Strategy

We have a clear vision to be recognised as the best delivery company in the UK and across Europe. Our three-part strategy aims to deliver our vision by:

  • Sustaining the continued provision of the Universal Service in the UK
  • Generating sustainable shareholder value.

Strategic priorities

  1. Being a successful parcels business. In the UK, we will continue to grow account parcels and to maintain our strong position in the consumer, micro SME and SME market segment, deliver significant IT upgrades, introduce new products and maximise the proportion of UK traffic we can handle profitably. In Europe, GLS will continue to expand and grow, and improve its offering, for example, by increasing the number of B2C delivery options.
  2. Managing the decline in letters. We have launched Mailmark™, which provides business customers with tracking information and significant operational benefits for us. MarketReach promotes the value that physical mail brings to advertising campaigns and maintains our marketing mail volumes in the face of competition from digital channels. Unfettered direct delivery competition is a threat to the Universal Service. We are asking Ofcom to undertake a full review of direct delivery now.
  3. Being customer focused. Customers have more and more choices. Our strong brand means we are well positioned in our core markets. The rollout of new delivery methods is now almost complete. Coupled with the full deployment of handheld scanners, it is transforming how we deliver parcels. Our focus on first time delivery gives our customers what they want and drives greater operational efficiency. Important initiatives in this respect include the launch of Local Collect, our click and collect solution with the Post Office, and longer opening hours.

Key challenges

The markets – by category and geography – in which we operate are changing quickly. E-retail is driving growth in parcels. Royal Mail, Parcelforce Worldwide and GLS are well positioned to benefit from domestic and cross-border growth. There is growing competition in parcels delivery. In the UK, where Royal Mail is a market leader, our competitors are improving their service levels; some e-retailers are providing their own delivery solutions. Market capacity has increased; there is growing price pressure too. Consumers and SMEs now have many choices, including alternatives to the Post Office, our retail partner. Disruptive technologies, long a feature of our markets, are on the increase. Items traditionally delivered physically as parcels (such as books, CDs and DVDs) are in competition with downloads and streaming. In letters, e-substitution is a major structural factor underpinning continued volume decline. Combined with unfettered direct delivery and mandated access, this threatens the fundamental economics of the Universal Service in the UK.

Key priorities

Our strategy aims to maintain our market leading positions and target new segments and channels where we can grow. We also focus on being a more efficient and flexible company. Our ongoing transformation programme – one of the largest of its kind in the UK – continues. Standardisation, consistency in execution and tight cost control are key. So too, is a greater focus on anticipating our customers’ needs and responding flexibly to them. Underpinning that focus is a major emphasis on technology – renewing or replacing legacy systems and investing in new IT architecture, providing barcoding and tracking for parcels, and greater connectivity with our customers.

Our key strategic priorities are underpinned by a focus on managing our business successfully, through both financial and non-financial initiatives. We aim to keep a tight grip on costs and become more efficient. Embedding a more collaborative culture will support the rollout of standardised processes and consistent execution across our operations. Further investment in our people lays the foundation for even better customer service and culture change. Transforming our technology provides the tracking capability to compete in an even more competitive marketplace.

Key initiatives

Parcels

  • Adding barcodes to UK parcels to improve customer information, and operational efficiencies;
  • Investing in technology: from making it easier for customers to access our networks through to tracking and management information;
  • Detailed planning for parcels systems upgrades and automation in the core Royal Mail network;
  • Rolling out FlexDelivery to more European markets, offering customers more choice about how and when their parcels are delivered;
  • Upgrading the core GLS operating system to ensure continued market-leading IT capabilities; and
  • Expanding the geographic footprint – depth and range – of GLS through organic growth and selective acquisitions.

Letters

  • Adding value to customer mailings through the rollout of initiatives like Mailmark™;
  • Promoting the value of advertising mail in customer retention and acquisition – on its own and in combination with other media;
  • Calling on Ofcom to address the potential threat to the economics of the Universal Service created by uncertainty caused by its Competition Act investigation, access pricing policy review and the unfettered growth of direct delivery competition; and
  • Leveraging benefits of our investments in letter automation by increasing the number of letters sorted into delivery order and optimising mail handling techniques.

Customer

  • Improving our first time delivery rates, increasing use of Delivery to Neighbour and Local Collect;
  • Refreshing our enquiry offices and training our customer-facing colleagues to improve customers’ experiences when collecting their parcels;
  • Re-engineering our key customer journeys to remove sources of dissatisfaction, reducing the time between account set up and first posting for businesses; and
  • Driving down customer complaints with a focus on first time resolution of issues.