The world continues to go through unprecedented times with the many new challenges brought on by the coronavirus health crisis, which has affected and changed almost everything.
To reduce the adverse impacts of this crisis, countries are resorting to measures such as border and airport closures to nationwide lockdowns – practices the world has never seen before.
The extraordinary times we are all going through have almost recalibrated how we see the world, challenging our usual thought processes and what we hold as important in our minds. Probably, we have all become a bit more pragmatist and realistic while appreciating things that we used to take for granted.
At the same time, the pandemic has also re-educated us on the significance of key workers, including postal workers, and what they do. Like other key professionals, postal workers have continued to serve humanity around the globe, keeping things in motion in a world that had almost come to a standstill. As such, this pandemic has taught us that the postal service will continue to be relevant, effective and crucial, no matter how technologically advanced the world becomes.
Therefore, investing in and continuously reforming postal services is not a cost but a necessity for the benefit of all. It is seen that, more than ever, people count on postal and logistics service providers to deliver goods, mails and parcels especially in times of crisis and global emergencies. This crisis has also taught us that all parts of the world rely on one another, in a way raising the importance of the global supply chain and the global postal network as a single territory. This has always been highlighted by the Universal Postal Union (UPU), which is a specialized agency of the United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member nations.
In light of the social, commercial, technological advances in the postal market and the redefined significance of postal services, it continues to set future goals to always remain relevant and effective. In an interview on May 14, whereby Swiss Post's CEO Roberto Cirillo outlined the new priorities and goals for the period 2021 to 2024, he underlined that a dynamic Switzerland needs an equally dynamic postal service that keeps up with the fast developments and new challenges.
The Swiss Post is a wondrous and historic Swiss creation and has always been one of the key dynamics of national infrastructure throughout the centuries. Therefore, independent of the successes mentioned below, it should be underlined that public satisfaction with postal services in Switzerland is always very high.
In principle and as a general trend, there is always a procedure of ranking the countries and globally serving companies according to their service standards, accomplishments and deficiencies. On the other hand, even though the economy and the postal service act globally, there was no ranking that rewards or determines the different countries' designated postal operators according to their level of development and quality of service.
Since 2016, the ranking of member countries has risen to become one of the main priorities of the UPU. This huge responsibility of the UPU has now become the benchmark of contemporary postal service providers worldwide.
Leaving aside all technical details of the Integrated Index for Postal Development (2IPD), it is truly interesting and exciting to see that it is all about embracing today's postal service standards and meeting fast-changing consumer needs and expectations in a timely, efficient and professional manner. There is nothing new to discover. It is still all about sincerity and commitment that has to penetrate at every step in the supply chain.
Remarkably, the Swiss Post has achieved the first place in the Integrated Index for Postal Development for the last three years in a row. In addition to this, the Swiss Post has picked up many international accolades such as the EFQM Global Excellence Silver Award in 2019, Service Provider of the Year at Post and Parcel Technology International Awards in 2017 and the International Award for Idea Management at the ZI awards in 2016.
It is absolutely no small feat to attain and sustain such success. With solid experience and presence in the industry, the Swiss Post continues its journey to be a dynamic and indispensable component of Switzerland. With all these indicators, it is worth emphasizing the fact that the world is witnessing the golden age of Swiss postal services. The recent news both in national and international media on the position of Swiss Post on the global list is very deserving.
Such achievements and recognitions are great motivators for the Swiss Post as they help in keeping the public service spirit alive among the employees. In many ways, the Swiss Post reflects the nature and scope of "Swissness" which has a broader background than the post. According to the Swiss government report in 2006, "Swissness" brings to mind a healthy, well-ordered and efficient world. Moreover, it has some key connotations such as precision, meticulousness, reliability and thoroughness.
Most importantly, it also refers to the promotion of business, innovation, exclusive products and excellent services. In a similar vein, "Swissness" brings more modesty, humility, dedication, commitment, ennobled sense of public service, respect, sharing and passion for collaboration. This is the basis of the Swiss Post's enviable success.
This achievement is now a key dynamic of the Swiss Post's future strategy and in every way reflected in the corporate principles and core values. In other words, it is and will be the cachet and image projected by the Swiss postal services to the world. At this point, we can say that the nature of postal service is in harmony with Swiss principles. The achievements, which have been made and sustained over the last years, is the answer to what "Swissness" means for a postal operator from the Swiss Post.
Being at the top of the Integrated Index for postal development for a third consecutive year, it seems like the global postal and logistics sectors will embrace the "Swissness" principle in postal services soon thanks to its pioneer, Swiss Post. Soon, there will be even more "Swissness" to redefine the nature of postal service understanding, both at the national and international levels.
Being public-centered, hearing people and aligning the services in line with people's needs and priorities is the source of this success. This again shows that being community sensitive is key in achieving success in all areas including postal services, which is exemplified in the case of Swiss Post. Last but not least, the Swiss Post has proved to be the world's best postal service through the hardest of times. The commitment of Swiss Post before and during coronavirus has been nothing less than inspirational.
It has been announced recently that Swiss Post processed more parcels than ever – over 17 million – in April 2020, which is another record in Swiss Post history but an extremely meaningful one given the extremely tough time that all industries were going through. This can't be achieved without staff who put their heart and soul into their work and again highlights how community-centered the Swiss Post is.
*Bern-based Ph.D. candidate.