Singapore Post Limited (SingPost) has announced that it is holding a fundamental review of SingPost’s mail operations is underway to raise reliability and service standards, and to meet the demands of the evolving postal landscape over the years.
In a press release on Thursday (7 February), it stated that it accepts the financial penalty imposed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) for missing its Quality of Service standards in 2017 and, therefore, announces immediate measures to improve service quality, as part of a broad review of its postal operations.
Mr Paul Coutts, Group Chief Executive Officer, said, "We deeply apologise to our customers for our service failures. We have heard their complaints and feedback; we feel their frustrations and seek to win back their trust."
"The immediate measures we are announcing today will address the most pressing issues and provide improvement in service quality over the next three to six months," he added.
SingPost stated that changes in the postal landscape are driven by the rapid rise of eCommerce that has injected large volumes into the traditional mail infrastructure because of cheaper postage, which has raised the postman’s workload with a significant rise in package deliveries being made to doorsteps, over and above the delivery of mail to letter boxes.
According to the compan, during the seasonal eCommerce surge in the last few months, each postman on average carried out between 50 and 60 doorstep deliveries per day.
In view of this, SingPost said that it is reassessing the job of its postmen, to ensure that they are resourced and equipped to handle the eCommerce boom, without compromise to their safety and well-being.
Currently, SingPost is working with Government agencies and the Union of Telecoms Employees of Singapore (UTES) to upgrade the skill-set of its postal workers and significantly expand its workforce to meet the requirements of rising eCommerce volumes.
Alleviating the workload of the postman is therefore one of the key thrusts in the immediate measures that SingPost is undertaking to improve service quality. Other measures include:
- Increasing the postal delivery workforce by hiring an additional 100 postmen and redeploying 35 mail-drop drivers to become full-time postmen;
- Enhance postmen’s remuneration with incentives for successful deliveries of trackable items to the doorstep. Launched on 1 February 2019, this will be part of a broader salary structure review to ensure remuneration is better aligned with the requirements of the job and the industry as a whole;
- Reduce missed deliveries by extending mail delivery slots to weekday evenings and on Saturdays, with overtime pay for postmen who volunteer for these after-hours slots;
- Improve parcel collection experience by increasing the number of dedicated counters and staff at post offices for parcel collection. Since the start of the year, volunteers from SingPost’s corporate office have been helping out on weekends; and
- Focus the postal service on core mail delivery by reducing non-core mail businesses such as advertisement mail to improve service levels on core mail delivery.
Mr Coutts said, "These are the first steps currently taken to address our customers’ immediate pain points and to rebuild the trust we have lost. Please bear with us as we look into longer-term measures that address other issues that customers have raised. We will continue to explore harnessing new technology and infrastructure to enhance our delivery process – and most importantly, investing in the welfare of our workforce. "
“SingPost has been Singapore’s national postal service provider for 160 years. We are part of the community with a national duty to Singapore and the people of Singapore. This is the core of our business, and 160 years on, it will continue to be our commitment to the community, and to Singapore,” Mr Coutts added.
Expensive services by SingPost, say customer
Mr Wayne Wen wrote a comparison between SingPost and Qoo10.
He wrote, "A comparison of Qoo10 against SingPost parcel delivery service.
Qoo10 charges about S$4.50 for parcel delivery less than or equal to 5kg. They offered door step collection of parcel with delivery of parcel at least next working day itself.
SingPost charges S$3.35 for parcel more than 1kg to less than or equal to 2kg. You will have to travel to the nearest SingPost office to park the parcel with them for delivery."
Some users of SingPost's service share their views on the matter
Jacen Khoo wrote, "Currently, postmen are given commission for successful parcel delivery. However, my repeat encounters are that notification notices are not left behind - latest being the postman 'forgot' after 'standing outside my unit for 45mins'.
Notices issued are not tracked by Singapore Post, which means if the postman didn't feel like it, he could return to base with the same number of parcels without even have to visit any of the units - which I think was what my 'forgetful' postman did.
This comissions based system serves only the postman and not customers."
