on Jun 7th, 2010 in Post Offices & Retail Network | 13 comments
 
A number of media news articles in the last year have examined reductions in Post Office retail hours around the country. They report that some Post Offices are cutting back or eliminating Saturday hours, opening late in the morning or closing earlier in the afternoon during the week. The Postal Service faces significant legal and political constraints when it tries to close Post Offices, but faces few constraints when it acts to cut back on the hours a facility is open. However, eliminating hours amounts to a partial scaling back of retail service. When contacted by media, local Postal Service spokespersons have said districts have no specific targets for reducing hours and potential savings have not been calculated. After notices are posted that a Post Office plans to cut hours, some districts refuse to provide the media with a list of facilities where hours have been reduced, citing competitive issues relative to UPS and FedEx.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), has come out against this approach, noting that cutting hours is a sure way to make the Postal Service’s financial condition worse. She said the Postal Service should be doing more to attract business, rather than making it more difficult for people to mail packages and letters because of reduced hours. So, is cutting Post Office hours the best way for the Postal Service to address declines in mail volume and the limits it faces on closing Post Offices? Is this part of a national Postal Service strategy or taking place solely by Post Offices on their own directive? Does the Postal Service owe the American people a real accounting of the service cuts it is making? What do you think? This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

Comments

Post Offices are distribution facilities (houing not only the carriers but PO boxes) more than retail facilities. Thus one can intelligently discuss dealing with hours at windows and closing counters, vis a vis retail traffice. But whether retail income at any given post office "pays" for the whole post office is a silly and irrelevant comparision given the distribution function.

Customers want convenience, not a hassle. Cut hours (service) and your sure to lose in the end. Make fewer POs, but keep them within a reasonable distance with availability. Let's grow the business! Package services is a market ripe for the picking.

At this point, changing the business model will be key. Each Post Office should be empowered to set the hours based off of their own market share. Example would be like quick service restaurants. Staffing is based off trends when customers frequent the establishment. Labor is an issue constantly, again based from sales (or lack of). Service will be the key. Understandably, the PO is not a restaurant, but the business principle is similar.

they should start by giving customer the service they deserved, not the numbers and scores that to score points, real numbers and real services that people paid for, not any of the lies that managers fix to make them look good in internal report, u can fool customer for long that they will stop using your service.

Cut out third class mail , all mail should be first class.
We have to pay to have junk mail delivered and then pay to have it put in the landfills , why do we have to pay for their free ride in our mail system.

non-profit should be paying more for bulk mail 15.5 per letter doesn;t even cover our cost of handling it also automation mail saturation rate is way to low lets raise these rates

i say get rid of all the money grabbing higher ups that dont even touch the mail. too many of them, even in my place of work outside of the po. thats where all the money goes! no postal service in 10 yrs anyway, too bad what a shame for all those people in it for years.but the higher ups will remain thats for sure right?

I think that the hours should be cut back. each office should be looked at as to the amount of business it has, and if it is short cut the hours. I am in a level 13 office that can very well be cut from 8 hours to 5-6 hours. This is a small community and there is no need to be open for 8 hours here.

I work at an auxiliary VMF co-located with a Post Office. Recently I walked over to the PO during my lunch break at about 12:20 pm to buy a book of stamps. I was amazed that there was a line of about 12 people waiting to get in, and a sign on the door stating that the PO was closed for lunch and would reopen at 1pm. What kind of service is that?

I believe the postal service should start testing for drug use for all employees. From upper management to the lowest employee, everyone should be tested and then let go if they test positive for illegal drugs. (Coming into the postal service you are tested and told if you test positive you will not have a job) It would save the postal service thousands of dollars because it would reduce the work force without having to offer any incentive to leave and save thousands of dollars in retirement benefits not paid out to the drug users.

Hours cutback for each post office should depend on
the amount of business. Some customers won't like it.

That is very good comment you shared.Thank you so much that for you shared those things with us.Im wishing you to carry on with ur achivments. All the best.

First, find ways to enable the P.O. to be run like a real business motivated by traditional profit-loss metrics, like any normal private sector business. Minimizing Congressional interference is a big key to greatly improving efficiency.

Second, "making people happy" is NOT the goal of a private business. Obviously if you anger enough of your customer base enough then you will lose business. But decisions need to be made on the basis of what is best for the BUSINESS of the bost office. Those real-world cost-benefit decisions don';t seem to get made now, as other factors (such as politics) plays an unreasonable role.

Thgird, w/o know the inside financials, it seems to me that restricting hours is maybe a positive direction for many under-utilized (mostly rural) sites, you will still have all of the "fixed costs" in place of operating a center, regardless. IOW, you might reduce the open hours in half, but only reduce overall costs by 10% at a given center. The most "efficient" reductions - i.e. biggest bang for the buck - would seem to me to be closing whole centers. That said, reductions in hours might be a right first-step, but not the ultimate solution...

Finally, follow the model that was used by the military Base Closings Commission(s). There, too, politics interfered with optimal efficiency and we had way too many military bases in place, usually at the behest of Congress ("a base in every district" mentality). The Commission removed most of the politics and made closure decisions/recommendations based primarily on maximizing efficiency. Maybe something similar would be the ultimate resolution of the P.O. crisis.

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