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Advent of digital franchise post offices

International studies reveal that over the last 30 years, the postal sector has been undergoing a paradigm shift, from a relic of the industrial era to a facilitator of exchanges of goods and messages in the era of worldwide Internet connectivity.

It is also said that the transformation has taken place from a perspective of both demand and supply. In this transition period, opportunities abound and various remain untapped. Besides adapting to the rapidly altering environment, postal strategy makers and operators have also driven these alters, first through separating posts from telecommunications, and then – mainly in industrialized states – through refocusing on a narrower range of activities and growing productivity, before diversifying into new activities. Studies also identify that technology substitution, also to a lesser extent liberalization and globalization, has dramatically increased competitive pressure. In developing states, few successful postal economic models have developed towards greater outreach, and new opportunities have been seized.

Studies also reveal that innovation in the field of information and communication technologies also offered significant opportunities for the postal sector. It became possible to organize the collection and distribution of postal items more effectively. The postal sector further embraced the new technologies through offering new products and services, sometimes by public-private partnerships.

In Pakistan, the Ministry of Communications and Postal Services identified that the Pakistan Post had organized over a thousand Digital Franchise Post Offices (DFPOs) spread in greater than 130 cities and towns of Pakistan. DFPOs have been equipped with state-of-the-art technology and feature a comprehensive digital platform to streamline booking, real-time tracking and delivery of articles. It is also said that 10,000 more applications have been attained for the acquisition of digital franchises. This programme would open latest opportunities and a much wider access for small scale business, cottage industry and artisans of the country by a massive outreach, maximizing their market potential.

No doubt, the Pakistan Post is offering postal services in every nook and corner of Pakistan by a network of almost 13,000 post offices. Pakistan Post is also offering delivery services to about 20 million households and businesses as community service without any cost considerations. In addition to its traditional role in the country, the Pakistan Post also performs agency functions on behalf of Federal and Provincial governments, which inter-alias include Savings Bank, Collection of Taxes, Collection of Electricity, Postal Life Insurance, Water, Sui Gas and Telephone bills. Pakistan Post has been offering a universal postal service network in harmony with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) strategy to ensure secure and timely delivery of mail, money and material at affordable cost by utilization of people, process and technology and innovative product offerings. Statistics show that under the initiative 0.3 million new career opportunities would be created for the youth. It is expected that Pakistan Post will soon lead in the logistic sector. It is being strived hard to implement all the FATF’s terms and conditions. The Local and Foreign remittances are on the rise in Pakistan. The Ministry of Communications and Postal Services also record that Pakistan Post was facing losses of Rs 60 billion.

According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan FY2020 Pakistan Post is a state department that functions as Pakistan’s primary and largest postal operator with 44,000 employees to make secure and timely delivery of mail, money, and material at the doorsteps of the customers at an affordable cost. An autonomous High-Powered Postal Services Management Board has been established through Pakistan Postal Service Management Board Ordinance, 2002. It is also expected that employees of Pakistan Post would be offered free health care facility and they would be promoted on the basis on promotion. No doubt, Pakistan Post has a broad and varied role to play beyond provision of communication link for individuals and businesses. pace with the changing communications market, Pakistan Post is emphasizing in the use of new communication and information technologies to move beyond what is traditionally regarded as a its core postal business. It post is committed to make secure and timely delivery of mail, money and material at the doorsteps of the customers at affordable cost.

The Economic Survey also recorded that Pakistan post introduced in December 2018, its own mobile application, offering tariffs, postcodes, post office locator complaint registration, track, and trace and pick up facilities. Pakistan Post has the capacity and commitment to deliver for online vendors for their cash on delivery products with proof of delivery and prompt reconciliation of their payments. Various international web portal operators have shown their interest in entering into the Pakistani market with the Pakistan Post as their delivery partner.

Pakistan Post created its own web portal to register partners by the introducing of Pakistan Post Online E-Shop, which offers partnership for delivery, collection and return services, counter booking, and co-branding in selling products. Statistics show that Pakistan Post has registered 1,770 partners to date. Pakistan Post is sustaining a Facebook page to receive feedback and suggestions for improvement in postal operations from the public and takes immediate appropriate remedial steps for further improvement. Over 1.7 million pensioners have been drawing pension from Pakistan Post by computerization of Military Pension Payment System, which is available at all Government Post Offices (GPOs). The Pensioners are receiving the pension in a convenient environment. Pakistan Post is also disbursing pension to over 49,175 Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) pensioners every month.

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