• Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 5 months ago

    The record on competitive postal services is mixed. Private postal operators in Latin America are thriving, while in the U.K. they are lagging. Theoretically, competition increases efficiency. However, the U.S. postal service can now deliver cheaply because it visits every house and every office in the U.S>. six days a week using regularly scheduled routes. Splitting the volume among competing carriers would dramatically increase the cost of delivery per piece, perhaps forcing operators to go to on-demand delivery, like the parcel and express companies.

    The Postal service has successfully opened its infrastructure to mailers through work-sharing. To continue to deliver value, extend the useful life of the mail, and bring volume back to the USPS network, the Postal Service should further open its infrastructure (distribution network, data, real estate) to innovative, entrepreneurial private activities that will generate mail. As we show in a recent Mail and Express Review article, these activities could include parcel stations operated by private operators, targeted, customized multi-media campaigns that capitalize on the mail moment, government services, and other innovative uses of the mail yet to be discovered. They key for the Postal Service is to open its infrastructure and make it attractive for the private sector to innovate and invest in the mail.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 5 months ago

    is a good infrastructure and is consistent with the constitution ...

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 5 months ago

    I must apologize. I did not mean to identify Booz Allen in my comment, and I meant McKinsey & Company.
    Back on point, I would highly, and urgently recommend the USPS maintain it's focus as a "redundant" communications network. Please take the time to watch and consider the following congressional hearing.
    However, I must warn you, it is disturbing and troubling
    and you may not choose to post this tag.

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Cybersecurityan

  • Reply to: What’s the Score?   3 years 5 months ago

    Now that is the Bottom Priority of the post office, if it is even on the list…

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 5 months ago

    Enabling infrastructure. As per the United States Constitution.

    I won't be redundant, I will just say Steve Hutkins' piece really nails it. What Steve said, totally.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 5 months ago

    The Postal Service is not a vestigial appendage of the Executive Branch or an organization ready for an IPO...it is an infra-structure critical to the country's commerce, irreplaceable in rural and many other communities. Its potential in the digital sphere is significant. The role of the Postal Service in national or regional disasters has been recognized in government and private sector studies.
    However, without a very quick turnaround in postal leadership strategies, including a thoughtfully planned reorganization rather than the current inconsistent and ill-considered efforts, there won't be much left for debate in the near future.
    Current management plans to close retail outlets and plants should be put on hold. And internally, low employee morale needs to be addressed. Regardless of the specific organizational strategies employed, worker performance can make or break any business.
    The integrity and vision of leadership is essential to keeping the Postal Service - and all it can offer the public - alive in the 2010s.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 5 months ago

    Not trying to be smart here, but...

    Didn't the money you guys gave Booz Allen answer that question?
    Bureaucracy.. You guys are worse than the AG's office.
    When you start asking the "academics" how to walk, you're in deep trouble. I remember Potter's gang testifying to Congress.
    "We simply didn't see the collapse of FCM coming." Or, thereabouts....
    Where were they?, on a desert island?

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 5 months ago

    I have the feeling that the privatization question, to the extent it is lurking somewhere behind this oddly worded blog question, is a dead issue, the nail having been driven into the coffin of the disco era deregulation heyday by the utter failure of financial deregulation to bring us anything but the worst recession since the big one. The glory days of deregulation for its own sake happily behind us, the tough question now is how and where we can use competition to increase public welfare and where not. So I come down on the side of ‘enabling infrastructure.’ All of that notwithstanding, I do agree with the gist Mr. Campbell’s post that no enterprise, irrespective of its ownership, could be successful without the ‘tools and incentives’ to manage its resources effectively.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 6 months ago

    With each passing day I have less need for hard copy message delivery that is the main service of the USPS.I do not support tax dollars spent to prop up it's current business model.Citizens who reside in rural areas where USPS service is a necessity,should pay a surcharge for the more expensive service.I do not believe universal mail service should be supported equally among all users.Users of this service should pay for what they need.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 6 months ago

    Mark, I'm familiar with your writing and I just wanted to take this chance to thank you for all you've written on behalf of all postal workers. From your computer to Obama's ears! I love Steve Hutkins, as well, you two really have a handle on this mess created by postal big shots, who earn way too much money, by the way. The Postal Service should be exactly that.. a service for all Americans.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 6 months ago

    Abolish PAEA, trim the increased salaries it provided in section 105 at the headquarters level and increase postage costs for large mailers that are discounted. Postage is still less than any other country in the world. Do not cut service standards, or Saturday delivery, close offices, or reduce staffing. The USPS must serve the "people" and at least break even.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 6 months ago

    I think it is time someone foramlly survey the American public and ask the kinds of questions Mr. Hutkins is asking. We still live in a democracy, right?

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 6 months ago

    The postal network and the accompanying commitment to universal service is fundamentally enabling infrastructure. Look where the Founders mentioned the postal service in the Constitution, with other entities that create both intellectual and physical infrastructure like patents and copyrights.
    During the current "crisis" the discussion has been shaped around losses but the fact remains that operations of the postal network have remained essentially fiscally sound - it is the mandates under PAEA that have created the financial problems. The fact that operations have remained essentially break even is important especially when one considers the focus of senior management on fostering and enflaming the controversy.
    I've written extensively on Dr. Hutkins' Blog STPO and I would refer you to those posts for a more in depth discussion of these issues.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 6 months ago

    Another question is the Postal Service's strategy for the future. Does it look to find new uses for its Post Offices? Look at strategies beyond its physical infrastructure? Some combination of the two?

