Using all the Tools in the Toolbox

Managing workhours is a critical part of helping the U.S. Postal Service realize annual productivity gains, which help offset cost increases.

That’s why it’s so important postal management uses all the tools at its disposal to improve productivity. One tool is the mail processing variance (MPV) model, which measures annual mail processing performance and efficiency.

 

Uniformity on Uniforms?

Americans love a man, or woman, in uniform.  Even in the postal world. In fact, many folks would like all postal workers to have uniforms.

Five years ago we ran a blog on rural letter carriers and whether they should wear a uniform, or at least a uniformed shirt – they currently aren’t required. Given that rural routes are increasingly suburban and rural carriers more visible to the public and rural letter carriers serve as something of a post office on wheels, it seemed a logical question to ask.

 

Weathering Through the Weather

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds"

Many Americans consider that phrase to be the motto of the U.S. Postal Service, showing the dedication of not only carriers, but the entire postal network to operate during the worst of weather disruptions. Though the Postal Service actually has no motto (those words are chiseled into the entrance over the Farley Post Office in New York City), it strives to be prepared to function during any type of extreme weather.

 

Play to Win in the Parcel Market

It seems the pricing of parcels in today’s market is a lot like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears (with the U.S. Postal Service playing the role of Goldilocks): If USPS sets prices too high, it opens the door for the big retailers to come in and make their own deliveries. If it prices them too low, it loses money. It needs to price parcel delivery services just right.

 

Social Media and Expectations

How many times have you checked your Facebook page today? Twitter? Or maybe you’re an Instagram person. Social media is a big part of many people’s lives, and it’s also becoming a common way for customers to contact the U.S. Postal Service.

Customers might use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to comment on a particular retail experience, seek information on a product or service, or ask USPS to respond to complaints and questions. Collectively, the Postal Service’s social media accounts received more than 390,000 posts in fiscal year (FY) 2016.

 

Rethinking Assumptions

With $72 billion in revenue and 154 billion pieces of mail moved in a year, the U.S. Postal Service deals in the billions. That’s why you sometimes hear people joke that “a few million here and a few million there and pretty soon you are talking about real money” with the USPS.

 

Riding Out Fuel Fluctuations

How prepared is the U.S. Postal Service for a sudden increase in the price of diesel fuel? When diesel climbed by $2.03 a gallon from March 2009 to March 2012, the USPS’s fuel tab soared by $341 million.

It’s what happens when you operate one of the biggest vehicle fleets in the country: 7,600 of its own in addition to almost 16,000 contract vehicles. In fiscal year 2016 alone, USPS bought about 251 million gallons of diesel at a cost of over $570 million.

 

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