branches moving forward. This will mean our branches in the regions become actual service centers. By strengthening the network in this way, we’ll generate additional revenue, and help to prevent the emergence of service wastelands.
When people think of Swiss Post, many think of Postbuses. What role do they play in the new strategy?
With PostBus we aim to remain the leader in road-based public transport. However, mobility should not be promoted at the expense of the environment. That’s why we’re focusing even more on environmental protection and networked mobility solutions. Looking at Swiss Post’s delivery vehicles, we aim to switch to environmentally friendly drive systems across the board as soon as possible, and not just in letter delivery as is the case today. We ’re very aware of our responsibility for the environment and are striving to use fully carbon-neutral shipping solutions.
The keyword is responsibility: the new strategy also involves significant change to Swiss Post’s organizational structure. How will you ensure that it’s not employees who ultimately suffer?
Swiss Post’s organizational structure will be geared to supporting the optimum implementation of the strategy. We’re not planning any job cuts. On the contrary, we will recruit several hundred new employees over the coming years, for example in delivery and IT. Swiss Post aims to become a magnet for IT specialists. The new strategy aims to provide our workforce on the ground with security for the future. Swiss Post wants to remain an attractive employer and provide its workforce with good prospects. The job of mail carrier should remain attractive, particularly as a career requiring training. Plans for closer cooperation on processing will secure jobs by utilizing free capacity in the letter channel in future in the booming parcel channel.
What is your personal goal for Swiss Post?
We’ll have done a good job if people see Swiss Post as powering a modern Switzerland.