A new seminal report on the postal industry, Focus on the Future, developed in collaboration by the International Post Corporation (IPC) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), has identified that postal operators need to transform their business models and to do so very quickly.

The IPC report looks into a range of issues to provide guidance on how the world’s postal services should be transforming themselves in the light of current market trends, most notably e-substitution and e-commerce.

The report is mainly upbeat about opportunities available to the postal industry and its positive future. However, it also emphasises the need for posts to move quickly: what the report terms the acceleration “from evolutionary to revolutionary” transformation.

• The report recommends that postal operators go beyond adapting their cost structure and portfolio, to build new business models that put the consumer in control.

• It advocates rigorous, proactive restructuring in the letter segment, so that it remains profitable to finance quality improvement and build business capabilities.

• Posts, the report states, are uniquely positioned with the capabilities to establish a strong position in this area of spectacular growth, but they need to transform from a domestic mail operator into a regional, consumer-centric, marketing and e-retailer service provider.

In line with our own thinking, it is also suggested that direct mail needs to be adapted to market needs and consumer expectations: a targeted day/certain delivery of an interactive multi-channel campaign appears to be much more effective than single channel broadcasts.

In summary, a welcome upbeat study of the postal market, but a real call to action for operators across the world.