• Reply to: Postal Service Takes a Leading Digital Role   1 year 8 months ago

    How secure can online communications be anyway? Anytime you bring identifying information online it can and will be hacked at some point! No matter the amount of security one thinks exist, it will always be broken, there is always a backdoor. Nothing is secure!!! Even the Postal Service can't maintain the security and privacy of PII or PCI information confidently for a long time. The US government is hacked quite often, if not daily. Now US citizens PII or PCI data will be brought into the mix? Not a good idea!!!

  • Reply to: Do you agree with the Postal Service’s decision to change the name of Express Mail and rename Parcel Post?   1 year 8 months ago

    Tracking has not improved and the mobile system is frequently unavailable. Who cares what you name your services if they are inferior to ups and fedex?

  • Reply to: Fueling a Fleet   1 year 8 months ago

    How Honda produces their hydrogen is not something I've seen them state - doesn't mean they do or don't use methane and you may or may not be right about how this particular - or any other - car company produces their hydrogen. Yes, it can be done by methane and it wouldn't surprise me if that's how they did in fact do it. But that's hardly the point.

    Fact: Sunlight can be converted to electricity. No dirty secrets there, this is well known common knowledge - everybody knows you can buy solar panels from literally thousands of companies. A quick search on google reveals over 14 million hits. A search for solar panel manufacturers reveals a page on wikipedia listing the top 10 "photovoltaics companies". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_photovoltaics_companies
    Most in China but 2 in the USA. So far so good.

    Solar panels can be either purchased, or leased. Leasing means no (or possibly little) upfront costs to the consumer - in this case, the post office as consumer. I don't know the details of leasing to a business but they certainly offer it to homeowners, I see no reason why they wouldn't offer the same to a business. The best part? Solar can and does produce so much electricity that it can be SOLD back to the electric company - I don't know the numbers this is something someone would have to sit down and analyze. I suspect the solar panel company selected would be happy to do that at no charge.

    So why am I talking about solar panels and electricity? It's probably less common knowledge that to convert water to hydrogen requires electricity and is called "electrolysis". This was discovered over 200 years ago. Yup, we've got the physics angle figured out. So far, we have electricity from solar panels and hydrogen from water - the most common element on the planet piped to every home & business in America. Already available. Now I suppose there are areas that don't get as much sunlight as others and it may require windpower or something else. Regardless, electricity is widely available by one method or another so hydrogen can be generated in whatever quantities needed and the major cost would be in the electricity - which if produced by solar or wind or other natural methods is non-polluting and can potentially be very cost effective - again someone would have to sit down and run the numbers for the post office's specific situation. Hydrogen generators are commercially available. Here's one that took me almost 3 seconds to find and was first on the google list: http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/PARKER-HANNIFIN-Hydrogen-Generator-39T172?cm_sp=IO-_-IDP-_-RR_VTV70300505&cm_vc=IDPRRZ1#productReviewTabs

    Do the numbers work for the post office? I have no idea, someone will have to sit down and figure that out.

    There is no C02 produced in electrolysis of water - just Hydrogen and Oxygen. You start with H20 (water - 2 Hyrdogen atoms & 1 Oxygen atom) you apply electricity and you end up with 2 Hydrogen atoms and 1 Oxygen atom separated from each other. Clean electricity from solar, wind or other clean sources which in turn give you hydrogen and oxygen.

    Now I'm not going to sit here and argue with you, the information is available for those who choose to take a few minutes and seriously look into it with an open mind. If you want to sit there and shake your head without checking into the possibilities because you already know everything, by all means enjoy yourself. But in my book it's better for everyone if the negativity is kept to a minimum. Unless you can provide objective facts & figures on both methods with citations for where you're getting your info. then it's just a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Am I disputing it will cost something? No - but "great cost" is a vague & meaningless term meant to install Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). Without specific numbers "great cost" means you personally can't afford it - that doesn't mean someone else doesn't have the money and they might consider the same cost to be quite reasonable and/or even better than what they're paying now. Is $15,000 a lot of money? Many people would say yes - and many people would say no; it all depends on your point of view. Everything is relative. Do an objective analysis of all the costs involved - then you'll have a true answer from which a decision can be made.

