Royal Mail New Parcel Sorting Machine in Manchester

Royal Mail Opens New Automated Parcel Sorting Machine in Manchester Amid Labor Dispute

Royal Mail announced it has opened its latest high-speed parcel sorting machine in Manchester, capable of sorting and delivering 157,000 parcels a day.

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Why it matters: As the shift in consumer demand for parcels and next-day delivery increases, Royal Mail continues to evolve its network to manage the needs of today’s postal customers.

Parcel deliveries now represent almost £6 in £10 of Royal Mail’s revenue.

The new Manchester Mail Center’s fully automated sorting machine brings much-needed parcel capacity to the region, supporting the company’s ongoing nationwide transformation into a parcels-led business.

How it works: Through an intelligent system of conveyor belts and scanning technology, the machine sorts parcels up to 3kg over a wide range of shapes and sizes for delivery to local delivery offices across Manchester and beyond.

What they said: “Customers want more parcels, delivered the next day – including Sundays. We are investing in the latest technology to ensure we can meet this demand as we modernize our business,” explained Grant McPherson, Chief Operating Officer, Royal Mail.

“Our new parcel sorting machine in Manchester will help drive growth as we transform into an even more parcels-focused business.”

Royal Mail’s Parcel Business

With 36 parcel sorting machines operating across the UK network, Royal Mail sorts more than 22 million parcels on average each week by automated means.

As domestic parcel volumes increase by more than 30% from pre-pandemic levels, these machines strengthen Royal Mail’s drive to increase automation and operational efficiency.

The future: The company’s goal is to reach 70% parcel automation by the end of 2023, setting an industry standard of 90% parcel automation by the end of 2024.

In June, Royal Mail opened its massive North West Super Hub in Warrington with a capacity to process more than 800,000 parcels a day.

When its Northampton-based Midlands Super Hub opens in the Summer of 2023, the facility will be able to sort more than one million daily.

Strike impact: These network enhancements and focus on becoming more of a parcel business are also at the heart of the current Royal Mail postal worker strike.

The union representing 115,000 postal workers is concerned about job cuts, Royal Mail becoming another gig economy employer, and the company’s aggressive strategic business shift turning the 506-year postal service into a parcel courier company.

However, as the labor dispute continues, Royal Mail will also continue to modify its delivery network.

Royal Mail Chairman Keith Williams issued a strong warning in a recent Financial Times article“We have to start implementing change. Otherwise, the company will die.”

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