By Jody Berenblatt, senior advisor, GrayHair Advisors We are living in the age of the “delivery revolution.” Businesses are positioning themselves to deliver goods where and when customers want them. Order nearly anything anywhere and the Postal Service can deliver the item in a reasonable timeframe at a reasonable price. In my Greenwich Village neighborhood, we are able to get anything promptly delivered, from the mundane to outrageous. In the 1990s, we were amazed when our local McDonalds, which took orders by phone and delivered them to our door, would ask, “The usual Happy Meal and Big Mac?” McDonalds used a phone-driven database for customer preference and delivery information. More than a dozen years later, how might the Postal Service -- in repositioning itself as an open information platform -- make information available to partners to nurture innovation and improve the customer delivery experience? Here’s one very simple example: A customer orders a pair of boots larger than her mailbox. What happens? For the Postal Service, costs escalate after a first delivery attempt fails. It’s also a hassle for the consumer who must make arrangements to obtain the parcel (whether that is a redelivery request or a retail pickup). The Postal Service has operational files, such as the Delivery Point Verification (DPV) file that identifies address delivery types: It tells you if an address is a business or a residence and whether the mail will be delivered to a doorman, through a door slot, or to a curb-side mailbox. If this postal intelligence can be accessed to get the dimensions of the customer’s mail receptacle, then the sender could know beforehand if the boots would fit inside, and what options to explore if they don’t. Would they fit if they were in a polybag instead of a carton? If changing the packaging won’t work, could the shipper offer delivery to a convenient parcel locker or an alternate address such as the customer’s place of work? People are already sharing their delivery preferences with MyUSPS.com, such as directing the Postal Service to leave the package on the back porch, or with the neighbor, or ‘hold it at a Post Office for pick-up if they aren’t going to be home. The information and technology needed to make this idea and others a reality are already in place. It’s just a matter of using them in new, creative ways. Just what else might neighborhood logistics encompass? We asked three other postal experts to write guest blogs offering their thoughts and predictions on the future of neighborhood logistics: Worth the Price: High Quality, Convenience, and Timeliness by Robert M. Campbell, Ph.D., president and vice-chancellor, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB Canada Carriers as Conduits by Jim Holland, research director, National Association of Letter Carriers Rethinking Mailbox Access by Keith Kellison, senior vice president, UPS Global Public Affairs Read what they had to say and let us know what you think, including what kind of delivery and logistical services you might want in your neighborhood. Back to the "What’s in Store for Neighborhood Logistic Services?" blog.
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