Conventional mailing, relevant as ever

By Prime Foces Reporter
September 2013
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The mailing business has come a long way as a means of communication. One would have expected it to be relegated in the dust bins of history with the uptake of technology.


But no, the number of mails and the revenue generated by the Namibia Post Limited (Nampost) speak a different language; mail service is still relevant in the market as far as connecting the unconnected goes.


At the helm of the mail services department is Clemens Dunaiski; a seasoned employee who has come a long way with the company since 1979. Dunaiski is in charge of two business units; the domestic and international mails, as well as the hybrid mail services.


Mail services thrive on timely distribution and delivery of letters and parcels to all corners of Namibia through Nampost’s 136 post offices all over Namibia.


The mail services division comprises the domestic and international arms. Being a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), Southern Postal Union of Africa and Pan-African Postal Union, Nampost mails can reach any part of the world and can in turn receive any mail and parcel from the same.


In the 2012 annual financial report, the postal services unit comprising domestic and international mails, hybrid mail services, post offices, agencies and philately services reported a revenue of N$369m, which was a N$31m or 10% increase from the previous year. Operating income for the business unit amounted to N$53m, which was less than the 4% recorded in 2011.


The formula for such results is very simple and it is in the volumes.


“We do not only deal with one letter but handle around 200 per day domestically and internationally  we send  over 1000 parcels  per week, domestically,” Dunaiski says, elaborating: “The N$3.10 ( for the postage stamp)  is like Checkers, Checkers is low on prices, yet high on volumes. You will realise that our increment is always above inflation, to foster more volumes because with the new technology trends, one cannot afford to charge high prices, lest they scare away customers.”


The volumes of incoming mails from South African retailers destined for their Namibian customers work in favour of the Nampost to a greater extent. According to Dunaiski, Nampost has an account with the South African post office, so that through its international terminal account, it plays off the positives based on the mails partly sends. The difference is then converted into dollars and South Africa always pays Nampost because they send more volumes.


It is no secret digital communication migration is negatively impacting the conventional mailing business but Nampost leaves nothing to chance by compressing its delivery periods to stay ahead of the pack.


Dunaiski stresses their aim; to deliver domestic mails to all the corners of Namibia within three days, while in town it must be within a day, which he says is according to the UPU commitment called the “J1” or “J+”.


To achieve this feet, Nampost employs technological services to monitor quality and efficient delivery, for which Dunaiski points out: “We use the global monitoring system, which helps us monitor our quality when letters are sent from anywhere in the world. We also have radio frequency gates that record when letters are sent; a report is sent to the UPU and from there, one can determine the quality of the delivery. This is for international deliveries. Internally, we use the Postal Delivery Standards (PDS) through which all the post masters of the large post offices test incoming letters. They then send us a report from which we compile the delivery standards in Namibia.”


But this is not enough. Plans are at an advanced stage to increase the turnaround time for sorting the mails. This will be done by introducing an automatic sorting process. A tender has already been issued in this regard.


“We plan to do this to stay in good competition with the electronic market,” he emphasises.


Meanwhile, Nampost accrues the benefits of introducing the hybrid mail services system engineered using the N$5m-machine which has since been paid off, which falls under Dunaiski’s management.


Through that facility - located in Prosperita, Windhoek - Nampost receives and then converts data from its clients after which it prints, inserts, bags and then sends, all done under one roof.


Dunaiski says the company’s future plans include providing a tailored hybrid solution to its clients to meet their mailing needs. This, he says, would help them determine how much capacity they deal with, which would dictate how much percentage to allocate to printing, emailing and text-messaging.


Telecom Namibia is already making use of this arrangement to send it’s printed and e-statements.


“With hybrid mail servicing, we aim to give the customer a peace of mind; we do not want them to go all over the place looking to receive or send their mails,” he quips.


Innovative products such as the recently revamped emergency mail services, gives Nampost a competitive edge against international brands, such as TNT, Fedex and DHL.


But what does it do about mails and parcels that often go missing? Dunaiski assures, screws have been tightened to close the gaps. He works around the clock to inculcate Nampost’s values, such as integrity, accountability, caring and teamwork (IACT) every time he interacts with his staff.


Through the introduction of CCTVs, security has been tightened. Every week, Dunaiski receives incident reports from the security personnel manning the system.


Although he has excellently served in various positions within NamPost, Dunaiski has spent 34 years in the company and has thus never worked for any other. “I am a postman at heart,” he says, adding, his highlight was when he turned the southern part of the local market into a profit making entity from a loss maker.


But what inspires him? Clients’ smiley faces whenever they receive their mails on time and his desire to see a healthy bottom line for NamPost, he enthuses.


“Although sometimes difficult beings, I am passionate about people, I love to work with them. There is something good in everyone,” he concludes.  PF