Why does the U.S. Postal Service charge the same price for a greeting card going from Washington, D.C., to California as it does from Manhattan to Queens? Because the Postal Service must follow a set of regulations designed to ensure that everyone can send and receive mail at a reasonable price. Those regulations are called the “universal service obligation,” or USO. And it covers many aspects of mail delivery.
The global pandemic of COVID-19 has impacted our country in ways that were unimaginable months ago. It is changing how people across the U.S. and around the world are working, shopping, even interacting with one another. States have ordered many stores and businesses to close. Businesses that continue to operate are faced with protecting their employees and customers, while coming up with creative ways to market and deliver their products.
For many rural residents, mail is a lifeline, providing connections with government, commerce, and each other. The local post office offers a community a sense of identity as well as a retail hub that serves a central role, even as rural populations continue to decline. It’s not just an American thing: post offices function similarly in rural communities around the globe.
For many international posts, rural networks may lose money. How they’ve dealt with that can provide lessons for the U.S. Postal Service.
If you’re facing a decision – especially a big one – you want to have all the facts so you can make the best choice. It’s also true for organizations, including the U.S. Postal Service. But in one area, as our recent audit found, postal executives may not be getting all the facts they need. In some cases, they’re not getting facts at all.