Our blog from nearly five years ago about the U.S. Postal Service moving into Sunday package delivery remains among our most viewed and popular blogs. It seems Sunday delivery’s time had come and the continued growth in USPS Sunday delivery hubs certainly supports that assessment.
It’s the week before Thanksgiving, when attention turns to travel, favorite family recipes, overeating, and, of course, package delivery.
That’s right. Cyber Monday is right around the corner and predictions put this year’s spend at roughly $3.8 billion in sales. And with an expected jump in online sales of 18-21 percent over the entire holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service is preparing for a 10 percent increase in the number of packages it will deliver (to 850 million) between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
Technology plays a huge role in the fast-moving package delivery market. Package delivery companies that skimp on innovation investments do so at their own risk.
As part of its effort to be the “shipper of choice” for customers, the U.S. Postal Service has invested millions of dollars in Mobile Delivery Devices (MDD), handheld scanners that allow letter carriers to track package delivery in real time via Global Positioning System. Tracking capability, known as package visibility, is essential for USPS to meet market demands.
The story goes that Alibaba founder Jack Ma chose his company’s name for two reasons: He wanted to be ahead of Amazon alphabetically and he wanted a global-sounding name. It didn’t hurt that some people also associated the word Alibaba with “hidden treasure” – recalling the most famous story from The Arabian Nights.
Alibaba is China’s giant ecommerce platform that is now taking on the globe. Its September 2014 initial public offering in the United States was the largest ever, and Ma has signaled his interest in expanding here.
What should the postal vehicle of the future look like? The U.S. Postal Service recently put that question to its carriers and vehicle maintenance personnel and is currently reviewing the feedback. It’s an important question because the delivery fleet is aging and the Postal Service needs to quickly replace it. In fact, our recent audit on the topic found the current fleet can only meet delivery needs through fiscal year 2017 – and that assumes no unexpected decrease in vehicle inventory or increase in the number of motorized routes.
The Internet may have eaten into the U.S. Postal Service’s First-Class Mail volume and revenue, but digital devotion does bring good news, too. Package shipping is on the rise, due in large part to the ever-increasing popularity of online shopping. The Postal Service’s future could brighten considerably because of this expanding market, but is the Postal Service prepared to compete effectively in it?
When you think German ingenuity, perhaps high-end automobiles or precision cameras come to mind. Might be time to add individual residential parcel box lockers to the list.
Don’t laugh. Deutsche Post DHL plans to roll out individual locked parcel boxes to interested German households, and if successful pilot tests in two cities are any indication, the idea could prove to be a lucrative hit.
Earn more or spend less. Those are the two basic ways to achieve financial fitness, whether you’re talking about the household budget or a multi-billion-dollar corporate balance sheet.
And that’s what it comes down to for the U.S. Postal Service as it seeks to bring revenue in line with expenses (it lost $5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2013). So far, the Postal Service has been looking at cost cutting ideas like moving to 5-day mail delivery to changing employee benefits to consolidating networks.
Dim weight. Sounds like something you might call your not-so-smart cousin. It’s actually a way to price parcels based primarily on how much space they take up during transport and delivery.
FedEx is the first major carrier to announce plans to charge prices based on the dimensional weight of all its ground shipments. Retailers and other shippers are bracing for a nasty hike in shipping costs come January 2015, when the FedEx changes take effect.