Industry competitors share positive vision for the future of postal industry

Industry competitors share positive vision for the future of postal industry

The UK’s main mail carriers are predicting a positive future for the postal industry with increased collaboration, according to a debate hosted by the SMP.

At our ‘Technical Summit’ in London last month, carriers UK Mail, Whistl, Secured Mail and Royal Mail Wholesale, discussed the challenges and opportunities for collaboration in the future.

It is understood to be the first time they have come together since the market was opened to competition in 2006.

The panel was made up of Steve Patrick and Jon Wilkins of UK Mail, Andy Goddard and Jen Rufus of Whistl, James Wilkins and Mark Bigley from Secured Mail, Stephen Agar from Royal Mail Wholesale, plus Danny Narey of Adare Group.

Together, they discussed their predictions for the market over the next five years, support from mail carriers for mailing houses and the future of zonal and national mail licences.

Speaking during the debate, Mr Narey said: “My view is very positive. I think the market is looking at growth and we have the correct tools to enable that. You can see email and other e-communications failing whereas mail is the original format and people and brands will turn back to it because they need to.”

Addressing the importance of working together, Steve Patrick of UK Mail, told the delegates at the event about what he would change about the industry.

He said: “It would be to go back in time and perhaps achieve the levels of collaboration that we’re heading towards that might have stemmed the momentum in terms of the attitudes towards mail. If we can get into the mindset that we are in the same supply chain… we can present our customers with a competitive and compelling medium.”

That view was emphasised by James Wilkins of Secured Mail. He told the debate: “We’ve got to make mail presentation more effective and that comes down to working together, being innovative – looking at data streams and putting them together. We’ve got to do this because this will bring efficiency throughout the supply chain and I’m more than happy to be innovative with fulfilment houses, work with the Royal Mail and do some tests.

“We need more openness to tests within the industry as this will drive innovation and if it fails then we will persist to try a different route and look to build on our successes. Hopefully we will get a more efficient network for all of us.”

The panel’s final thoughts were from Stephen Agar of Royal Mail Wholesale who said: “We spend so much time on internal disagreements when we should be working together and working hard together. We need to stop this and be more open and trusting with each other to grow the industry.”

Following the Summit, Judith Donovan CBE, Chair of the SMP, added: “It was exciting to see the industry’s fiercest competitors coming together for the first time to discuss the challenges they all faced, their predictions for the future and the increasing need to collaborate to boost the sector as a whole.

“We have a shared view that mail campaigns have a hugely positive impact for customers and I welcome the fact that everyone – from mail carriers to mailing houses – recognises the need to work together to promote mail, its benefits and its potential for growth.”