Against a backdrop of national and international economic turmoil, full market liberalisation and ongoing uncertainty in the financial markets, An Post consolidated several key strands of its transformation and business development strategies during 2011.
The company delivered further improvements in the key areas of cost containment, service quality, staff engagement and the development of new revenue streams. Our market positioning as an innovative, high quality, value-for-money service provider is no longer an aspiration, it is a reality.
Change and Transformation programmes are now part of our everyday business. These initiatives have enabled us to attain the very highest international industry standards, improving our customer focus and ensuring the delivery of customised logistics and fulfilment solutions to the mails and retail markets. The approach taken by the Company has effected a lasting change in the internal culture and enabled An Post and its staff to adapt quickly and effectively to changing market circumstances.
An Post is now a more modern, innovative and cost-effective enterprise than ever before. It is the most trusted indigenous Irish company and consistently records the highest level of customer satisfaction from both business and private customers.
The Company has funded its programme of transformation and investment in equipment, technology and infrastructure from its own resources and without recourse to state subsidy or borrowings of any kind. Our strategy, which also includes investment in aligned businesses, remains appropriate.
However, as mail volumes continue to decline significantly across the world, it becomes increasingly important for us to continue to reduce our cost base. I have no doubt that this will be difficult but the consequences of any delay will be serious for the Company. In 2012, ComReg, The Commission for Communications Regulation, served legal proceedings on An Post for alleged failure to improve mails quality of service to meet certain targets. We believe that such actions are unwarranted and ignore the significant improvement in quality of service made by the Company.
This is a time when all our key stakeholders need to work together to ensure the Company’s future viability while ensuring that An Post realises its full potential. A strong and stable mails and retail infrastructure trusted by Irish and international customers is an essential support to the process of economic recovery.
I want to thank Brian McConnell, Ciara Hurley and Jim Hyland who retired from the Board during the year. Their contributions during their terms of office are very much appreciated.
I also want to thank Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte T.D., and his officials for their assistance and support during 2011.
I have every confidence in the Board, management and staff of An Post as they continue to deal with market challenges whilst exploiting new commercial opportunities for the core business and subsidiary companies.