Ross Greenwood speaks to Michael Oates, General Manager of Parcel and eCommerce Sales at Australia Post, about what people should do to ensure their gifts will be delivered before Christmas
Introduction: When is the cutoff for Christmas deliveries?
Ross Greenwood: Today and tomorrow could be the last day that you should try to do online shopping for Christmas. Now, I should tell you that depending on where you are in Australia, of course, you can get parcels delivered maybe in a space of two days. Especially if it’s in the same city. Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns or something like that, easy. But the problem is if you go to regional areas, interstate, then the times can be longer. As a result, many online shopping sites that I’ve spoken to today indicate that really today and tomorrow should be your last days to try and guarantee you’ll get the parcels there.
Now, Michael Oates is the General Manager of Parcels and E-Commerce at Australia Post. He’s the busiest man, after Santa and the elves. This Christmas, he’s online. Good day, Michael, how you’re doing?
Interview with: Michael Oats, General Manager of Parcel and eCommerce Sales, Australia Post
Michael Oates: Good day, Ross, how you’re doing?
Ross Greenwood: Good, thank you. Just explain how many parcels you will handle this Christmas.
Michael Oates: Oh, my goodness. We are handling millions. Just in the week leading up to Christmas, we’re expecting to process probably 10 million parcels just in the week leading up to Christmas.
Ross Greenwood: 10 million parcels? Wow.
Michael Oates: 10 million parcels and if you compare that to last Christmas, we processed around 34 million for the whole month of December. There’s a significant uplift in the volume of parcels coming through our network.
Ross Greenwood: Around Australia, I know you’ve got distribution centres right throughout the country, but it’s a phenomenal throughput even on a permanent basis, the number of parcels that are being handled and are actually being pushed through those centres.
Michael Oates: Look, it really is. Just to put that in perspective again, we start our peak planning process around March. There’s a hell of automating that take place throughout the year to ensure that when we get to this time of the year that we handle this volume appropriately. If you look at compound annual growth of the online shopping, it’s on average around 10.5% year on year since 2012-2017. Just in the last six months alone, we’ve seen that spike up to 16, 17%. The volumes are incredible as they’re coming through. Also, I think if you look at the Singles’ Day, Click Frenzy, Grey Thursday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, what’s coming through the network is a sight to behold.
I think when we look at the number of people we have in the network at the moment working around the clock, it’s pretty amazing that we’re performing incredibly well at the moment given that we are breaking records daily at the moment. The Australia Post is Australia’s longest running continuous company, if you like, at 208 years old. To be breaking records every day over the last few weeks is quite incredible.
Ross Greenwood: Now I know, look, I’ll try and take people through this for parcel delivery. Australia Post recommends allowing up to seven days for standard overseas deliveries, I checked out the UK and Europe, generally, six or seven days for those but for a lot of people, it might even be a little too late. It’s up to six business days between Australia and capital cities, but four days if you’re sending to and from regional areas in the same state. Three days if you’re trying to do parcels between east coast capital cities.
Two days if you’re sending them in the same capital city and the last lodging day for Express Post, the Express Post network, 1 pm on Thursday, December 21. That’s right around Australia but really you’d be saying even though you can get most of the parcels delivered, I think it’s 95.8% of them get delivered in these time frames. What you want to try and might account for is the other 4.2%, don’t you?
Michael Oates: Absolutely. We want to make sure that everyone gets their parcel in time for Christmas. We all still got time on our side now, we want to advise our air customers to get online and get your shopping done now to give yourself the best opportunity to make sure you got plenty time for that delivery well ahead of Christmas. I will say we have over 52,000 Australia Post staff and contractors who are absolutely committed to delivering for all their customers around Australia, both metropolitan and regional. We’ll be doing everything we can to make sure we’ve got a clean floor come Christmas Eve.
Ross Greenwood: Okay Michael, you got any tips for me if I’m actually trying to shop online or actually send parcels that are bought this Christmas? What are your tips for me?
Michael Oates: Well, I’d say my tip would be, get online and register for a Shipster. We’re providing that pretty heavily across the country at the moment and that is a great tool to drive online sales and it removes the greatest source of friction for people shopping online and that provides free delivery, if you like. It’s $6.95 to sign up and there are well over a hundred merchants that are participating. All the major online retailers and department stores and for people who have to purchase multiple shipments for their household, it’s a really cost-effective way to save some money over Christmas and not pay all the delivery fee you’d otherwise pay.
Ross Greenwood: There you go. Not a bad tip. Michael Oates, he’s the General Manager of Parcels and E-Commerce Sales at Australia Post. As I say, they’re doing pretty well. Not quite as fast as Santa but I’ve got to say, pretty quick nonetheless and Michael, I appreciate your time on the program tonight.
Michael Oates: Thanks for having me.
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