• on Jul 23rd, 2012 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 2 comments
    Between Fiscal Years 2004 and 2011, the U.S. Postal Service implemented over 100 area mail processing (AMP) consolidations, reducing the number of mail processing facilities from 676 to 461. Following implementation of an AMP, the Postal Service completes a post-implementation review (PIR) — a two-step documented process that tells management whether or not an AMP achieved the anticipated results. The PIR compares pre- and post-consolidation data, including projected savings, costs, workhours, and levels of service. The first PIR is supposed to be completed approximately 6 months after the AMP consolidation and it usually indicates whether or not the AMP is going to achieve the projected savings. In addition, it alerts management of any action needed to ensure AMP goals are met. The second PIR is supposed to be completed after the first full year of implementation and it compares the proposed AMP results against the actual results to determine the success of the consolidation. Like the first PIR, it provides management an opportunity to take additional action as needed. Please share your ideas on the subject of PIRs and your responses to the questions below: • Do you think the PIR is an adequate success measurement tool for AMP consolidations? • Are there ways, other than a PIR, to measure the success or effectiveness of AMP consolidations? • Should PIR results be disclosed publicly? Why or why not? This blog is hosted by the OIG's Planning, Innovation, and Optimization directorate.
  • on May 21st, 2012 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 6 comments
    Though there has been a steady decline of customers’ usage of First-Class Mail™ over the last decade, writing and sending letters through the U.S. mail used to be very popular ways of letting someone know you cared. For example, many of us remember when we were kids waiting anxiously for the delivery of the mail to see whether that special birthday present from Grandma and Granddad had arrived. And, with sincere gratitude, many of us remember penning a letter to Grandma and Granddad, thanking them for that special birthday present. Family members often read, reflect on, and cherish letters exchanged decades ago between family, lovers, and friends. These letters often serve as time machines, transporting younger generations back to an era where they can gain fascinating insight into their loved ones’ lives or valuable information about the family dynamics of previous generations. Writing and sending letters is a time honored tradition that offers tangible evidence that the writer cares or doesn’t care about the recipient of the letter. Letters and greeting cards visually connect the receiver to the sender through handwriting, images, or messages in the letter or greeting card. Experian QAS, a provider of address management solutions, found that most people prefer to receive greeting cards. The company surveyed 500 respondents about their greeting card preferences, and 92 percent preferred receiving greeting cards mailed through the postal services over receiving e-cards. Email messages, on the other hand, have their advantages. For example, emails can be sent and received instantly wherever there is Internet service. Email does not require physical storage and if the receiver doesn’t want anyone to read the email, it can be password protected or discarded with a click of the mouse. Yet, with all the modern conveniences of emails, how many people remember the first email they ever sent or received? How many people can appreciate the sensory connection to a loved one through an email? This blog is hosted by the OIG's Office of Audit.
  • on Apr 9th, 2012 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 8 comments
    A recent post on the blog Dead Tree Edition made an interesting observation: The once-exploding U.S. e-book sales have slowed considerably, according to R. R. Bowker, a marketing research firm targeting publishers, booksellers, and librarians. How can that be? Aren’t we on a preordained path to a digital world? As it turns out, early buyers of tablet computers and e-readers were initially skewed toward people who read a lot. These early adopters bought more books than recent buyers because e-books generally cost less than their physical equivalents. Today, some market segments, such as textbooks, seem destined for digital dominance, while others, like children’s books have barely dented the e-book market. The number of book shipments by mail is small compared to the shipment numbers of other postal products. However, if e-book sales are slowing down, this may mean a slowing of the diversion of book mail to digital download. Could the same trend happen with much larger volume postal products? Will the adoption of electronic bill payments, electronic bills and statements, or, even electronic correspondence start slowing down? The answers could make a huge difference in the outlook for the Postal Service. What do you think?

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