Union Postale: You have been at the helm of PUASP for several years now. How have you seen the postal landscape in your region change during this time?
Roberto Cavanna Merchán: I have been leading PUASP since 2014, and during this time and in my previous years working as CEO of the Ecuadorian Post, I have seen many changes in the postal sector.
The emergence and development of new technologies, in particular the Internet, deceived governments and the general population into thinking that the Posts had their days numbered, without realizing that the Internet is a major ally of the Post due to the growth of online shopping. It should be noted that only Posts have the required coverage to meet domestic demand. At the same time, new technologies have evolved into important tools for Posts to improve their quality of service.
In recent years, designated operators of developing countries have in most cases lacked a state service policy and received little or no government support at all. Although the state has an obligation to provide a universal postal service, this obligation has often been transferred to the designated operator without an adequate support, which is not necessarily economical.
As a consequence, there is an increased development of private operators, which are even more efficient than public operators in some cases. This demonstrates that the postal business is an excellent one as long as it is well managed by postal sector experts.
Designated operators have lost certain privileges in the market that once assured them a substantial income making the universal postal service sustainable.
The economic and political situation of certain countries has produced major migratory movements, which has also brought about the growth of postal streams accompanied by increased economic revenue arising from the global remuneration system.
What is your vision to help designated operators in your region overcome this challenge?
What is needed is perspective, perseverance, decision-making power, a will to change things, intelligence, industry knowledge, willingness to listen to those who know better, strategy and humility to acknowledge the real situation. Posts need to seize the opportunity to do something good for their country.
In other words, leaders have to have their feet on the ground, have good judgement, be positive, be practical, know how to communicate with all staff members, be good communicators with a hotline to the government, and to share a vision of long-term business growth, among other virtues.