Quality of service certification

UPU quality management certification system

Introduction/Background

The UPU quality management certification system was developed in line with Beijing Congress resolution C 20/1999. It was launched worldwide in 2003, on the basis of a methodology and two questionnaires. The original goal was to raise designated operators' awareness of quality management issues in order to improve postal services. The methodology was revised in 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2014.

With traditional postal mail declining, e-commerce volumes on the rise, and heavy competition in the postal market, designated operators face new demands and need to achieve ever better performance. It therefore became essential to revise the UPU quality of service certification methodology, taking it from an initial phase aimed primarily at raising awareness to a more rigorous certification phase, based on industry and market needs.

New certification system

The new certification system, focusing on the management of international service quality, aims to provide a level playing field for evaluating designated operators, irrespective of the level of development of the country concerned. The system is based on the following elements:

  • Two audit questionnaires, one on the system of organization used by the designated operator to manage quality of service, the other on operational procedures and relations with customers and partners (customs authorities, air transport companies and security)
  • A special document summarizing the designated operator's performance in the quality of service field, based on data gathered by the tracking and measurement tools put in place by the International Bureau, other recognized international postal organizations or restricted unions
  • A consultant's mission in the field

Certification procedure

The certification procedure can only take place if the designated operator applying for certification meets the new methodology's prerequisites and reaches the third level of the process, which includes a field audit mission by a consultant to determine whether the requirements of the quality management system have been satisfied. The audit findings are designed to assess the effectiveness of the quality management system and identify opportunities for improvement.

Certification levels

The new certification system has three levels: gold (level A), silver (level B) and bronze (level C), with a three-year period of validity to be confirmed each year on the basis of performance achieved during quality of service testing.

Benefits

Certification is a way of continually improving quality of service, and can be communicated through the media to customers and the public, so as to raise awareness of designated operators' efforts. When a designated operator receives certification, this shows that it has a good system for quality of service management, and is capable of taking steps to improve quality of service in both the short and long term.

Useful documents for certification

1. UPU quality of service certification system for 2017–2020 – Methodology 2018

The UPU quality management certification system was developed in line with Beijing Congress resolution
C 20/1999. It was launched worldwide in 2003, on the basis of a methodology and two questionnaires. The original goal was to raise designated operators' awareness of quality management issues in order to improve postal services. The methodology was revised in 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2014.

In 2018, the Postal Operations Council adopted a new certification methodology, whose principal aim is to evaluate not only the extent to which quality management procedures are applied in postal enterprise structures, but also the way in which postal operations are organized and carried out, as this forms the basis for the ongoing improvement of the international postal network.

2. Questionnaire 1 – Organization and management of quality of service

Questionnaire 1 aims to assess whether the organizational system put in place by the designated oper-ator meets the minimum requirements for guaranteeing quality service, namely:
– Appropriate management and steering bodies
– A policy for setting quality of service targets and continuously measuring their attainment
–Formalized working procedures in line with the norms and standards of the postal service
– The existence of well-trained staff involved in self-assessment of results
– Appropriate customer relationship management
– Formalized relations with key partners (security, Customs, airlines)

3. Questionnaire 2: Operational procedures and relations with customers and partners (2018 edition)

Questionnaire 2 aims to assess whether the operational procedures and relations with customers and partners meet the needs in terms of quality management, namely:
– Compliance with standards and best practices for the processing and forwarding of mail
– Compliance with standards (barcodes, transport, mail tracking and tracing, transmission of EDI messages, quality control)
– The existence of well-trained staff involved in self assessment of results

4. Results sheet: quality of service performance achieved by the designated operator (2018 edition)

The aim of the results sheet is to assess quality of service results and verify whether the results achieved are higher than or equal to the minimum expected. The standards and objectives set by Union bodies serve as the benchmark.

The UPU International Bureau's Quality Improvement Programme is responsible for completing this questionnaire and sharing it with the designated operator concerned, along with the consultant carrying out the audit.

5. Prerequisites for UPU quality of service certification under the new 2018 methodology

A certification procedure can only be launched if the designated operator meets the prerequisites listed in the following document.

List of UPU certified designated operators

1. Historic list of UPU-certified designated operators

Historic list of UPU-certified designated operators since 2004 indicating the year of certification and the level achieved as of 1 June 2018.

2. List of UPU-certified designated operators with certificates that are currently valid

List of UPU-certified designated operators with certificates that are currently valid indicating the year of certification, the level achieved, the start and end dates of validity as of 1 June 2018.