Concept Paper

Project Arrow – Objectives, Strategy and Deliverables

Project Arrow was conceived in April, 2008. The project envisages upgradation of Post Offices in urban and rural areas both in terms of upgrading and enhancing the quality of service in ‘core areas’ and improving the ‘look and feel’. The project aims at creating a conducive and friendly work environment both for the staff and the customers visiting the Post Offices, providing all IT enabled services through secure connectivity, improving the service quality levels in the core business areas e.g. Mail delivery, Remittances both electronic and manual and Postal Savings schemes. To test the concept, a pilot consisting of 50 Post Offices in 10 Postal Circles was launched in April, 2008.

Objectives of the project:

· To make a visible, tangible and noteworthy difference in the Post Office operations that matters to “Aam Aadmi”.

Nearly 89% of the network of India Post is in rural areas and therefore this network needs to be strengthened in terms of new technology and infrastructure which would bring the rural populace in direct communication with the outside world and also bring the benefits of development to the doorsteps of people living in rural areas. Social benefit schemes e.g. Mahatma Gandhi NREGS, National Old Age Pension Schemes and many such schemes of the Central & State Governments require an effective delivery mechanism till the last mile. India Post with its vast network, trained manpower and IT infrastructure can play a very crucial role in the effective delivery of these social benefit schemes to the targeted population. This pilot project was the first step towards achieving this goal.

· To ensure short term impact through selected Post Offices both in rural and urban areas.

After successful accomplishment of the pilot project, a roll out plan on a larger scale was chalked out.

· To verify and certify progress on ongoing basis using clearly defined Key Performance Indicators for each improvement area.

· To lay the foundation for a comprehensive, long term transformation of India Post.

Technology has changed the way the Post Office functions the world over and in fact, it has changed the functions of the Post Office itself. New business opportunities are emerging in the field of communications, both domestically and internationally. To meet the new and emerging challenges and to make most of these opportunities, India Post needs to restructure itself so as to put in place a mechanism which is fast in giving response, quick in adaptation and flexible in its business approach. This project is intended to lay the foundation of a systematic transformation of India Post into a vibrant and responsive business organization with a clear focus on social obligations as well.

Scope of the project:

  • · To make Post Offices especially in the rural areas, a window for availing services, hitherto confined to urban locales.
  • · To enable Post Offices to play a larger role in the social and economic transformation of the country by taking up new roles and challenges.
  • · To transform the large man power into a committed and professional human resource.
  • · To provide IT enabled services based on the state of the art technology, especially in areas where it matters the most.
  • · To change the “look and feel” of the post office to give it a distinct identity of its own, and.
  • · To ensure a return on investment, necessary for a self- sustained growth and development.

  

The Strategy adopted:

  • This project was implemented through a Pilot in 50 Post Offices in 10 Circles. The project has covered more than 15000 post offices in core activities and more than 1800 post offices in look and feel in a V phases.
  • A Steering Committee was constituted with change leaders and their teams.
  • Objectives were clearly defined.
  • To focus on areas of operations where minimum efforts can give maximum results.
  • Identifying key performance indicators.
  • Putting a monitoring system in place for regular assessment and evaluation.
  • Strict adherence to the timelines.

A Steering Committee and a Core Team was constituted to conceptualize the theme of the project and to monitor the implementation through all its stages. A Programme Office with 4 members was set up at the Directorate level. Two Work Stream Leaders were also identified with 4 Change Agents with each of them, having the responsibility of planning and implementation of changes down the line in different fields of activities. Each Change Agent is supported by 3-4 members.

The Components:

This project has two components:

(a) Get the Core Right with focus areas on Mail Delivery, Remittances, Savings Bank and Office Service Levels.

(b) Modernize ‘look and feel’ – with focus areas on Branding, IT, Human Resource and infrastructure.

Mails:

· The basic objective is to define service levels specific to these Post Offices with respect to all mail operations with the ultimate goal of ensuring delivery of mails on the day of receipt itself.

· To provide for intimation of delivery, track and trace and the required infrastructure for it.

· To design a monitoring mechanism to assess and evaluate the progress made at every stage.

Remittances:

· To ensure delivery of money orders to the payees on the day of receipt of money order in the Post Office.

· To remove the bottleneck of cash availability in the Sub Post Offices and Branch Post Offices.

· To provide the services of Instant Money Order, Electronic Money Order, Electronic International Money Order.

