SMP eyes expansion to 'every mail house' in 2018

By Rhys Handley, Friday 08 September 2017

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The Strategic Mailing Partnership (SMP) is looking forward to a year of expansion with its sights on taking in “every single mailing house” in the country.

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SMP chair Judith Donovan

The SMP is a joint initiative between Royal Mail and the UK’s mailing house industry intended to represent and protect the interests of UK mailing houses.

It says it is the largest group in the UK of mail and print suppliers and service providers, and the only known specialist supply chain network in Europe.

Over the past year, the SMP ran a recruitment drive which saw it acquire four new board members, as well as increasing its membership from 131 to 161 mailing houses.

“A key stumbling block for us has simply been that mailing houses simply do not know about us yet,” said SMP chair Judith Donovan. “As more mailing houses become aware of us, I am confident they will join us.

“We offer direct dialogue with the Royal Mail for them, all the latest information and research will be at their fingertips as soon as we are aware of it. That means if something goes wrong down the line with the mailing process, we can get the word out quickly to all.”

In March, the SMP hosted its first technical summit at the Royal Mail’s Phoenix Centre, bringing together 100 delegates from the Royal Mail, UK mailing houses and down stream access (DSA) operators. Donovan said there were plans for similar “gatherings” in the future.

“The Royal Mail, mailing houses and DSA operators can often feel isolated from each other, which is why I was encourage to see them get together and understand that the industry comes first and we all have to work together to keep the postal service going,” she said.

Across the 2016-17 period, the SMP played a role in streamlining mailing services and helping Royal Mail to enhance its product development and incentives, as well as improve mailing specifications, benchmarking and pipeline issues.

It carried out an intensive “strategic framework” of activity to raise awareness of the group and demonstrate its impact on the mailing industry.

According to Donovan, the SMP board will be meeting “in the next couple of weeks” to draw up more concrete plans for expansion across 2017-18.

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