Public-Private Partnerships: Best Practices and Opportunities for the Postal Service

June 24, 2013 (RARC-WP-13-011)

As the public reduces its reliance on physical mail, the U.S. Postal Service is in the middle of a difficult transition—a transition that presents opportunities and challenges. Our white paper recommends that the Postal Service consider opportunities for public-private partnerships (PPPs) to reduce its costs, make its outlays flexible so that they vary along with volume, and leverage private sector expertise in developing new products for the digital age.

Peer-to-Peer Commerce and the Role of the Postal Service

January 14, 2013 (RARC-WP-13-005)

The term peer-to-peer (P2P) commerce refers to a model of a marketplace where individual consumers — peers — trade goods, services, and rentals directly. The U.S. Postal Service can play unique and positive roles in the expansion of the P2P marketplace.

Causes of the Postal Service FERS Surplus

October 16, 2012 (RARC-WP-13-001)

The Postal Service’s pension surplus was projected to be $13.1 billion as of the end of fiscal year 2011. Most of the surplus – $11.4 billion – is in the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) pension program. A surplus occurs when assets exceed accrued liability. FERS has been in surplus since 1992, and the OIG wanted to investigate the reasons behind this persistent surplus. Are there distinctive characteristics of the Postal Service and its employees that cause the surplus? And can the surplus be expected to continue?

Parallel Tracks? Lessons from the Railroad Industry

August 13, 2012 (RARC-WP-12-014)

The U.S. Postal Service is currently facing a financial crisis. The combination of the great recession and increased competition from electronic diversion has created the “perfect storm” of rapidly declining mail volumes. While severe, the Postal Service’s predicament does not seem to be entirely unique. There are many parallels to the freight rail industry, which suffered a significant loss of market share to the trucking industry in the 1950s, while it was burdened with an overbuilt network.

Postal Service Contributions to National Infrastructure

July 9, 2012 (RARC-WP-12-012)

Throughout its history, the U.S. Postal Service has contributed to the nation’s infrastructure. Highly subsidized postage rates for newspapers created a national market for information. The Post Office organized stagecoach service to transport mail and newspapers, supporting a passenger transportation network for the new nation. The Post Office Department was the first government entity to promote commercial air transportation, and mail contracts provided the initial support for what eventually became a great aviation industry.

Maximizing the Postal Service’s Workforce

Over the past few years, the U.S. Postal Service has implemented sweeping changes to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve staff flexibilities. One such change was the creation of two new employee categories: the non-traditional full-time (NTFT) and postal support employee (PSE) positions. The Postal Service created the new employee categories to better align employees’ schedules with the work available. The NTFT position is a bid position—a position that Postal Service employees can bid on—with a regular weekly schedule of 30 to 48 hours.

OIG Releases Semiannual Report to Congress

The U.S. Postal Service faces significant financial, strategic, and operational challenges. As it presses for comprehensive reform legislation, the Postal Service continues to look for ways to reinvent its business model and adapt to technology. Despite the challenges, the Postal Service remains committed to its goals of improving service, generating income, improving its workforce and the workplace, and corporate responsibility.

The Global Logistics Revolution: A Pivotal Moment for the Postal Service

June 3, 2013 (RARC-WP-13-010)

The explosion of e-commerce parcels flooding postal networks is just one symptom of a confluence of forces characterized by increasing globalization, the expanding digital revolution, and changes in manufacturing and transportation. Together, these forces are transforming the global logistics market, altering hundreds of years of traditional commerce, and resulting in major implications for postal operators.

Re-evaluating Span of Control Targets

Span of control is defined as the number of subordinates in an organization who report directly to one supervisor and is determined by evaluating several factors. Some examples of these factors include, but are not limited to nature of work, degree of risk in the work for the organization, similarity of activities performed, and qualifications, experience and geographic location of subordinates. The U.S. Postal Service has established a span of control target of one supervisor for every 25 craft employees (1:25 ratio).

Postal Employee Sentenced for Stealing $3.5 Million in U.S. Treasury Checks

When the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) learned that a postal employee was possibly involved in the theft of U.S. Treasury checks from the mail, the agency’s special agents began investigating immediately. Investigators from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service, Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, and Veterans Affairs also joined the investigation.

What America Wants from the Postal Service

May 21, 2013 (RARC-WP-13-009)

America’s communications needs are continually evolving. Individuals and businesses have become increasingly reliant on electronic means of transacting business and exchanging information. However, not everyone has access to and uses digital communications. The U.S. Postal Service is at a critical juncture in determining its role in meeting America’s communications needs in the digital age.

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