June 2021

An update from Supply Chain Director, Russell Hancock

I’m looking forward to hosting our first ‘Show & Tell’ event this month in our Sheffield depot where we’ll open the doors to the unit and show visiting Postmasters how we operate. Thank you to the Postmasters who have agreed to come along, I want to use this as a chance to show you how we work, as well as hear your feedback on how we’re performing. I’ll update you on how it goes and when we plan our next events in next months update.


Cash

As you may remember, last month, I told you about our software update we had planned on our banknote counting machines. We’ve now updated these machines to remove banknotes showing signs of ink-wear from circulation. These updates have paid off, as we’ve seen a 30% increase in ink-wear on £5 banknotes being removed from circulation. Rest assured, these banknotes showing ink-wear are passed back to the Bank of England to be destroyed and therefore won’t go back into circulation or sent to your branch.

We’ve seen a large increase in cash deposits as the hospitality sector starts to re-open. Coupled with the warm Bank Holiday weather last week, meant we added additional routes to collect cash from some branches. We also added some Saturday routes to help us process cash faster. We collected £12 million on the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend and last week in just the four days (Tuesday to Friday) we collected over £330 million. We are still seeing cash deposits of 60% above pre-covid levels and are working hard to make sure we collect, process and re-deliver cash for you as fast as possible.

We’re also looking at trialling collection only routes for some London branches. As you’ll know, we have cash limits of what our vehicles can hold, so these additional routes will help us to collect cash from you faster and help us be able to re-distribute to branches who need it.  


Your Feedback

Earlier this month I met with Kevin from our Bache Post Office in our Chester depot; it was really good to talk through some of the issues he’s been facing. One issue that Kevin raised to me was an issue not related to Supply Chain but I took his concerns to the relevant team.

He’d been experiencing an issue with the Futurama store fitting website. Kevin wanted to install a small sign outside his branch to highlight the services he offers. When looking on the site the insulation cost was a fixed £600 all-day fee, which to install one sign does seem odd.

After speaking to the team and explaining that the fixed cost of insulation was overshadowing the website offerings. I’m happy to say that we’ve now update the site to offer a variety of install rates from all-day, half-day or hourly. This makes it a lot more affordable, depending on the size of the job. This really highlighted to me how we’re still not getting things right and we need to look at every part of our business to understand how we can make it easier for you. Have you got any similar experiences? Do you have any issue that can’t get resolved? Myself and your Area Manager are committed to helping you, so please do get in touch with us. If I can’t help, rest assured I’ll make sure the relevant team pick this up for you.


Bank Holidays

I understand how important your stock deliveries are, so we’ve looked at how we can add additional stock deliveries, for branches who would usually receive their stock delivery on a Bank Holiday. Making sure you get your stock as close to a Bank Holiday delivery has been our priority during May as we’ve had 2 Bank Holidays.

We’ve now contacted branches who could be impacted by Bank Holidays, to let them know they new revised route and delivery days. If you do have any questions, please do call our Branch Support Centre on 0333 345 5567.

We’ll continue to double fund cash deliveries to cover any Bank Holidays that may impact your deliveries to help make sure you have the cash you need.

Our quality of service continues to be good, although I do want you to let us know if you are having any issues. I know we’ve had a few issues with our recent Hemel Hempstead route revisions, as I’m sure you can understand, it can take our drivers a while to adapt to new routes. We’ve now updated the small number of routes that were impacted so if you’re serviced from Hemel you should see normal service has now been resumed.

As you will have seen in Branch Focus, the new £50 polymer banknote is entering circulation on 23 June 2021. We’ve now updated our banknote counting machines to help us be ready for this launch. And from 24 June, any orders for £50 banknotes we’ll send you the new polymer banknote.

As I’ve said, please do feel free to reach out to me personally if you feel you need to, either comment below or email russell.hancock@postoffice.co.uk.