• Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 10 months ago

    It does help seeing so many other comments that validate the feelings I constantly struggle with. Asking a customer who comes in to mail a book to her sister(no hurry, she says)if she would like to guaranty delivery by tomorrow for $34.95, then having to ask if she would like cash back, and would she like to rent a P O Box, on top of all the other questions, is insulting to the customer and demeaning to me as a SSA.

    I have never been to McD's and had to listen to "Would you like to buy a jar of mustard and apply for a job here today?" We are the Postal SERVICE. Have a little faith in your employees to help the customers that need it and to promptly give service to the customers who already know what they want.

    Also, think long and hard before trying to retail other items. Remember the phone card debacle?

    Thanks for the forum. I do need to vent sometimes, and discussion and communication is always a good thing.

  • Reply to: Periodicals   5 years 10 months ago

    The communication landscape has changed a great deal since the early days of the United States but there are a several facts regarding Periodicals mail that haven't, for example:

    Periodicals are paid for (or requested) by the recipient. This increases the value to the consumer and gives them a reason to look forward to what the Postal Service has called "the mail moment." In fact, former PMG Bill Henderson said that Periodicals are the "anchor of the mailbox."

    Periodicals are generators of mail. In addition to providing USPS revenue, Periodicals mailers also generate mail volume in all mail classes including First Class (bills), Standard Mail (direct mail solicitations and renewal notices), and Parcels (premiums). In addition, many Periodicals publishers rent their subscriber lists to direct mailers and this results in additional mail volume that the Postal Service would not receive in the absence of the Periodical. In NSAs this was referred to as the "multiplier effect." Periodicals are mail multipliers.

    No one to date has been able to explain the incomprehensible rise in Periodicals costs during a period of substantial increases in mailer worksharing. Periodicals mailers have, in unprecedented numbers, migrated to co-mailing, co-binding, co-palletization, drop shipping, sack reductions, and increases in carrier route copies. How could this significantly more efficient mail lead to greater mail processing costs???

    Is the USPS and PRC absolutely certain that the Periodicals cost base is accurately being measured? I think not.

    In addition, Periodicals mail has always been suspected to be the recipient of "automation refugees" whereby the Postal Service automates other mail classes but fails to lay off any workers. These workers must then be assigned to something, so they are assigned to manually process a relatively small class of mail, i.e. Periodicals. Then when the IOCS data collectors perform their tallies, all of these automation refugees get charged to Periodicals mail. Could it be that Periodicals are covering 83% of an inflated cost base yet could be contributing over 100% if the cost base were more accurate?

    Thankfully, the USPS and PRC are beginning to work on the Periodicals Report that was mandated in the PAEA. Hopefully, this will help all parties gain a better understanding of Periodicals costs, rates, and their place in the Postal universe.

  • Reply to: Periodicals   5 years 10 months ago

    Periodicals represent the largest class of mail that is actually requested by the individual. Periodicals is also a key source for creating first and Standard A mail as well. Also look at the huge cost reduction the USPS has seen from the Printers creating co-mail and trucking the product outside the USPS across the country to the BMC's.

  • Reply to: Periodicals   5 years 10 months ago

    Periodicals are important to the Postal Service beyond dollars and cents and to the American people, which is why for more than 200 years they have received a rate preference. That's why the objectiove cap takes precedence over the subjective cost coverage "requirement." In addition, USPS should keep in mnd that Periodicals make money if you factor in all of the additional First-Class and Standard mail that Periodicals generate with ads, list rentals, renewal notices, payments, invoices, etc. Also, it's not all that clear that Periodials fail to cover costs, since the USPS costing methods are highly suspect. The Postal Service several years ago gave in to the PRC in a dispute over whther, as the PRC contended, nearly 100% of processing costs are attributable as volume variable, or whether, as USPS concluded, a significcant portion are fixed, as proven by the fact that there are economies of scale. The fact that costs continue to escalate even as volume declines, or in some cases fall far more slowly than volume, proves that volume variable and therefore attributable costs are overstated. Finally, the fact is that there is still a good deal of costly manual handling of machinable Periodicals, for a variety of reasons, none of which have to do with the makeup of the mail itself. The incremental costs of manual handling should not be attributed to Periodicals, just as the Alaska Air costs are not attributed to Parcels.

