The Swiss Post parcel centers in Härkingen (SO), Daillens (VD) and Frauenfeld (TG) are a genuine success story. Their belt conveyors have been running for 20 years. More than 3.1 billion parcels have been processed by our employees during this time – setting new records year after year. Now, the centers are celebrating their 20th anniversary – and the course is set for the future.

Beaming Swiss Post employees form the number 20. This is the image on giant posters currently hanging in the three main Swiss Post parcel centers in Härkingen (SO), Daillens (VD) and Frauenfeld (TG). And for good reason: the three centers are celebrating their 20th anniversary. When they were officially brought into operation on 31 May 1999, it was a once-in-a-lifetime logistics event in Switzerland. Swiss Post had invested some 450 million francs in cutting-edge technology and an expandable infrastructure. From that day on, parcels were processed in three central locations. For the very first time, parcels delivered in Switzerland were sorted automatically right down to the parcel carriers’ individual delivery rounds. This was a revolutionary development for the time and one of the reasons why Swiss Post was subsequently able to keep pace with the growing parcel market and changing customer needs.

Between 2014 and 2016, Swiss Post invested a further 60 million francs in its parcel centers, increasing their capacity by 25 percent – while maintaining the quality of services and reliability. Now, around 800,000 parcels are processed on average every day, with up to 1.3 million parcels being handled on peak days during Christmas.

A success story thanks to employees
It is clear that the rapid growth of recent years and the challenges of parcel processing would have been unmanageable without the employees. “For that reason, I would like to express my sincerest thanks,” said Dieter Bambauer, Member of Executive Management and Head of PostLogistics. He added that Swiss Post recognized the potential of online retail years ago and geared its logistics business towards this change at an early stage. “That is why we have been able to maintain our position throughout all these years, even in a highly competitive market with no monopoly. It’s a testament to the quality of the work being performed,” said Bambauer, paying tribute to his employees. “We want to remain number one in the future.”

Keeping pace with customer requirements
Now, 20 years and 3.1 billion parcels later, Swiss Post is once again setting its course for the future. Three new regional parcel centers are being built in Vétroz (VS), Cadenazzo (TI) and Untervaz (GR). This is in response to the continuing parcel boom driven by globalization and online retail. It is also a reaction to the increasing demand for Priority parcels. Customers increasingly want to place orders and receive their parcels the next day.

While centralizing operations in three large parcel centers offered huge advantages in 1999, the future of parcel processing lies in a decentralized structure. In the future, parcel processing will be more of a regional affair. This approach will cut transport times and journeys, which will in turn facilitate faster processes and be more ecological. As a result, Swiss Post will be able to meet its customers’ desire to receive their parcels as quickly as possible. By 2020, Swiss Post will invest approximately 190 million francs in the construction of the three new regional parcel centers in Graubünden, Ticino and Valais, with the aim of enhancing the service quality on both sides of the supply chain (sender/recipient) in the long term. And additional parcel centers are already in the pipeline for other regions.

Source: Swiss Post