How to jump from feudalism in the digital economy — the head of “Ukrposhta” on the reform of state-owned companies

Igor Smelyansky has shown interest in developing the young inventor Elizabeth Golikovoj, which became a finalist of the contest of innovative projects “Clean streets” with the product, notifying relevant services on the fullness of the dumpster and the necessity of garbage “Waste Manager — Smart box.” This technology, according to Director of “Ukrposhta”, can be used to determine the fullness of the mailbox, which will reduce the cost of collection of correspondence in the towns. The conversation was long and touched not only business but also personal life.

What you dreamed in childhood? These dreams become part of your life?

Different. All my childhood I spent at the seaport, where my father worked. I saw the ships come from different countries, dreamed of becoming a sailor and travelling.

This dream partly turned sailor I did not, but travel a lot. My wife and neither his apartment nor the house, but we have a lot of travel — I have visited 40 countries. This passion took over and our children. The youngest is now 7 years old, he was already in 13 countries, and the oldest was 10 years and on account of his 18 countries. I hope that this year will be able to visit a few more.

And which countries still want to visit?

Now my attention is drawn to Asia. I have not been in Australia, Japan, China, and India. I would like to go to New Zealand. And friends dream to go to Galapagos Islands, Ecuador is approximately. But such a trip requires a serious and long preparation.

You always want to come home from trips?

My family and I traveled around the world. I and my wife were consultants, and sometimes lived apart in different countries: Kazakhstan, Russia, France, Ukraine, USA…

Home is where your family is and where I want to go back always. This is the place where you can recharge with energy for new achievements.

I believe that the most valuable thing in life is freedom. To be independent from anyone and anything: people, associations, and Finance. It helps to develop.

You talk so enthusiastically about travel. Why not become a sailor?

At some point, I’m very seriously interested in Economics. I began to read books about business. My father because of this, even had some trouble, because after reading the business books I refused to join the Komsomol. Of course, while openly going against the society was dangerous, so I got out of Odessa, saying that I need to very carefully examine the statutes of the young Communist League before joining. And while I “studied”, the young Communist League collapsed. All this time I continued to read, and I am very interested in the biographical novel Lee Iacocca, in which he told about saving Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy. Perhaps, at that time I had a desire to deal with the economy, which I continue to do to this day.

You like the position that you now occupy?

I never sought to hold any office. It is not important. To my colleagues I say: “You people obey not because you are the chiefs. There are bosses that no one obeys. And there is my team of advisers who are subject to all. Most importantly, how you behave towards other people.”

I have always been interested to do something no one had. My dad took the post of Vice-mayor of the city when I was 14 years old. But despite this — and perhaps contrary — I began to earn money himself: he sold ice cream on the beach. On dad even laughed colleagues.

In adulthood I became interested to make a successful merger.

In “Ukrpochta” I want to show that miracles happen even in state unwieldy organizations. The challenge.

His posts should be treated easier and focus on what you’re doing.

I am interested to do challenging things that positively affect the lives of many people

You have received a higher education?

I have three education. I started to study at Odessa state economic University majoring in “international Economics and marketing”, then I was transferred to the University of new York. Then I decided that I really like to conduct mergers and acquisitions. After studying this topic, I realized that I needed knowledge in Finance and accounting, and then come to understand the need of legal education. When I have completed your educational phase came to realization of his desire to conduct mergers and acquisitions. The knowledge obtained was very useful, I didn’t have to go to numerous experts for any reason, I understand the financial and legal documentation.

If you are offered to change my profession to any other, which would you choose?

I love what I do. But if you look at the long term (20-25 years), then any position in the Executive branch (maybe even President) or the head of some big charity project. Why? I am interested to do challenging things that positively affect the lives of many people. On current position I realize my need for it. First, in “Ukrpochta” are 76 thousand employees. Secondly, the majority of Ukrainian villages our office is the only means of communication. And how efficiently and effectively I’m going to do the trick, depend the lives of these people and their families.

My driver of self-actualization — the ability to change the life of the country, to direct the vector of its development in the direction which will have a positive impact on all its residents. Today I try to make it in the position where you are working. By the way, look at former us presidents — all of them after the departure of the head of humanitarian charitable foundations and trying to fight poverty, disease, and develop educational projects. I think this is the right model of behavior.