  • Reply to: Periodicals   5 years 10 months ago

    Periodicals mail also creates the need for first class (bills) and standard mail (renewal offers and direct mail new sub offers) and needs to be considered in whole.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 10 months ago

    The fowarding mail after 90-days needs to stop. Just send it back after 90-days WITH THE NEW ADDRESS ON IT. That makes the mailer send it out twice. More revenue...more volume...less cost....and an accurate mailing list which in turn would eventually be used by companies that send out 3rd Class mailings.....again leading to less waste.....making this class of mail more user friendly. I've sent this suggestion to the USPS often. I have difficulty believing they still waste over a billion dollars a year subsidizing deadbeats that refuse to take personal responsibility for notifying publishers and correspondents of their correct address. Presently the USPS forwards for 12-months and then from 12-to-18 months returns the piece with the new address attached. Simply changing that to forwarding for 90-days and then returning the piece for months 4 thru 18 would save us billions of dollars while actually inproving service and value for our customers who pay to send out all classes of mail. These are uour REAL customes...the rate payers. The recipients of the mail they pay to send are our patrons. It would cost virtually nothing to impliment this new strategy. Try it. What's the worst thing that could happen?

  • Reply to: Crime Takes No Holiday   5 years 10 months ago

    I just had an item stolen from the mail. I know that it was internal as I can see an impression of the cardboard holder on the envelope created as the letter passed through sorting machines. The envelope was resealable, and appeared unopened when I received it, and my mailbox is locked... Item stolen internally...

  • Reply to: The OIG Wants to Know How You Feel about Sick Leave   5 years 10 months ago

    HOW WE FEEL? WELL FIRST OF ALL IT IS MY BENEFIT NOT THE P.O. BENEFIT. IT IS FOR ME TO KEEP MY MIND AND BODY AT ITS PEAK PERFORMANCE. MY HEALTH IS ONE OF THE ONLY THINGS I WILL NOT LET ANYBODY TAKE FROM ME. JUST BECAUSE I SEEM OK DOES NOT MEAN IM NOT AT MY TRYING POINT MENTALLY AND NEED TIME TO RECOOP MY MENTAL WELLBEING. THE POST OFFICE HAS NO MERCY WHEN THEY FORCED YOU FOR OVERTIME IN THE PAST OF MADE YOU WORK SCREWED UP HOURS. I HAVE BEEN IN THE PO FOR 25 YEARS AND CANNOT GET NORMAL HOURS OR DAYS OFF THAT PUTS A LARGE STRAIN TO MY FAMILY AND MYSELF, NEVER MIND THE SCRUTINY YOU ARE ALWAYS ON. I ALSO DEAL WITH INEPT MANAGEMENT THAT ARE ON POWER CONTROL TRIPS INSTEAD OF DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR THE WORKER AND COMPANY.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 10 months ago

    Mr. Tyndale above said it best. We need to make meeting the needs of our customers as a first priority. Our needs in the form of increased business and revenue will follow. It has been said that we have focused on being the "best buggywhip maker in the business at a time when there is no demand for buggywhips". While there is truth to that concept, it is also true that until science comes up with a reliable method for teleportation we will still need some form of reliable hardcopy delivery in this country. The USPS is positioned to fill that need, but its success in this area is at risk for getting lost in the details. There are many changes afoot, and after 30 years, I am in constant amazement, but I think if we keep from letting "the tail wag the dog" the USPS can get back into the business of offering good, reliable, and affordable service. If we don't lose sight of this need, we will survive.

  • Reply to: Who We Are and Why We Blog...   5 years 10 months ago

    I have the same concern about international packages. We also create the labels via Endicia. Up through the end of July 2009, if our carrier individually scanned the international packages, they at least showed up as having been accepted into the mailstream. Now they no longer do, even though our carrier still has been scanning them.

    This really makes us look bad, as our customers think that we never actually MAILED their packages!

    Yes, I know that for $1 I could purchase "proof of mailing"... but that's not really the point. If a barcoded label has already been created, what's so hard / costly about just doing an acceptance scan? It makes such a big difference to the sender, and also the recipient!

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas Part 2   5 years 10 months ago

    I totally agree what "MR.william tyndale" says.

    It seems to me ,the pursuing the exfc goal with declining mail volumn and wasting the postal dollar is catching a fly with a hammer.

    Whoever support the false system should go to the jail instead of getting bonus.

    why? because you actually help the falsifying the official record and wasting the stamp dollar in order to achieve the falsifying and unrealistic goal.

    is our competitor like fed ex and ups has the exfc?