  • Reply to: Business Reply Mail   1 year 8 months ago

    If the BRM is not completed someone is falsifying documents by performing the BRM reconciliation report checking that it is completed.

    When that was happening in our office I sent screen shots to OIG but I never heard back.

  • Reply to: Who Should Pay for Mail Forwarding?   1 year 8 months ago

    In it affluent home with plenty of "snowbirds" they are always doing over the phone change of addresses and coa is stead premium forwarding . Forwarding should be paid for, if you can afford two home you can afford forwarding.

  • Reply to: Passing up Passport Revenue?   1 year 8 months ago

    We did 10 + passports a day, then we had people retire they didn't replace them.
    We started having appointments and took 8 a day but only 4 on Saturday .

    Our office cancelled Saturdays now due to
    Less clerks. Our office is in an affluent neighborhood and could do
    15 passports on Saturday. We get calls non strop for say appointments
    And after 4,

    Management opts to not offer them due to not enough clerks.

  • Reply to: Do you agree with the Postal Service’s decision to change the name of Express Mail and rename Parcel Post?   1 year 8 months ago

    I don't think we care what you call it, but since online shops seem to want to use it, I'd just like decent customer service when I go in and mail delivered during the time frame I paid for. In my city if it comes into the office late Thursday or Friday, they'll put it in your box Monday. No rush... We have to go in and convince them to look for it. I would never have a client again if I did that.

  • Reply to: Passing up Passport Revenue?   1 year 9 months ago

    My youngest daughter was given the chance to go to Germany for 3-1/2 weeks leaving in late June in mid-May. I called my Post Office to schedule an appointment the next day at approximately 8:30 AM. The station manger answered the call. After stating the purpose of my call, he asked that I call back after 9:00 AM. When I called back the station manager ask that I hold and then advised me that the next appointment time was seven week from when I called, which was 1-1/2 weeks after she was scheduled to leave. So we got up early on the following Saturday to go to the larger Post Office, which previously had walk-in for passport application, only to find out appointments were now required. I took down the phone number and attempted to call for an appointment later that day to no avail. To obtain her passport we went to the Passport Agency two days before she left and got her passport the same, which means USPS not only lost the $25.00 application fee but also lost the Priority Mail Postage for sending the passport and returning of the original documentation.

    My wife and I also needed our passports for an upcoming trip in December. After receiving new birth certificates and marriage certificate I attempted to call to schedule appointments for us to submit our applications. After many attempts to get someone to answer the phone an individual finally answered the phone only to advise me that nobody was there and took my name and number to have somebody call me back, which they never did. On one of my attempts I left the phone ring for 20+ minutes. The next day, after the person took my name and number, I called again and got appointments in less than five minutes. When we went to our appointments the clerk initially told me that I needed a new birth certificate, which I explained that I had already requested and received a new birth certificate and it had less information than the one I had with me. I also had both my Hospital Birth Certificate and my Baptismal Certificates with me, which the US State Department website were acceptable if the parents’ names are not on the Birth Certificate. I also had a receipt of registration for my Birth Certificate, which included my parents’ names. I advise the clerk to check the US State Department website to see what information was acceptable if the parents’ names are not on Birth Certificate. Initially, the clerk took my Birth Certificate and the receipt to submit but upon seeing our Marriage Certificate, the clerk returned my Birth Certificate and the receipt and submitted our Marriage Certificate instead. The clerk also required my wife and I to list were our parents were born, even though the information was optional on the application nor would the clerk allow us to request the 52 page passport. (When I went to the Passport Agency to obtain my daughter’s passport, her application was changed from the 28 page to 52 page by the clerk there.) Needless to say, I received a letter from the US State Department stating that I had to submit my Birth Certificate before a passport could be issued. So I sent all of the original paperwork I had taken with me to apply for the passport and mailed it to the Passport Agency. I called the supervisor of the clerk that originally processed my application and explained the situation. The supervisor told me that the USPS would submit the additional paperwork for me at no cost. I explained that had already mailed at my expense to avoid further delay. As a customer service organization, the feel the supervisor, USPS, should have offered to refund the postage.

