The Postal Operations Council sees success with new working methods
07.04.2017 - The Postal Operations Council (POC) held its first session for the 2017-2020 cycle at the end of March, launching a series of new tools and improved working methods aimed at increasing efficiency.
UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein signed the UPU Regulations and Final Protocols with POC Chairman Masahiko Metoki after they were adopted by member countries.
One new addition is a deliverables matrix developed by the International Bureau secretariat to help monitor the implementation of Congress decisions, resolutions and work proposals. It was developed for both the POC and Council of Administration (CA) and can be monitored by delegates using a new online workspace application developed by the UPU.
“The key principles of the Reform of our Union are faster decision-making processes and more efficient ways of working,” said UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein.
“New and innovative electronic working methods have been designed to increase the participation, representation and integration of UPU stakeholders in our work – this will increase the role and relevance of our Union in solving the challenges faced by the postal sector.”
Under the new matrix, all deliverables assigned to the first POC session had been marked green as completed.
For his part, POC Chairman Masahiko Metoki said: “Congratulations to all the member countries on achieving green [across the board] … it is a very visual, clearly understood presentation [of our achievements].”
The changes were implemented according to a decision made by member countries during the 26th Universal Postal Congress, which instructed the UPU streamline the structures and decision-making processes and decrease the length of meetings to five days for each council session.
With new challenges and new opportunities brought about by the changing market environment, it became clear during the session that the POC will be at the forefront in bringing about the disruptive change needed for the UPU to rise to new market realities—namely through integrated product development and quick decision making.
The continuing development of the Integrated Product Plan, which was approved by the Istanbul Congress, has demonstrated that with a clear vision and a clear mandate backed by resources, expertise and adequate structures, the UPU can move quickly and proactively to address the needs of the rapidly evolving market.
Among the achievements made during the session was the approval of the PosTransfer Group business plan, the postal payment services quality of service standards, and amendments to two articles of the postal payment services regulations as well as the licensing agreement for PosTransfer, the UPU’s collective trademark for postal payment services.
The conditions set out in the PosTransfer Licensing agreement will ensure that Posts will adhere to the UPU electronic postal payment quality of service standards, provide key service performance indicators, share relevant Postal Payment Services e-Compendium information and use the UPU’s Financial Electronic Inquiry System (FEIS)—a system used to manage and settle claims and reclamations.
Another milestone was the approval of the suggested way forward for implementation of Electronic Advanced Data (EAD).
EAD refers to item-level messages shared between an Posts, Customs and air carriers to facilitate safe and efficient delivery of international mail containing goods.
“There has been an increase in the pre-loading air cargo requirements that have been applied to the air cargo sector and the express sector and they’re looking at Posts as well,” said Peter Chandler, who represents the United States as co-chair of the POC committee on supply chain integration.
The European Union Customs Code will soon require EAD information on items containing goods.
“There is a deadline for EAD. Most of the POC’s plans are to be ready by 2020 to meet the European deadlines but it’s foreseen that there are other countries that are examining the same issue,” Chandler explained.
This roadmap will be an essential component to ensuring that all Posts are able to exchange this information by 2020.
Regarding digital transformation and markets development, the POC decided to amend the .POST Domain Management Policy to make it easier for organisations to register their .POST domain names and benefit from increased internet presence and security of online services.
This was in direct response to a number of requests from members over the past year, which the .POST Group Steering Committee and the International Bureau studied to find a solution.
This change is part of a strong push to expand the use of .POST during this cycle.
During the plenary session, POC members adopted revised UPU Regulations and Final Protocols regarding international postal operations.
The UPU regulations are drawn up by the POC every four years in line with decisions taken during the last Universal Postal Congress.
Congress decided to combine the former Letter-Post and Parcel Post Regulations into one set of Regulations to the Convention. The International Bureau will produce a new Regulations Manual in line with this change. The new manual will be organized to follow the operational process step-by-step, starting by describing each type of mail item, continuing with rules for processing the items, and following through to accounting procedures.
Rules pertaining to all postal items are contained in the first part of the Regulations, followed by those which pertain only to letter-post items and finally, those which pertain only to parcels. This has reduced the duplication of many identical rules which were previously contained in two separate manuals.
These rules will come into effect 1 January 2018.
More than 440 delegates turned out for the first session of the POC, which took place between 27-31 March.