Courier Express and Postal Observer

Postal Service Needs a New Vision

Separating Roles of the USPS
Separating Roles of the USPS
A recent story by the BBC on mail delivery in Afghanistan highlights one of the most important roles of the Postal Service, maintaining and standardizing the nation’s system of addresses and postal codes.  Afghanistan has neither...
A Financially Self Sufficient Postal Service
A Financially Self Sufficient Postal Service
Andrew Gelman, a professor of statistics at Columbia University and a prolific writer on statistics and its use in public policy and political campaigns illustrated that the financial problem facing the Postal Service is a legacy of...

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The Oldest Working Post Office in the World

The Oldest working Post Office is situated in Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire, UK. It has been working consistently since 1712. The second most established working mail station is situated in Stockholm, Sweden (1720) and the third in Santiago, Chile (1772)

Sanquhar Post Office

Sanquhar Post Office:

Sanquhar post office started as an arranging post for mail carriages started about 300 years ago and has been in ceaseless administration since then. Eight years older than its closest opponent in Stockholm, Sweden, it is formally honored by both the Universal Postal Union and Guinness World Records. The branch is a well-known fascination for postal and stamp lovers, who visit to have their letters set apart with a hand-stamp bearing the legend: “The World’s Oldest Post Office.” Mr. Alam is the sixteenth person to run the branch and assumed control from postmistress Penny Murphy.

Sanquhar post office opened its entryway in 1712 in Dumfries along the High Street. It is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest mail station on the planet. At the point when the mail station was opened, the postmen, who were called “runners,” kept running between officers to convey letters and packages. In 1738, the mail station started stamping sends and later acquainted steeds which were utilized with conveying letters and bundles. The mail station had no counters when it started its operations.

Operations of Sanquhar Post Office:

The letters were delivered through the window, where the clients are expected to tap the window and submit their letters along with the postal charges. The position of a postmaster was esteemed and was constantly held by men in other legitimate positions in the group, for example, executives, schoolmasters, and town agents. The mail station was modernized in 1974 with the substitution of the hand stamping by the hand-worked crossing out machine called bacon slicer. The historical backdrop of the Sanquhar post office has been formed by the group of Matthew Hogarth who maintained the business for a long time is as yet a committed client.

William Dalgleish, 75, vice executive of the Sanquhar Heritage Society, said that the post office worked distinctively in its initial days. There was no counter as we probably are aware them today. The mail was delivered through the window of the post office – you tapped on the window, delivered your mail and paid whatever charge was expected, and that is how it was finished. The role of a postmaster in society was viewed with respect, and as we stated earlier, a postmaster was always someone who held other respectable positions in the society.

The History of Mail and Postal System

The first known usage of postal service is in Egypt in 2400 B.C. Kings of Egypt used postal service to send official orders throughout their territory. There is also proof of postal service used in ancient China, Persia, and India. The Universal Postal Union was founded in the year 1874. The Universal Postal Union incorporates 192 member nations. It is also responsible for setting up the rules and regulations for international mail exchanges.

At first, the envelopes are made of cloth and skins of animals. After the invention of papers, the postal system started using paper envelopes. China is the first country to invent and use paper envelopes.

A French man named De Valayer started a postal service at Paris, in 1653. He used to sell prepaid envelopes and deliver the letters in the mailbox if they are enveloped with his prepaid envelopes.

Postal service started using postal stamps in 1837. Uniform postal charges were started in 1840 through the efforts of Rowland Hill, a school teacher.

Postal System

The postal system works globally. Every postal service is connected with each other through the coordination of Universal Postal Union. These postal systems are now outdated when compared with modern fax and e-mail technologies. Postal systems are still the best mode of transmission for sending the personal handwritten documents to any location. Postal systems are still operating smoothly without the need for modern technologies.