· To ensure necessary infrastructure to meet the objectives.

Postal Savings Schemes:

· To reduce the waiting time at the counter by improving the efficiency through induction of IT and soft skills training to the staff.

· To ensure adequate availability of forms and other stationery.

· To educate the members of staff and the customers as well on various financial services.

· To devise a monitoring mechanism to assess the key performance indicators.

Office service level:

· To create a conducive and friendly environment in the public hall through proper signage at the counters.

· To ensure access to useful public information through facilitation counters and leaflets etc.

Branding:

  • A new logo of India Post was designed.
  • Designing of a uniform brand hierarchy and consistency for all products and services including accessories to be worn by counter and outdoor staff was done.
  • New logo was incorporated in all Manuals and other required documents.

Technology:

  • To equip all the identified Post Offices with required hardware and software.
  • To ensure leased line / broadband connectivity in all the identified Post Offices.
  • To ensure adequate provision of power back-up in the identified Post Offices

Human Resource:

  • All possible efforts were made to man these identified post offices optimally either by filling up the vacancies or by redeployment of staff.
  • Required training packages for these Post Offices were designed and trainers were identified.
  • Job description for each personnel in these Post Offices was prescribed and it was also ensured that the Postmasters and staff of these post offices would not be shifted out for the next two years unless administratively so warranted. The purpose was to ensure that there is no abrupt break in the whole process of the implementation of this pilot project.
  • Meetings of the Postmasters of identified Post Offices were held at one location to sensitize them about the concept of Project Arrow.

Infrastructure:

  • To develop standardized and consistent interior and exterior blueprints for these Post Offices.
  • To design and install uniform modular furniture across these Post Offices.

Formulation of Local Citizens’ Charter:

  • All the identified Post Offices in Project Arrow were required to form local citizens’ forum consisting of prominent citizens interested in the development of Postal services in the area. The local citizens’ forum decides the performance norms for the respective Post Offices which are prominently displayed in the public hall for information of members of public.

Funding for the Project:

  • Expenditure on computer hardware, other peripherals, new counters and improving the ‘look and feel’ was met from the Plan funds. Expenditure on creation and implementation of the new brand logo and training was also met from the Plan funds. So far an amount of Rs. 259.95 crores has been spent in five phases. An amount of Rs. 73.96 crores for phase VI has been allotted to the circles with the target date of 31st December 2012 for the completion of the work.

Monitoring Mechanism:

  • A Web-based monitoring mechanism was devised to collect the data from the field units directly from the server without any manual intervention. The data analysis is presented to all the Chief Postmasters General of 22 Postal Circles through a video-conference every fortnight. Data on all key performance indicators are minutely scrutinized and gaps in implementation and remedial measures thereto were discussed in the video-conferences. Dedicated Program Offices have been set up at the Directorate Headquarter level and at all 22 Circle Headquarters. Data exchange from Post Offices and all communications with Circle Programme Offices are through e-mail only.

External Audit:

The improvement in performance level of the identified 50 Post Offices in Phase I have been independently verified through an external audit on the basis of three visits to these offices. An incentive scheme has also been worked out for all the staff of 1
st, 2nd and 3rd ranked Post Offices on the basis of the findings of the external audit.

Motivation and incentives:

KPIs are used to identify the best performing post offices. The efforts of the staff of these post offices are being recognized. As an incentive to 1
st, 2nd and 3rd ranked Post Offices, all the staff of these post offices were sent to the Asia Pacific Postal Collage (APPC) Bangkok for inspirational training on the basis of their performance recorded by KPIs. It is envisaged to arrange such motivational training modules on regular basis for the staff to enhance their skills and to provide them exposure to the global best practices.

Expansion and progress:

Phase

Number of Post Offices

Target date for Completion

Exp on Look and Feel

I

50

1st May 2008 to 15th Aug 2008

Rs 12.56 Crore

II

450

16th Aug 2008 to 31st Dec 2008

Rs 74 Crore

III

500

1st Jan 2009 to 30th June 2009

Rs 65 Crore

IV- A

383

1st June 2010 to 31st Oct 2010

Rs 59.90 Crore

IV-B

147

1st Nov 2010 to 28th Feb 2011

Rs 23.64 Crore

V

229

15th February 2012 to 31st March 2012

Rs 24.85 Crore

VI

779

29th September 2012 to 31st December 2012

Rs 73.96 Crore