    The USPS should put in place an automated telephone system for passport application appointment (similar to the Passport Agency), a web base appointment system, where customers may enter when they would like an appointment or a ZIP Code of where they would the appointment and the “calendar” would advise the customer when/where the appointment(s) are available or have as many of the retail window clerk trained for processing passport applications as possible and then just have passport applicants proceed through the line and if the next available window retail clerk is not able to process passports you just wait for the next clerk that can. It would be more customer friendly and less costly to allow customer very easily schedule an appointment either through a web base or automated phone system than to require them to make numerous calls to many post offices or even one post office to obtain an appointment.

  • Reply to: Fueling a Fleet   1 year 9 months ago

    Almost all of the Hydrogen used today comes from Methane (natural gas), a dirty little secret that you won't see mentioned in current dialog. Hydrogen can be extracted from water, but at great cost. The steam reforming process is less expensive. So, until someone unlocks the physics problem of water really liking to be water, Methane will continue to be the source for Hydrogen. Oh, by the way the the other by-product of making Hydrogen is CO2. OOPS. Check it out before responding.

  • Reply to: Does a Virtual PO Box service appeal to you?   1 year 9 months ago

    I am waiting not so patiently for this to become reality. A Virtual P.O. Box is desperately needed by ANYONE who runs an email newsletter and doesn't have a business address separate from home address.

    CAN-SPAM is a law requiring a physical address at the bottom of business emails, and ANY email newsletter. Violators can get hit with a hefty fine for non-compliance.

    My only address for my home based business is... my home! Putting that address on the bottom of an email newsletter that random people that find me on the internet can sign up for... SCARY!

  • Reply to: Great Expectations of Online Shopping   1 year 9 months ago

    Good article and an interesting read. Online shopping is now dominating retail stores and any store that doesn't offer online shopping is doomed to fade away.

  • Reply to: Learning from Lean Six Sigma   1 year 9 months ago

    Hey Thanks for sharing this information.This is very nice thing to Learn the Lean Six Sigma.This is Important to improve the Efficiency ,effectiveness and Business Sustainability.

  • Reply to: Exigent Price Increase Proposed   1 year 9 months ago

    You need some out of the box thinking instead of the old stodgy run of the mill "we need money, raise prices" thinking.

    I own a small business. Not just small, but tiny. A nano-business if you will. At today's current postal rates, plus adding in printing costs, I can't afford to send out mailers. Raising prices means potentially losing customers - and even if you don't lose customers you certainly don't gain new ones. Then you'll just have the same problem again in maybe a few years. It's a band-aid that won't hold for long.

    Here's an idea that goes against common thinking. CUT the rates. WHAT? Yeah, lower the rates - take the Walmart approach and increase the volume. It works for Walmart. If I could afford to send out direct mail - I would. Instead I use free Internet sources to advertise. I have to wonder how many other nano-businesses are in that boat. Make a massive cut so that anyone could afford it. Think about the guy running a business on a shoestring (that's me). I don't have $500 to spend on advertising. Scraping together $100 would be tough. Make it $50 or less for me to get the word out to 10,000 prospects and I'll keep coming back! That $50 needs to include printing.

    Ink a deal with a printing service to get cut rate printing for postal customers. Pump up the volume with synergy. More business for the printer, more business for the post office... more business for me. More business for me (and you) means more cash available to spend which means more growth for me, you and the printer.

    Another possibility is to facilitate sharing of ad space. Provide a service to we nano-businesses whereby we each get a portion of a page, and we all share in the cost. Instead of me having to go find another business owner that would be amenable to the idea the PO can offer it as a free service (the pairing of 2 or more businesses). Contract out the graphic design work (the placing of multiple ads on a page - a very simple task) to a printer who provides cut rate services as described above. Voila! Everybody wins.

    Or take the vistaprint.com approach. FREE! For about a year they gave me FREE products! Larger quantities were available for a price, but they got my attention - and my business by letting me have significant quantities of free products that were useful to me (like all kinds of marketing materials - business cards, banners, magnetic signs, post cards, etc. etc. etc.). You could offer a similar promotion, letting me have free delivery of my mailers for a healthy time period (like a year or two) so that I can generate meaningful sales - coupled with a significant discount from a printer that you contract with to get us all a volume discount. Give me enough time to generate some sales so I can start affording to pay higher rates. If you help me make sales, I'm not going to mind paying for your services - but I need a leg up. Give me that leg up and I'm going to give you my business. I suspect a lot of others have similar views - all businesses need to advertise but not all businesses have the upfront cash to spend so we don't do very well because of it. Help us grow, and the entire country - including the postal service - benefits!