Postal service in America:

Postal service was started in America during the colonial times to send and receive orders between England and American colonies. The first postal route in America was started between New York and Boston, which is now named as Route 1. After the establishment of centralized postal systems in the year 1693, The Governor of New Jersey was appointed as the deputy postmaster general. Benjamin Franklin developed the postal system by laying new roads and milestones on every route. He also started 24 hours mailing system between New York and Philadelphia.

Current status of postal system:

Almost every country uses the postal system embedded with local exchanging letters and official documents. In most post offices banking system has been started for rural areas and places with no banks. Governmental services and benefits are still delivered through postal service. In some rural areas in Africa medications and vaccinations are distributed through post offices.

Modern courier services have been started using the postal system. Courier services are both centralized and privatized. These courier services enable people to send parcels and covers to any place in the world. Though the internet has been developed to make sending emails and documents an instantaneous process, postal services are still used by many countries for their unique system.

Postal Service Cannot Avoid Layoffs

The Postal Service seeks to cuts its full time employees by 228,000 in the next two to three years.  A review of attrition rates over the past three years indicates that layoffs are unavoidable.  Even with early retirement incentives, layoffs will likely be between 120,000 and 130,000.  Without these incentives they would be even higher.
Attrition of Employees over 50
Attrition of Postal employees over 50 comes from retirement, death, and voluntary and involuntary separation from the Postal Service  Early retirement incentives were offered to different groups of employees in 2009 and 2011. So the attrition rates below include the impact of these incentives.

Assuming that the Postal Service offers similar incentives to eligible employees, it should see a reduction in full time career employee among employees who are 50 or older today by around 94,000.  The Postal Service should see total full time employee count by 100,000 if those under 50 leave Postal Service employment at historical levels.   This quick analysis confirms Postal Service statements that it would have to lay off at least 120,000 employees in the next few years as it restructures its service.

The Importance of Early Retirement Incentives

By looking at one-year attrition rates, the importance of incentives becomes clear.  Attrition rates of those over 50 rose between 2009 and 2010 reflecting the impact of the early retirement incentives for 150,000 employees that went into effect in the fall of 2009.  As could be expected attrition rates fell in 2010-2011 as early retirement incentives pushed up retirement by a year for some employees.

Attrition rates for employees over 65 appears to suggest that the incentive may have had a real impact for these workers as it induced more retirements than would otherwise occur without having much impact on retirement decisions of employees who continued to work after the incentive expired.

Attrition rates for those between 50 and 60 actually dropped after an early retirement incentive was offered which suggests that the incentive may have only had the effect of convincing employees who were likely to leave for other employment to leave a year earlier and may not have had much of an impact on the number of Postal employees in that cohort over a longer period.

Three Keys to Successful Postal Reform

Postal reform has to both serve the citizens of the United States both in urban areas and the most rural parts of the Great Plains and Appalachia.  It must also ensure that business customers that now generate 90% of mail volume will continue to see the Postal Service as an attractive delivery service in 5 and ten years.  These four individuals who have limited understanding of the details of the Postal Service’s problems identify three critical elements that have to be part of any postal reform that ensures both universal service and the Postal Service’s survival as a self-sufficient entity. They are:

  1. Profit must be an explicit goal for organization and profit must reflect a sufficient operating margin to ensure cash is generated to make capital investments needed to improve service once the current financial difficulties pass.  There is no excuse for the Postal Service to be the only large national post suffering major losses in the Euro Zone, North America, and Oceana and Australia.
  2. The Postal Service has to be granted significant relief from both Congressional and Postal Regulatory Commission oversight.   To the extent that either law or regulatory precedent freezes the status quo and prevents market-based pricing and market-based service quality that law and those regulations must be removed.  In particular both restrictions on distance based and regional pricing for commercial mailers need to be lifted in order to develop market-based and not cost-based prices.
  3. Transition of the Postal Service to an entity that operates under standard corporate business, employment, and contract law must occur within a reasonable period.  During this period, the privatization of the Postal Service as a public utility providing delivery services must be examined serious.