The Universal Postal Union (UPU) invites interested eligible firms to express interest by submitting sealed bids for the following works:
The Universal Postal Union (UPU) established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874, is a specialized agency of the United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system.
Applications are invited for:
Title: Invitation to Bid – Study on the Percentages of Goods and Documents Carried Within the Parcel-Post, EMS and E-format Mail Streams
The 26th UPU Congress, held in Istanbul in 2016, approved a two-step Integrated Product Plan that introduced a documents and goods classification as of 1 January 2018. As a result, the letter-post P and G formats and bulky letters (E format) are now restricted to documents, while small packets (letter-post E format) can contain goods only and must have an S10 barcode identifier. The classification and definition of postal items by content was driven by the need to position the postal service in the growing e-commerce segment and to facilitate alignment with emerging supply chain requirements (aviation, security, customs, etc.) mandating the application of a unique S10 identifier and the provision of electronic advance data (EAD) for all items containing goods (including ITMATT and PREDES in accordance with standards M33 and M41).
Despite the classification of postal items into goods and documents, some postal operators have trouble distinguishing mail subclass identifiers, making it difficult to properly differentiate and process the postal items into their correct streams and to gather statistics on the respective volumes of goods and documents carried within the parcel post, EMS and E format mail streams. The provisions relating to EAD, ITMATT, PREDES, EMSEVT v3 and the CN 22/CN 23 forms, for instance, are not applied in the same manner by all postal operators to all postal items containing goods, thereby exposing the global postal network to supply chain vulnerabilities and putting the security and reliability of the network at risk.
Letter post containing goods consists of small packets (by contrast, P and G format letter post, and E format bulky letters, do not contain goods). In addition, EMS and parcel post often, but not always, contain goods. Items not containing goods are not required to be accompanied by EAD, yet these items populate designated operators’ product streams. Moreover, although small packets (i.e. lightweight postal items containing goods, weighing up to 2 kg (E format)) currently represent the bulk of cross-border e-commerce and constitute the growth segment for international postal traffic, they remain in the letter post mail stream, which is not subject to the same operational, accounting, IT and remuneration requirements as the parcel post and EMS streams. For example, the S10 barcode applied to small packets is used only for internal operational processing and not for item tracking.
In view of the above, a statistically valid study is to be conducted with the aim of supporting and facilitating the development of strategies and action plans to improve the quality of service, operational efficiency and sustainability of the postal network through well differentiated mail streams for documents and goods. The research will measure the flows of documents vs. goods in all three streams (i.e. E format letter post, EMS and parcel post) as dispatched to the United States of America; produce statistically valid results that can be used to adjust the number of items used in calculations of EAD performance (total number of items accompanied by EAD over the total number of items received); and identify the percentages of items that contain documents vs. goods.
The objectives of the study are as follows:
- Determine the relative volumes of goods and documents flowing in the parcel post, EMS and E-format (to include both small packets and bulky letters) mail streams, as dispatched to several countries, including the United States, and share the aggregated results more widely;
- Critically assess the current operational practices of postal operators in processing postal items in the parcel post, EMS and E-format mail streams;
- Establish existing operational challenges facing postal operators in processing postal items in the aforementioned mail streams with reference to UPU standards and regulatory requirements for EAD, ITMATT, PRESDES, EMSEVT version 3, and the application of CN22/CN23 and the S10 barcode;
- Produce statistically valid results that can be used to adjust the number of items used in calculations of EAD performance (total number of items accompanied by EAD over the total number of items received), so that items containing documents and not goods do not factor in the numerator or denominator of the fraction used to calculate the percentage of items in a particular flow that achieve compliance with EAD requirements;
- Make recommendations (strategic, commercial, operational, IT, and regulatory) as to whether there are easy, low cost solutions for identifying items containing documents in mixed flows, for the improvement of the operational efficiency and processing of parcel post, EMS and E-format items.
