Monday, April 19, 2021

Technology replaces labour at Botswana Post

Botswana Post (BP) is in the process of finding alternative jobs for those who are currently employed as mail sorters.

The company said that although termination of employment for some of the mail sorters will come as a last resort, it’s not in a position to predict whether it will be forced to let go of some eventually.

“We currently have 80 mail sorters, but we are likely to end up with only 20. We have not yet determined the number of people to be let go, because there are alternative methods, such as redeployment, that we are still to look into,” said Pele Moleta, Chief executive of BP.

The development comes about after the introduction of the new international mail exchange system, which has seen Botswana post using technological advances to improve its services.

With the new technology comes the mail sorting machine, which sorts out 36 000 letters in an hour. Currently the mail sorters take about a month to sort out three and a half million letters. The new machine will take only 10 days to reach that target said Moleta.

He admits that the manual mail system that has been used by Botswana Post is inefficient. Last year, the company made a loss of 30 million.

He said that the new machine will reduce their costs significantly as well as improve service delivery because mail will now reach its destination quicker than before.

“If we are efficient at sorting, we will be efficient at delivery,” said Moleta.

At the opening of their new facilities in Block 3 industrial, the Minister of Transport and Communications, Frank Ramsden, said that the P43 million initiative was the flagship project to improve the modernization of the organization’s infrastructure.

Ramsden explained that it has been the practice around the world to continuously review postal processes and procedures to minimise physical handling of mail items in an effort to increase systems efficiencies.

“BP took a courageous step to invest in this automated facility to move away from manual processes that were cumbersome, time consuming and inefficient,” said Ramsden.

According to Board Chairman, Martin Makgatlhe, the operational constraints BP experienced as a result of the manual processes included, among others, logistical difficulties impeding timely dispatch and delivery of mail.

“The challenges of the process prohibited the implementation of best practice, delivery methods and multiple handling of mail items, resulting in high operational costs,” said Makgatlhe.

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