• on Sep 3rd, 2012 in Products & Services | 9 comments
    As the U.S. Postal Service remakes itself into a leaner organization in the face of a communications revolution, it still remains a powerful medium and an important part of the nation’s infrastructure. A smaller Postal Service will still be huge, with more than $60 billion in projected revenue. It will not disappear tomorrow. A lingering concern remains, however, that the Postal Service is becoming less relevant to younger Americans. A recent public opinion poll by The New York Times and CBS supports this conclusion. According to the poll, only 30 percent of people under 45 say they use the mail “all the time.” While daily reliance on the Postal Service is still high for older generations, these poll results raise questions about the organization’s long-term future if physical mail does not play a role in the lives of younger Americans. A Pew Research study shows these younger generations turn to the Internet and smart devices for their news, entertainment, and to connect with friends and family. The Postal Service and traditional hard-copy communication vehicles will find it hard to win customers that have grown up as digital natives. Still, other polls suggest that hard copy and direct mail remain an important part of the media mix, even for those under the age 35. A 2011 survey by Pitney Bowes indicated that marketers under the age of 35 are more likely to use direct mail in their marketing mix than their older counterparts. Package delivery also remains an opportunity for the Postal Service as younger Americans are more likely than older generations to shop online. What do you think is the best way for the Postal Service to serve a younger demographic? Should it attempt to promote its traditional products to younger Americans and tout the benefits of hard copy as a complement or supplement to digital? Should the Postal Service instead focus on expanding its digital offerings? Is there another strategy?
  • on Jul 11th, 2011 in Strategy & Public Policy | 17 comments
    The American marketplace is experiencing constant changes in the ways that companies conduct business and communicate with customers. Like other businesses, the Postal Service must also innovate to stay relevant. The Office of Inspector General plans to examine innovation processes currently used by major U.S. corporations to learn about best practices/processes. The essence of innovation is to identify a problem and develop solutions. For example, Google and Facebook are successful because their websites meet needs of people to manage and organize vast amounts of information and social relationships available on the Internet. The Postal Service has enjoyed some success with innovative products. Its Priority Mail Flat Rate products have become popular, shipping 350 million boxes over the last 6 years, with revenue of $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2010. This product met the need to simplify the shipping process and was relevant to both consumers and business. What should the Postal Service do to identify business opportunities and customer needs in order to create solutions that lead to financial success and customer satisfaction? Also, what experience(s) have you had with Postal Service innovation? This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Planning and Strategic Studies Directorate.
  • on Nov 15th, 2010 in OIG | 14 comments
    Pushing the Envelope was launched in the late Fall of 2008. Since then, we have posted 118 topics (including this one) and received more than 3,800 comments from our readers. Topics covering issues of interest to Postal Service employees generated the greatest response. Our top five, by views, include the following: 1)Silly Rules 2)OIG wants to know how you feel about sick leave 3)Nationwide Wage Uniformity 4)Brainstorm Ideas part 2 (allowed people to choose the best idea) 5)Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service However, all topics, even less popular ones, have helped to generate a great deal of discussion with the following topics generating the most debate and the most comments: 1)Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service 2)The Great Debate 3)Silly Rules 4)Does the Postal Service Need to Re-examine Its Delivery Service Standards? This feedback has generated strong debate on the blog and sometimes in the greater postal community. In fact, two recent audits from the OIG’s office, “Postal Service Area and District Office Field Structure” and “Stations and Branches Optimization and Consolidation Initiative,” incorporate reader comments from their related blogs. The Postal Service continues to evolve to meet its current challenges, and fiscal year 2011 could be a very significant year for postal issues. Pushing the Envelope will be there to ask questions, generate ideas, and keep on pushing that envelope. As we emerge from our terrible twos into our third year, the contributors and editors hope you will continue to respond. We’d like to hear your views on what you want from this blog. What do you like? What would you like us to change? What topics should we cover next? Let us know what you think and keep commenting! This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

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