Royal Mail Quality of service Q4 2019 2020 impacted by Coronavirus

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It’s hard not to feel a bit sorry today for Royal Mail, as the Royal Mail Quality of service Q4 2019 2020 was published just before the weekend. The coronavirus hit them hard and whereas they traditionally spend all year planning for Christmas (and indeed Ofcom does not include the Christmas period in Royal Mail’s annual Quality of Service measurement), the pandemic increased mail volumes way above peak levels with no time to prepare.

Anecdotally, at the start of the pandemic I had one parcel which took 15 days to arrive, but in general Royal Mail appear, at least in my area, to have recovered and now letters and parcels appear to be arriving like clockwork in time scales you’d expect at more normal times or with delays no more than a day or two.

The result of unprecedented demand is that during the fourth quarter of the year, Royal Mail’s First Class performance was 93.2% (excluding coronavirus). However, including the impact of coronavirus Royal Mail’s First Class performance for the same period was 91.6%.

It’s worth digging a little deeper into this, the past four year’s fourth quarter performance from 2017 to 2020 has been 93.10%, 88.80%, 92.00%, and now 91.60% which average out at 91.375%. Even with the impact of coronavirus Royal Mail’s performance is above average for the past four years this last quarter. It’s also worth noting that Royal Mail missed their First Class performance target for seven quarters in a row, before they exceeded it for two quarters and then dipped below again in the past two quarters. Despite the pandemic which has had an obvious impact, this year has seen Royal Mail increase it’s performance compared to recent years.

The Royal Mail Quality of service Q4 2019 2020 reports that the business exceeded their Second Class target of 98.% of mail delivered on time achieving 98.7%.

Royal Mail Quality of service Q4 2019 2020 full year results

Royal Mail missed its annual regulatory target for First Class mail, delivering 92.6 per cent the next working day, against a target of 93.0 per cent. The Company notes that the full year outcome for First Class mail was significantly impacted by the coronavirus crisis. This led to high levels of coronavirus-related absences during the tail end of the 2019-20 financial year. Up until the 15th of March, Royal Mail was meeting its First Class target for the full year with a performance of 93.0%.

Royal Mail believes that, if the 2019-20 performance was adjusted to take into account the impact of coronavirus, the Royal Mail Quality of service Q4 2019 2020 full year results would have hit their First Class target. Royal Mail is asking Ofcom to take these issues into consideration. It will be for Ofcom to decide.

Royal Mail has exceeded its annual regulatory target of 98.5 per cent for Second Class mail, delivering 98.7 per cent of mail within three working days.

32 Responses

  1. I just wish they would actually SCAN the stuff is it to much to ask.
    Have they done any upscaling to speak of to deal with the extra demand. I know we went from 9 drivers to now 35 and god knows how much support staff in my driving job.

    Plus these targets are fudged and I not believe them there is no way they hit close to these targets by the looks of when our orders have arrived.

  2. Firstly i appreciate all the hard work done by our posties… However those figures don’t represent what we have seen at all!
    From mid april to recently we have seen dire delivery times. Yes some have been spot on, but those which were late seemed to be 2 to 3 weeks late. My postie here informed me that they were running at a third of the staff at one point, so fair point… however what isn’t fair is that RM went for so long denying there werre any real issues. Well when you are getting 30 to 50 enquires a day as to where items are after several days then yes there is a problem… When you are still getting people coming back to you after 3 weeks, there is a big issue! When you spend over 2 to 3 hours a day looking into missing items and delays, while delaying with unprecidented order levels yourself…. There is a problem.
    According to my postie what the issue was, apart from the obvious, is that any mail that couldn’t be dealt with on the day it came in on, was simply piled up in the warehouse or anywhere there was space and filtered in to the following days mail as and when space permitted. So a parcel delayed on a monday might not actually enter the system until friday or later! There was a picture on FB of our depot which had the entire carpark full of york trollies stacked with mail! Apparantly in some places the mail was loaded onto lorries and just driven to another site and back to deal with it as no where to store it.
    So yes we appreciate the nightmare it was for rm … But the silence and then denial was a complete kick in the teeth… esp as soon as the scammers on ebay realised it was a great new scam as ebay would always refund them and they got their item… after all ebay didn’t admit there were delays as rM were telling them there weren’t!
    The whole episode has abeena disgusting shambles on behalf of RM management, with the poor floor staff left to take the flak.
    … As for those that will pipe up and say ‘none of my mail was delayed’…. well you were lucky, we weren’t.

