• on May 7th, 2012 in Products & Services | 16 comments
    Semipostal stamps are nothing new. They have been used worldwide for over a century and here in the United States since 1998. The cost of these stamps includes a surcharge to raise funds for various charities or causes. When semipostal stamps were first introduced in the U.S., critics felt issuing these stamps would be wasteful because no one would pay extra for a stamp. However, these stamps turned out to be a successful fundraising tool. Although the additional surcharge does not directly increase the U.S. Postal Service’s revenue, the charities benefiting from the surcharge help generate an incentive to purchase these stamps. The Postal Service has issued four semipostal stamps so far: • The Breast Cancer stamp issued in 1998 has raised more than $73 million dollars for breast cancer research. • The Heroes of 2001 stamp raised $10.5 million between 2002 and 2004 for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support families of emergency rescue workers killed or permanently disabled in the September 2001 attacks. • The Stop Family Violence stamp raised $3.1 million for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services between 2003 and 2006. • The Save Vanishing Species stamp issued in September 2011 raised more than $175,000 by the end of fiscal year 2011 for Multinational Species Conservation Funds. What cause, issue, or subject matters should the Postal Service consider for a semipostal stamp? Please let us know in the comments section below. This blog is hosted by the Marketing and Service Directorate.
  • on Apr 30th, 2012 in Finances: Cost & Revenue | 9 comments
    As the Postal Service struggles to survive, it needs to take a good look at the financial health of its products. However, ascertaining the financial health of a product line requires an accurate estimate of the cost of providing that product. The Postal Service is moving into an increasingly data-driven future; thus, the timeliness and accuracy of cost measurement will continue to grow in importance. The Postal Service has not changed its cost system fundamentally in many years, though it updates significant inputs annually. There have been calls for an examination of the accuracy and relevance of the system and implementation of specific changes. In order to inform the dialogue and debate, the OIG published A Primer on Postal Costing Issues, a discussion of postal costing, including the most salient of the concerns the Postal Service and its customers have raised. As discussed in the paper, the main issues that have been raised are whether the Postal Service: 1. Should use fully-distributed costing to evaluate the financial performance of products? 2. Should adapt the system to reflect the excess capacity currently present in the postal network? If so, how? 3. Should measure bottom-up costs? 4. Should use the new postal data sources in the costing system to improve accuracy and reduce costs? 5. Can improve the timeliness of cost studies and, if so, how? As the postal market changes, the Postal Service will need new and/or different cost data to support its decisions, including pricing decisions. Many of the suggested changes and improvements would require a significant expenditure of resources at a time when the Postal Service is under substantial fiscal stress. But the Postal Service needs the right cost data to make the right decisions.. What do you think – should the Postal Service be spending money to improve its cost systems? If so, what do you think are the most important changes needed? This blog is sponsored by RARC.
  • on Apr 23rd, 2012 in Post Offices & Retail Network, Pricing & Rates | 9 comments
    Generally, most consumers know the rates for mailing a 1-ounce First-Class® letter. However, many don’t know the prices of other postal service offerings, such as certification, insurance, or return receipt. In some instances, some of these services must be bundled with the mailing type. Posting the rates for the more commonly used services in a convenient spot in the Post Offices would let customers know approximately how much services cost, allowing them to make informed decisions. For example, displaying rates for the first several ounce increments of First-Class mail, as well as the most commonly used rates for Express Mail and Priority Mail along with the rates for certification, insurance, and return receipt, would help mailers calculate the total purchase price. Easy access to this information would allow mailers to effortlessly make price comparisons with other providers and clearly reveal the true value the Postal Service provides to consumers. What do you think? How can the Postal Service present prices in the most effective way?

    This blog is hosted by the Financial Reporting directorate.

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