on Jul 20th, 2009 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 127 comments
As noted in the update on Wednesday, there was a tremendous response to last week’s brainstorming exercise! As of Friday afternoon there were almost 350 comments posted -- many more than usual! If nothing else, this shows widespread and heartfelt concern for the well-being and financial viability of the Postal Service. Not only was the quantity of postings notable, so was the variety of ideas; they covered a broad spectrum, from cost-cutting possibilities to new lines of business. And many of the postings received replies, for instance Nostradamus' original posting received 13 replies, which is a testament to the thoughtfulness of everyone involved. The creativity shown by the participants makes categorizing the ideas difficult, but we’ve attempted to develop poll questions to highlight the common themes, and get your reaction as to the relative importance of these items. While every comment received attention, some ideas stood out as particularly thought-provoking or creative. In order to gauge your reactions as to the viability and value of a sample of ideas, we’ve developed another poll question. The following ideas were submitted by Sheri, Randy, D. Traver, Move into the future, JM, and others. This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).


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If we provide consistant and reliable service; our product and services will be the best in the world.

If the Postal Service moved to a true performance based system of reward rather than the PMG's thowing out numbers, then maybe rewards would relate to performance and you would see performance and accountability rise. So long all you extra managers!

Incredible as it is... we need to remember our mandate... Mail delivery to every US citizen at their address. Since we are not funded by tax dollars, we should charge the Federal government 8-10 bucks an address ONE time a year. That would add up to a couple of BILLION dollars... do away with the Areas - allow the districts to provide SUPPORT to the field rather than demanding the PMs do ONE more checklist. Go back to giving the citizens Mail SERVICE.

I have said it before and I will repeat it...

remove all Area Vice-Pres. and staff along with the
District Managers and their staff...
Put the Postmasters back to their orignal position..

which is attend community functions and sell the post office like they did before...we do not need postmasters who act like dictators...they should sell our products along with all postal employees i.e. customer connect...

all the above would show the public we are here for service and would save untold millions of dollars

thank you for reading ...p.s. i have been involved with the post office since 1960...so I think I know what I am writing about.


here! here!

I work in a plant that has way too many supervisors. For the most part they just stand around and get in the way and tell employees to do something they already know to do it. Yes, they do a little paper work here and there, but for the most part there are employees that have been doing there jobs for years and know what to do and when to do it without supervision. That being said, there are a few employees that do require supervision, but generally these are the folks that just do not want to work and are there for a free hand out and should be removed somehow someway (but we all know that is not going to happen). Supervisors do not work the mail (or are not supposed to) why pay them all this money to do almost absolutely nothing. Our plant could easily be run by two Managers/supervisors per shift. We generally have at least 7 or 8 supervisors on the floor plus one MDO and sometimes two! This is overkill and a total waste of money.

The first idea of the first section of the poll was ill-structured and should have read, Cut management AND supervisory positions, not "or." I suspect the responses to the idea posed that way would shoot the percentage through the roof. Our plant manager just got a $32K bonus at the Tampa P&DC according to an eyewitness that saw the software on it. There is also a rumor that 27 of Potter's minions got their respective pockets stuffed as well. Don't tell me that the USPS doesn't have any money!

I wholly agree....if there is NO MONEY, then why waste it on, for instance, dark blue t-shirts for propaganda use in the summer? In my AO only 3 or 4 of nearly 40 carriers will wear them....just one of many ways I have seen in nearly 20 yrs as a city carrier how we get the job done daily IN SPITE of postal mgt.

Consolidation is the name of the game. We really need to get back to putting everything under one roof instead of spreading out our operations costing us more money in rent and electric.

Absolutely! At my office part of the DBCS machines are at one office and some are at the main office. We, who work at the substation, are on idle time much of the night while waiting on trucks to bring our mail from the main office. Absolutely makes no sense when we are trying to save money.

Postal Service should lead by example

I recommended a web-based direct mail service when I joined the USPS as a carrier in 1994. Nothing ever came of my suggestion! It's still a good idea with the USPS brand name and trust placed in the name!

There are too many managers, but they won't fire themselves! We've got carrier supervisors that work for a few hours, then enjoy the rest of the day surfing the net and/or talking on the phones.

Don't purchase any more machines (i.e. FSM, DPS, etc), there's no mail to run thru them with the drop in volume. These machines will cost more to maintain and operate than ever!

Who's in charge of all these stupid ideas??? No offense, but my supervisor can't write us up, because she can't spell! I'M NOT KIDDING EITHER!

Ah get off their backs, whattya want for 65-90 grand a year !!

Improve Maintenance on the Automation to achive a better return on investment. I came from a facility that did hardly any maintenance on the equipment and the jams, downtime, and reacting to operation maintenance was extensive.

what about this: this is a huge deal that could make all of this irrelevant, we have been paying into an account for 3 years and have now overpaid by billions.... billions that could pay off all of our debts this year why is nobody saying something and saying wait a minute!?