    NO!

    they are still deliver the mail faster and accurate enough to compete with us without unrealistic system

    and they are expanding every neiborhood in this country every in the corner.

    and they do have their airplane,too.

    why the postal service do not have one?

    because they are behind and far behind and outdated system and wasting their money to pursue the unrealistic goal like exfc.

    and the postal service still use the method to catch their fly with hammer.

  • Reply to: The OIG Wants to Know How You Feel about Sick Leave   5 years 10 months ago

    How is a person supposed to know ahead of time that they are going to be sick? How is my wife supposed to know ahead of time that my 4 year old is going to have an ear infection? Is it not better to have my wife call in sick rather than have day care call my wife in the middle of her route telling her that she HAS to come pick up our daughter?

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas Part 2   5 years 10 months ago

    I find it interesting that the PMG feels the best way to solve the financial woes of the Postal service it to cut services to the American public. The Postal service is a huge entity with many different departments. Many of these departments are not needed and have nothing to do with getting the mail out.
    For example, what does Diversity Awareness have to do with moving the mail. If you want to promote diversity fine contract a company to do talks once every quarter. This would allow the Post Office to eliminate that entire department. I am only speaking of one area of Postal waste. We need to cut the fat not service to our customers.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 10 months ago

    In my opinion is better to talk to the customers as they are human beings. Each letter, each parcel and each service means a lot to the individual who mails it. Quickly determine if the customer is looking to spend more for additional items or services and offer the best possible advice in your common interest. Help the customer get the best value for their money (or else said, GIVE'EM THE BEST BANG FOR THEIR BUCK!) Oh, and be courteous and polite as much as possible and have a stack of complaints cards ready. Just my 2 cents - please don't raise the prices.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 10 months ago

    Rich, I agree that the upselling long and robotic dialogue is IDIOTIC for the Postal Service window clerks. But, judging by the response you received from Mary the ?Manager, then I am not surprised.

    The good thing is that we can talk about the issue at hand. The reason that Management is forcing employees to "read" the scripts is BECAUSE THEY THINK WE'RE IDIOTS and OUR CUSTOMERS ARE IDIOTS TOO.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 10 months ago

    Mary, I am trying to show that the script we follow does not work. Us clerks can sell more if we are given the freedom to read are customers and up-sell the products they may need. I sell more express than the other clerks because I can identify the customer that could benefit from this service. If we go by the script no one pays attention to what your saying because it sounds so mechanical. Because I don't agree with managements ignorant policy on this doesn't mean I should quit my job! Management needs to listen to us employees on the floor instead of making decisions far removed from what goes on in the real world.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 10 months ago

    I believe that in today's economical tough times that it is time to consider suspending mystery shopper program. Too much money is being wasted on this program and the basic question remains are the costs of this program delivering the revenue results that are being sought. Is this program paying for itself or is something we have always done? Temporary suspend the program and see what happens to the revenue. It might remain unchanged and the cost savings would be runnning this program. Empower the employees to come up with creative ways to drive the revenue. Nothing more disconcerning then sitting on a two hour telecon because our office has failed a mystery shop. We can't get the employees to buy in a program no one believes in.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 10 months ago

    While we run amuck in the publicized woes of the Postal Service’s alleged financial crisis, we seem to have lost focus on the reason for its existence.

    The Postal Service is obligated to provide Universal service to the American public including remote and rural locales. If this means that it cannot turn a profit, so be it. The Postal Service is not a privately owned enterprise nor should it be. It was designed so that every individual within these United States could receive mail! Don’t let the capitalistic arguments of profit, profit, profit!!! steer us away from this fundamental ideal.
    Consider that Fed Ex and UPS are private corporations which need to meet operating costs and turn a profit to remain in business. The federally owned Postal Service at best should only be required to maintain its operational costs to do the same.

  • Reply to: Will Electronic Reader Technology Affect the Postal Service?   5 years 10 months ago

    Perfectly on point.
    Many of the ideas offered simply don't fit into our regulatory context. At some point the survival of the organization lays solidly in the hands of our regulators and Congress. Given the parameters of PAEA most of what the organization can do on its own simply glosses around the edges.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 10 months ago

    but.....the SSA will never know if the same repeat customer is a "Mystery Shopper."

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 10 months ago

    If you feel that you look like an idiot with the up sell approach, then quit and get a different job with another company!!!!

