• on Apr 19th, 2011 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 14 comments
    Although the digital option has grown as a channel for Americans to communicate, purchase, and store personal information, there are drawbacks that leave a significant portion of the population underserved. To meet the population’s needs and “bind the nation together” in a digital world, the Postal Service must modernize its role. The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Risk Analysis Research Center has completed Part 2 of a series on the Postal Service’s role in the digital age. Building on the first white paper which explored the facts and trends impacting communications, The Postal Service Role in the Digital Age – Part 2: Expanding the Postal Platform, presents a strategic positioning framed by three guiding principles: •Promoting solutions for the communications problems of the digital age •Using the core competencies and assets of the Postal Service •Considering the policy implications of the strategy based on the current legal and regulatory environment Using an “eMailbox” that links a physical address to an electronic mailbox for every citizen and business, the Postal Service could build a digital platform that supports communications and commerce for postal, governmental, and commercial applications. The paper provides six additional initial applications for consideration, including: •An eGovernment application that promotes the expansion of government services throughout the postal platform and uses the eMailbox to send and receive secure and official communication with federal agencies. •Tools for identity validation, privacy protection, and transaction security that allow users to verify the individuals and businesses they are communicating with, the safety of their personal information, and security of their purchases and financial transactions. •Hybrid and reverse hybrid mail that allow senders and receivers to convert digital documents to physical and physical documents to digital. •Enhancing services for the shipping and delivery of secure online purchases through flexible pick-up and delivery options, expanded payment choices, and a cost calculation that includes all charges and fees for purchases (even international) at the time of sale. •Digital concierge services that use the eMailbox to integrate an individual’s physical and digital communications in a single place. These services act as a type of secure “lock box” and help manage the “information overflow,” providing quick access to important communications and other personal documents (such as medical records and wills). •Develop a network to buy and redeem cash and digital currency at Post Office™ locations and online. To learn more about the strategy and specific areas the Postal Service should consider, click here to read the paper. Do you think the Postal Service has a role in the digital age? Would you use any of these applications? This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).
  • on Apr 11th, 2011 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 31 comments
    [dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"]L[/dropcap]ast year Americans spent $155.2 billion in online shopping. This year they are projected to spend more than $190 billion. The delivery of these parcels and packages represent a large revenue opportunity for the U.S. Postal Service, especially if they can improve delivery times, package tracking and increase processing through automation and new technologies. One solution may be the use of radio frequency identification (RFID). Currently, the Postal Service uses barcode systems to manually track and scan packages. A RFID tracking system uses radio waves to transmit and track identifiable information about an object, which has a unique tag embedded with a microchip and an antenna. The chip could store product or shipment information, such as the sender’s and receiver’s addresses, package contents, or other relevant information.The technology would allow for greater automation of parcels/packages, reducing delivery time and allowing mailers to track and even recall/reroute packages with greater ease. Instead of relying on human scanning – as the current barcode system does – RFID would use electronic readers to capture data on tags and transmit it directly to a computer system. The RFID system would require significant outlay for a new infrastructure as well as the cost of the tags themselves. The investment ultimately could result in lower costs and improved mail delivery times, making the Postal Service the premier delivery service. This blog is hosted by the Office of Audit, Delivery Directorate.
  • on Mar 28th, 2011 in Delivery & Collection | 57 comments
    [dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"]L[/dropcap]ast Thursday the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) issued its advisory opinion on the U. S. Postal Service’s proposal to switch to five-day delivery. Following a year-long analysis, the PRC voiced concerns with the request, questioning the potential savings, the impact on service, and the effect on communities, especially in rural areas. However, the Commission was unable to reach a consensus and did not issue an opinion to endorse or reject the proposal to cut Saturday delivery. The Postal Service responded with a statement from the Postmaster General, reiterating that five-day delivery is a core element of the Postal Service’s strategy for the future. The statement also said the Postal Service will continue to press its case before Congress, which has the authority to change delivery requirements. Do you think the Postal Service has a case for five-day delivery? Although 5-day delivery is a key element of the Postal Service's future plans, there are many other options under consideration at this point in time. In your mind, what do you think are the most important options? Give your comments below. Note: The U.S. Governement Accountability office just released its own report on 5-day delivery. This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

     

     

     

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