In-depth: Jersey Post – From the Island of Jersey to the World

This autumn, the 2019 PostEurop Plenary Assembly and Business Innovation Forum was held in the beautiful island of Jersey, hosted by Jersey Post.

Ahead of the event, PostEurop had the opportunity to interview Mr. Tim Brown, CEO of Jersey Post and get to know more about their recent developments.

PostEurop: As an active member of PostEurop, can you tell us how PostEurop brought value to your organisation?

Our PostEurop membership provides significant benefits to Jersey Post, particularly as a small operator who rely on PostEurop for information share and updates on the wider UPU activities. Groups like RADAR enable us to share ideas with other small posts on best practice to help improve our operational capabilities. The Remuneration Forum is invaluable to providing us with detailed updates and likely implications of the changes to the UPU Remuneration structures and current hot topics in this area.
The UPU Activities Circle (UAC) keeps us up to date on Regulatory changes that may impact, and the operational forums provide us with the opportunity to reflect on our operational performance and provides us with best practice in this area. This is to name just a few of the groups that we actively participate in, and our view is that groups, forums and activities provided by PostEurop are exceptional.

PostEurop: We have been reading a lot about the digital transformation of Jersey Post. Can you tell us more about your digital services and how you were able to work alongside traditional print? What were the advantages for your costumers?

We have owned a data-to-print business for many years and due to Jersey having many banks and financial institutions based here our volumes remained buoyant for many years.  In more recent times the traditional output has declined due to customers opting for eBilling and SMS services over traditional letter post.
We made the decision to bring in a Head of Digital from a Non-Postal background to see if this business had the potential to change and remain relevant and I’m pleased to say that two years on that's exactly what has happened.
Our Digital team now offer a range of Digital first services including document management, eBilling portals, campaign management and client onboarding leveraging our core strengths in data handling and brand values of trust, compliance and communication. 
The team that we have built up over the last 18 months are working in a much more agile fashion and are continually looking at how technology can improve the way we work and consistently add value for our clients.

PostEurop: In the past four years, Jersey Post has been investing in logistical services, in order to have a broader global network. How do you see this expansion, and what impact did it have on the Island? 

The business I took on five years ago when I joined the company was a Jersey-based postal business with declining revenue, focussed solely on Jersey’s customers. These customers are still very important to us and that will never change, but the business has diversified. Today I manage a portfolio of businesses that transcends Jersey – we operate across the world and it is also not just a postal and logistics business, it is a digital business - so my role is inevitably much bigger!
Today we have our core business locally, which we see as our logistic distribution business in Jersey. We are working more closely with government and local businesses on the island to continue to be relevant to them.
Secondly, we have the global logistics company, which represents 40% of our profit. This began with the purchase of a UK based European logistics company and a customs clearance agent located at Heathrow. This investment enables us to further extend our range of products and services, offering complete, international trading routes into and out of European and international destinations.
In 2017, we made investments in Hong Kong and China with a mailing and fulfilment company that has a major focus on helping local e-commerce sellers achieve fast delivery of their products overseas. The same year, we began branching into the US with an investment in a global solutions and fulfilment company.
The following year, in 2018, we invested in a parcel delivery comparison service website that offers a range of diverse yet complementary parcel service elements. There was also an opportunity the same year to invest in a parcel delivery service provider in Australia, which added to Jersey Post’s global connections.
In 2019, we extended our network into Latin America with an investment in a parcel and logistics service, providing our existing network partners with services into these areas but also providing Jersey Post with opportunities to grow in the Americas. We continue to look for ways to expand and diversify.

PostEurop: Looking forward, what would you say are the key challenges for Jersey Post and for other postal operators in general? How do you foresee the future of the company?

When we established our strategy, we were keen to ensure there was flexibility to enable us to be reactive. The danger of being a company with a rigid strategy is doggedly staying on track with a plan even if the situation or environment changes. 
Over the last two years, we have seen hard evidence of the brand’s success - our revenue is growing, profit is growing and we are winning more customers. Not only that, rather than us hunting down customers - we are now being hunted down by them! More and more people are wanting to partner with us, especially out of China. This goes beyond the fact that we offer postal services and fulfilment, it is actually about people liking the way we do business.
A key challenge with creating a new strategy and new brands is that however great a brand may look, however much skill has gone into creating it, the brand is completely irrelevant and pointless if you don’t continue innovating and changing . So a key challenge for Jersey Post and other postal operators is not to sit back and say “we’ve arrived”; it is continually looking for new opportunities and new services.

PostEurop: At the Business Innovation Forum, we will have the opportunity to listen to how Start-ups can bring real Innovative solutions to postal operators. How do you view this approach and is Jersey Post already collaborating with Start-ups?

In a nod to our International strategy, investment into businesses that match our culture is a key strategy for our continued growth.  Our plan with Digital was focussed on building credibility in a new space during the first 12 or 18 months of launch and then to shift our focus on partnering, investing or acquiring exciting digital businesses if their technology is complimentary to ours and they see a benefit to the leverage a postal operator can offer to their proposal. 
We’re in this phase now and we’re already receiving a high volume of enquiries from start-up businesses to support them in their own growth strategies.  We’re not looking to move into a Venture Capital model but if a business has a solution which fits with our overall strategy in data handling, communication and identification, we’ll certainly look to collaborate with them

PostEurop: Thank you so much Mr. Brown for this great opportunity to get to know you and your organisation. We very much look forward to a successful event in October.

About Tim Brown

Tim Brown has over 25 years’ experience in the post, parcel and distribution industry.  He has worked in senior positions in Royal Mail and DHL Express, was CEO of Postcomm (the UK’s postal regulator), provided advice to government and was vice-chair of the European Regulators’ Group for Post.  His previous work has included providing board level advice, consultancy and interim management to post and parcel companies and their suppliers.

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