on Jan 23rd, 2012 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 7 comments
 

A leading book on business strategy and innovation claims, “through innovation, business organizations can change the world.”

A 2010 study on global postal innovation by Capgemini states “there is a general tendency among all postal operators to diversify by investments outside their core business (mail, parcel),” especially into the logistics and financial services areas. Among European operators, Poste Italiane, Swiss Post, Deutsche Post DHL (Germany), and Austrian Post, in particular, have increased their share of non-core business.

Poste Italiane introduced the Postepay prepaid card at the end of 2003. Over 5.6 million customers in Italy have used this reloadable card, which allows them to make purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs. There is a one-time fee of €5 ($6.44) for opening the account and adding funds to the card or withdrawing money costs €1 ($1.29) at an Italian Poste.

A number of other posts have made their own innovative marks. Canada Post in partnership with BackCheck, now offers ID verification at their locations. Post Denmark, working with financial partners, signed almost 3.5 million users for its eBoks digital mail service, almost 2/3 of the population. Austrian Post operates a banking network called PSK BANK, which has trained financial advisors at every postal branch and offers services including:

  • Free bank accounts.
  • High-yield insurance products such as retirement planning products.
  • Eastern European stocks.

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Comments

If the only way to keep the Postal Service viable is to have it provide services other than what the Constitution requires, namely deliver mail, then it is time to retire the Postal Service. Why shoudl the Postal Service provide services that are already adequately provided by private industries? As it is, the Postal Service is a government monopoly interfering with free enterprise. The Constitution does not say that the Federal government via the Postal Service shall provide delivery of mail AND delivery of banking AND delivery of insurance and other services; it only says delivery of mail. Those other countries offer different services because that is how their governments decided to operate. That is not the tradition in the US -- we have private countries to do that. And none of the services cited will fill up postal mail facilities, just retail window time. The Postal Service does not have the expertise to provide these services.

Private Industry is not a panacea for all government ills. We see this in many diverse fields and similar to Privatizing Social Security, once done it would be nearly impossible to undo. Imagine the disaster of privatized SS during the recession of '08. It would have be horrific. Take a short look at the private prison system and the abuses it routinely subjects prisoners to. I cite for one concrete example the Juvenile Detention system in PA.

On the other hand, the Postal Service would be wise to pull a page or so from business in that, when your business model becomes outmoded then change the business plan instead of going out of business. Just because the public isn't buying product "A" shouldn't mean the Postal Service shouldn't or be restricted from offering product "B"

There are a number of offerings that would be easily done by the Postal Service given their size and resources. To not explore them would be a consummate waste

There has been such hew and cry over the finances of the Postal Services budget shortfalls and calls for it's dissolution that I wonder, who would profit most from the end of the only provider of Universal Services in the nation?

State of Postal Union.....

Well Kira, that is a wonderful statement of support.
We're trying to "think positive" here....
However, the simple fact of the matter is, that technology
adaptation of postal services, by the user of postal services will win out, and extinguish the economic model realities which USPS management simply did not recognize, as was testified in Congressional hearings.
Let's examine one single household:
A household which currently has a computer which is linked
via broadband, and has an average quality bundled security software installed. (Rather than attempt to identify the current Rural Broadband, or Metro connection statistics)
Let's just say 70% + - of the population have a viable & usable broadband connection to the internet.)

Let's call it 200,000,000 connected, however let's for kicks let's say currently, only 150 million are e-billing/e payment participants.*
And, let's say the average number of bills, payments and other FSM or Flat's is 40 per/month for each 150 million address's, resulting in a total of 80/per month postal transactions times 12 months, which equals 960 per year postal transactions which NO LONGER EXIST for 150 million postal users. You can complete the calculation on your own.... The product is quite
I'm afraid some challenges may be difficult to overcome and unfortunately a penny may not do it......

*Postal addresses where the occupant electronically receives, and pays these items (former mail)

So, as I've pointed out before on other issues (embrace the change by adapting to it).

jrk, sorry, but Kira is correct. It is the sheer number of wacky ideas that have been tried and multiple levels of managers and auditors that are hired to monitor these programs that have put the Postal Service in its dire financial situation as it is now. Unless you are there you cannot imagine the amount of $$$ that are SPENT to try and SELL a $2 greeting card. The boxes and envelopes you see in the lobbies are inventoried to death and the partnerships with UPS and FEDEX to deliver their "last mile" parcels??? They just dump the oversize ones on us that couldn't be shipped within USPS guidelines in the beginning. So jrk, don't buy into the myth that the internet is killing the USPS. It is committing suicide.

I agree with JRK, we must be positive, the postal system adaptation is necessary, we must explore new ideas and put them into practice.

JRK i agree with you, Carmen i think we did not be positive everytime.

Why should the Postal Service provide services that re already adequately provided by private industries? Carmen i think we did not be positive everytime.

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