• Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service   5 years 9 months ago

    I think we should start charging a hold mail fee based on the number of days the mail is being held. This takes a tremendous amount of time for a carrier to honor specific requests for hold mail. (i.e. do not hold bulk mail, forward 1st class and hold all other mail, etc.)Not to mention tracking all of the holds. I have some carriers with over 30 holds at one time! This is time the carriers should be pivoting or casing more mail, not fussing for a free service. I think customers would pay just as they do for Premium Forwarding.

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service   5 years 9 months ago

    Having worked for the USPS since 1973, and a long time union advocate, I see the USPS "driving" revenue away rather than making earnest efforts to retain or capture revenue. With rapidly dwindling mail volumes, especially 1st Class, failing to take advantage of every source of revenue is absurd.

    Instead of closing a/o consolidating many of the so-called "unproductive" retail units and branches, coupled with reducing the number of POS-1 units and retail associates, perhaps the USPS should be expanding instead of contracting. For example: As local president I just received notice that two (2) of our local NBU's are under review for closure. Absurd! Both are at near capacity in their respective PO Box rentals, which could be easily expanded, thereby rendering even more revenue for the USPS with a far better cost-ratio than street delivery. People are STARVING for more PO Box availability and the USPS is taking action to close down such units!

    If we close these units, thereby vacating these PO Boxes to a contract unit, or worse to a UPS or Going Postal Store, that is revenue lost to the USPS forever.

    Additionally, reinstate up-to-date vending machines. They are sorely missed by postal customers, APC's and windowline do not provide the service the vending machines provided, and the cost ratio to labor (at least in my installation was 1-6) was an enourmous benefit to the USPS. We don't need fewer, we need more!

    Reduce labor costs by reducing significantly the redundant layers of management and administration that have absolutely nothing to do with collecting, processing and delivery of the mail. The assumption is that all of the USPS associated labor costs are craft employee related, which is wholly bogus. The current ratio of EAS to craft is absurdly out of line, particularly above the operational level.

    Eliminate and/or minimize the number of OIC and detail assignments, which with their inherent costs in travel, per diem, lodging, relocation, etc. impacts the USPS horrendously while providing no real operational benefit. Most companies or businesses would never permit such a process.

    Finally, stop providing favored discounts to large mailers to the detriment of the remaining American postal customers. Their is nothing wrong with appropriate discounts such to promote mass mailings, however, the discounts the USPS have historically "sown and cultivated" have denied the USPS billions of dollars in lost revenue, which is now clearly apparent. The gravy train is now over. Every mailer - large and small - should pay their fair share. Bp...

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service   5 years 9 months ago

    Numerous federal agencies, such as Dept. of Agriculture, pay no rent to GSA for office and facility space. Postal Service leases office space in GSA buildings. We should approach GSA and get the same deal - no rent. This would in effect permit the Postal Service to have tax payer support, without a direct subsidy from Congress.

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service   5 years 9 months ago

    One area where the postal service is falling behind greatly is in automated services. Why doesn't the letter carrier have computer access? I submitted an idea proposal to the postal service a few years back and again this year concerning the letter carriers having their own computer databases. This would allow the carriers to know when transactions are made on the computer. Such as moves, hold mail, temporary orders, complaints, etc. I was told that the postal service was already working on something of this nature. Well.....it should have been done by now. Bottom line, carriers should have access to computers. Maybe, some of us would not need any extensive computer training.

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service   5 years 9 months ago

    To generate revenue, I'd like to suggest we sell "gift vouchers" for magazine subscriptions (similar to those sold by fundraisers). We could have a display in the lobby and include them on the stamp-by-mail forms too. This has not only the revenue from the sale itself, but also future revenues when the periodicals are sent. Also, we could sell popular store gift cards (Toysrus, Sears, HomeDepot, BestBuy, etc.) in the offices that will soon be testing "greeting card" sales. Another thought for revenue generation would be non-urgent local "prescription drug" delivery. A carrier could easily make a late afternoon pick-up for items to be delivered the next day.

