Every commercial organization looks at its challenges and finds the hidden opportunities. In the same way, each Post should look at challenges facing their own country and determine the “hidden opportunities” for new products and services that people need want and are willing to pay for.

Field Ready (NGO) developing 3D Printer, Haiti

If life gives you lemons; make lemonade” is a phrase used to encourage optimism in the face of adversity. Lemons suggest sourness or difficulty in life while lemonade is a sweet drink. Any successful organization looks at its challenges and finds the hidden opportunities.

Solar-powered 3D printers will be the next major game-changer for emerging markets

In Haiti, the nonprofit organization Field Ready and their partners are working to make low-cost medical devices such as umbilical cord clamps, IV bag hooks, oxygen tank valves and even prosthetic limbs using 3D printers.

Growth opportunities for Posts in emerging markets

Where there is low mail volume, Posts cannot be viable and succeed by offering traditional postal mail alone. They must be willing to change and offer not only postal services but also other services that people need, want and are willing to pay for.

Therefore, where there is a need, there should be a corresponding opportunity for the Post to fill that need.

  • Low literacy rate – Offer form or application completion services, passport application and passport photo service, etc.
  • Incomplete electricity coverage – Offer mobile phone charging using a generator or solar power at the post office or through a network of micro franchised agents.
  • Limited Internet access or low level of credit cards: Offer online ordering at the post office / offer Internet service.
  • Poor roads make areas hard to get to: Act as agent for government departments. Offer to act as agent in rural areas for the large retailers situated in urban areas.
  • Large informal economy of necessity entrepreneurs: Offer small business services and supplies / Offer business micro-loans by partnering with government, a bank or NGO.
  • High volume of foreign remittance from diaspora: Partner with Western Union and MoneyGram.
  • High level of competition: Partner with and sell FedEx and DHL and UPS.
  • High number of mobile phones and growing mobile money: Offer mobile money services.
  • Basic health and beauty products not easily available in rural areas: Offer basic products at the post office.
  • Basic needed products are not available in some areas: Sell solar lanterns and radios, water purifiers, reading glasses, mosquito nets, etc.
  • High availability of waste plastic: Using solar-powered 3D printers is especially important for locations that have little to no access to electricity. A quarter of the world’s population—1.6 billion people—live without electricity.
  • Limited access to potable water: Sell portable, water filtration kits. Set up water purification and fill-up stations at post offices.

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