Posta Kenya: The audacity of reinvention

BY DAVID WANJALA

Even though the disruption brought about by technological revolution in the recent past has, more often than not, drilled the last nail in the coffin for many companies, ingenuity of some of the policy makers has ensured not only the survival of their entities but also their thriving.

If there was ever a company in Kenya whose survival, leave alone thriving, in the wake of the recent rapid technological advancement, especially in communication, was never guaranteed, it was the Postal Corporation of Kenya.

Contrary to those fears however, the corporation has waded through the formative stages of the disruption, aligned its operations to the new world order in communication and is now shining in the driving seat of postal services in the larger East Africa region. 

The largest fear was when, in the turn of the century, what was then known as the Kenya Posta and Telecommunication (KP&TC) was split to have the Siamese twins, Posta and telecommunication go their separate ways. It must be mentioned that at the time, the telecommunication was the rainmaker. What would become of Posta in the wake of the email, sms, twitter, Mpesa, just to mention a few, is what lingered in the minds of many.

But the Postal Corporation of Kenya has over the years reinvented itself, advanced from their traditional mail delivery and telegram services to more modern ways of keeping people in touch by adopting and incorporating the changes that technology had inspired, the very that would have knocked the corporation out of business.

Postal services are offered within the wider communications sector that is undergoing tremendous changes due to liberalization, competition, new technologies and the dynamic regulatory environment

Posta, for instance, has since expanded their mail services from traditional domestic, international and registered mail to franked, bulk, private letterboxes, direct mail marketing and business reply services. Besides, the corporation has also ventured into cargo, courier, parcel, payment and travel services. In payment services for instance, it has introduced Posta Pay and Posta Pesa besides the conventional Money Order.

But in a world of cutthroat competition where service delivery is prompted by your competitors by way of pop ups to a shrinking list of clients; improved service delivery alone cannot guarantee your survival. You must remain visible and relevant lest you get forgotten. Postal Corporation of Kenya is privy to this wisdom and has been doing all in its powers to remain visible even as it improves and expands its line of service delivery. As such, the corporation has engaged in numerous corporate social responsibility initiatives.

In May, for instance, Postmaster General, Mr Dan Kagwe commissioned and handed over the Kenyatta National Hospital Paediatrics care services waiting bay that had been fully funded by the corporation to the tune of Sh1.7 million. Speaking at the event, Mr Kagwe exalted the importance of society to the vision of the corporation.

“The pillars in the Posta Kenya Corporate Social Responsibility Policy are Health, Environmental Conservation, Education, Youth, Culture and Sports. The Paediatric Care Services Waiting Bay we are commissioning today will alleviate the congestion at Kenyatta National Hospital by providing adequate space for patients and medical officers. We have also constructed a playground for the children with various equipment. This is to ensure that the paediatric patients and their guardians are comfortable as they wait for medical services,” the postmaster general said.

Earlier in the same month, the postmaster general had also, in liaison with the Kenya Wildlife Service and Ol Pejeta Conservancy launched commemorative stamps issue of the endangered Northern White Rhino where he bemoaned the saddening demise of Sudan, the last patriarch of the Northern White Rhino.

“We note, with deep concern that only two of this endangered Northern White Rhinos remain, today in the world. Indeed it’s a sad reality for all of us that this rare species of Rhinos is almost extinct under our watch,” he said.

The first postage stamps of independent Kenya, Mr Kagwe said, were issued on 12th December 1963, to mark the first Uhuru celebrations. Before gaining independence, Kenya used the postage stamps of British East Africa Company, from 1890 to 1895, and later, 1895 to 1963, the British East Africa Protectorate, he said, revealing the importance the corporation attaches to the postage stamp.

“The Postage stamp carries particular significance to Postal Administrations worldwide. The stamp is a tool that justifies a prepayment for postage for mail/letter from one destination to another. It is a means of expressing our culture and history, a national ambassador for the country’s attractions and an educational tool for Kenyans and Global Citizens at large. The stamp is an important document that communicates different messages.

The postmaster general explained that postal administrations worldwide classify stamps into two segments; Definitive and Commemorative. Definitive stamps are issued essentially for postage services while commemorative stamps are issued to mark special events or occasions of national or international importance.  “The Northern White Rhino stamps that we are unveiling here today, falls in the commemorative category,” he said.

Posta Kenya has over the years partnered with several organisations and institutions to produce stamps depicting their various developments. In October last year, they partnered with the United Nations Commemorative Stamp on the Sustainable Development Goals. The stamp was unveiled specifically during the World Post Day celebrations marked every year on 9th October, since 1874 when the Universal Postal Union was formed.

The corporation also issued several stamps in 2017 including the Standard Gauge Railway Stamp, on May 30 to mark the inauguration of the modern railway transport in Kenya. On May 10, they partnered with the Kenya Wildlife Service to produce and issue the big five game animals in Africa. The Corporation, in partnership with other stakeholders, has scheduled to issue postage stamps, both commemorative and definitive, on quarterly basis.

The visibility efforts are obviously carried out with realization that strong service delivery remains a key strategy to achieving the corporation’s vision of being among the leading global providers of postal and related services.

It is in this realm that the corporation acquired a fleet of motor vehicles in the month of May to bolster official delivery and sales operations within their network as part of sustained efforts to improve service delivery for all citizens countrywide.

The fleet consists of 10 Volkswagen Polo Vivo worth Sh16.2 million, locally assembled at the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM) Thika. The second phase of the acquisition included 11 Isuzu Dmax TRF 86 worth Sh36 million.

Speaking during the flagging off ceremony, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication Technology, State Department of ICT & Innovations, Mr Jerome Ochieng congratulated board of directors, management and staff at the corporation for demonstrating ability to put in place effective operational system that will be beneficial to the Postal business especially in a difficult environment.

“Postal services are offered within the wider communications sector that is undergoing tremendous changes due to liberalization, competition, new technologies and the dynamic regulatory environment.  I take pride in the fact that over the last two decades, Posta Kenya has made sustained efforts towards development of an effective local postal network. This has immensely contributed to the growth of our country’s socio-economic infrastructure in line with Vision 2030,” said the PS.

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