Letter sorting

Philip PätzoldDeputy Head of PostMail

People in Switzerland are sending fewer and fewer letters. So why is Swiss Post investing millions in letter processing?

Although volumes – and thus revenues – are declining, the demands on resources are increasing as a result of the growth in the number of households. Our mail carriers, for instance, still visit every household every day. This means that we have to increase efficiency. On top of that, changing customer habits are creating new requirements. For example, more and more small goods are being ordered online and sent by mail. We are now responding to that with a new sorting system.

How do customers benefit from this optimization?

With long-term high quality at moderate prices. Sometimes also faster and better service.

Does the automation of the letter centers mean that people will soon no longer be needed?

There will always be consignments that need to be sorted manually. Also, the machines are operated by people. So we will always need people at our letter centers. We currently employ around 2,800 people to work in them.

State-of-the-art technology in letter processing

In the quality of its letter processing, Swiss Post is a world leader. To ensure that this remains the case in the long term, the company continually adapts its processes to changing requirements. Thanks to state-of-the-art technologies, Swiss Post offers customers the best service.

Letter customers benefit from a high level of delivery punctuality. Compared with other postal companies around the world, Swiss Post has been second to none for years. One of the reasons for this is its highly efficient letter centers: ten years after they came into operation, they are still among the most modern and highly automated in the world. In 2008, Swiss Post concentrated letter processing – which was previously distributed across multiple locations – into a small number of well-developed centers equipped with the latest technology.

Keeping pace with change

At the time, this modernization project – the largest in its history – was Swiss Post’s response to the upcoming partial liberalization of the letter market and the increasing substitution of the letter by electronic communication media. To this day, Swiss Post continues to invest in letter processing operations and production facilities designed to keep pace with – and help shape – social and technological change. Last year, for example, it installed new systems for consignment preparation in the letter centers. In addition, platforms were constructed at the Zurich-Mülligen letter center to optimize work areas for the current goods flow and potential future developments.

For small goods consignments: MixMail

At the Zurich-Mülligen letter center, Swiss Post is also investing in a state-of-the-art facility designed for quicker and more cost-effective handling of small consignments volumes, which are growing due to online shopping. Starting in 2020, a new system known as MixMail will guarantee high-quality processing and, in the medium term, enable the development of additional services. Swiss Post will continue to optimize letter processing in the future to ensure that customers can continue to benefit from the best service quality.