September 27, 2016

GPO urged to embrace the emerging technological age

BY ALEXIS RODNEY

What used to be just a simple postal service utilised for the delivery of mail and packages throughout Guyana and around the world, has now been charged to become the next big thing in the communication sector, and

The new Board members along with Ministers Cathy Hughes, David Patterson and Annette Ferguson

The new Board members along with Ministers Cathy Hughes, David Patterson and Annette Ferguson

to get with emerging technological age.
This charge was read to the new 11-member governing board of the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC), which was sworn in on Friday at the Public Infrastructure Ministry.
Minister within the Ministry Annette Ferguson delivered the charge to the new members and urged them to take advantage of the evolving digital age to assist in offering efficient and effective service to all Guyanese.
The new Board include Reverend Raphael Massiah as Chairman, Martin Gaul, Oscar Clarke, Maureen Philadelphia, Leon Dickson, Nicola Trotman, Gobin Harbhajan, Oslyn Armstrong, Harold Shepherd, Delon Baird and Karen Brown.
According to Minister Ferguson, the GPOC has touched and impacted lives for more than 230 years through mail and package delivery. She said it however now faces many challenges due to technological changes and the Internet revolution.
“It is therefore timely for us to reposition the Corporation as the key services provider that delivers higher quality services to our customers and citizens. Our citizens must see the difference in our approach.
According to the junior Minister, it is expected in this evolving digital age that the demand for courier services continue to grow. And as E-commerce expands with more people buying and selling through the Internet, people and businesses still require postal services and products to be moved efficiently from one place to another.
“That is why UPS, DHL and FedEx are all doing well because they have adapted to the changes and modified their businesses accordingly”, Minister Ferguson pointed out.

Cannot be business as usual
Ferguson said “It cannot be business as usual, as the new members have the country’s business to take care of”. On that note, the Minister tasked the Board members to provide strong effective leadership and guidance; develop and implement a strategic turnaround plan to transform the organisation; modernise the postal services and postal networks and expand the core business services offered; successful planning and training of employees to deliver quality and efficient services to the public; create a customer centric organisation; restore customer confidence and loyalty and explore the resuscitation of the post office training school to train employees to achieve the strategic objectives of the corporation.
She said the Corporation already has some infrastructure in place, such as bill payment facility, across 65 locations; money transfer facilities; office space in other business locations; and retail services such as the sale of stationery.

She said it is for this new Board and management to capitlise on these existing services and improve the state of affairs of the Corporation.
“We challenge this new Board to see the changes in the postal environment and the emergence of new commercial challenges as an opportunity to transform Guyana’s oldest service provider”.
Delivering a charge to the new Board members too was Tourism and Telecommunication Minister Kathy Hughes, who said in Guyana, the post office remains the hub of community activity in many parts. “So I think we have a responsibility to ensure that we look at our current services, that we look at initiatives that have been tried in other parts of the world and look at our needs and decide how is that we could rebrand and repackage the services the post office offers”.
She said she was excited about the connection her Ministry will have with the post office, which now sits under her Ministry. According to her, when one talks about creating increased interconnectivity and increased broadband access, one can see the kind of enhanced roles the post offices can play, as a little ICT hub, a location where there will always be a few solar panels that could provide Internet access to anyone in the community who needs to utilise certain services of the post office.

Waking a “sleeping giant”
“It’s an exciting time, it’s an exciting time because we are shaping where the post office will go in the next five or 10 years and we have the tremendous opportunity that we do not need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to be committed and look for existing role models,” she said.
New Chairman, Reverend Raphael Massiah, said he was pleased to be able to work with the group; one he describes as a team of experienced members. He said the task of waking up a “sleeping giant” – the GPOC – is not work for one person but for the team.

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