• on May 30th, 2013 in Strategy & Public Policy | 2 comments

    Today’s topic in our week-long series on What America Wants from the Postal Service considers ways in which the Postal Service could generate revenue to sustain its operations. The Postal Service’s future financial health depends on its ability to generate revenue, as well as cut costs (yesterday’s blog topic). In the larger debate about reinventing the Postal Service’s business model, the topic of allowing the Postal Service to offer non-postal products and services frequently emerges.

    Non-postal products and services might help the Postal Service continue to meet Americans’ needs in a world increasingly reliant on digital communications. Non-postal services could also contribute to the Postal Service’s bottom line through additional revenue, helping it cover the costs associated with providing universal service. Of course, the issue of non-postal services also concerns some people that feel that offering non-postal products creates unfair competition for the private sector.

    Opportunities for the Postal Service include providing access to government services, such as licenses and permits, allowing for collection of social benefits, or providing options for bill pay at Post Office locations. These types of government services are not too dissimilar from services already available from the Postal Service, such as passport applications.

    Results of our web-based survey of 5,000 Internet-connected Americans aged 18 years and older indicated that nearly half of respondents expressed interest in having more services available at the Post Office. Most of these respondents were particularly interested in accessing government services such as driver’s license renewal services, request for permits or licenses, or paying bills.

  • on May 29th, 2013 in Strategy & Public Policy | 0 comments

    On Tuesday, we asked what Americans want from their Postal Service. In particular, should the Postal Service continue to serve all areas of the country even if it is not profitable to do so?

    We continue our series based on our recently released white paper, What America Wants from the Postal Service, by focusing on cost cutting. We ask you to weigh in with your opinion on the best options for the Postal Service to trim costs while maintaining service.

    Among the Postal Service’s main cost-reducing measures are realigning its extensive retail network and its delivery network while providing high levels of service to the American public. Its goal is to optimize the retail network to match customer demand with supply and to focus on reducing unnecessary overhead, while improving service and the customer experience.

    Our web-based survey asked respondents to consider a handful of cost-cutting initiatives, including options that the Postal Service has never proposed, such as 3-day-week delivery. Results of our survey of 5,000 Internet-connected Americans aged 18 years and older found that more than 70% of respondents indicated a strong opposition to several of our proposed changes, including reducing the hours of operation for post offices, closing sorting facilities (resulting in a delivery delay), and moving to 3-day delivery.

    How do you feel about the following possible options the Postal Service could take to reduce costs?

  • on May 28th, 2013 in Strategy & Public Policy | 0 comments

    What do you want from your Postal Service? It’s a simple question, yet it is probably one that few citizens have pondered – even as our nation’s policymakers consider how best to reform the U.S. Postal Service. The voice of the American public has largely been absent from the debate about what role the Postal Service should play in meeting modern communications needs.

    To better understand how Americans view the Postal Service now, as well as what role it could play in their future lives, the Postal Service Office of Inspector General commissioned a web survey of 5,000 Internet-connected Americans aged 18 years and older. The survey explored areas such as: perceptions of the Postal Service’s role, access to postal services, cost reduction efforts, comfort level with online interactions, and future growth opportunities.

    The survey yielded several interesting results. For one, the overwhelming majority of respondents think their lives would be hurt if the Postal Service did not exist in 5 years. Most respondents also consider Postal Service delivery a public service that should be maintained, even if it is not profitable. While most respondents were satisfied with the service and accessibility of their Post Office, a strong majority indicated they would be interested in more self-service options. Respondents were not generally opposed to closing post offices to reduce costs, but were less likely to support cost reduction measures such as delaying mail delivery or reducing delivery to 3 days a week. Many interviewees, especially younger ones, expressed interest in the Postal Service offering new nonpostal products, including some digital services. (Link to “What American Wants From the Postal Service – A Survey of Internet-connected Americans”)

    This week, in a series of daily blogs, we are going to ask you to weigh in with your opinion. Each day, we will feature some of the questions from the survey in a poll we hope you will answer. We also welcome more detailed input in our comment section. In particular, we would like to know your thoughts on reinventing the Postal Service in an era of digital communications. If you were going to reshape the nation’s postal system, which parts would you keep and which parts would you change? And is there some aspect of today’s Postal Service that you would absolutely insist on retaining.

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