Innovative solutions to labour-intensive delivery methods will be necessary to drive the express parcel industry if it wants to overcome Covid-related shortcomings, says Vincent Phang, CEO of Postal Services & Singapore, better known as SignPost
Speaking to a related news site, Phang cited the use of manpower to address last-mile delivery requirements as outdated and in need of a wholesale rethink.
“The domestic last-mile delivery sector is highly fragmented, with all providers employing the same mode of delivery - individual drivers in vans who deliver to customers’ doorsteps.
“This mode of delivery is labour intensive, fleet heavy and unsustainable.”
Although speaking on behalf of a sophisticated city state whose labour dynamics are completely different from the reality in a country like South Africa, Phang’s views have a universal ring of truth to them.
This is especially in view of the ongoing risk posed by Covid, and how this can be mitigated by avoiding human contact during home-based parcel delivery.
Phang believes that as internet shopping increases, the delivery person will simply have to be removed from the equation.
“The logistics industry will need to cut its reliance on manpower and explore faster as well as more efficient methods to ride the e-commerce surge.”
He adds that “technology can help in this regard, but the industry needs to have the courage to make the necessary investments and changes to their operations in order to reap the benefits”.
Much of what Phang says is based on findings of the United Nations’ Universal Postal Union (UPU) which states in its latest report on Covid-19 that international parcel flows remain disrupted, “with an increasing number of postal items ‘stranded’ in the ‘logistical no-man’s land’ between sender and receiver”.
The UPU report adds that delivery and customs clearance times have lengthened, and some international postal bilateral liaisons are not open for private dispatches.
For all of its sophistication as a progressive nation, the Republic of Singapore is not immune to coronavirus disruption, Phang emphasises.
“SignPost has not been spared and we have been proactively exploring non-traditional means of delivering across borders.”
What these “non-traditional means” entail is unclear, but Phang indicates that given the constantly evolving nature of the current international situation, resilience and adaptability are key requirements for progress in the express parcel industry.
- Read the full interview with Phang here: https://tinyurl.com/2hpdcap4