• on Oct 13th, 2009 in Strategy & Public Policy | 15 comments
    When the topic of competition for the Postal Service comes up in casual conversation, the discussion usually involves FedEx or UPS. However, packages are a relatively small part of the Postal Service’s business. Certainly, these firms are direct competitors, but are there other competitors for Postal Service business? What alternatives compete with each of the various Postal products? What, if anything, can the Postal Service do to better compete in each product line? This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).
  • on Aug 24th, 2009 in Strategy & Public Policy | 12 comments
    Think ahead to 10 years from now. What will the world look like in 2020? How will consumer behavior change? What should logistics companies do now to prepare for the future?

    Deutsche Post attempted to answer these questions in its global Delphi study published in June (click here to view the study). The Delphi method is a technique to develop predictions about the future. The Deutsche Post study involved two stages. In the first stage, a group of specialists working in a wide range of theoretical and practical fields put forward various theses about possible future developments. These were discussed and debated until the experts converged on a set of 81 theses.

    In the second stage, a different wider panel of 900 industry experts reviewed the 81 theses and rated how much they agreed with them. There were regional differences in the responses, but several trends stood out such as the rising importance of Asia, the growing interest in green issues, and the continued growth in Internet technologies.

    The poll below lists some of the most relevant predictions from the Deutsche Post survey that may affect the Postal Service.

    Do you agree with these predictions? Do you think the Postal Service is ready to meet the challenges of the next decade? If not, how should the Postal Service respond?

    This blog is hosted by the OIG's Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

  • on Aug 3rd, 2009 in Strategy & Public Policy | 18 comments
    It wasn’t too long ago that digital audio players such as iPods and MP3s revolutionized the music industry. Now, almost a decade later, the same sort of revolution is occurring in the publishing industry with the introduction of electronic reading devices such as the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader. Electronic reading devices allow users to download digital versions of books, newspapers, and magazines. The devices are mobile, and some offer wireless capabilities. Now, newspaper and magazine publishers have another option besides the Postal Service to reach customers. Will electronic reader technology become a more effective method to deliver newspapers and magazines? Will this technology be the answer for the survival of newspaper and magazine publishers or the demise of the mail house and printing industry? A recent study stated the number of business to business publications offering digital editions and total subscriptions have increased over 300 percent from 2006 to 2007. In addition, consumer publications offering digital editions and total subscriptions have increased over 200 percent from 2005 to 2007. However, Periodicals mail volume has steadily declined since 2000, and for the past few years, the Postal Service’s Periodicals class revenue has failed to cover its costs. The electronic reader option offers newspaper and magazine publishers a less expensive way to reach readers. In addition to the thousands of digital books available for download, today electronic reader users can buy monthly subscriptions to The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and other major newspapers all for around $10 a month. These publications can be downloaded automatically to the electronic reader overnight, so at breakfast, it's available to read. Some electronic readers require synching and downloading using a personal computer, while others offer wireless downloads. Electronic reader technology also provides the ability to cut, paste, and email articles, and to clarify words through built-in dictionaries, which makes the electronic reader more compelling as a news delivery mechanism. The technology is still being developed but in the future could possibly include color and touch screen interaction. The technology also saves paper, although it consumes electricity. Right now, the only drawback is the price; electronic readers sell for about $299 to $500. So what do you think?
    1. Do you think the Postal Service’s Periodicals mail volume will be further reduced by electronic reader technology? What about other types of publications such as catalogs?
    2. At the current prices, would you purchase one of the electronic readers?
    3. If you own an electronic reader, do you subscribe to a newspaper or magazine?
    4. Would you subscribe to a newspaper or magazine if you owned an electronic reader?
    5. Is there a way the Postal Service can use electronic reader devices to its benefit to increase revenue?

    This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

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