• on Apr 16th, 2012 in Delivery & Collection | 4 comments
    Starting in April, the private company TNT Post UK plans to test street delivery in the West End of London. Currently, TNT collects and sorts mail and then hands it over to Royal Mail, the traditional government-run postal provider in the United Kingdom, for final street delivery. Now, however, TNT Post UK wants to provide street delivery as well. TNT is seeking assistance from the UK government to provide a level playing field that will allow it to compete effectively with Royal Mail’s delivery service. Royal Mail says that rival delivery networks hurt mail customers by undermining the efficiencies of a single delivery network, stating "If a rival delivery service cherry picks profitable, easy-to-deliver mail, it will weaken and ultimately undermine the Universal Service that only Royal Mail currently has the ability and commitment to deliver..." Britain’s postal regulator, Ofcom, plans to monitor the situation. Overall, this move represents another step toward a liberalized postal market in the UK, similar to those in other European Union countries. What are the benefits and risks of promoting this type of competition in the delivery market? What could happen if a private company sets up a rival street delivery network that only served profitable areas, such as West End of London? Could the traditional provider, Royal Mail, compete in the more profitable areas if it also is forced to provide delivery services to less profitable addresses in rural areas?

    This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center.

  • on Apr 9th, 2012 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 8 comments
    A recent post on the blog Dead Tree Edition made an interesting observation: The once-exploding U.S. e-book sales have slowed considerably, according to R. R. Bowker, a marketing research firm targeting publishers, booksellers, and librarians. How can that be? Aren’t we on a preordained path to a digital world? As it turns out, early buyers of tablet computers and e-readers were initially skewed toward people who read a lot. These early adopters bought more books than recent buyers because e-books generally cost less than their physical equivalents. Today, some market segments, such as textbooks, seem destined for digital dominance, while others, like children’s books have barely dented the e-book market. The number of book shipments by mail is small compared to the shipment numbers of other postal products. However, if e-book sales are slowing down, this may mean a slowing of the diversion of book mail to digital download. Could the same trend happen with much larger volume postal products? Will the adoption of electronic bill payments, electronic bills and statements, or, even electronic correspondence start slowing down? The answers could make a huge difference in the outlook for the Postal Service. What do you think?
  • on Apr 6th, 2012 in Five Elements of a Postal Solution | 1 comment
    The End. We’ve reached the end of our blog series. We want to thank all of the guest bloggers who participated:
    Week 1: Richard Kielbowicz, Steve Hutkins, and Jim Campbell
    Week 2: Cliff Guffey, Alan Robinson, and John Callan
    Week 3: Steve Ressler, Dan Combs, and John Payne
    Week 4: Jessica Lowrance, John Waller, and Jeff Colvin
    Week 5: Roger Kodat, Jim Sauber, and Elmar Toime
    We also want to thank all of the commenters who took the time to add their views.

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