  • Reply to: What’s the Score?   3 years 6 months ago

    yes we do Beatrice!

  • Reply to: What’s the Score?   3 years 6 months ago

    It seems your rates have gone UP and definitely the SERVICE went "DOWN". The location I am have an issue with is the Washington,DC area code 20002 - I pay the price for PRIORITY MAIL w/CONFIRMATION and delivery seems to be going by Camel!! I do realize your Metro area is large but at the same time I am paying the Price for timely delivery???

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 6 months ago

    A competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in between? I say all three. The Postal Service should take a cue from other network industries that have been deregulated, including telecom, natural gas, electric power and freight rail. These industries have had disparate service elements “unbundled” so that welfare-enhancing market solutions can be applied individually. The Postal Service is likewise characterized by disparate service elements. The comprehensive retail and delivery network has elements of a natural monopoly and has been supported over time by certain privileges granted to the Postal Service so that it can meet its universal service obligation. Both aspects argue for a public-service rather than competitive stance. The Postal Service’s delivery mission should be to enhance social welfare and to facilitate – not compete with – American commerce. On the other side of the coin, mail processing and transportation seem well suited for competition in the private sector and therefore privatization. Already, the Postal Service does not own major transportation inputs, and the mail mix is trending inexorably to “drop-ship” entry which avoids upstream processing by the Postal Service. Pursuant to unbundling, therefore, part of the Postal Service could be placed squarely in the regulated public utility realm, part could be subjected to the disciplining rigors of free-market competition, and overall the solution can be considered a hybrid that is somewhere “in between.”

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 6 months ago

    I love the Postal Service, but I just don't think it's cut out to be a competitive business. That's not in its DNA. It's DNA is delivering the mail as a public service. If you privatized you'd have to completely change the entire organization.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service be a competitive business, an enabling infrastructure, or something in-between?   3 years 6 months ago

    Definitely an enabling infrastructure.

  • Reply to: What’s the Score?   3 years 6 months ago

    Have you tried the Postal Service's Click-n-Ship help? Try the Click-n-Ship help tab at this link:
    https://www.usps.com/customer-service/customer-service.htm

  • Reply to: What’s the Score?   3 years 6 months ago

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. The budget scoring process does create complications for the Postal Service that seem unnecessary as long as the Postal Service supports itself. The OIG has also suggested that moving the Postal Service's retirement and pension accounts off budget is one option to prevent any scoring problems in adjusting contributions as needed.

    In response to your last paragraph, Pushing the Envelope is having a week-long discussion starting today on whether the Postal Service is an infrastructure or a business. Check it out.

  • Reply to: What’s the Score?   3 years 6 months ago

    I've tried to print postage labels for Priority Mail, but it never works. Complaining hasn't helped. No wonder the Post Office is losing money!

  • Reply to: What’s the Score?   3 years 6 months ago

    If we lose Saturday deliveries, will our credit card companies agree to alter their dates to accommodate the loss of one more mailing day?

  • Reply to: Postal Service Consolidation Plans   3 years 6 months ago

    The consolidation is already wreaking havoc on your delivery services. I sent something out, and when it hits the Cincinnati sorting facility, there's no telling what happens to it there, but items will disappear for a week or more there, causing the delivery dates to be missed. They're going to use this instead of the more reliable ones? Really?

    And for all that mail known as "Junk Mail" that gets the preferential cost reduction, it's time to make them pay full cost for shipping it.

  • Reply to: What’s the Score?   3 years 6 months ago

    When it was first introduced budget scoring made a good deal of sense but it has become a highly politicized process that relies on oft times dubious assumptions.
    The Postal Service, being an off-budget entity is hamstrung by the vudget scoring process. PMG Donahoe has suggested that a solution might be to take Postal trust accounts for retrements and retiree benefits off-line but that could have seriously dangerous consequences and would essentially be a step towards privatization. Better would be a means of segregating Postal accounts in internal Treasury accounts and taking those account off-budget.
    The argument against that would likely be the creation of a slippery slope where more and more things are proposed for off-budget status. It isn't realistic to think Congress is capable of making changes based purely on efficacy rather than ideology but still, there ought to be a way to treat Postal accounts in a way that recognizes the unique status of the Postal Service.
    Alternatively, it may be time to address whether the Postal Service can best perform its role as infrastructure given its current management structure. It may be time to look at sructures that bring the Postal Service back under the aegis of a cabinet department, perhaps Homeland Security or Commerce. Such a move would certainly hold promise for better integration of the postal network with other government functions and may allow for synergies that better utilize the network.
    The idea of the Postal Service as a quasi-corporate entity is simply incongruous with its role as infrastructure and with the values embodied in the universal service mandate. The current structure strains against the bounds of mission and definition which is a large part of why we are in the prdeicament we are in today.

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