The Vendor shall deliver the following services and activities:
- Design and develop an appropriate research methodology, means of qualitative and quantitative data collection (covering both primary and secondary sources), and data analysis instruments;
- Determine population and sample of the research, which should include postal operators in all the UPU regions, and to the extent possible, their respective business and individual customers, dispatching parcel post, EMS and letter post E-format items to the United States;
- Develop appropriate research questions in order to address the fundamental problem in question and to realize the objectives of the study;
- Conduct real time observations and ‘live examiniation’ of mail pieces in postal facilities (Offices of Exchange, sorting centres, etc), based on size, form, shape, touch and feel, to determine whether the mail items may be containing goods or documents, without opening the mail items, taking pictures or videos of individual or private information contained in the mail piece lables that may infringe on the right to privacy;
- Develop the appropriate tools and instruments (research questions, interviews, observations, surveys, focus groups, etc) in order to comprehensively answer the fundamental problem being addressed and to realize the objectives of the study;
- Critically analyse the primary and secondary data, performing the necessary data manipulations and transformations, and stating the reasons for any given manipulation or transformation of data;
- Interpret the findings and results, suggesting the best strategies in the light of the recommendations, to improve the operations processing of postal items in the aforementioned mail streams with reference to UPU standards and regulatory requirements for EAD, ITMATT, PREDES, EMSEVT version 3, and the application of CN22/CN23 and the S10 barcode;
- Draw the appropriate conclusions and make recommendations (strategic, commercial, operational, IT, and regulatory), based on the findings and results of the study, in relation to the research objectives and research questions;
- Prepare and make a presentation of the final report, highlighting the key findings and results, implications, biases and limitations of the research, and suggesting potential future areas of research.
The Vendor’s deliverables will include:
- A detailed description of the final report’s structure, suggested research methodologies, population and sample, research questions, subsequent analyses and model specifications with key assumptions and limitations, to be submitted no later than three weeks after the commencement of the assignment.;
- An initial interim report, containing an interpretation of the preliminary results of the estimations carried out and comprising a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data gathered and the gaps still to be completed, to be submitted no later than 15 weeks after the commencement of the assignment;
- A second interim report, analyzing all of the points specified in the “Objectives” section above, comprising a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data gathered and the gaps still to be completed, to be submitted no later than 18 weeks after the commencement of the assignment;
- A final comprehensive report, containing a detailed analysis of all the elements specified in the “Objectives” section above, and all revisions and amendments agreed with the UPU at meetings to review the two interim reports, to be submitted no later than 22 weeks after the commencement of the assignment;
- A presentation accompanying the final report, highlighting the key findings and results of the study, in PowerPoint format.
The above-mentioned deliverables shall include the following information and materials, as applicable:
- An electronic version of the report with its annexes;
- An electronic database concerning all of the statistics/data collected from all sources during the research and analysis;
- A complete list of research materials used (detailed bibliography);
- Electronic copies of the sources;
- A presentation of the final report, in PowerPoint format.
- Proven experience of working in the postal sector;
- Proven experience in the successful delivery of impact-driven, large-scale postal research projects in English;
- In-depth knowledge of the supply chain and operation of international postal services relating to parcel post, EMS and letter-post E format items;
- In-depth knowledge of the regulations governing international postal services regarding the goods and documents classification in relation to parcel post, EMS and letter-post E format items;
- The ability to collect and analyze vast amounts of data and to draw value-adding inferences;
- Sufficient and qualified human resource capacity and capability to deliver the services and activities described herein;
- Experience of working with United Nations entities, including the UPU and/or other intergovernmental organizations
Application Closing Date
16:00 (CEST). 4th May, 2022.
Submission of Documents
All tenders must, on an exceptional basis, be submitted to the UPU by e-mail only at: [email protected] with “RFP-2022-003 – Goods vs.Documents study” as the subject line.
- The Vendor shall not assign, sublicense, subcontract, pledge or otherwise transfer or dispose of its tender, or any of the rights and obligations contained therein or in an associated contract with the UPU, without the prior written consent of the UPU.
- The approval by the UPU of the engagement of any subcontractor shall not relieve the Vendor of any of its obligations or responsibilities concerning the work performed by such subcontractors.
- Bidders shall not advertise or otherwise make public the fact that they intend to provide, are providing or have provided services to the UPU, or use the emblem, name or initials of the UPU in connection with their business for purposes of commercial advantage or goodwill, without prior and explicit permission from the UPU. Bidders shall take all reasonable measures to ensure compliance with this provision by their agents, consultants, employees and subcontractors.
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