The mail must get through
At the Manawatu Mail Centre, staff are so busy during the Christmas period that even the top dog is sorting the post.
The mail centre in Tremaine Ave in Palmerston North employs 90 staff and that number climbs to more than 100 in December.
Centre workers include sorters, drivers and those responsible for sending responses to children’s Santa requests.
The centre is geared up to process an average of 140,000 items of mail on a normal day.
However, during the past week, it has been processing more than 290,000 items a day.
Because of the higher demand, mail service leader Rob Fryer has been suiting-down and sorting the delivery of presents like everyone else.
He was delighted to be busy.
‘‘This week, it has been all hands on deck. We are just flat out. Christmas is ballistic for us.
‘‘Our workers, they like to see management on the floor working with them. It’s about getting the best value out of staff and this week, I’m of more value sorting.’’
The mail centre services Manawatu, up to Taranaki, and parts of Hawke’s Bay.
Trade Me and online shopping have boosted the number of parcels but mail numbers have also soared, with people sending Christmas cards.
The massive mail-sorter in the middle of the centre can process about 32,000 items of mail an hour but struggles to read unusually shaped envelopes.
Christmas cards are notorious for being all shapes and sizes, so the manual sorters have to trawl through them.
Mr Fryer said Christmas time propped up the business of sending post, which was slowly losing the fight to technology.
‘‘If we had another 11 months like this, the floor would be humming but, sadly, January comes around and then we have very, very little to do,’’ he said.