The year 2014 was certainly historic on the postal and logistics front. Alibaba entered the U.S. market with a bang, setting a record with the largest ever U.S. initial public offering. For the first time ever, non-mail revenues exceeded mail revenues for postal administrations around the world. Shippers braced for the full effect of dimensional weight pricing. And the U.S. Postal Service added its name to the growing list of agencies and companies to suffer a data breach.

All in all, quite an eventful year. OIG staff sifted through the news and put together a top 10 list of postal stories, in reverse order of impact. Share your thoughts and take our poll to vote for your top story.

10. Staples Taps Out – Under pressure from labor groups, Staples and the Postal Service ended a pilot program to set up mini-post offices in stores. Instead, the 82 Staples pilot locations transitioned into the Postal Service’s long-established Approved Shipper Program, which offers some postal products alongside those of other carriers.

9. Open Sesame! – China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba set a record for the largest U.S. initial public offering ever, raising $25 billion. Alibaba’s CEO said the company plans “aggressive expansion” in the U.S. With any luck, the Postal Service will figure out how to partner with Alibaba too.

8. Dim Weighting on Shippers – FedEx and UPS announced plans to price all ground parcels based on how much space they take up during transport, a concept known as dimensional weight, or dim weight, pricing. Analysts predict this change will result in the most dramatic rate-spike for shippers in decades. Meanwhile, the Postal Service bucked the trend and lowered most commercial Priority Mail prices in 2014, a move aimed at gaining commercial customers.

7. A Capital Idea – For the first time in years, the Postal Service has funds to invest in capital projects. Helped by the exigent price increase in January 2014, the Postal Service ended the fiscal year with $1.4 billion in “controllable” income and said it has about $2 billion for capital investment.  

6. Postal Banking Gets Fresh Look – A raft of media coverage of an OIG paper on postal financial services energizes a lively public policy debate, including a slew of conferences, and puts the idea of postal banking on the menu of possible reforms.

5. Invasion of the Last Mile – Last mile delivery has gotten crowded with retail giants, such as Walmart and Nordstrom, trying their hands at same-day delivery and/or experimenting with crowdshipping. And smaller players are providing niche delivery services, such as Peapod for grocery delivery or Deliv that shuttles goods from shopping malls to customers.

4. Amazon Eyes World Domination – The giant e-commerce provider is moving into all aspects of the supply chain and beyond, opening warehouses and distribution centers, offering same-day delivery, testing drones, using bikes, providing cloud services, and after-sales support services. Amazon is also a valuable partner of the Postal Service, collaborating on Sunday delivery and the new grocery delivery test.

3. New Champion of the World – Non-mail revenues now exceed mail revenues for postal organizations around the world, according to Accenture’s annual report on high-performing posts. This shift indicates how important parcels and other diversified products - representing 52 percent of posts' total revenues - have become to posts.

2. Madame Postmaster General – Postal Service Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan is named to succeed retiring Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. Brennan will be the first female PMG in the Postal Service’s 240-year history.

1. Hack Attack – The Postal Service joins the growing list of government agencies and corporations to experience a data breach and the repercussions that come with it, including a congressional hearing, customer and employee concern, and some corporate soul-searching. There were almost 61,000 cyber attacks and security breaches across the entire federal government last year, according to a recent White House report. 

Comments (17)

