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Koen Van Gerven : Challenges for a modern bpost.

From Making elephants dance to Shooting for the moon

Don't feel like reading? Head over to the "Related" tab for the videoreport of this session!

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This is the story of Bpost on the turnaround as of 2003 until today. Even when the CEO, Koen Van Gerven, celebrated his 60th birthday he took the time to address the ADM-organisation. He was approached by plenty of participants, young and older during the reception afterwards.

What was it that makes Bpost a strong company even when transforming since 2003 already? To state the president of ADM, Jan De Schepper: as a CEO Koen bounces back with the words ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.

Bpost is a public company, listed and living in a market that opens up to other players, new business models, different markets.

The company’s action radius is evolving from a domestic to an international market. They were heavily regulated but have to become a commercial company. And their main activity, mail & retail, is deviating to ‘parcels and logistics’.

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Their activities are heavily depending on the (changing) customer’s behavior. When people want to ‘pass a message’ urgently they use ‘whatsapp’. Waiting for a parcel to arrive is critical whereas a letter – and in most cases it is an invoice – is not exactly what people are waiting for… It is up to Bpost to adapt to their customers. 

The international expansion of Bpost has to do with the changing focus to ‘parcels and logistics’. The acquiring of Landmark and Radial fits in this growth model that eventually can be transferred to Europe. Is there still some work to do: yes. We learn a lot from this initiative.

Every player in retail disposing of an agency network is asking questions regarding their future. Today’s perception of the customer is that the Bpost-agencies are there for ‘mail’ and ‘banking & finance matters’ of for information from the authorities. Reorganisation is imperative but which direction to chose: re-shuffle the locations, changing the responsibilities or go for more differentiation in the offering. Why not use the network to become a trusted party for other deliveries…

The mailmen can take up many other ‘delivery’ tasks or even ‘social’ tasks when passing in the streets, delivering mail & parcels to the citizens. In USA the post offices automatically deliver administration at home from Public Services. Today Bpost alreafy takes care of the ‘licence plate administration’ in Belgium, but this could be extended. Bpost looks after the payment of speed tickets, they are in charge for the call centers behind this service. 

Evolving to a new, digitalized environment is not done without innovation. The big data at Bpost are very interesting for the development of new services for the customers, with respect for their privacy. Automatisation but also IoT are being tested. They are currently testing RFID as well. In the USA they study efficiency improvements reagarding packaging and in the Netherlands they already use robots for ‘picking’ activities in the logistics chain. Technology is always meant to improve customer experience. 

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In reply to the question where Koen gets his inspiration to deliver the utmost customer experience  he reverts to the fashion and beauty industry in USA. ‘They apply innovation much more than we do and these industries have very demanding customers’, adds Koen.

Thank you for this inspiring session, Koen and – again – happy birthday!

Relive the session

Be sure to head over to the Pictures tab on this page to get a good impression of the evening.

Head over to the Related tab to download the full presentation as given by Koen Van Gerven! You can also relive the evening by watching the videoreport

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