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service   5 years 9 months ago

    THE FIRST THING POSTAL MGT. MUST DO IS MAKE THE POSTMASTER JOB A 5 OFFICE ASSIGNMENT.ONE DAY A WEEK OVERSEE THE OPERATIONS,NO NEED TO WORK 40 HOURS IN ONE PLACE,WE MANAGE OURSELVES OR THE 204B'S DO A GREAT JOB AT MY STATION.SECOND, OFFER ONCE A MONTH DISCOUNTS ON SHIPPING PACKAGES,THAT'S OUR BREAD & BUTTER.THIS WILL TAKE REVENUE FROM UPS&FEDEX.THIRD, ALL U.S.MINT SHIPPING SHOULD BE DONE BY U.S.P.S.I ORDERED FROM THE MINT & IT WAS SHIPPED BY UPS...FIVE DAY DELIVERY IS A MUST.AFTER THIS PAST HOLIDAY (JULY 4TH)WE CAME TO WORK ON MONDAY AND ALL THE MAIL WENT OUT WITH NO DELAYING OF ANY CLASS MAIL,THE INTERNET HAS TAKEN 50%OF OUR FIRST CLASS MAIL.THAT'S MY TAKE ON WHAT TO DO .THANK YOU

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service   5 years 9 months ago

    I think in this day and age of the internet where people are using e-mail to send personal letters... The Post Office needs to begin catering more to businesses who DEPEND on the Post Office.

    There are dozens of companies like NetFlix, my own PuritanPicks(.com), and other smaller businesses like gamefly.com who without the proper operation of the Post Office would not have a business. These are the companies who want to see the post office do well and don't mind spending money to see it happen.

    NetFlix spends millions of dollars setting up distribution centers in populated cities to increase delivery time. They also experience a 10% loss in inventory due to DVDs breaking in the mail. That money could be the USPS' instead by providing custom solutions... and this does not mean major infrastructure changes.

    As small businesses we wouldn't mind PAYing USPS business consultants to teach us how the system works, how to debug problems and better take advantage of already existing services. For example, if someone sat with me and explained how the delivery network worked there would have been mistakes I could have avoided as a small business owner.

    For instance: You are already adding tracking to first-class mail. My small businesss could produce the same turn around as NetFlix WITHOUT distribution centers if I knew when my customers dropped the mail off at THEIR post office. Rather than waiting for a DVD to arrive, I could send the next one out immediately upon drop off.

    Are there engineers in the post office I could pay to help me/walk me through this implementation? From my perspective the post office is a big black box. I drop mail off, I get mail back: but I don't know how it works or how to take advantage of the already existing services. Do you see my point?

    Start catering to small businesses.. Make small business counters in post offices so we don't have to wait on line (we'll pay for that!).. give local post offices incentives for meeting with small businesses and being entrepreneurial, etc..

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service   5 years 9 months ago

    Eliminate the District level of management. All important decisions are made at Area level or HQ anyway. In this age of tele-cons and e-mail communications District is just an over paid messenger.

  • Reply to: Who We Are and Why We Blog...   5 years 9 months ago

    Does anyone thought of combining the mail handler's union and clerks' union into just one union for function 1? Why not rewrite the contract so that it applies to both mailhandlers and clerks. This will help the managers understand and apply the contract effectively. It will be less confusion, less grievances and most of all we can maximize the use of our employees. Of course we can reduce the union stewards in our facilities who most of the time spending their time soliciting grievances instead of performing their jobs. We don't have to deal with different Union stewards who themselves are confuse of their own contract. And the worst part, shop stewards asking for monetary settlement with their ridiculous grievances. Don't they think they are part of the problem why Post Office is now in this situation?

