Outgoing Takealot Group CEO Kim Reid said the South African Post Office should get the basics right – delivering the mail – before trying to enforce a monopoly over the delivery of parcels weighing less than 1kg.
If the Post Office is successful in enforcing this exclusivity, it will simply end up disappointing its clients instead of being a meaningful player in e-commerce fulfilment — which it could be if it were to invest meaningfully in its systems, Reid said.
Speaking to TechCentral in a podcast interview on Tuesday – watch or listen to it here – Reid said the Post Office has been trying to enforce the monopoly over sub-1kg deliveries for many years already.
It would entail stopping private courier companies – most of which are far quicker and more efficient – from delivering packages weighing less than 1kg to consumers.
“It is slightly disingenuous for an organisation that cannot deliver the post” to want to enforce a monopoly in this space, Reid told TechCentral. “It’s beyond me.”
First, he said, the Post Office should “get its house in order” and prove to the market that it can deliver the mail before turning to the regulator for protection from private sector players. “Why get more volume and just upset more and more people because you can’t do your regular job?” he asked.
‘I don’t get it’
Reid said the issue affects Takealot less than many other e-commerce players as it does most its own deliveries. It also has few orders weighing less than 1kg. However, he added: “If we need to get them over 1kg, then we’ll get them over 1kg.
“The fact is, it doesn’t cost us more to deliver 1kg or 2kg. The courier industry could be affected … because they charge on a volumetric basis. But the costs will be passed on to consumers. Who does that benefit? It’s a really silly thing to do.”
Though it would be difficult for the Post Office to catch up with the courier companies, if it were to invest in systems and technology it could have a shot at being competitive and becoming a trusted partner to the industry, Reid said.
“If they get it right, they have a fantastic network to be able to deliver parcels to consumers. My view is, get it right first. Spend your time not focusing on a regulatory issue; spend your time on actually fixing what’s not right. Then you have a proper system to be able to deliver to consumers, and then you can have this fight. But having this fight when you’re lucky to get your post delivered – I don’t get it. Why would you want to regulate something and then disappoint the consumer?” — © 2021 NewsCentral Media