  3. Out of all the couriers that we deal with from Hermes, DPD Red & Blue, Fed Ex, Yodel, APC and the rest, all delivered on time apart from the odd 1 day late. Yet Royal Mail have been delaying, losing and being very ignorant of the situation. We have had a customer today admit that the delayed item that we refunded back to them has in fact turned up almost 4 weeks late. It’s no surprise that Royal Mail are in trouble. We only use them for Large Letters as we moved our parcels 4 years ago. If we could find a company that did Large Letters for the same price then they would lose that as well.
    I can remember a logo that Royal Mail had a few years ago and I don’t think they use it now which said, “With Us It’s Personal”

  4. Generally, (not just during the current Covid crisis), in order for Royal Mail to try to achieve the Ofcom targets, as soon as a parcel has missed the target timescale, it seems to be put to the side to be dealt with later – often much later!
    It’s understandable that if you have this type of target, that’s all that matters.
    Regarding late mail, it’s not important to them whether it’s a day late or 3 weeks, so no urgency is placed on catching up.
    Perhaps the target should be changed to an “average” delivery timescale so that degrees of lateness are measured properly and it becomes an important factor..

  5. No one in my area has received the Boris letter from two months ago yet. Therefore no idea what this lockdown stuff is. Off for a trip to a castle to test my eyesight tomorrow so if you do wave at my erratic driving on the motorway, I may not be able to see you for which I refuse to apologise.

  6. Looking forward to the cummings of Q1 2020/2021 report.

    It will include the whole April (start of lockdown + easter) and May (still lockdown + 2 bank holidays).

    Judging from our RM tracking records it will be rather disaster… unless RM will make “correction” of accuracy for its service performance.

  7. Jesus! You people in your ivory towers. You haven’t got a ******* clue how difficult it’s been for the last two months. Please keep complaining though.

  8. I have been a postman for 5 years now, and I can see that Royal Mail just can’t operate as the other courier companies do because of the letters. The letters take up so much time to prep and deliver and we walk it all.
    I started when the service was by and large similar to how it had been before privatisation and there have been many changes over my time here. One of the main things I find frustrating is the staff and overtime cuts. In the morning I am now prepping a workload that was done by two people but because they are clawing back hours and minutes my partner won’t be in until delivery only. Its quite a stressful system- rushing does lead to mistakes. The rounds only ever get bigger, houses are generally being built not pulled down but we are supposed to absorb this in the same working hours.
    During this pandemic, we have obviously has staff sickness and this has led to managment only sending out half rounds, or prioritising parcels only whilst the letters are left in the frame to be do next day.
    There is this constant budgeting of staff hours. In the current crisis, we have postpeople, many part time looking to come in early and help with prep but are being turned away (it’s a standard same as usual hours rate many will recieve as well) and many full time who would do a extra for overtime are now being told no. Parcels have quadrupled, but aside the sicknesses there are more man hour cuts than usual!
    I feel sorry for customers and posties like myself because the service though we have many technological advances, is feeling more and more second rate.
    The barcodes, I always scan mine, but sometimes the 2D ones just don’t work, because of a printing error or a crease when it’s been stuck down. I’d say I get one or two a day generally that won’t scan- which is a lot when you apply that to every post person.

  9. We moved our business away from RM years ago. We send a lot of items abroad- why queue in a Post Office when I can have an item collected by a courier? We remember some tracked delivery times to France via RM being 5 to 7 weeks, for a couple of pounds more the item is there in 1 to 2 days with a courier. Less hassle, happy customers and more repeat custom. It’s a no brainer.

  10. Hi All
    First of all Ofcom really need to take social distancing and PPE into consideration. RM have gone from sending two delivery people out on delivery per van, to just one. Even if a delivery person does have a van, on some days the volume of packets is so high, the van’s are not large and do not have enough space. We also have to prioritise some items due to high volumes.

    Secondly, any customer that puts a 2D barcode on delivery items and think that they have preferential treatment, needs to get there head out of the clouds. Stop trying to make out that the item is not being delivered or it has been delayed by 2 to 3 weeks, (talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill). If you don’t receive a scanned confirmation, try posting your item as an official Tracked item if you want delivery confirmation, this is a proven system and is enforced within RM.

    Please stop comparing other delivery companies to RM. Especially when Ofcom give them a wider birth.

  11. @ Rob and Tony
    Are you dealing in legitimate goods or are you just trying to belittle RM.
    A 2D barcode is for the purpose of damaged, poorly packaged and trying to trace items for cheap poor penny pinchers.
    As I have said, Tracked deliveries is a cheaper and more effective way than Special Deliveries, and is becoming more successful every day.

  12. Sorry if I offended anyone else with my cheap poor penny pinching comment,

    The 2D posting system is just as good as any other tracking system when used correctly.

    My apologies again.

  13. @ Alan
    Volume. Our office scans and sorts, on average 3,500-4,000 tracked items each night for delivery. We have 2 people doing this constantly all night.
    We handle on average around 6,000-8,000 parcels with a 2D barcode, these need to be prepared for delivery.
    We handle on average around 10,000-13,000 franked and stamped parcels, not including leaflets and letters.
    This is all prepared and delivered by 105 staff at full capacity (before coid-19), in 8 hours.
    At current levels we are achieving 97% scanned items that are Tracked per day. over a 2 day split delivery system 87% per day, the remaining 13 % of items are filtered in the following day, unfortunately we do not have the resources to be able to deliver all items every day.