As we began working with the Hay Group model regarding the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund we identified an error. We notified the Hay Group and they acknowledged the error. The error was computational in nature and did not affect their overall conclusion, assumptions, or methodology.
Specifically, the error was the result of the use of the wrong percentages when adjusting the health care inflation rate from 7% to 5% for certain years within the model. When this mistake was corrected, the Hay Group estimate of the Postal Service’s overfunding under current law increases to $13.2 billion.
This results in lower projected annual payments for the Postal Service. Specifically, to reach the same OPM funding goal, the Postal Service would make payments of $1.57 billion per year.

Get rid of the no lay off from the contract. Without it people would be more productive knowing they could be fired.

I don't think it can be stated enough; if craft employees are to take this "crisis" seriously, management has to be cut. There are so many management positions that are unnecessary. Like all the VP postions. The PM's positions could be compleltely abolished, and replaced an OIC with much less pay.

I feel that we should start charging a fee for fowarding mail. Our area is filled will seasonals residents that go back and forth each year, sometimes more that once or twice. This would be a HUGH revenue profit!

Excellent idea, let's do the math. 46 million change of addresses were filed last year. Let's say we charge $20.00 for each one, wow we just collected $920,000,000.00 and let's charge $3.00 to do vacation holds too. There's a billion right in front of us !!

Right. Let's charge the public for forwarding their mail. First though...let's learn how to do it right again first. The Central forwarding system is probably the greatest example of how negligent we can be. Her's a great management decision: someone puts in a change and the carrier doesn't learn about it for anywhere from 2 to 5 days. Meanwhile he continues delivering mail to a mailbox that no one is living at. If the curtains are still up on the windows of the empty house...How can he tell no one's living there? Now you want to charge folks money for this??? You are a manager right? Our "service" sucks.

Must reduce the clerk craft maybe by a third. Go to any plant and look at the employees with hours of downtime, sitting in breakroom getting paid to do nothing.

Not in my office, only the "select" few get away with that...and that's when there is work to do! Management looks the other way, while the other clerks carry the load..they (management) are not doing their jobs, which is to manage the employees...might as well be sitting in their office reading the news...or talking to their friends on the phone..or having the clerks deal with customer complaints/delivery problems...oh...oops...that right...that is what they are doing...and getting their bonuses....hmm

Put all of the city routes on the same evaluated system as the rural craft, this promotes a better time management by the carriers, with the incentive to get done quicker and go home. Supervision positions are no longer needed, rurals manage themselves for the most part. You cut out the need for all of the supervisors in the middle management positions, they are not needed. Each of these positons would be evaluated and RIF'd those no longer needed. The elimination of the overly staffed management positions need to be eliminated.

You took the words right out of my mouth. The only incentive city carriers have is a paycheck and going home when they are done. With the fluctuation of mail the way it is we need definitely look at evaluating all routes. The way it is now city carriers go slow for more dough. This will eliminate that old paradigm and give them some incentive. Most city routes can be done in 5-7 hours. The old school of carrying mail has them waiting on the street or slowing down to make 8 hours. Makes no sense.

Eliminate all walking or curbside delivery and convert to CBU delivery. The intial cost would be high, but it would pay itself off in 1 to 2 years and from then on would save the post office billions of dollars....

So you are now asking everyone to walk or drive to an area away from there home in order to mail a letter or get their mail, you are in a sense asking those customers to become employees and deliver the mail to themselves because we won't do it any longer. I think that we just keep forgeting we are in the service business, that is all we have to offer is service. The more that is eroded the quicker we are out of business. The delivery of the mail is not the problem.

It is no different than people that live in new developments to walk a block to pick up their mail or mail letters.
Door to Door delivery is obsolete and to walk a block or drive to pick up your mail surely will not harm you unless it's the middle of winter and dealing with storms/floods/tornadoes etc...
Then again mail would not be delivered anyway.

I live in a rural area where most routes are curbside delivery to NBUs or CBUs, I have never heard a customer complain about not getting their mail at the door. It was originally introduced as a quaint way to get out and meet your neighbors. The boxes are not too far away from the houses as they only hold 6-12 customers. Of course customers who are handicapped or have a problem getting to the boxes can get delivery to the door.
The idea that the PS is only giving good service if mail comes to the door is unreasonable. If it can't be done cost effectively it must be changed. All business must utilize methods that allow the business to continue, otherwise NO ONE gets service.

Hey manager, why not just require all customers to rent a PO box?

That way you could eliminate ALL delivery services, and go back to calling us the US Post Office Department since there wold be no need for service.
You could also change your box up time to 5PM in order to eliminate more distribution clerks.
One clerk for every 2000 boxes, and one supervisor for each 100 boxes.

Delivery services are not the problem, it is an overabundance of supervisory positions.

Actually, making customers rent PO Boxes in lieu of rural delivery would save millions. Reinstate the old half mile rule where if you are within a certain distance of an office, you would be required to get a no fee PO Box. There would be roughly a $130 savings per delivery point. It's not like they would travel much farther than many people with CBUs, their mail would be safe, and it would increase the productivity of the level 11/13 offices. I wish that they would give this some serious consideration. Either that or start charging for delivery, which in any other business would be considered the "premium service".