Sandy Heng wrote, "Issues with SingPost are not new, and with a very poor customer feedback channel, the complains are not looked into, and left to fester. Slowly, the decay spreaded to an extent that it warrants a system wide review, and harsh changes. Otherwise, it would just be another plaster over the wound, and not treating the wound."
Diana Tan wrote, "Problem is the lapse in service did not happen only in November/December last year! E-commerce mails have been there for years and it's only now that SingPost realize they can't cope? Most clothes e-retailer don't even use SingPost anymore because mails kept getting lost. If November/December is a surge period for SingPost, it's the same for other courier companies but they are still able to deliver within 1 to 3 biz days. If these newbies can predict the surge and plan resources accordingly, SingPost being the veteran in mail services fail to plan ahead? I get super annoyed each time my mails get missing or when i re-direct my registered parcels to another post office for pick up, it either got delayed or the staff tells me they have no idea where are my parcels. Can SingPost consider putting registered mails into the nearest pop-stations or parcel santa boxes if owners are not home? Then we wont need to waste time queuing at post office and that also increase the efficiency at the post office."
Es Lim wrote, "Just like SMRT, they are not putting effort, manpower and resources on their core business. Business model needs to change."
Foh Sin Kong wrote, "Make it a law for SingPost to compensate all missing parcel or cost incur to people because of their late or missing mail."
Yanny Ree wrote, "English lesson must given to the new recruit as most are FT and they have little knowledge of written and spoken English. Issue compound fine or summon and expel them back to their country if found guilty of discarding mails or due to laziness. But reward those with full responsibility and diligent post man"
Some also asked the company to hire Singaporeans rather than hire foreign workers to do stuffs that can be done by local staff.
Andrew Lim wrote, "No offence to any particular race, I've encountered many post man of other countries origin and they really had a hard time speaking and reading simple English. This resulted in sending the mail to the wrong place. So they simply "dumped" other tenants mail in our company HR dept and expect us to deliver to our tenants. Thus doesn't occur when the previous postman was a local. Just my observation and my views."
Vasugi Ais wrote, "Nothing goes missing if thy employ only Singaporeans like those old and golden age dys of SingPost. Even during that period of hard times no letters or parcels ever go missing no matter how far it came from. So, SingPost, please, buck up!"
HP Tan wrote, "Hiring more local people!!! There were no incidents before when local in charge."
Daniel Tang wrote, "Stop hiring cheap labours and raise pay for local chaps. If the pay and incentives are good, locals will wanna work for you."
Zubaidah Rahiman wrote, "Go and call back your good workers which they resigned because of your rules towards long service workers. Purposely hor you want foreign workers to apply!"
Others asked the management to treat the employee fairly.
KY Lin wrote, "Underpaying freelancing postmen and trying to squeeze every drop of blood out of them. Treat your staff fairly, get the job done properly and there will be no need to try to make yourself look good by publishing your internal staff benefits in the news except for recruitment purposes"
CloudyApple Ong wrote, "Looks like all employees should look up to SingPost.
And all employers should give incentives to employees so they have the motivation to complete their basic job scope."
While some also demanded the authority to deal with the top management.
James Tio wrote, "SingPost needs to fire its CEO for poor management oversight that attributed to this collapse of quality of service which is confirmed and penalised by the government.
This is an affront and embarrassment to a national service provider. Similar issue with former SMRT CEO who was too focused on profits before service and safety issues cost her the job."
ウ ォーロック wrote, "Just reading the snippet: incentives to deliver... umm, it is called a salary?"
Jael Gan wrote, "Why should there be incentives for successfully delivering items to the doorstep? Isn’t delivering items to the doorstep part of the job requirement? I take the pay to do the work well, that’s the responsibility and if I exceed expectations, I will get incentives. And not I take the pay regardless whether I do or not do my work well, and if I do it well to the supposedly “duty”, I get more incentives."
Some even asked for the government to end the monopoly of SingPost.
Jacquie Zhang wrote, "SingPost is monopoly. We need another SingPost to compete. Why there are 3 or 4 Telco, but only one SingPost?"