    I am not trying to prove a point, this is just what we have to distribute to over 60,000 customers.
    Do the maths yourself.

    Tell me witch of yours and everyone elses items are delayed and have gone missing, I will personally sort this out for you.

  14. The attitude of the Frontliner claiming to be a postman above is appalling. To be fair, postmen and postwomen have been mistreated by the Royal Mail for a long time. How do I know this?

    Because I know that having worked as a postman many years ago, and been a union rep elsewhere (not in the CWU), the Royal Mail was infected with a disease – its poisonous industrial relations that continue to be dominated by acrimony and ill-feeling.

    The Communications Workers Union “leadership” (are they democratic?) appears to be living in the 1970s, thinking that it is OK to hold the country to ransom repeatedly like the miners did, for example their threat to disrupt the post during the 2019 General Election.

    They display the same approach to democracy and representing members properly as the NUM under Arthur Scargill did. And as the RMT still does to our trains.

    Unfortunately, the management of the Royal Mail is lumbered with the CWU. Even when management try to engage positively, and when aspects of the CWU do, it all gets dragged back to acrimony. It’s like a clapped out Morris Minor that keeps breaking down.

    At the beginning of this Crisis, I was impressed with RM keeping things going. Then the CWU got involved, issuing a ridiculously long “set of demands”. It’s like watching Made in Dagenham, except we are 50 years in the future from Ford’s – but aspects of the CWU still behave as if they want Communist Revolution. And they behave like Citizen Smith/Jeremy Corbyn, instead of being constructive.

    I have contacted my local Federation of Small Business people to make representations to get RM and CWU to talk. They assured me that their lobbyists took steps.

    Hopefully this will continue, and we won’t get strikes, but I cannot trust my business to an organisation that threatens me and my customers in this way, and when postmen like Frontliner display such attitudes on here, they further dent the reputation of a once great organisation that not only helped my father get an education and employment, but led to his career in civil service.

  15. @Frontliner

    Let’s do some stats.

    4000 tracked items to be “scanned and sorted” by 2 people for the “whole night”.

    I don’t know if the “4000 items a night” at your “office” is a recent figure dictated by high demand after bank holiday, or by lockdown implications. Or if the 4000 being daily average for past year….

    So let’s assume 4000 is the average per shift. 2 people. That’s 2000 items per shift per person.

    I take the shift is 8 hours long, and they get 30mins break time. So that’s 7.5hrs of work to “sort and scan” 2000 items.

    Now, I don’t know what “scan and sort” work involves, as I’m just a small business owner spending 20-25k per year with RM for postage.

    Back to stats. 2000 items / 7.5hours = 266.66 items

    267 / 60 minutes = 4.44 items per minute.

    Last time I was in a supermarket the cashier hasn’t taken 20seconds on average to scan 1 item.

  16. I used to scan the RM barcodes into ebay using a handheld scanner (I would print out 2 labels – one for the actual parcel and one for my order page).

    I could scan a barcode at a rate of one every 15 seconds and that included opening the ebay page for each one.

    Anyway, I stopped scanning them in as it was actually damaging my account. The parcels were either not getting an acceptance scan before midnight (defect) or not receiving a delivery scan (defect). Adding tracking was actually causing MORE damage because postmen were not doing their jobs correctly.

    Doesn’t take many defects to loose the TRS badge or cause a problem with service metrics. The peers are sitting at 0.62% for INR – not much to play with.

    RM delivery offices also have metrics but they regularly cheat by scanning parcels delivered when they are still at the delivery office or on the van. This is why tracking often shows an item delivered and the customer claims “no”. Way too many problems and the postmen seem to have concluded amongst themselves (off course they have no respect for RM management) that it is not important and they are being asked to do too much. Who looses …… the sellers.

    I really do hope that there are more postman than Frontliner reading this so the word can get out how important these scans are. I have never seen an industry where employees have to be persuaded to do their job correctly.

  17. @ the following

    When did I mention the CWU?
    Are you trying to demoralise the CWU or RM?
    I stand alone. Try and come back to RM now and then decide.

    North crystal:
    Try walking backwards and forwards to your cashier with each of your 4,000 items. Let’s see who quits first!

  18. @ Alan
    As an employee, I treat RM as it was my own business and I am only 0.000001%
    of the work force. But I am also a share holder and even though you think a small majority of us don’t care, I do.

  19. @Frontliner

    You said there were two of you sharing the “big amount of work” so it’s 2000 and not 4000 per head.

    Yeah, I should probably thank you for turning up to work.

    If you don’t like the work then quit it. If it’s too much work for you then quit it either way. There are other industries — more automated — so walking “backwards and forwards” is not essential there as much.


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