Conference speaker interview: Saudi Post’s transformation journey

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Dr Fadi Al-Buhairan, deputy CEO, Saudi Post, will give a presentation entitled ‘Saudi Post transformation journey’ during the Parcel+Post Expo Conference, in Vienna, this October, as part of the ‘Digital Transformation’ track on Thursday, October 14.

Describe your presentation?
The presentation will discuss Saudi Post’s transformation journey into SPL (Saudi Post and Logistics), a journey through which Saudi Post aims to become the national champion in postal and logistics solutions, providing added value to customers and linking KSA to the world, as well as becoming the modern logistics arm of KSA commerce and government digitalization. 

Why did Saudi Post decide to transform to SPL?
The decision to transform SPL has proved necessary to fulfill the mandate received from the Saudi government to privatize Saudi Post. 

The mandate to privatize was based on an overall national agenda aiming to privatize several government entities that oversee operations in selected sectors, in order to help diversify government revenues as well as increase the efficiency and raise the quality of services provided to citizens, residents and businesses in the Kingdom. It became apparent to the Saudi Post administration that fulfilling the government’s privatization mandate required a complete transformation of Saudi Post, modernizing its infrastructure and helping SP to go beyond an entity that was designed to simply move letters and mail to become one that is designed to provide fully fledged postal logistics services and acts as the main enabler for the growth of e-commerce in the GCC region.

What was the transformation journey like? What challenges did you face?
The journey of transformation is an exciting and challenging one for any organization to undertake, and Saudi Post is no exception. Considering the organization’s 90 years of history, building a comprehensive understanding of SP’s strategic and operational difficulties and hindrances that weakened its ability to keep up with market dynamics and the evolution of the sector was no easy feat, but it was necessary to build that understanding in order to create a solid and well-balanced transformation strategy and roadmap that will subsequently enhance SP’s capabilities and help it overcome past perceptions. 

Another major challenge that has slowed our progress toward finalizing the ambitious transformation roadmap of SP was the unprecedented challenge of Covid-19, which forced us to take a step back and reprioritize our plans in order to turn this challenge into an opportunity. We shifted our focus to building specialized logistics capabilities that our nation needed to face this crisis, ultimately introducing our Pharma product, which is focused on providing cold chain capabilities to public health services to deliver medications to patients in their homes.

Thankfully, we were able to finalize our detailed roadmap in 2020 and started reaping its benefits last year, which crystallized in the launch of new products and services that enhanced our top line. The launch of our new brand, SPL, helped create a differentiated perception for our customers in the market and kicked off the efforts to build a modern operational infrastructure needed for our operations, last mile and retail functions.

Is this transformation still ongoing? What is left to do?
While we’ve already made significant progress in our transformation journey, it is still a work in progress. Planned to be concluded by the end of 2025, we still have a lot of transformational work ahead of us, which will primarily be focused on revamping our digital and physical infrastructures in order to be able to accommodate future growth in volumes and operation. For our physical infrastructure, this entails introducing new mega sorting centers, newly built fulfillment centers, an expanded and revamped network of distribution hubs and depots, an expanded national network of smart parcel stations, a network of customs clearance facilities at the airports, as well as an optimized network of retail branches and PUDO locations.

On the digital side, we are planning to completely revamp our technical infrastructure, with the aim of modernizing it and enabling it to accommodate the upgrades and introduction of new software we are planning to support new service lines that are launched or are planned to be launched, as well as improved track-and-trace capabilities that are more customer and user centric.

What was the goal for the change? What benefits have you seen so far?
The direct goal is to enable the organization to offer its customers and beneficiaries cutting-edge and trusted postal logistics solutions that meet their rising expectations in light of leading global standards. The ultimate goal of this is to enable the organization’s growth, reflected in its financial statements, to accelerate its readiness to privatize and fulfill the government mandate while creating a needed national champion for postal logistics in the Kingdom. 

See the full conference program, here.

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With over 20 years experience in editorial management and content creation for multiple, market-leading titles at UKi Media & Events (publisher of Parcel and Postal Technology International), one of the UK's fastest growing publishing companies, Anthony has written articles and news covering everything from aircraft, airports and cars, to cruise ships, trains, trucks and even tires!

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