08 April 2020

Swiss Post, retail, logistics and social partners work together to maintain parcel provision in Switzerland

People can no longer go to shops to buy all the products they want. They have to stay at home and shop online.

Since the beginning of the crisis, online retail has experienced an enormous increase in orders throughout Switzerland. These numbers are presenting everyone with serious challenges, not least Swiss Post logistics. On behalf of DETEC and Swiss Post overall management, leading trade and logistics representatives, as well as the social partners, agreed on a package of measures yesterday during round-table talks. This extraordinary, collaborative feat allows people to stay safe at home, remain supplied and at the same time maintains supply systems until further notice throughout Switzerland.

The Coronavirus crisis is challenging people and businesses in the whole of Switzerland to unprecedented levels. Lots of people are staying at home where they are safe and ordering online because many shops are closed. Businesses want to have their goods delivered and Swiss Post wants to deliver them in a reliable way. On Tuesday, the CEOs of the big retailers and logistics managers, as well as the social partners, met for round-table talks at the Swiss Post headquarters and agreed on a comprehensive package of measures. The goal of all concerned is to ensure supply security and as such, universal service throughout Switzerland, even during this crisis. The measures are intended to guarantee the highest possible level of goods flow in online retail whilst at the same time ensuring that employee health does not suffer.

Easing the burden on parcel centers

The parcel volume processed by our employees in the parcel centers is causing a bottleneck. The number of parcels sorted is directly dependent on the number of employees in the parcel centers. Due to social distancing regulations, this number cannot be arbitrarily increased.Against this backdrop, the partners decided, amongst other things, on the following relief measures:

  1. In future, small parcels will be sorted more and more via the letter mail supply chain.
  2. Several Swiss parcel service providers and logistics providers are making part of their sorting and transport capacities available to Swiss Post.
  3. Click&Collect: this system sees to it that more and more goods ordered online can be collected from the retailers’ sales outlets and Swiss Post branches.
  4. Retailers individually assume responsibility for a part of the pre-sorting for Swiss Post.
  5. In the interests of managing the current challenge together, stakeholders are working closely together to ensure volumes are managed in the best possible way.
  6. Depending on how parcel volumes and the situation in Switzerland develop, we must however expect that more measures will become necessary in the coming weeks.

Roberto Cirillo, Swiss Post CEO, had the following to say on the results of the round of talks: “Together we have assumed social responsibility and we are showing what we can achieve in the shortest possible time, even in times of crisis. Competitors and social partners sat with us for round-table discussions and all parties made an important contribution to the solution. Symbolically and cooperatively, we are standing should to shoulder − and this in times of physical distancing. I would like to thank all those who took part for their constructive contributions to the solution which continues to ensure universal provision in Switzerland.”

Fabrice Zumbrunnen, Chair of the Corporate Executive Committee of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives:

“The measures agreed upon show that we are standing together across our company borders and have a common goal: people in Switzerland should still be able to order the goods they need. In the coming weeks too, we want to be there for everyone who is staying at home.”

Joos Sutter, Chief Executive Officer of the Coop group:

“Joint measures which go beyond borders are the key to finding good solutions for our customers in times like these.”

Patrick Kessler, Chair of the Swiss Mail Order Association:

“Together we were successfully able to react to the flood of parcels with additional measures. But it’s not all done and dusted. We all have a responsibility to maintain the goods provision situation in Switzerland.”

Peter Sutterlüti, Chair of “KEP+Mail”:

“Alongside their own duties, private KEP+Mail postal service providers are supporting Swiss Post as best they can to ensure parcel provision.”

Roland Brack, Founder and Owner of Competec Holding AG:

“It is not possible to handle the entire non-food market volume in one fell swoop with online retail and by delivery with the given delivery capacities. For this reason, we urgently need to incorporate fixed shop formats into national provision if the FOPH guidelines on social distancing are to be guaranteed.”

Thomas Meier, CEO of Lehner Versand AG:

“Having all the major decision-makers around a table brought us all a step closer to each other.”

Matteo Antonini, Head of the Logistics Sector at Syndicom:

“We were pleased that within this working group, we were able to discuss the problems and the unique situation the logistics employees are experiencing in this crisis period.”

Source: Swiss Post