• Reply to: 24-Hour Parcel Service?   5 years 3 months ago

    This is a cool idea. The Postal Service should explore extending such services to their competitors too. In other words, UPS and FedEx could drop parcels (that couldn't be delivered on the first attempt) at these "Pakstations" and their customers can pick them up 24/7. The Postal Service could charge UPS and FedEx a small fee for storage. It's a win-win-win situation for FedEx/Ups; their customers; and the Postal Service. This is a classic case of coopetition for the benefits of all.

  • Reply to: Mail Volume: What Goes Up…?   5 years 3 months ago

    The Postal Service with one of the largest number of retail outlets should take advantage of that and expand its relationship with carriers like United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (FedEx). The Postal Reform act of 2006 separated the Post Office into two (2) categories being competitive and non-competitive products. UPS and FedEx come into many facilities on a daily basis. Why not offer UPS and FedEx products at out retail outlets and make a profit on that transaction? We currently have the parcel select program in place were packages are dropped of at Post Offices and the Post Office receives a fee of about 80 cents per piece and then UPS and FedEx come pick up the packages and we are electronically paid for the arrangement.

    On the transportation issue we need to better maximize the utilization of vehicles. At present vehicles are being dispatch and in many cases are only at about 30% of capacity. By law the only mail that has a guaranteed delivery time is Express Mail. With technology we should be able to determine the volume of mail that will arrive at any particular processing facility and then calculate transportation requirements to avoid wasting money on half empty equipment. Also in the same manner that we deliver the last mile for UPS and FedEx if we enter into partnership with UPS and FedEx we may be able to use our transportation resources to provide the first mile and in return maximize the use of our fleet and generate additional revenue to help the Post Office survive into the future.

    On the revenue issue we also need to look at providing vending options for out customers that do not use debit or credit. As we eliminate more and more coin operated vending machines we are forcing more customers on to the full service lines just to purchase one or two stamps there by causing the lines to get longer and in many cases alienating customers to the point that they just leave. In essence we are giving away our business by not providing the service which by law we are required to provide. Even the Automated Postal Center is not friendly in this regard because the minimum purchase is set at a price point higher than the cost of a single stamp. As a former postal manager I feel that the APC revenue and retail window revenue should be combined into one goal so that retail window service is not sacrificed at the expense of customer service in order to achieve a high rating during the pay for performance review.

    EXFC and the impact on revenue: This is a useful measurement tool but when you utilize overtime to meet this goal because of "sleepers" that were found or late pieces that arrive after the carrier has left to deliver his/her route then the value of the score becomes useless because it is falsely manipulated through the use of overtime which then becomes waste and abuse!

    We need to ensure that all revenue sources are protected and maximized and that wasteful practices are eliminated to ensure the survival of the Postal Service.

  • Reply to: Moving Less Mail   5 years 3 months ago

    Drop shipping first class isn't the answer. Being lean and mean, developing new products, and reducing the size of the company are what is important. Service, service, service, like location, location, location. If we don't provide the service, people will pay more to our competitor because service is number one. The non reliability of package delivery has me thinking about switching over to our competitor.

  • Reply to: Who We Are and Why We Blog...   5 years 3 months ago

    Whose bright idea is it not to case dps up in the morning? CLerk cut off time at the station is 10:30, adn they eat, talk, read, and use the phone to draw it out to that time. Meanwhile the carriers are up and waiting for the last few letters and flats to be thrown. Noting to do because the pp clerk is in on it and dones not get done till then also. So carriers have to wait when dps could be cased and save street time. Some nut who has never carried mail thinks they know how. You want to save money ask a carrier. When there was no automation we started at 6 a.m. left about 9 back around 3. There were 2 supervisors and 1 on Sat. The place ran great, we helped each other all was fine. Now the place is going to hell in a hand basket.