  • anon

    You know what, here is the Top 0: To Who May Concerns, I hope someone will read this email which I doubt, but still would not give up my hopes for US government! It all started with tracking an international parcel sent on Nov.30, 2014 from my parents in China to US, which till now Jan. 22, 2015, I still haven't received! It was an international priority mail and I was supposed to receive that before Christmas. However, The Guaranteed 1-month delivery package is still on the way when it is almost 2 months! And this is not the only story! I tracked it online before New Year, it shows that probably some employee made mistakes and sent my package travelling all around the great territory of USA! (see the following print screen). It arrived and got released in New York on Dec.5, 2014, and then, guess what, it shows up in California on Dec.12, 2014. That's not all the ventures my package took, it was tossed to Montana and stayed there for the holiday! What a mystical journey! Inline image 2 I don't want to ruin other people's harmonious holiday time, which in turn, my holiday got ruined! (One Christmas gift I got for my wife was in that package!!) So I waited after new year, thinking it should arrive any time but my patience runs out when I saw my package arrived Chicago, IL and I finally emailed your customer services, and of course, no replies! Amazingly, after a week, all the previous tracking information of this package got deleted! Inline image 1 This makes me wonder whether someone is trying to cover someone's rear end but unfortunately got caught by a "nobody"! I consider this "Negligence of Duty", which I still can understand, who will not make mistake. But 3 mistakes in a row, it is unbelievable! What kind of people do you hire? The worse part is the act of "Harboring the Crime", which makes me double whether I should trust USPS anymore! I am very frustrated and disappointed! If anyone really concerns about USPS, please help me solve the problem! I still have not got my package yet! Thank you very much for your time! Best regards!

    Jan 22, 2015
  • anon

    HelloLiang Shao, Thank you for taking the time to contact our offices. The USPS Office of Inspector General investigates waste, theft, fraud and abuse within the Postal Service (USPS). We have forwarded your claim to the Postal Service Customer Service Office in an effort to assist you. Also, please file a complaint online at www.uspsoig.gov/form/new-complaint-form. By completing this form it will provide our offices with the critical information needed to look further into this matter. Thank you. U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General

    Jan 27, 2015
  • anon

    I am glad there is still someone who's willing to response to this issue. That really makes my day! However, it did not help solve problem! I tracked my package yesterday and it shows they are sending it back to China after 2 months' travelling throughout USA!!! I called, and it seems you guys are all good at playing soccer, and again I was kicked to a non-humanoid! Waited and waited for over half an hour, no human answer my phone! OK, I have this thing called a job, if I waste my time on waiting a "hopefully existing" human customer service representative, who's going to do my job! Hopefully my package can be safe back to China, the storm Juno really worries me!

    Jan 27, 2015
  • anon

    No matter how well thought out all the suggestions are for improving the postal service are, if anyone has the nerve to speak of Improving "employee moral" without suggesting eliminating management abuse, they do not know a thing that takes place on postal workroom floors across the country.

    Jan 12, 2015
  • anon

    If all your personal information had been hacked from Postal Service data bases, postal banking would not be so high on your list of priorities. My social, my banking, my medical records, my everything may have been breached and all I got was an apology letter and a year of so called free "credit monitoring" that I ASSUMED would include some type of automatic notifications either by phone or by e-mail if suspicious activity was noticed in my name. NO! NO! NO! The only thing "free" is a website to log in and monitor your OWN credit, anything "automatic" is for a fee, starting at $7.95 a month after 3 free months, and each of the different services, whether one prefers simple monitoring or notifications requires a fee. For all of you who are so eager to sign up for postal banking, beware. If the Postal Service cannot protect the identity of its employees, should you really trust it, and why would you want to anyway?

    Jan 12, 2015
  • anon

    Shame on you, Patrick Donahoe and USPS!

    Jan 10, 2015
  • anon

    Main Street could use the boost! So glad this is on the radar.

    Jan 09, 2015
  • anon

    Postal banking (aka "non-bank financial services") is the sleeper issue of the year. It will help to drive out predatory financial services including check cashers and, especially, payday lenders. As a big Wall Street-backed payday lender boasted, "often, our customers have nowhere else to turn." Postal banking can restore tens of billions in exorbitant fees and interest ripped off from working families and retirees. These billions will flow mainly into lower-income neighborhoods, where folks will use it to pay rent, buy food, repair the car, afford medicine and maybe open a bank account — while reducing demand on public assistance. Result? A huge economic boost to Main Street, at no cost to taxpayers. If well designed, postal banking can even support local community banks and credit unions, just as the Postal Savings System did for over a half century. No wonder the nonpartisan US Conference of Mayors adopted resolutions urging the USPS to implement postal banking. Congressional leaders are lining up in support. Everyone should get behind this effort.

