The world is witnessing rapid changes in multiple dimensions. A decline in the growth of global trade is already taking place and is predicted to continue. The number of migrants and refugees worldwide is expected to rise to yet another historic level, resulting in a greater need for remittances and greater availability of talent. This is juxtaposed with the parcelization of containers and increased automation, from artificial intelligence solutions to 3D printing. In addition, sustainability is starting to take centre stage in addressing global challenges.
Panellists will discuss these and other key macroeconomic trends and how they affect the postal sector.
Young people now constitute a record 1.8 billion of the world's population, changing the Post's customer base. Empowered by the advent of seamless technology, modern postal customers have prompted tremendous change in demand patterns. When environmentally conscious customers order e-commerce products via their mobile phones, "right here, right now" moves from their wish list to their need list. At the same time, SMEs sending parcels, migrants sending remittances, and the elderly receiving support also remain key postal customers. The postal sector therefore needs to rethink its role in order to remain relevant in the face of not only a changing world, but changing consumption trends.
Panellists will identify the characteristics of today's postal customer and ask the fundamental question: what do our customers want?
To support the socio-economic development of countries, governments mandate designated operators to provide postal services to all segments of the population. As a natural extension, designated operators become the cornerstone of governmental infrastructure for citizen outreach. Through initiatives such as e-government, health support and senior citizen support, the Posts have showcased their role as key governmental partners for development.
Panellists will discuss what governments expect from Posts and the role of these expectations in achieving Posts' missions.
In the face of diverse stakeholder demands, postal operators worldwide have adopted different strategies, ranging from a complete focus on logistics to greater diversification. It is necessary to identify growth areas in order to prevent market saturation and increase Posts' competitive advantage. Each postal operator has a product and service portfolio, but can its offerings be easily copied by other players?
Panellists will discuss the status quo, analyzing how Posts are endeavouring to meet the expectations of their stakeholders. They will then explore the differentials that set each postal designated operator apart from other market players.
There is a growing gap between what stakeholders expect and what Posts are delivering. Can Posts identify what is responsible for this disconnect? Cost, efficiency and a perception deficit could be harming the Post's image and reducing its bargaining power. Challenges in harnessing talent, managing technology and supplier roles, and the ineffective use of data and insights could throw a spanner in the works.
Panellists will examine the benefits of better collaboration with partners and the increased adoption of technology for product development and greater operational efficiency.
The postal sector is viewed as a trusted intermediary, but could fast become a mere alternative to integrators. Designated operators need to consciously choose between pro-gressive growth and leap-frogging, margin focus and volume focus, and "coopetition" vs competition in their strategies. When choosing between mono-product strategies and diver-sification, Posts should also address the conversion of workforce skills through automation.
Panellists will identify successful business models that could be adopted by Posts if they are to remain partners of choice for governments, businesses and citizens. They will also highlight the UPU's role in supporting the present and future growth of the postal sector.