Regardless of the pandemic, we have kept working together: an interview with UPU's Julia Bazukina

Julia Bazukina joined the UPU in 2006, after working in the Russian Post’s EMS Department since the very first day the postal operator launched the express mail service (EMS).

She learned the ins and outs of EMS while establishing operations and agreements with other Posts, setting up a tracking system and a call center for customers, organizing training for staff – preparing her for her future role with the UPU.

“This was a very intense and fruitful time,” she says.

Upon joining the UPU, Bazukina was responsible for performance improvements in North America, the Caribbean, and Europe, later becoming an EMS Customer Service Expert for the EMS Cooperative. Bazukina felt grateful for the opportunity to share her experience with many Posts through preparing workshops, guiding them through performance reports and analysis, and helping them apply this knowledge to their work.

Bazukina now works as an EMS Standards and Measurement Manager. Over the past ten years, her team has been implementing different projects, such as EMS Standards and Procedures, an EMS Standard Agreement, the EMS Operational Guide, and the EMS Audit and Measurement Programme focused on the performance reporting and pay-for-performance accounting. The tools produced by her team facilitate the cooperation between postal operators exchanging EMS items.

“When EMS Cooperative members reach out to us and we can help them, it makes our work meaningful. I like this part of my job a lot, it is interesting and fulfilling.”

One of Bazukina’s recent projects has been the development of a modern EMS Operational Guide and an EMS Simple Monitoring and Reporting Tool (EMS SMART). It has been challenging to prepare specifications and requirements for such a complex reporting system based on tracking data, and to find individual solutions for EMS Cooperative members with different operational requirements. Now complete, EMS SMART gives EMS Cooperative members their own tailor-made reporting tool.

“It has been a tough couple of years, but they have been so rewarding. Members’ feedback means a lot to me,” says Bazukina.

Bazukina’s work also brings high responsibility. It has a financial impact on the postal operators who rely on the performance reports that her team regularly produces. She often feels under pressure, meeting strict deadlines and handling extraordinary situations and force majeure cases. Therefore, in her opinion, good teamwork is crucial, especially in an intercultural environment.

“I feel privileged to work with such intelligent people. In the UPU, everyone comes from a different cultural background and has an individual approach. However, when we work together on a project, it all comes together like a puzzle,” she says.

She also looks up to her teammates: “I got to know some outstanding, inspiring women that were combining intensive work with motherhood, which I learned was really challenging when I became a mother myself.”

Although the COVID-19 crisis has put pressure on the entire postal network and has created new challenges at the UPU, Bazukina says it has brought her team even closer together.

“Regardless of the pandemic, we have kept working together, and the postal world has become closer while overcoming its hardships. I am proud to be working for the UPU, helping to make the impossible possible, helping to unite the world.”