In the battleground that is last-mile delivery, groceries are the soup du jour. Major players and smaller upstarts are jumping in to test grocery delivery to the consumer’s doorstep. The competition should benefit consumers, if not their waistlines.
When it comes to postal products that don’t cover their costs, the U.S. Postal Service finds itself in a no-win situation. The law that governs the U.S. Postal Service, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), requires the Postal Service to make sure all products cover their direct costs. But it also caps the price increase on market-dominant mail classes at the increase in inflation.
Two times a year, we publish a report of our work and activities for a just-ended 6-month period. This Semiannual Report to Congress (SARC) is required by law, but it’s also a chance for us to share our record of work with our many stakeholders. The work reflects our mission to help maintain confidence in the postal system and improve the Postal Service’s bottom line through independent audits, investigations, and research.
With many lengthy disputes that are eventually settled, differences between parties sometimes linger. That seems to be the case with the 40-year-old dispute between Postal Service management and labor over the number of hours a postmaster or supervisor can spend performing work typically reserved for bargaining unit employees. In late 2014, the Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union reached a settlement in the 1970s case that capped that number at 15 per week.
It’s not just baseball diplomacy that is happening between the United States and Cuba. U.S. mail is now flowing directly to the island nation – another major step in the process of normalizing relations between the two countries.
In March, the U.S. Postal Service reestablished direct transport of mail to Cuba – the first time in more than 50 years that U.S. citizens are able to send mail directly to the country. Previously, dispatches from the United States to Cuba had to transit through Mexico or Panama and faced major delays because of limited lift in and out of Havana
It’s easy to understand the underlying motivation behind the U.S. Postal Service’s digital strategy: use data to make mail a much more powerful marketing and communications tool. Hard copy and digital working together to make each other better. So what if the Postal Service is a little late to the party. At least it has showed up, which, as Woody Allen reminded us, is 80 percent of life.
“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” That Yogi Berra-ism holds true for industry trends as well. Yet predictions are important because businesses, and the infrastructures that support them, need to be prepared to change as the market and technology dictate. They especially need to be prepared for that potential future blockbuster change.
No pain no gain. The U.S. Postal Service has reduced spending over the past decade but it has come with a downside, notably a reduction in service. Over the past decade the Postal Service has reduced labor costs by $10 billion, improved productivity, and generally reined in spending.