How would you describe your success to date?

The success is that I never sought to achieve high positions. I was invited to participate in the competition for the position of head of the huge state companies. As I recall, at that time there were 49 candidates. All of them presented their own vision of development programmes. My program won. I would say that success in freedom.

Based on this, I build a team of people with which to implement its program. I want I work with independent people who aren’t afraid to be dismissed and are not afraid to say “no” to me. They come to reach new heights in the professional sphere and, of course, well, if they make money. I do not believe in hypothetical cheap employees who do it for fun supposedly, but then they have expensive cars and apartments in Kiev. Each person in their team I said, “We work for the long term, but every day could be our last. Let’s every day try to do something good.”

The specifics of our organization is such that its clients are everything from hipsters to seniors. And we have to make them all comfortable.

You plan to implement at work “Ukrposhty” an automated solution?

Of course, but while it is necessary to solve the most pressing problem of the feudal system, in which the company operates many years, to jump in the digital economy is difficult. Just imagine that, more recently, from 11.5 thousand offices of “Ukrposhta” at least one computer was only 20%, but even among them 65% of the PC over 10 years old and 15% were older than 20. Hackers probably do not even know that such devices can still exist and even work somewhere.

To apply to this technical base is something innovative is impossible. We have a lot of offices are working on a 128-Kbyte connection. Before us is a very difficult task to introduce a new one based on legacy infrastructure. Of course, we are trying to attract IT professionals, but many of them leave after two weeks it becomes boring to work on such equipment. We need people who understand where we’re headed, you know that there is now, and you can change the fact that tomorrow was better.

But still we are developing. Now we are developing a mobile application “customer Identification”. Each client will have its own “card” which, passing through the frame in office, he will be identified. Until the person comes to stand, he will make a parcel.

Another innovation that I really like — “Ukrposhta SmartBox” that reduce the time of sending up to 5 seconds. There is a box of standard size, in which you can place all the most common packages. All that come in this box will be sent at the same rate, regardless of weight and destination. Before a lot of time was taken weighing, entering data about the recipient and calculation of the cost. Thanks to the SmartBox we have completely eliminated this need. A person buys a box (this price already includes shipping price), fills in the data in the personal Cabinet on the website, prints out a receipt, glue it on the box and just brings in any Department.

We still have the idea to introduce automated system in the courier: the courier rides around town, carrying packages, and your device sees that a person wants to send. The program builds an optimal route, the courier arrives and takes the package.

We keep track of latest innovations, which are implemented in global companies. I am convinced that the “Ukrposhta” should be an IT-company, because all new products depend on how we are going to do it.

Can the “Ukrposhta” under your leadership to become a leader of support for the ideas of young developers?

If you change the law — Yes. Of course, professional experience should be respected and used. But often we need a fresh young perspective on things and lack of fear to Express an unusual perspective on the situation.

I really try to in the company of new people with progressive ideas. However, at the same time I will strive to keep experienced professionals.

The specifics of our organization is such that its clients are everything from hipsters to seniors. And we have to make them all comfortable.

What innovations do you plan to implement?

Innovation must be and will be. We all understand that the volume of publications and letters are reduced and sooner or later die. Now we are already looking in the direction of the segment of electronic products and financial transactions. We will continue to come up with other areas of development.

How do you plan to compete with “New why”?

“Novaya poshta” last year sent 120 million parcels, “Ukrposhta” 16. We are not yet ready for volumes many times more, even from the point of view of transport Park. We will move gradually. This year has set a target to increase the number of parcels of up to 40 million, the following will set a new goal.

To compete, we need to solve the problem with the car, sorting centres, with computers and, most importantly, with the habits and culture of the people. In our offices, sometimes staffed by people who only trust the “ancient accounts”, and the workers sorting the items, do not think it is right to introduce a system of remuneration based on production. Our main goal is the radical change of culture of employees and customers of our services.

I understand that many of my decisions cause a negative reaction. But the people who came with me (I have directly subordinate to 56 people, while the norm in management — 7 people), believe in me and my decisions.

As soon as we together change the culture, change everything else.