La Poste’s Challenges

The Cour des comptes is the supreme body in charge of auditing the use of public funds in France.

(As an interesting aside its role is specifically envisaged in Article 15 of the French Declaration of Human Rights: “Society has the right to ask any public official for an accounting of his administration.”)

The Cour des competes recently undertook a review of La Poste.

As the report notes:

La Poste group, France’s second-largest public sector employer with over 250,000 employees, operates across a variety of fields (banking, postal services, parcels delivery, mobile telephony, etc.), including through subsidiaries in France and abroad. La Poste delivers a public service throughout the country through two major networks: a network of contact points (over 17,000, including 9,149 post offices) and a delivery network (with over 72,000 postmen and women delivering mail to 39 million letterboxes, six days a week).

And the environment that it operates in is challenging:

La Poste is facing a steady decline in mail volumes, reducing its revenue by €500 million every year. In addition to this challenge, the company needs to successfully complete its digital transformation, respond to growth in e-commerce and, for La Banque Postale, cope with low interest rates.

The report makes an interesting commentary on the workplace environment in which La Poste has to change:

The complexity of labour relations makes finding the right balance between the pace of change and a satisfactory industrial relations climate a tricky endeavour.

There have been challenges in the accuracy of forecasting:

Since 2010, La Poste has overestimated its ability to equal or surpass the results it achieved before the financial crisis; for a while, it even underestimated the scale of the decline in mail volumes.

And a timely call to ensure that the strategy of the organisation matches the reality of the world that it is operating in:

La Poste will not be able to meet challenges of this scale unless the State plays its part, by reviewing La Poste’s public service mandate, the content of which was designed and shaped before the digital era and must evolve.

Note – the summary was based off the English version press release.

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