NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 17 – The postal and courier industry is being encouraged to embrace technology and consider using new expertise to provide services to its customers.
According to Courier Industry of Kenya Chairman Engineer Jackson Muchira, technology is set to be the platform upon which the future of the industry will be pegged.
“Technological advancements especially e-commerce and e-business have evolved to impact heavily on the pace, speed and cost effectiveness in our industry,” he said on Monday.
Other players feel that the industry has evolved in recent years due to a number of converging trends and the ability to adapt to challenges in the global landscape.
The postal courier sub-sector is viewed as an indisputable contributor to most sectors of the Kenyan economy. The industry as a whole makes an annual contribution of approximately Sh7 billion to the Kenyan economy, a figure that the Communications Commission of Kenya said they hope to grow to Sh17 billion by 2013.
Postal services remain the most reliable and available means of communication especially in the rural and remote parts of Kenya. According to Information and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio, the post has weathered the initial storm presented by ICT and instant messaging technologies.
“Although new technologies have eaten into some of the traditional postal business segments, ICTs have opened new business opportunities and enhanced efficiency in the operations of the entire postal system,” he said.
The Minister also urged the postal industry to exploit ICT to develop new products and services that merge opportunities in cyberspace with the extensive physical distribution capabilities, to retain a sizeable portion of the communications market.
Postmaster General Fred Odhiambo said it is high time players focused more on customer products than on making money.
“We tend to think customers want the same product all the time and offer generic products with a view of making quick profits,” he said, adding that “it’s high time we exploited the benefits of research to determine the attitude of customers towards our products, with a view of enhancing product offerings.”
As it is the Postal Corporation of Kenya covers more than 2000 kilometers a day delivering mail across the country. This brings with it other costs such as fuel motor wear and tear, where cars have to be replaced within two to three years.
One way it seeks to combat this challenge is by enhancing its ICT capacity to come up with e-products that do not require too much physical delivery. Such products would include Hybrid Mail.
Over the years the Postal Corporation has been seen to be slow in keeping up with emerging technology. In a bid to quell this public perception, the State Corporation announced that it would be introducing video conferencing.