ROYAL MAIL COVID-19 DELAYS (FULL EXPLANATION)

Below are two update messages from our account manager at Royal Mail

Sent on 28/4/2020

Good Morning. The briefing below is to bring you right up to date with regards the operational and delivery performance at Royal Mail. There is also detail of changes to Saturday delivery operations. Please share this information with your customer service team.

 

I will start with updating you in relation to delivery performance. Last week you may have seen an increase in the number of calls and emails you were receiving from your customers asking about expected deliveries. Due to the continuation of lockdown, and the increase of online shopping we are seeing volumes at the level of Christmas Peak every day. This increase in volume is against a backdrop of reduced staff and the need to comply with safe distancing regulations within our sort centres. This in turn is causing delays to delivery in certain areas. To alleviate some of these pressures last week we re-opened our 6 Christmas Hubs and a further 3 Mail Centres that had been moth-balled. This extra capacity means we are very quickly getting on top of any backlogs – please be patient.

 


Updates sent on 20/4/2020

Good Morning, firstly I hope that you are, and remain well. This update is to share with you where we are operationally.

 

Last week Royal Mail saw parcel volumes exceed by 40% even the Christmas & Cyber week volumes – this is at a time when not only do we not have the additional 16,000 temporary workers that we employ for “peak”, but we also have circa 20% of our full time staff absent from work. The phrase “Unprecedented” is heard on a regular basis these days. I asked our communications team to put the below together so that we could understand what “unprecedented” meant in the world of moving parcels from A to B.

 

Unprecedented

We hear the phrase ‘unprecedented’ a lot at the moment. But what does that mean for us in Royal Mail and for the customers we serve?
Unprecedented means extraordinary, unique, unparalleled and exceptional. It doesn’t mean ‘normal’ or ‘usual’.
So, what is it about this time and our response that is so unique and exceptional?
It's a combination of:

  • More parcels
  • Fewer people – a constantly changing resource profile
  • Changes to the flow of mail through our pipeline
  • Impact of social distancing
  • Necessary changes to how we and customers behave

Parcel volumes rising

More people at home, fewer retail outlets open, online shopping increasing daily – to unparalleled levels. And that’s good for the economy of the nation; it means commerce continues and provides more security for the country and our company as we come out of this difficult Coronavirus period. But it also means millions more parcels in our network - to be collected, processed and delivered by less people.

Resource fluctuating

Each day we have colleagues entering self-isolation, shielding, infected by the disease, recovering from the disease, ending self-isolation, or absent through other illnesses. This number changes every single day as people return to work or go off work. And it affects performance in units already dealing with extraordinary volumes of mail. We could have a unit with 30% absence rates today and just 10% tomorrow – but the work from yesterday and today still needs processing or delivering. The workload doesn’t immediately reduce as people return to work. This is unique to other types of service disruption because it’s constantly changing and has no clear end date.

Moving the mail

We’re doing everything we can to collect, process and deliver as much mail as we can. Keeping the mail moving is vital for our customers, our country. Sometimes, however there could be issues somewhere in the mail pipeline that causes temporary or prolonged variations in service levels. For example, high absence at a mail centre could delay the movement of mail into delivery offices (DOs). So even if a DO was fully or mostly staffed, the feed of mail to or from them could be affected. Or a DO could be experiencing particularly high absence levels that means they can’t deliver all the mail successfully processed by the adequately resourced inward mail centre.