Creating Competitive Advantage:
In recent years, with the advent of new trends such as globalisation and liberalisation, the world has become a global village. The advantageous factors of this trend have far outweighed the negative factors, which has given leaders of each and every economy a fillip to pursue them in search of excellence. There are many factors which are required for an economy to succeed. Factors like adequate infrastructure, government regulations, safe investment environment etc; which are critical to keep the economy on track to realise its potential. Logistics, courier, packaging & transport industry has an important role to play in delivering consignments accurately and in a timely manner. The theme of this report is to identify the role played by post offices in India. Post offices in India are operated by the Central Government of India under the new brand name India Post. It is popularly known in India as “post offices”, this term is used extensively hereafter in this report.
The purpose of this report is to study the role played by India Post and reason why this organisation was chosen for this report.
Post office is a very old institution, which is now being operated by the Government of India under the brand name India Post, part of the ministry of telecommunications & information technology. India post is governed by the Indian Post Office Act, 1898 (source: Wikipedia). In recent times the organisation has embarked on a modernisation drive, as result of which a new logo was adopted.
There are many companies offering courier and packaging services but none have the network that India post has. The reason for the large network is there was a large number of post offices scattered all over the country in the pre independence era. All the post offices, upon the country gaining independence were merged into one organisation under a common name and opening up of several branches thereafter till date. Even though other private courier companies claim their numero uno position in the local market, but none better than the network of the post office.
Post offices have an advantage over the private companies as it is a government owned institution and proves as an advantage in setting up branches over others and continuity of the business and provides a security to the customers. But the service levels of post offices is not upto the expectations of the general public. According to general belief 70% of the nation’s population still lives in the rural areas, even though post offices have a penetration into the rural areas bringing the urban areas closer, but it has failed to capitalise on this advantage. A detailed analysis has been presented in the appendix attached this report to analyse the benefits and areas where the post offices need to develop to make this organisation more profitable, responsible, accessible etc to the general public of the nation.
To provide high quality mail, parcel and related services in Indiaandthroughout theworld; to be recognized as an efficient and excellent organisation exceeding the expectations of the customers, employees and the society; to perform the task by:
* Post within reach of all by year 2013-14.
* To be a focal point for delivery of all social security schemes of the state by 2011-12.
* To be a self-sustaining organisation by the year 2013-2014.
* To increase financial inclusion of the unbanked population by at least 10% by the year 2013-14.
* To become a corporate company in 4-5 years. (Source: India Post website)
According to the 08-09 annual report of India post the vision or aim of the department is “India Post a socially committed, technology driven, professionally managed & forward looking organisation”.
The above aim of the company can be broken into a two pronged approach according to the national postal policy:
* Develop services that assist, facilitate, enhance & quicken the process of development aimed at inclusive growth.
* Reposition India Post to become self sufficient, credible, efficient, quick and cost-effective provided of these services.
To achieve the above aims, India Post must capitalise on its strengths, should make the opportunities count and turn the weak areas into their strengths. The government has taken the right step in this direction by launching the department of posts under a different brand name which will help create its own market and function independently without any pressure from the corridors of power; the government.
India is a very large country in geographical terms with the coastline itself being roughly 6500 – 7000 Km with varied terrains consisting of mountains, hill ranges, dense forests and large plateaus. In a country like this the distribution network also needs to well connected and managed with adequate employees. India post is one organisation which boasts of having 155,000 branches (89% of which are in rural areas), increased from 23,344 (national postal policy) since independence, over 700% growth in network. Post offices are spread across the length and breadth of the country catering and providing not only mailing solutions, but also other services like postal life insurance, postal savings etc. The network is run by a total of 494,589 employees (08-09 annual report).
In relation to the size and infrastructure, India post has divided the entire nation into 22 postal circles with roughly one circle for every state including the union territories. All the circles are headed by a Chief Postmaster General, and each circle is again divided into regions, which is headed by a Postmaster General. Along these lines, there is an exclusive base circle created for servicing the Armed Forces of India. The base circle is headed by an Additional Director General, holding the rank of a Major General. (Source: India Post website).
India post is a government department and operates under the Ministry of communications and information technology. It is headed by a member of parliament, who is appointed by the President of India on recommendation of the Prime Minister. The minister is assisted by generally two ministers of states and by the postal services board in carrying day to day activities of the department and also to suggest and improve the services of the post offices.
An indicative organisational structure of India Post is presented in the appendix of this report.
Success or Failure
India Post was functioning only as a department of Government of India and not as an organisation till recently. But off late, there have been some positive changes to make it an affective organisation for greater responsibility and accountable for the business being undertaken and become a self sufficient organisation, rather than depending on the organisation for financial support. The changes can be seen in the form of the new India Post logo. This will only strengthen the position of India Post as a logistics company sooner or later rather than being know as a “government organisation”.
The postal department is often criticised by all sections of the society due to lack of service, poor delivery structure, indifferent attitude towards customers among many other difficulties faced by the society. But off late there has been a change in the attitude of a majority of employees and they feel responsible towards their duties. The below table provides a brief summary about India Post:
Indian economy undertook the path of liberalisation and globalisation in the year 1991, as a result of this relaxation in norms new courier and packaging companies joined forces with Indian organisations to take on the dominant position of India Post. As a result of the new entrants India Post and has been reduced to a minority player from the position of market leader.
Below is a detailed PEST analysis of the department of posts or India Post in brief. A detailed analysis is also presented in the attached appendix.
SWOT as the name itself suggests, is a tool analysing the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats, which an organisation might face during its life time. The tool is very beneficial in identifying the areas of strength and areas where the organisation needs to develop to sustain the constant pressure of competitors and changing business environment.
A detailed analysis is presented in the appendix.
The intention of the above report is to identify the current state of the organisation, as compared to its competitors.
India Post is committed to meet the challenges of the changing business environment to ensure better connectivity & financial services to each and every citizen. 60% of India still lives in the rural areas & India Post needs to expand & strengthen its network, to make sure each and every citizen is connected with the rest of the nation.
India Post needs to make modernise its infrastructure and commercially viable to deliver its core functions & other services in high standards. These can be achieved with a change in the legislative framework and more freedom to India Post in regulating the business without any interference from any government agency.