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 10 months ago

    USPS average revenue per piece is lower for three main reasons. First, USPS’s pieces are lighter on average than UPS’s and FedEx’s. Second, many USPS pieces are drop-shipped close to destination (e.g., approx. 200 million DDU parcels). Third, the USPS has a low share of the high-priced overnight market.

    The pound analysis is faulty. Perhaps it’s around $1 per pound, though it may be more. But that’s an average derived from a cost per cubic foot, which is the main way FedEx charges for Priority Mail air transportation. So, the USPS pays FedEx about the same for a 6-pound flat-rate box as for, say, a 1-pound flat-rate box.

  • Reply to: How Should the Postal Service Sell Its Products?   5 years 10 months ago

    As always, USPS, someone, decides square peg will fit in round hole and has the enormous power to try to make it work, and that's that. It doesn't work. I have never, ever bought a doughnut because the cute Brazilian girl asked, as she is forced to do; never. This dumb initiative has ruined window clerks' jobs for good.
    There is no sales creativity in this robotic mandate whatsoever. It kills all initiative and feeling of personal accomplishment, already in very short supply in this job. I once led our District by a wide margin, personally, selling Black History comm. sets, $19.95 I think at a whack. Know why? I was in a heavily black area and felt like doing it for the sense of accomplishment. Every time someone wanted "interesting" stamps, I pulled out the semi-postal sheets with the birds and animals on them, gathering dust everywhere. Sold all of them. I put up small displays of new stamps. Sold all the ugly Buck. Fuller ones to the geeks who thought they were cool. You have crushed and in many formal ways forbidden such stuff. No one cares anymore. I know people with 25 years on this window job who ask me every time I see them if there are jobs at the plant, that's how disgusted they are

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service   5 years 10 months ago

    Very Very well said. The Disney Institute teaches exactly what you are talking about. The front line employees must be heard and must be rewarded for good work. The post office talks the talk but doesn't walk the talk!

  • Reply to: Brainstorm Ideas Part 2   5 years 10 months ago

    How about if we concentrated our efforts on developing a manageable and sustainable delivery metwork and measured the performance of that network in a fair and accurate manner?
    I suppose you'll tell me that that is what EXFC measures and perhaps add - look how good our scores are? The plain and simple fact is that EXFC scores are essentially fraudulent, they deceive the public, they dishonor the intent of the public laws that create measurement standards and the attempts to distort them cost the Postal Service tens millions of dollars every year.
    A perfect example is an incident that happened last Saturday in Mid-Carolinas.
    A rural carrier was delayed in returning to the office by construction traffic. As a result the carrier missed dispatch. The carrier had a single tub of outgoing mail with 49 pieces in it. The PMR in the office was notified and eventually contacted the postmaster, who following District guidelines contacted her POOM. Because of the various delays the mail had to be driven 180 miles to the next distribution center. In the meantime the guiodelines in this District require the postmaster and the POOM to cinduct a walk through of the office to ensure that all other mail was properly dispatched. The situation was completely resolved by 3am.
    I suppose there are those that would argue that our service commitments are inviolable and therefore this involved dance was both necessary and justified. That's absolutely ridiculous and any reasonable person knows it. Hundreds of dollars were spent to advance 49 pieces of mail and the only reason was to avert a dreaded EXFC failure.
    Incidents like this one happen everyday throughout the system. We have personnel driving single pieces of mail miles to ensure delivery and ensure EXFC scores. Yes, we are here to provide service but the regimen surrounding EXFC is perverse and distorted. It does not result in realistic changes to procedures to build a better more efficient network; it results in a culture of rationalization and justification that cynically wastes resources to gin up performance scores.
    We spend millions of dollars and tremendous amounts of effort to monitor EXFC performance in ways that totally distort the intent of the governing statutes. Resources that ought to be devoted to developing and improving our network and practices are instead diverted to attempting to identify and predict where EXFC drops are being made and when. It's true that it is virtually impossible to identify individual collectors in the EXFC system and I've heard DM's say they wouldn't want to know if they could but the simple fact of the matter is that the entire administrative response to EXFC is designed to subvert the system rather than learn from the scores.

    The sad thing is that the OIG is willing to look the other way on this. The PRC is willing to accept "record breaking performance scores" regardless of the underlying lack of value in those scores. As an organization we have developed a perverse institutional culture with respect to measuring performance. Unless and until we break this culture we will never get a truly honest appraisal of our system and ultimately that is what has led and is leading to our downfall.

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