PHLPost embarks on digitization to enhance role in e-commerce

The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) is currently pursuing digitalization and modernization as it prepares to actively participate in the e-commerce industry and help businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), thrive in the digital economy, according to an agency official.

In a recent workshop on trade facilitation, Mara Beatrice Gervacio, who handles business development and corporate planning at PHLPost, shared that over the past years, the Post Office has been on a journey of digital innovation to improve operational efficiency and take on a bigger role in the e-commerce industry.

“PHLPost is not just in the business of delivering mails. We are part of the national supply chain…,” she added.

This digitalization journey involves various initiatives under the agency’s Roadmap 2020, which prescribes the establishment of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to “provide direction to modernize and shift its operations from manual to semi-automated.”

“The Post Office is updating our equipment, our facilities, our people to be able to perform actively in the e-commerce industry,” Gervacio said.

The ERP system shall incorporate a financial counter system, which is a centralized system simplifying key day-to-day business portal counter operation.

It will also implement a mail management system to ensure timely processing and delivery, a financial management information system to efficiently manage and monitor all financial transactions, and a human resource information payroll system to manage and monitor employee records.

Gervacio said the office has invested in the modernization of mail management equipment and infrastructure, including the purchase of an automated mail sorting machine to reduce processing time from days to hours.

The agency has also procured a parcel and flats sorting machine that is expected to improve operational processes in the mail exchange centers.

Meanwhile, it is also conducting the enhancement and systems integration of its track and trace system to allow real-time information on the whereabouts of every mail item.

And to help MSMEs specifically, Gervacio said they have previously presented to the Department of Trade and Industry the concept of the “ePacket Service,” an international outbound shipping service that aims to support the continuous growth of international trade and cross border e-commerce.

“The ePacket is a two-kilogram maximum item which basically focuses on e-commerce,” she explained. “Usually it is very difficult for MSMEs to send small or sample items because the minimum weight or dimension is too big for their sample items. Now the postal administrations have developed ePacket to cater to small sample items to be delivered outside of the country.”

Also in the works is the enhancement of the financial features of the postal identification card.

“This aims to digitalize the Post Office’s pre-existing services such as remittances, payout services, and the collection of services for government mandated contributions,” Gervacio said.

The launch of a Post Office mobile app is also part of the modernization plan.

“All mail services, financial services, logistics and warehousing services, and even postal merchandise can easily be accessed through this super app,” she continued.

The executive also shared a plan to have a Bangko sa Barangay Service Project, in which the Post Office will be able to transform thousands of its outlets nationwide into financial hubs.

These hubs will be offering various services such as disbursement, fund transfer, cash withdrawal, loan application, payment, and insurance collection.

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