Royal Mail’s boss has asked managers urgently to rent extra vans in order to get Christmas gifts delivered on schedule.

Simon Thompson (a former Apple executive, who ran the NHS Test and Trace apps) has advised 1,200 managers at its 1200 sorting office to purchase hundreds of additional vehicles. This is after admitting that the head office had neglected posties during the busiest times of the year.

Thompson wrote a late-night message to his 137,000 employees via an internal video channel. This was seen by The Mail on Sunday. He said, “Hi team! Sorry to reach you late on Friday, but I wanted you to know something about delivery vans. We don’t have this right, I’m afraid. Your answer is not complete. It’s been too long since I heard the feedback and now it is time to take action.

“So, what we are going to do starting Monday morning is make sure you – at the local level in all delivery offices – can choose exactly what you need and can source it locally.

Royal Mail owns the most vans, with 40,000 unique red ones. Staff will need to hunt for additional vans quickly in order to deliver large quantities of Christmas mail on time.

Simon Thompson (pictured), a former Apple executive who also ran the NHS Test and Trace app, has told managers across its 1,200 sorting offices to get their hands on hundreds more vehicles after admitting head office bosses had left posties short at the busiest time of year

Simon Thompson (pictured), an ex-Apple executive, who was also the head of the NHS Test and Trace application app has instructed 1,200 staff members at all its sorting office to obtain hundreds of additional vehicles. This is after they discovered that their bosses in the Apple Head Office had neglected posties for the busiest season.

This 500-year-old company is trying to deal with large numbers of people shopping online for Christmas. This year, many shoppers started their Christmas shopping earlier than usual due to concerns about supply chain issues that could lead to a shortage of gifts.

A board employee stated that the board was in “panic mode” to correct the situation.

Due to Covid-related high levels of illness and self-isolation, consumers have been facing delays. Delivery delays are currently occurring at 18 locations across the country due to the pandemic, which includes Warrington, Sheffield, and Bristol in the North West.

Thompson claimed that the search for more vans could last for up to three weeks and then the vehicles would need to be returned for Christmas Eve.

He said: ‘You are going to decide what you need – you are going to be able to source them locally and we’re going to give you a process that’s super easy. This team will, I think, help us deliver an amazing Christmas to our customers.

The 500-year-old firm is attempting to cope with the huge numbers of consumers heading online to do their Christmas shopping (file image)

Firm 500 years old is trying to keep up with huge online shopping crowds (file photo).

A concerned employee posted in response to Thompson that it could lead to the company being forced into paying high rents for the last-minute. Thompson responded: ‘Perhaps so – perhaps not – let’s focus on getting the vans that are required – and looking after our customers – that needs to be our key focus.’

One employee laughed, saying: “Christmas is on the exact same date each year. Royal Mail has only 500 years to make it perfect. Perhaps they need more.”

The MoS was told by a close source that Thompson is going through panic mode. It will cost a lot and there will soon be a shortage in vans throughout the UK. So the real question is, will vans even be made available? They have had a terrible Christmas planning experience.

Thompson was asked where the van policy went wrong and he said that the company would review it in January. He launched an initiative earlier this year to give more control to local managers.

Royal Mail spokesperson said that Christmas is the busiest season of the year. We start planning for next year when most people still have their decorations down.

One concerned employee posting in response said the move could leave the company paying inflated prices for last-minute rentals (stock image)

A concerned employee posted in response that the move could lead to the company having to pay high prices for rentals last minute (stock photo).

“We’ve invested thousands in extra vans, as well as around 20,000 workers, to deliver the Christmas mailbag. This week we also gave local managers greater freedom to rent additional vans to make sure we deliver an amazing Christmas to the country.

Royal Mail Worldwide and its sister company Parcelforce Worldwide launched a campaign to recruit 20,000 seasonal workers to help with Christmas letters, parcels, and cards.

Last year senior Royal Mail executives, including former interim chief Stuart Simpson, missed out on bonuses and share awards worth £1.4 million after service failures, including delays last Christmas, and ‘slower than planned’ modernisation of the business.

Royal Mail has already been challenged by FedEx, DPD and others to provide parcel delivery services for online retailers.

Royal Mail shares have seen an increase in profits as ecommerce has replaced the High Street. Last month the company announced plans to hand shareholders a £400 million reward through a £200 million special dividend and a £200 million share buyback.