Royal Mail modernisation continues amid strikes

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Royal Mail modernisation isn’t slowing down for the strikes, as they announce that they have installed their latest high-speed parcel sorting machine in Manchester, capable of processing 157,000 parcels per day to help meet the shift in consumer demand for parcels and next-day delivery. 

Royal Mail say that parcel deliveries now representing almost £6 in £10 of Royal Mail’s revenue, the new fully automated sorting machine at Manchester Mail Centre is another step in the Royal Mail modernisation as they transform into an even more of a parcels-led business.

Who’s got all the parcels Royal Mail are losing?

A key question that remains unanswered is just how much business Royal Mail have lost during the strikes and whether retailers will ever switch back to the national postal service. Parcels may be 60% of their revenues, but the call to post early this Christmas simply doesn’t work when we’re talking ecommerce. It’s easy enough to pop your Christmas cards in a letter box (by today if you’re sending Second Class!!!), but if someone purchases from you tomorrow there’s nothing you can do about it.

All the other carriers are running at capacity, so much so that the likes of DPD and Yodel have switched off collection from home for ad hoc customers and you’ll find the only way you can despatch parcels is to hump them down to a parcel shop. This has resulted in not only collection being removed from carrier website, but also from the major label booking services such as Parcel2Go.

Royal Mail modernisation of the Manchester Mail Centre

The Manchester Mail Centre now boasts an intelligent system of conveyor belts and scanning technology enables the machine to sort a variety of parcel shapes and sizes weighing up to 3kg for onward despatch to local delivery offices across Manchester and beyond.

Royal Mail currently sorts more than 22million parcels on average each week by automated means, with a total of 36 parcel sorting machines operating across the UK network.

With domestic parcel volumes up more than 30% compared to pre-pandemic levels, these machines strengthen Royal Mail’s drive to increase automation and operational efficiency across its business.

Customers want more parcels, delivered the next day – including Sundays. We are investing in the latest technology to ensure we can meet this demand as we modernise our business. Our new parcel sorting machine in Manchester will help drive growth as we transform into an even more parcels-focused business.

– Grant McPherson, Chief Operating Officer, Royal Mail

Royal Mail is aiming to reach 70% parcel automation by 2022-23 and the industry standard of 90% parcel automation by 2023-24.

In June, Royal Mail opened its huge new North West Super Hub in Warrington which can process more than 800,000 parcels a day. Its Midlands Super Hub, based in Northampton, is on track to open in Summer 2023 and when operational, will be able to process more than one million items per day.


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