  • Reply to: Fueling a Fleet   1 year 9 months ago

    You ask the question "Should the Postal Service throw in with one type of fuel or continue experimenting with a number of options?" You've essentially answered that question with this question: "How does the Postal Service remain flexible enough to adapt to the best technology knowing that rapid innovation in the alternative fuel sector means the next best thing could be right around the corner?" If you're interested in remaining flexible, then obviously you can't "throw in with one type of fuel". There's no reason you need to convert the entire fleet today. Take the private sector approach - which is to say pretend you're a real business with shareholders and your own money at stake, instead of a government boondoggle. What would you do then? Chances are you'd phase out older vehicles based on age of the vehicle, maintenance costs, fuel & other costs, and depreciation. As you phase out the old, you get new vehicles using whatever is the best option at the time. There aren't a lot of companies that would simply dump the entire fleet all at once. However, I strongly support the hydrogen approach simply because it's cleaner.

    You also ask "Should it set more aggressive goals for reducing its use of petroleum and increasing its alternative fuel use?" I say yes - get off the crack - I mean petro.

    Some interesting links:

  • Reply to: Fueling a Fleet   1 year 9 months ago

    This is NOT the only source of hydrogen generation, just one.

    News Release
    Hydrogen for Air Products’ Newest Fueling Station Comes From a Sustainable Source--Municipal Wastewater
    August 16, 2011 Lehigh Valley, Pa.
    Air Products (NYSE: APD), the leader in hydrogen fueling technology, today officially opened its newest California hydrogen fueling station drawing its feedstock from a very novel and sustainable source. Air Products is pumping hydrogen into fuel cell vehicles that is generated from the municipal wastewater treatment plant at the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) in Fountain Valley. In addition to generating hydrogen, the project also creates electricity and heat from this renewable source.

    Read the rest here: http://www.airproducts.com/company/news-center/2011/08/0816-hydrogen-for-air-products-newest-fueling-station-comes-from-municipal-wastewater.aspx

  • Reply to: Disappearing Collection Boxes   1 year 9 months ago

    The removal of our local pickup box will be a huge impact on this area where there are disabled and elderly folks who can't otherwise use usps. Sure we can leave mail out for our local carrier. Except she gets here about 7pm and the box is collected sooner. Is she trying to show management how busy she is? And how hard would it be for the local delivery carrier to pick up the contents of the blue box? She drives right by it daily. Does it have to be a dedicated driver that just empties boxes? We live in a mobile home park. Shouldn't each removal be based on need, not just how often it is used in a 7 day period. I am very upset about the removal of our local box. I use it several times a month!

  • Reply to: Exigent Price Increase Proposed   1 year 9 months ago

    I agree, the Postal Service has few choices. It has 5 days of cash on hand and limited ability to raise sufficient funds with a price cap, or aggressively cut costs or reduce services to adjust supply with demand given the constant congressional interference. I suspect this modest "exigent" price increase will not drive customers away. Certainly, most stamp users are asking "why not just raise it to 50 cents and leave me alone for a while?" (They don't understand the price cap, nor should we expect them to. Convenience is on the mind of retail customers.) Business mailers will complain, but in all likelihood, a roughly 6% increase will not drive them completely away, although we might see volumes dip a bit initially. Perhaps this price increase results in the Postal Service losing some of those "below cost" products and ends up saving money by losing this costly mail.

  • Reply to: Exigent Price Increase Proposed   1 year 9 months ago

    Since Congress couldn't pass or even agree on a Postal Reform Plan, the USPS had no other choice but to ask for a rate increase. Will it hurt business mailers - you bet. Under the rules set by Congress the USPS is in between and rock and a hard place.

