A Contract Postal Unit (CPU) is a retail postal facility located inside a retail establishment, such as supermarkets, card and gift shops, pharmacies, and colleges. CPUs are operated by the retailer's employees and offer the same basic services available at a regular Post Office. The Village Post Office (VPO) concept was introduced earlier this year and is similar to the CPU in that they are retail postal facilities operated by community businesses. However, they provide limited postal products and services. CPUs and VPOs lower U.S. Postal Service expenses, primarily because they use already existing retail stores. The Postal Service does not have to rent its own store and hire dedicated staff.

In fiscal year (FY) 2010, CPUs accounted for 8 percent of the Postal Service’s total retail network. In comparison, Canada has private dealer – operated outlets, which are similar to CPUs and account for more than 39 percent of Canada Posts® retail outlets; Australia has Licensed Post Offices and Community Postal Agencies, which are also similar to CPUs and account for 81 percent of Australia Posts® retail network.
[poll id="201"]
[poll id="202"]

Expanding the use of CPUs and VPOs could assist the Postal Service in reducing its physical footprint, lowering expenses, providing more outlets for products and services, and potentially increasing access hours.
What do you think? Would a system of CPU and VPOs better serve the current market? Do you have any concerns with the concept?

Please share your thoughts and ideas.

This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Financial Control Directorate.

Comments (59)

  • anon

    There is no substitute for the genuine article, which is a bona fide post office. I submit Benjamin Franklin knew what he was doing. The mail is too vital to trust to makeshift operations. Whatever they officially are titled, they are imitations. The federal government has bailed out the most undeserving enterprises and institutions. It can provide the USPS with essential funding. Case closed.

    Nov 20, 2011
  • anon

    Thanks to all who took the time to vote and post a comment on this blog.

    Nov 14, 2011
  • anon

    A Contract Postal Unit (CPU) is a retail postal facility located inside a retail establishment

    Nov 03, 2011
  • anon

    I also think it's a great idea that the CPUs are in the malls. makes things easier Adrian

    Nov 03, 2011
  • anon

    great idea I had not crossed his mind, is a good way to make life easier for people and generate extra income that does not require investing large sums of money and can put in any shop. bye

    Oct 27, 2011
  • anon

    A CPU is not like a standard post office, and a VPO is not even a reasonable <b>facsimile</b> of either of the above. We all know VPOs only exist because Union contracts prohibit new CPUs from having PO boxes. How do you invent a new type of CPU? Have it offer absolutely nothing. You can't weigh a package, you can't have them put stamps on it, you can't send anything non-Priority Flat Rate, you can't get Change of Address Cards there, you can't ask them questions, you can't get insurance or Delivery Confirmation, and you can't even get a letter postmarked there because all they have are these dumb boxes that do NOT represent the wide-ranging needs of various communities. People need more than least-common-denominator Bell stamps and Flat-Rate Priority boxes. VPOs are volunteer work forced onto local stores, guilt-tripped into "letting their town keep its ZIP code". They not post offices, and under NO circumstance should they be allowed to represent adequate service to a community. Instead of asking people whether they'd rather have a VPO or nothing, what you should be asking is "Why should people accept this trash in place maintaining their real Post Office, featuring a qualified professional?" What USPS needs is better customer service at its existing locations, particularly in urban communities. What customers need are trained USPS professionals to help them with the wide variety of services that USPS offers, and is obligated to fully offer, each community. CPUs are good additions the postal network, to SUPPLEMENT (not REPLACE) existing facilities. VPOs are trash.

    Oct 24, 2011
  • anon

    When the contract station employees and the village post office employees receive extensive retail training and are held accountable - then and only then will the service be as good as at your local post office. (this also should apply to PMR's - the extensive training) as it stands they have no concept of the indepth rules and regulations necessary for proper mail acceptance and procedures-- causing many unhappy customers...

    Oct 24, 2011
  • anon

    Our downtown Post Office closed and the building was sold to a local non-profit. They renovated the building back to 1922 and run an excellent CPU. I dare say the staff of the non-profit are much nicer than our USPS postal employees out on the highway - they certainly smile more downtown! :-)

    Oct 24, 2011
  • anon

    Many shopping centres are now using automated postal machines which will way, price and accept letters and small packages. These may be the future of CPUs.

    Mar 28, 2012

Pages

Share this post


Recent Comments

Monthly Archive