I was made a tad bit angry early last week, when I got wind of PCK’s closure of fifty six outlets to stand at 634 down from 690 citing business failure and increased competition. Competition in any vertical is expected, especially when the opportunity to offer better services to a discerning consumer arises. The reason why PCK’s actions of curling up and awaiting entry into the dead pool is annoying, is that a simple pivot is all that it would take to restore its glory and make them relevant once more. So, it is true that we are sending less letters and have better options of moving our parcels, but what are we doing more of?
In the past I made mention of a project dubbed “Drop a Lab”, that was essentially a precursor to Pasha Centers that carried tremendous private sector backing in ‘05, that proposed the use of Posta’s real estate to jumpstart the initiative. Posta with its VSat connected hubs was present even in every nook that mattered when thinking about widest possible reach for a service line that was to scale rapidly to become commercially viable. The buy in from PCK was not forthcoming, at least not in the intensity that was expected, and with the departure of the government champion for the project, by way of head hunt to Rwanda, the big picture quickly fizzled and private sector went back to minding their own business.
Come in money transfers and PSK could have arguably given Mpesa a good run and offered compelling service. Yes, there was that big issue of fraud that was tied to matters politics and all, but that could have been fixed better. The rebirth of the PostaPay service left a lot to be desired in my opinion from an innovation stand point. By way of simple service extension, they could have easily be powering pan-african mobile money services that mobile network operators have been trying to replicate following the success of Safaricom’s flagship financial services product.
With an increase in internet penetration, more consumers are purchasing goods and services online. The service delivery part is well attended to, but goods still lack that last mile solution. Online services like Jumia, Glamour and the now defunct Kalahari all faced and have tried to address the last mile problem. With a slight pivot to their business, PCK could easily offer this logistical solution and add even more value with a direct to home offering, slowing bridging the gap caused by lack of a proper address system in Kenya.
This pivot needs to happen now, and it will need fresh leadership at the PCK to deliver the promise.