Posta must change or perish

What you need to know:

  • The change in technology that has made the writing and sending of letters obsolete would become Posta's Waterloo.
  • The change in technology that has made the writing and sending of letters obsolete would become Posta's Waterloo.

In its heyday, the Postal Corporation of Kenya, popularly known as Posta, was a lucrative business and a major employer.

Then, letters were a key mode of communication and Posta was patronised by customers sending parcels at affordable rates. The change in technology that has made the writing and sending of letters obsolete would become Posta's Waterloo.

The rapidly changing technology has speeded up the delivery of information through the internet and mobile telephony.

FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS

It is understandable, therefore, that feeling the pinch from the challenges that have rendered the public firm ineffective, the few remaining employees are appealing to the government for a cash bailout to enable it to meet its financial obligations.

This is highly unlikely, as if the business is no longer profitable, it amounts to throwing down the drain money the government does not have.

Posta is not the only business to have been bypassed by new technology. The ease of taking and exchanging photographs, for example, wiped out the global firms that use to sell photographic materials and processing machines.

Kodak, once the leader in this business, has ceased to exist.
Posta has also come under intense pressure from courier firms that charge a premium but leverage on technology to ease the delivery of parcels.

The parastatal also tried to get into the cyber café business, but technology has developed much faster, making this untenable.

Also, an experiment with buses carrying passengers, letters and parcels, seems to have been abandoned. Posta's survival will depend on the ability to seek and develop new lines of business.

One possibility is developing e-commerce and online payment services in collaboration with banks and other financial institutions to take advantage of its vast countrywide network. Posta must change or it will die.