Thailand Post boss eyes digital shift
New head eyes move towards tech-driven entity
Recently chosen to take the helm of postal service provider Thailand Post amid fierce competition in the segment, Dhanant Subhadrabandhu has made it clear digital technology holds the key to prevailing in this red ocean market.
The senior executive vice-president for marketing at National Telecom, a merged unit of TOT and CAT Telecom, was picked by Thailand Post's board late last month for chief executive of the company, effective from May 17.
He told the Bangkok Post his mission is to transform Thailand Post's management and operations into a tech-driven organisation called "Thailand Post Digital".
The transformation is expected to get off the ground this year.
As part of the push, the company plans to ramp up customer data collection to shed light on "customer journeys" and capitalise on the core value of the firm.
Thailand Post, which has 40,000 staff, must be more agile and usher in new services that can ensure revenue streams, Mr Dhanant said.
"This is a do-or-die strategy," he said.
Mr Dhanant is a homegrown executive at CAT Telecom with 26 years of work experience.
In the past, Thailand Post was one of the two departments under the Communications Authority of Thailand, the former name of CAT Telecom.
He said Thailand Post's core competency lies in its 1,700 post offices and several thousand licensed post outlets across the country, last-mile delivery staff with a close connection to locals, as well as its service-focused approach that has earned the trust of Thais over its 136 years in business.
The company's staff has valuable data and customer information in local communities, which can be aggregated and leveraged as a new revenue resource, said Mr Dhanant.
He said the company's scattered data is being integrated and optimised, thanks to the enterprise architecture (EA) system developed early this year.
EA helps staff analyse, design, plan and implement the company's business strategies.
"Some challenges include how we can utilise assets to generate customer journey experiences," said Mr Dhanant.
It is important to ensure the company's long history does not give off the impression Thailand Post lacks modern services and products, he said.
Mr Dhanant said his first priority on the job is to enhance service quality for both online and offline activities, particularly parcel delivery services.
Thailand Post is at the forefront in this segment, but faces threats from foreign operators, he said.
His second priority is to integrate and optimise valuable data held by the company into a centralised system, said Mr Dhanant.
The company's staff should be regarded as stakeholders and "not merely working for a salary", he said. They need to be supported in terms of additional digital literacy.
Delivery and transport operations must be adjusted to become more flexible in response to digital lifestyles, said Mr Dhanant.
He said Thailand Post's familiarity with local communities could be a boon for several new businesses, such as collecting data from locals for business partners.
In addition, company staff should be offered proper incentives, said Mr Dhanant.
"Assets, the company's value and operations should be optimised to improve customer services," he said.
More than half of Thailand Post's revenue comes from parcel delivery services, while mail service contributes less than 20% to total earnings.
Thailand Post has yet to disclose its 2020 operating results.
In 2019, it booked 27.5 billion baht in revenue and 619 million in net profit, a decline from 29.7 billion in revenue and 3.8 billion in profit recorded a year earlier.
Kerry Express Thailand, a major competitor to Thailand Post, posted 18.9 billion baht in revenue and 1.4 billion in profit in 2020. In 2019, it booked 19.7 billion baht in revenue and 1.3 billion in net profit.