Additional Deployment of Parcel Sorting Machines (PSM’s) in Mail Centres
Branches and representatives will be aware that LTB 355/2018 (copy attached for ease of reference) conveyed deployment arrangements in relation to the planned 16 Parcel Automation Machines (PSM’s). Currently 10 PSM’s are operational, with the remaining 6 at various stages of build and installation.
For the information of Branches, the business had previously indicated that consideration was also being given to the deployment of an additional 5 PSM’s across the Mail Centre estate but a final decision in this regard had been put on hold at Board level.
The business have now informed the department that following the submission of a revised comprehensive Business Case, authorisation has been given by the RM Investment Committee for an additional 4 PSM’s to be deployed at some of the existing PSM sites with the largest parcel volumes.
The business position is that the additional PSM’s, together with improvements and upgrades to the current PSM’s to reduce the present level of rejects also funded within the latest Business Case, will enhance revenue protection and support parcel volume growth.
The business has therefore advised the department that this additional phase will involve the deployment of a second PSM at the following Mail Centres:
As with the previous phases of the PSM deployment program the final decision on where to deploy PSM’s has sat solely with the business. On the basis of that decision at the end of this phase of the project, 16 plants would be equipped with automation to process parcels with 4 having 2 machines, equating to a total of 20 machines.
Given that the decision for the first time involved the deployment of multiple machines at some sites, the department had sought clarity in relation to the rationale and business case behind the deployment of the additional machines at existing PSM sites, prior to communicating with Branches. However, we have been made aware that CWU representatives at the four sites have now been approached and advised of the decision. Of great concern is that it appears that there may have been suggestions to representatives at some sites, that the business case includes proposals to concentrate parcel workload at the four sites in receipt of a second machine.
Representations have therefore been made at National level and assurances have been received from the Royal Mail Project Team that the business case for the deployment of the additional machines does not include or rely on proposals on the movement of parcel workload from other Mail Centres. The department will be seeking formal confirmation of this as a matter of urgency.
The Parcel Automation Joint Working Group is due to meet following Annual Conference and the department will seek full clarification on the rationale, time line and operational impacts of this additional deployment phase. Any issues that cannot be resolved at the Joint Working Group level will be escalated to the National Processing Group (NPG).
The department is aware that various rumours have been circulating on the location of any additional machines and that the business was considering a number of options. This news may therefore be disappointing to those Mail Centres who had hoped to be the recipient of a PSM in the current phase.
In addition the business has confirmed that they will continue to review and develop solutions to enable the deployment of Parcel Automation at all Mail Centre sites. The policy of the department on all future Parcel Automation is to secure solutions which enhance the ability to grow parcel volumes while protecting all of our current processing sites.
The Group will continue to monitor and review the ongoing PSM deployment activity to ensure that it is fully in line with the agreed framework (attached).
Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com quoting reference number: 732.01.