The window clerks at our office have already been instructed to start asking window customers if they would be interested in a P.O. Box.


Cut Saturday delivery. That would cut out ALOT of money being paid to RCA's and TE's.Cut out the Sunday premium pay.Cut out ALL work on holidays. Alot of people work the holiday AND get holiday pay. Need revenue? Start looking at the "little" things like this.Across the board, this stuff adds up quick.

Okay if we get rid of the sat. deliver you better prey like hell to get someone to cover your route. No RCA or te are going to stick around hoping and preying for your vaction once a year or the day your too sick to report.

Do away with the "mailhandler/Clerk" distinction and make us all general postal employees. At the plant where I work we are usually short in the mailhandlers. This makes clerks idle while waiting on mailhandlers. Some days mail sits entire shifts because there's no one to prep it, while clerks "look" busy. Eliminating the distinction would enable the WISE use of all employees on the clock by having us able to do WHATEVER work needs to be done at the time without"crossing crafts".WE EITHER MAKE CHANGES THAT PRODUCE OR WE ALL GO DOWN! WAKE UP FOLKS!!!

That 's what I say ! If the Union does NOT like that ......... let them find themselves another job......outside the USPS.

We have cut window service and done away with vending
machines. Now people not only have to endure long lines but also have to listen to someone try to upsell them to express. Do away with the MYSTERY SHOPPER program and get our customers in and out as efficiently as possible.

Exactly. Biggest turn off for customers is to hear about all the products and options that they did NOT COME TO BUY. Sell them their stamps, put postage on their packages, take their hold orders and shut the heck up!

Why not rent out the sides of the 300,000 plus postal vehicles for advertisement? I think epsecially small businesses would jump on the chance to reach the local economy! The space could be small or large and would open up a whole new divison for the PO, advertisement, graphic design, printing,etc... Ive noticed that some cities do this with the local bus transportation system. It's worth a look, but only if the PO is serious about surviving!

Why not rent out the sides of the 300,000 plus postal vehicles for advertisement? I think epsecially small businesses would jump on the chance to reach the local economy! The space could be small or large and would open up a whole new divison for the PO, advertisement, graphic design, printing,etc... Ive noticed that some cities do this with the local bus transportation system. It's worth a look, but only if the PO is serious about surviving!

OK Let Supervisors supervise, Managers manage and PM's be resonsible for their office. No more calling District, Area or Headquarters in DC to ask if they can buy rubber bands! RIF District, Area and 40 or so VPs. I believe this will cover our revenue shortfall.
OIG please investigate the redundant levels of upper management.

I would have to agree get rid of Areas,Districts and Headquartes since they are all not moving mail but creating geivances through redundant paperwork and very stupid ideas.
Along with their staffs and a great deal of money can and will be saved.

Institute productivity standards for the clerks and carriers and see how much more mail gets processed and delivered with fewer workhours. The company would save billions.

Isn't that what all of the micromanaging is for that we have already?

Forcing management to follow the contract and cut down on some monetary grievance wins would save a lot. Or to even hold them accountable for the big money grievances WILL save the Postal Service lots of money. Our mid size local has won almost $2 million in the last year and a half due to bad management and the refusal to bargain in good faith.

I agree, hold those supervisors and upper management accountable for every greivance lost which cost the Postal Service.
Handle all greivances at the lowest level without upper management intervention.
This will undoubtedly create a better work environment since the employees Supervisors know the employees best and know what their problems are.
Hold the Supervisor accountable for failures to comply.

there is a need to get rid of some position craft and management example we have 4 VOMA positions and they check oil and do small tags to help VMF out carriers are gone to the street 2 hours after they start so 6 hours of doing nothing yet they want to cut routes and carrier positions these jobs use to be part time some how they became full time makes you wonder what other jobs are like this at my house when moneys tight you cut the things that just aint that important until you are out of the red

Maybe the best thing for The Postal Service is for employees to care for their own jobs and not worry about what the other employees are doing.
There is always a seniority and craft jealousy.
For instance....The carrier who claims VOMA's do noothing for 6 hours a day !
Hmmmm....That same carrier is probably sitting on his rectum on the street hiding somewhere until it is time to return to the office.
(Most likely he/she has the lightest route in the office)
He/She is worried about VOMA's while taking a 2 hour lunch break.
So funny ! So very, very, funny !
Hopefully, he is taking spelling and grammar lessons during that 2 hour lunch !

How about getting rid of double Sunday Premium. Employees that come in for Monday but start at 23:00 on Sunday get a full day of Sunday Premium. Actually just get rid of Sunday Premium all together and save. And as long as we are on extra pay might as well drop night differential pay.

It cost Postal Service a lot of money on fuel. There are electric cars that run well on America roads. Or converting our postal vans to run on electricty.

put all the mailboxes back on the corners. keep our visibility. thats what keeps us in business. we are everywhere. keep it that way.. thats what i hear from my customers at the window. cut management big time. keep six day delivery.. if we dont our competitors will.. and its another nail..in the coffin..