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    Post ofices in India are highly inefficient presently and still work on colonial British system introduced 100 years ago.The whole system is lethargic and too slow. It needs total revamping.Post Master in the US is elected.Here they can employ professionals.Paying Rs 5 for a local postal envelope is too high in a country where 80% population don't even earn $1 a day. Bringing in efficiency will lower the cost of postal services and at the same time postal staff can be paid more.The staff is a frustrated lot. There might be a political hand to subdue postal services to help couriers.Couriers have taken away all the business from post offices although their cost is high.Rightly this business should have been with Post Offices.Also they should introduce internet connectivity and ATM centres for facilitating business and earning revenues.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    Government of India should slowly start reducing subsidies to Post Office Department and if need be increase prices of postal deliveries at a later date and try to get professionals to run it, type of PPP model has to be generated and make it self-reliant and self-sufficient. Also, additional services like courier service, etc should be emphasized and focussed. Losses, if any, should be accountable and performance linked incentives should be given to employees to be more efficient and effortful.Additional services like ATM's should be encouraged accross all Post Offices in country and connectivity should be focussed either through internet or other modes. All this should be advertised in print and media for masses to be aware of its benefits. Salaries of postmen, who are paid miserably should be increased so that they are motivated and also to encourage more people to join Indian Post.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    Uma and Radix lecti, thanks for your comments. Raising additional revenue while helping the underserved is a win-win solution.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    The U.S. Postal Service also offers postal services in stores, gas stations, and other commercial businesses through contract postal units.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    Thanks Kirsten, it is important to consider what the appropriate bounds of universal service is.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    Thank you Pritam for the beautiful description of the importance of India Post to India's rural residents.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    Thanks Dave. You're right that implicit in the idea of providing universal service is the averaging of high cost and low cost provision together. This does make a universal service provider vulnerable to cream skimming.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    The issue of what is or is not the core business of a post is important. In my personal opinion, posts should be able to engage in auxilary services, but they should focus on ones that they are uniquely suited to provide.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    I'd like to concur with Uma's commentary above. Yes, indeed posts should exploit their networks to generate more revenues by offering non-postal services/products, especially in rural under-served areas. But not merely to generate more revenues (which is a good thing to support financing the network) but additionally to offer services/products for those underserved markets that the private sector cannot profitably do. It's a win-win situation. The posts turn cost centers into profit centers and provide needed services for underserved areas.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    For less than Rupees 3 (about 8 cents) a letter reaches across a sub-continent, connecting a rural hamlet in the himalayas to a metropolis by the sea 2500 kms away. Millions of India's illiterate depend on their local 'postman' to read, and sometimes even write their letters for them. Village houses with no numbers receive letters without fail. The Indian postal system, for all its flaws, is one of the threads that hold India's millions together, the other being the Indian Railways. India's urban middle-class has little use for either, what with low-cost private airlines and courier services. But India has 800 million people who have reason to be grateful to both these hallowed public institutions. A nation-state is not run for profit....the ultimate goal is to improve the lives of its people. The Indian postal system does just that, everyday. To know how they do so, you need to see the smile in the face of a mother in the forests of Jharkhand who just got a postcard from her migrant laborer son in Delhi...

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    India Post could also borrow lessons from UK's experience in reforming its postal service. One successful measure was to improve access to its service by opening postal counters in shopping malls and department stores. Easier access enabled Royal Mail to reach a much broader range of consumers. Customers found it more convenient to drop by such counters than making a special trip to a highly bureaucratic post office. This not only improved its revenue but also influenced consumer behavior patterns. Similarly, maybe India Post should explore ways to increase access to its services.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    I think there is a fine balancing act. I do believe that the post office should be avaiable to all people within reasonable constraints. I remember hearing a NPR radio report in 2008 that talked about how the US was cutting off service to so very remote place that had no roads and the only way to get there was by private airplane. They paid $42 cents for a stamp but it cost the US Post Office $4,200 to deliver that one piece of mail. I also think since they have the infrastructure they can capitalize on it with other services as others talked about. This is more difficult that one might think espically because the culture and reward systems of new ventures is very different from the mindset of subsidized government run organization.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    I second Roger to some extent, with the exception that Post should first clearly define what is its core business. One thing they should look at abroad is what is working for both public and private postal services. Lessons can be learned from examining FedEx. The merger of FedEx and Kinkos has now allowed FedEx to make itself into a broad communication center. You can go there not only to have traditional mailing services, but you can also fax, use the web, do word processing and graphics.

    All these services are essential to communication and are most likely lacking in rural parts of India. So if India Post can realign its core mission to be an enabler of communication in all its modern forms, then they can concentrate at delivering essential services to their customers and leave things that are wildly outside of their domain such as banking to agencies that are better equipped to handle such matters.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    I would not agree that posts should focus on postal operations alone and not provide non-postal services like retail and financial services. As demand for letter delivery is diminishing due to increasing electronic diversion, especially in the developed world, an extensive postal network can be exploited to generate additional income from such non-postal activities.

  • Reply to: A Look at India Post   5 years 9 months ago

    The issue I see is that the Post in India is involved in auxialliary enterprises and most likely at the expense of improving the postal service. This seems to me to be much like the railways and airlines in Pakistan where the transport system gets worse but these transport sectors perform okay financially but it all comes from the auxialliary enterprises. The Post like other government corporations need to focus on their core business and leave the others stuff to others- private or public.

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