The first-ever postal agency in the Emirate of Dubai opened on August 19, 1909. Historically, postal systems had existed in the Middle East long before, with mounted horses and camels racing government communications across the Persian Empire. From those small beginnings, today the UAE’s post is a vast, multi-layered, dynamic entity, and managing it is no small feat. We spoke with Emirates Post Group, to see how they keep up with the ever-growing demands of overseeing this bustling country’s couriers.
The UAE has a bold vision; “To be amongst the safest, happiest and best countries in the world by 2021”. This ambitious 2021 goal is part of a longer-term 2030 Economic Vision, with both, the UAE is setting high bars for itself and focusing its resources on meeting them, and it doesn’t mind the world knowing it.
Throughout human history, the postal service has been a mark of civilization – a back-bone that supports booming structure and trade. This is as true when the service is introduced as it is in the years that follow, and as the UAE invites the world to watch it reach its impressive goals, the mail has got to keep up. Emirates Post Group (EPG), the official overseers of the postal service, have the organisation and ambition to rise to the challenge.
“Our vision is to be recognized for innovative postal, logistics and financial services, and solutions towards achieving leadership and customer happiness,” the company declares proudly in its public statement. “Our mission is to provide innovative postal, logistical and financial services aligned with international standards through a cutting-edge infrastructure and qualified and competent leaders and employees.”
So, what exactly are EPG’s responsibilities? We spoke with HE Abdulla Mohammed Alashram, Acting CEO of Emirates Post Group: “Emirates Post is the UAE’s leading domestic and international post and express provider, for both individuals and businesses.”
“We offer businesses with choices and delivery options to facilitate their needs, such as the ‘Business Box’ – the standard box option for the receipt of business post, with SMS notifications; ‘Business Box Plus’ – the optimum choice for customers with multiple trade licenses within the same emirate who want to consolidate their post to a single box. Customers who enjoy these services can also subscribe to ‘Ezimail’ Gold, Silver and Bronze, which offers pick-up and delivery direct to the business location either six times a week, three times a week or once a week, respectively.” EPG also offer businesses additional solutions such as “Mailroom Management”, which manages all of a business’s inbound and outbound post for them, as well as their interdepartmental post – perfect for a large company. They also offer tailor-made fulfilment solutions for companies with specific needs, including options such as delivering credit/debit cards, Emirates ID, attestations and health packs.
However, it isn’t only businesses that benefit from specialised services: EPG know that people’s needs vary, and these needs go far beyond Premium, Express, Standard and Economy post options! Individuals in the UAE can opt to receive their mail in dedicated P.O Box options using EPG’s MyPost service, or they can use MyLocker to receive parcels at strategic UAE-wide locations. They can also utilize MyHome, which allows owners of villas to have a private P.O Box installed on site, with post delivered either once or twice a week.
Emirates Post Group also manages and provides direction to two subsidiaries: Wall Street Exchange and the Electronic Documents Centre. The first of these subsidiaries, the Wall Street Exchange Centre (WSEC), is a hub from which the EPG can offer foreign exchange in a wide range of currencies, as well money transfer and related services in the region. Established in 1982, the WSEC is now 100% owned by EPG, and their continued growth has allowed them to set up a global network of office, including a presence in the UK, UAE and Hong Kong.
The second subsidiary, the Electronic Documents Centre (EDC), is a joint venture offering end-to-end solutions in data processing, design, multiple printing, fulfilment and distribution requirements using state-of-the-art technology and solutions.
“EPG allows each subsidiary and unit to work to their full potential and oversees the management and implementation of investment projects and various business activities,” acting CEO, Abdulla Mohammed Alashram, explains in his public company statement. “It is responsible for raising the bar on a host of postal and non-postal services offered by the subsidiaries and units. To achieve this goal, we have developed well defined standards, targets and objectives, with a clear focus on employee productivity and highest levels of customer satisfaction.”
The United Arab Emirates has been a member of the Universal Postal Union since 1973. “Our postal and financial operations have a local, regional and international network,” Alashram explains. “Emirates Post has over 100 post office branches across the UAE – in all seven emirates. And as a member of the Universal Postal Union we have access to their network of over 190 countries.”
To keep up with this sort of reach, and this range of services, EPG must of course also stay up to date. Much has changed since 1909: we asked Alashram how developing technology affects people’s needs, and how EPG are keeping up: “Letter mail volumes have declined over the past decade – people write letters less and less; they call or send emails instead. Companies are moving more towards reducing their use of paper and moving to electronic communications as well. Technology has changed the business and we need to change and evolve accordingly. Strategic innovation is needed to keep things dynamic, providing solutions and conveniences to our customers at every touch point.”
Whilst letter numbers are in decline, other forms of post are on the rise: “E-commerce has significantly boosted the parcels volumes; and this is an area of continued growth.” However, with both internet use and the demand for couriers growing, EPG face another challenge – competition. “Our customers are being increasingly digitally connected and influenced. Shopping for lower prices and greater convenience is now at their fingertips. A one-size-fits-all delivery solution does not exist. Emirates Post aims to ensure that we provide a seamless experience in the receiving and sending of documentation and products.”
To make sure that they stay not only up to date, but ahead, Emirates Post Group outlined a 5-year strategy in 2017, for increasing their footprint and further digitising their products, services and operations. As a part of this plan, this year the Group will open new warehouses that will boost their delivery speeds and capacity, as well as upgrading of several postal branch offices. They are even launching a newly branded delivery fleet. On top of this, they are finalising new agreements with several government agencies and private companies to support them in their logistics and postal needs.
In a changing world, EPG has already wisely spread their services over many non-postal operations, and they continue to expand in this direction: “Our focus is to also explore other revenue streams as we consider ourselves to be ‘more than post’.”
Of course, to keep up with their evolving services, the Group ensures that their staff (currently totalling 2,400 employees) have access to the most up-to-date training. Alashram elaborated: “Our achievements are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our employees. The Learning and Development team within our HR department are very active in ensuring that all new and existing employees receive development and vocational training in a wide range of disciplines to further career advancement. New joiners go through an induction journey before they embark in their new career at EPG. In addition, every employee must complete a minimum number of hours a year of training and development.”
From correspondence to finances, whether you are a business, an agency or an individual, EPG has your needs covered. Their core values protect client satisfaction with reliability, efficiency and a focus on their customers’ happiness. In recognition of their efforts, in 2017, Ethos Integrated Solutions awarded the Group the Service Olympian Award for Best Customer Experience Strategy. Even more impressively, the Universal Postal Union ranked them No. 1 in Arab World for International Express Mail Service; clearly, when it comes to the postal services, EPG continue to deliver.