  • Reply to: Crime Takes No Holiday   5 years 3 months ago

    I doubt that the bulk of the theft is internal. It's not like retail stores that consists mainly of low wage jobs. Most postal employee's I know wouldn't risk their job and benefits over something like this. But a comparison would be interesting to see


  • Reply to: Moving Less Mail   5 years 3 months ago

    I think the Postal Service needs to take advantage of the fact that they visit, or at least pass every house every day. From utility companies needing meters to be read to marketing companies wanting to know the type of car parked in the driveway. I believe the Postal Service could provide valuable information to companies who would be willing to pay for this type of service.

  • Reply to: Moving Less Mail   5 years 3 months ago

    Dropship FCM has been thought of many times by many people over many years. It is anathema to USPS. But as a larger and larger proportion of the mail is sent by large, sophisticated mailers, and as these mailers become more effective in what they can do, the issue just becomes more important.

    The opposition is probably three fold. First, it does not want a nationwide network with v. little mail on it. Second, it does not want to face the unions who do not want a reduction in employment levels. Third, heads of large organizations usually feel like bigger is better--I want many people reporting to me, I want a bigger staff, I want more power, I want more influence, and so on.

    The problem is that none of these reasons are any good, particularly in the long run. The discounts would probably be small at first and would be based on avoidable costs. If you can avoid 2.5 cents and you give a discount of 1 cent, then you save 1.5 cents each time a piece becomes dropshipped. The network has to be adjusted over time. Further, some studies show diseconomies of scale, so a smaller, tighter network might even be better. As far as labor goes, we don't need constraints that are essentially make-work schemes. It has been understood for 100 years that an economy does not advance by keeping jobs that are not needed. As far as wanting a bigger staff goes, that is a bad reason from the start.

    Different people have different versions of how we got started on other kinds of worksharing. The truth probably is that the Rate Commission pushed it and the Postal Service came in kicking and screaming. Now, however, the Postal Service takes credit for it and points out how much better off we are with it.

  • Reply to: Moving Less Mail   5 years 3 months ago

    This is a great discussion!!! Now, my 2 cents on how to reduce transportation cost. Basic business strategy: when revenues decrease, expenses MUST also decrease...unless the company wants to go out of business. I know the Postal Service can focus on increasing revenues, which is a great idea, but the bleeding has to stop also.

    Now, not knowing the background of why there are transportation routes that overlap or are underutilized, my initial suggestion is to immediately stop the bleeding by eliminating both of these situations.

    In addition, although it may be difficult to reduce the reliance on air, airline carriers are also suffering financially and transporting mail may not be all that bad. If the Postal Service has not already done so, it should develop air carrier delivery standards and hold the airline carrier financially accountable when it does not meet those standards...this could be another stream of income (that's a joke).

    I also disagree with relaxing delivery timeframe standards...although the mission is to deliver the mail...the competitive edge is to deliver the mail timely!

  • Reply to: Crime Takes No Holiday   5 years 3 months ago

    It would be interesting to know the percentage of Postal Svc employees vs. the percentage of non-Postal Svc employees stealing items in the mail. Good to know who to contact if I suspect anything.

  • Reply to: Crime Takes No Holiday   5 years 3 months ago

    This is an interesting topic. I do not have any practical suggestions as the posting solicited. But I do have a couple of observations:

    1) Vigilance by USPS, OIG and IS ought to be continuous and omnipresent. This is like "food quality" in the restaurant industry; it ought to be a perennial concern. Adequate resources need to be diverted to solve this problem.

    2) Could the Postal Service learn from Netfix and other innovative businesses who have worked this problem?

    3) Could the Postal Service use technology like RFID or the GPS- technology that can track and log a mailpiece movement (e.g., letter-log). Of course cost/benefit analysis and seeding may be needed here. But I am thinking that it may be justified for mailpieces with valuable content and/or selected pieces (seeding) for deterrence purposes.