  • Reply to: Exigent Price Increase Proposed   1 year 9 months ago

    The current rate system has several problems as I discussed in this recent article on STPO: http://www.savethepostoffice.com/groundhog-day-post-office-time-exigent-rate-increase-again

    General Williams recent testimony to Congress discussed the issue of elasticity specifically and rates more generally. It seems that the current request is something of a political action designed to get the mailers upset and have them push Congress for reform legislation.
    Maintaining postal services in this country and maintaining and improving the postal network and postal infrastructure is going to require an appropriate rat system. Th current request may raise some revenues in the short term but in the long term the system still has problem. The current rate system and the logic supporting it is embedded with privilege and preference. It is a system which does not recognize the value of the postal network as national infrastructure but instead views it as capacity captured by and serving some rather narrow industry interests.
    If we want to preserve the aspects of postal services that support universal service as well as some of the intangible values inherent in universal service then we'll need to move to a rate system that reflects those values. The current request is merely tactics that don't serve any useful strategic vision.

  • Reply to: Exigent Price Increase Proposed   1 year 9 months ago

    You're not really serious are you?
    Did any of you watch the recent Postal reform hearings?

    Your mailers are the only customer/vendors you've got left?

    "Cutting off the nose to spit the face".

    "Passports"? What do you think the life expectancy of a Passport is in this age of Bit-Coins?
    Your transportation network leadership or front line personnel do not even know how to exploit the wireless networks you own and operate, in some of the most radio frequency penetrated geographic zones in North America!

  • Reply to: Passing up Passport Revenue?   1 year 9 months ago

    Staffing. Our station could do passports all day long, our passport office is used for storage, computer long gone. Only one passport qualified clerk, doing them by appointment, hour per day...that's just one of thousands of missed revenue opportunities.

  • Reply to: Passing up Passport Revenue?   1 year 9 months ago

    Fewer people are using the Post Office for passports becaue the customer service is absolutely terrible. A couple of years ago we needed to get passports for our children. So, we called the nearest Post Office that provided passport services. All we got was a recorded message that said an appointment was required. There was no option to talk to a live person at all. We left two or three messages on different days and never received any call back.

    I then found that passports could be applied for at the county government office. The service there was surprisingly good. They actually answer their phone! And, the wait time in their office wasn't long at all. I would never even consider using the Post Ofice for passport services again. Not a chance!

    Why would anyone think that a Post Office, which always has long lines, poor service, and union employees who don't care about customers, would be anyone's choice for any service when they have an alternative?

  • Reply to: Passing up Passport Revenue?   1 year 9 months ago

    Why does the OIG start these projects with out doing the full research? What was USPS annual passport revenue before the new reuirements went into effect? If everyone who needed new passports in 2008 and 2009 applied back then you should see a return to normal a few years after that. OIG doesnt tell us what normal was. Also when it come time to renew your passport you can not go down to the post-office and process a renewal in the same manor that you do in applying for your first passport, so there is no renewal or repeat business. Can the OIG tell us what percent of Americans now hold valid passports? If its 80% for example then your opportunity in the future is only 20%. If the postal service had that answer then they may be able to predict what percent may apply for new passports in the future.

  • Reply to: Does a Virtual PO Box service appeal to you?   1 year 9 months ago

    I love the idea of this but don't agree that the USPS should take a project like this on since they are already hemmoraging at the expense of the tax payers . . . leave this to private industries that have to show a profit to stay afloat.

  • Reply to: Passing up Passport Revenue?   1 year 9 months ago

    When the post office started doing passports my office jumped on line. We did very well, we had three window stations.
    Almost every day we had many appointments, and at times we did walk ins. Then the reduction in force started , three clerks were excessed, the middle window station was eliminated. With the shortness in staff, management did not want to pay overtime to process the passport applications. When time came to renew or take the the online training again, conveniently it was overlooked. The online renewal training process could not be taken again until it was offered again in the future. Fast forward now to current time, our office is still on the website as a passport office. We have not done a passport application in almost two years. People come in everyday or call, wanting to make an appt. for a passport and we have to send them to another office. It's a shame when something was working so well and customers liked it, then the rug was pulled from under them. It seems like the post office is creating it's own demise. What happened to service, giving the customers what they want not sending them somewhere else. I want to keep my job not give it to someone else.