    Jan 09, 2015
  • anon

    Our great public institutions and assets, like the post office, are under relentless attack by privateers who believe everything is about making a profit. Public service is not a capitalist pursuit - it is a humanitarian one, a much higher rung on the social ladder. We must shake off the greed and get down to the need!

    Jan 09, 2015
  • anon

    Postal banking is a "no brainer." It could save our post offices from being slowly squeezed to death by those who don't care about the public commons.

    Jan 08, 2015
  • anon

    Shame on trying to shut down and privatize a very old and successful US institution, our beloved Postal Service, by passing legislation which forced unconscionable debt by requiring prepaid pensions for people not yet born!!! The result was forcing bankruptcy. Evil return to your source.

    Jan 07, 2015
  • anon

    People love the idea of postal banking. We need to develop stable public financial institutions-- the large private bank have proven unstable and economically disastrous for us. This can help save the postal service and keep it safe and accessible for people in towns and cities all over the country. We need to protect our post offices from the unwise transfer of public resources to the private sector for the sake of corporate profits. Postal Banking--Not Post Office Sales

    Jan 07, 2015
  • anon

    Yes, public banking in this form should be a welcome change for Americans seeking fairness and actually great benefits in banking as the State/Pulbic Bank of North Dakota has shown constantly since 1919, it's inception being a direct result of miners and ranchers of the area who despised wallstreet's take over of the printing of all our money, which is counterfeiting ! (art. 1, sec. 8, par. 6), which has been ignored by all but a few like L T McFadden, JFK etal. to their collective "detriment". Such is the power of debt-free money that the corrupt banks of America will do anything to stop their wholesale theft of all our labor in this fashion. The next mortgage you see will be all counterfeit money....then they make interest and fees on top of that ! A total insult to America, started by the ruthless Hamilton long ago, when we won the war for liberty but lost the victory of Ben Franklin's sovereign, debt-free money right away, he being too old to fight Hamilton at the Constitutional convention, and Jefferson either not yet fully understanding sovereign money for sovereign country or too old himself to stop Hamilton from becoming secretary of the treasury and establishing the bank of NY as our first "national" bank....which today is home to......the federal reserve ! Go figure. The sovereign loan money that this Postal/Public Bank system could use for loans would change everything for ALL Americans insofar as the "national debt" goes, most of which is unconstitutional and a blight on us all.

    Jan 09, 2015
  • anon

    All 10 of those stories are examples of missteps, bad decisions, malfesous etc. whichs begs the question; why hasn't Congress stepped in and stopped the madness?

    Jan 07, 2015
  • anon

    The biggest story is not on the list, the selling off of our historic post offices to the lowest bidder, friends of CBRE. These post offices were paid for with our parents taxes and are being privatized. Shame on you, Patrick Donahoe and USPS!

    Jan 07, 2015
  • anon

    #6 Public Banking. But really the biggest story of every year is the continued yearly deficit legislated by Congress requiring 75 years prepayment of USPS employee health care. No other company, industry, organization or even individual family would attempt this absurd investment and bankruptcy scheme except Congress, spurred on by legislation author Congressman Darrell Issa's who's own business practices include using indebtedness and common illegalities to subvert and take over other businesses. http://whohijackedourcountry.blogspot.com/2012/06/darrell-issas-long-criminal-record.html

    Jan 07, 2015
  • anon

    PMG Donahoe telling postal employees that Phase 2 of Network Rationalization would be delayed for two years while they 'studied' the effects of Phase 1 and then revealing the lie for what it was when he announced, less than 6 months later, that Phase 2 would begin on schedule... Biggest story of 2015 has already happened. Destruction of 1st class letter standards is the final nail in our coffin. Phase 2 will just be a coda.

    Jan 06, 2015

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