  • Reply to: Mail Volume: What Goes Up…?   5 years 3 months ago

    How many horse drawn carriages have you seen lately? Just because radio was able to stick around doesn't mean mail as we know it will not dry up. The future lies in delivering packages from online retailers. As more and more retail outlets fall to the likes of Walmart and Best Buy they will turn to the internet where overhead is a fraction of the cost of having retail locations nation wide. The USPS need to establish warehouse where retailers can rent space to store goods and when they are sold USPS can deliver them directly from their warehouse. You could have circuit City leasing whole warehouses from the post office with USPS taking care of all of their delivery needs. Can you say CACHING?

  • Reply to: What are we doing with your blog feedback?   5 years 3 months ago

    Universal service obligations.

    The USO is not being met when the USPS does not fulfill its obligation to meet costs and not pass excessive costs to mailers.

    For example. If a 10MM investment is required to have equipment meet or exceed current USPS engineering standards, it might be acceptable to alter the physical mail standards as an avoidance to incurring that fee. For any business without a USO that would be acceptable.

    The USPS, however, has an USO. And will not meet its USO if they pass on the costs to the American mailing public. You see, the 10MM cost guestimate was for the USPS. The actual cost, by phasing in alterations of physical mail, to American business is astronomical.

    Would anyone on this blog care to take a guess as to how much this is going to cost you in terms of:

    1. learning curve
    2. engineering of non-existing equipment to facilitate nonrealistic standards
    3. investment in so-called, and as of yet non-identified, equipment for new standard
    4. money lost in an investment that will ultimately prove unwise and unnessary as the standards are challeged by class action law suit. (You see, the same statute that prescibes that the USPS does not have to incorporate your comments into rulemaking also points out that the USPS can sue, and be sued in its official name.)
    5. clients lost
    6. jobs lost

    Or didn't you get my invitation to investigate if USPS vendors made a pitch to USPS personnel on how "cost prohibitive" it would be to reengineer their equipment? It seems as if someone, or some few persons decided it would be cheaper to dump on the mailers. Bad idea, guys. I've even read where they recommend using larger tabs and wafer seals. Stupid idea since no one has requalified the peel adhesion rate, or did someone silence the engineers who originally tested peel adhesion rates for the last couple of years?

    Itza blog. So blog on, OIG.

  • Reply to: What are we doing with your blog feedback?   5 years 3 months ago

    What isn't a violation of Postal regulations.
    That's us in a nutshell.
    We are the Washington Generals, the team that always plays against the Harlem Globetrotters.

  • Reply to: What are we doing with your blog feedback?   5 years 3 months ago

    We've taken off an RSS feed to an external site. You can still use the RSS link in the upper right corner for this blog's content.

  • Reply to: A New Kind of Post Office?   5 years 3 months ago

    I think this is an excellent idea. I do think that the deployment of various ideas should be geographically/demographically based. What works at one location may not work at another and vice versa.

  • Reply to: What are we doing with your blog feedback?   5 years 3 months ago

    Hi, Blog Editor. Hey, is the RSS feed disabled or is the link to the personal website disabled? Very interested in this blog and would love to have an RSS feed. Thanks for the great work!

  • Reply to: Top 10 Postal Stories of 2008   5 years 3 months ago

    I think this is an interesting list of 10 top stories for 2008. It's interesting to note that every story has at least one advocate from the blog participants as a top story. I would have liked to see a story about decline of advertising mail being sent by the financial sector as a candidate of top ten stories.

  • Reply to: What are we doing with your blog feedback?   5 years 3 months ago

    Thank you for your comment. After reviewing your concern, we have decided to take down the RSS feed. We appreciate your feedback.

  • Reply to: What are we doing with your blog feedback?   5 years 3 months ago

    I have contacted you previously and the USPS law department...no response from either.

    I believe it to be a conflict of interest for you to include a link to the 'personal' website of a current USPS employee on your blog. Your link indirectly creates 'personal' income for this person.

    How can you do this or, in your opinion, why is this not a conflict of interest and a violation of postal law and federal law?

  • Reply to: What are we doing with your blog feedback?   5 years 3 months ago

    What about a blog on how the Office of Inspector General works?

  • Reply to: Moving Less Mail   5 years 3 months ago

    Hi, I found the above discussion informative but the track it took on drop shipping bulk First-Class is a minor one. Sure, generating new mail volume at lower costs is just what the Postal Service needs to do, but maybe the big picture question should be "If mail volume continues to decline due to the internet,etc. what kind of future, downsized postal service is the US going to end up with - or what kind of future downsized postal service do we want to establish?"

  • Reply to: Mail Volume: What Goes Up…?   5 years 3 months ago

    I agree 100% with this comment. Why did the USPS give up on parcel services? This is where the $ is...you cannot email or fax a parcel! The USPS already goes to every address every day, but gave up on the money maker right before the paradigm shifted to e-commerce. Talk about bad timing....

  • Reply to: Self-Service Mail Technologies   5 years 3 months ago

    I would like to see the USPS jump on board the electronic age... WE CAN do this by thinking outside the "stamp" so to speak, by offering our customer base e-certified options, e-fax services through our secure servers that time date stamps everything (electronic postmark)that could (if done right) could ultimately eliminate the need for faxes... Atty's, financial institutions, CPA's etc... sending all those documents that they fax now, through our e-USPS secure servers... all for a fee that the USPS collects, without ever having actually touched a piece of paper... e-services such as internet cafe's at USPS installations with a coffee machine, snacks etc...

  • Reply to: Mail Volume: What Goes Up…?   5 years 3 months ago

    While I may agree with all of the numbers and conclusions, "mstgeorge1" was the only one to posit a solution. As a consultant for over 25 years, I know the difference between a workable solution and pedantic lip service. Saying that the Post Office should take advantage of opportunities is like telling a person up to their eyes in credit card debt to stop charging things. It is axiomatic and not helpful.

    The solution is the five day delivery schedule, or in the more extreme, the three day delivery schedule.

    There is no reason for the Post Office to endure the costs of Weekend Deliveries for first class mail. Use the Express Mail service as it is currently designed, but move standard mail (FIrst Class, Priority, etc) to a Mon-Wed-Fri schedule.

    For those people where ONLY mail will do, the one day difference is not a deal breaker, but for those people requiring next day delivery and ridiculously detailed tracking, let them pay the premiums of the other services.

    The words Traditional Business Model are as oxymoronic as Jumbo Shrimp and Minor Catastrophe. Tradition is about remebering how things were, and keeping them that way. A business model, by definition looks to what things will be, and adjusts for the change.

    What the USPS excels at (First Class, Priority, etc), nobody in the world can do as well as they do. By the same token, they need to stop trying to be all things to all people.

    Go tell Fedex you want to deliver a letter within the week to anywhere in the US for under a dollar and see what you get.

    Go tell UPS you have a standard sized box and you only want to pay 4.60 cents to ship in no matter WHAT it weighs and check the response.

    I can wait a day for the TV guide, my bills or even my Christmas cards. If I want it mailed out TODAY, I can still drop it in a corner mailbox or visit the post office itself.

    The THREE DAY home delivery schedule would cut the overall payroll costs by almost ONE THIRD. and the fuel costs by 20% (remember, mail from PO to PO would still have to be done daily, or it would become unmanagable).

    This would allow the service to operate within its operating budget, leaving money for future technology improvements.

  • Reply to: Mail Volume: What Goes Up…?   5 years 3 months ago

    USPS is out of touch with reality. It seems to me the management of the USPS is extremely slow at adapting to the changes brought about by the internet. It seems quite obvious to me that the USPS should be putting a greater emphasis on delivering packages bought over the internet. I find that most of the purchases I make over the web are delivered by either fedex or UPS. Obviously the USPS has not reached out to this community to offer them a superior and cheaper service. With the volume the USPS handles they could make it much more economical for shippers to mail their products. The days of delivering bills and personal letters is coming to an end. If the USPS could make their international shipping options cheaper they could open up a whole new area for revenue expansion.