Postal Service as Editorial Fodder

A recent editorial by the Washington Times and a columnist in the Los Angeles Times provide illustrations as to how ideological predilections and reporting on a deadline produce more heat and less light about how to solve the problems facing the Postal Service.   These commentaries reflect the seasonal interest in the Postal Service use it to ship packages and send correspondence that they rarely send in the other 11 months of the year. Readers of this blog are more familiar with the problems that the Postal Service faces these writers.   They will have no problems identifying how the writers of the two pieces illustrated their minimal knowledge of the postal [...] Read more »

The Cost of Reducing the Workforce

The postal industry is in the midst of efforts worldwide to reduce its workforce.   The combination of automation, more efficient operating networks and declining demand all require reductions in production employees far greater than attrition allows. The Detroit News reported that Ford has just announced new incentives for employees to retire or seek new employment.  The incentives that Ford announced yesterday came about 6 months after they were previously offered.  Ford’s incentives are more generous than anything the Postal Service has offered.  Ford is offering a retirement package of $20,000 for unskilled workers and $40,000 for skilled workers plus an additional $20,000 or $25,000 toward the purchase of a new [...] Read more »

Becoming a Multi-modal Postal Company

Today, RR Donnelley announced a new mobile application for broker/dealers and financial advisors.  This application is part of a suite of digital products and services that RR Donnelly offers to the financial services industry. RR Donnelley’s significant presence in digital documents may be a surprise to many readers of this blog who only know of the company as the largest printer of documents that are delivered by mail in the United States.   Illustrative of this change is how RR Donnelley describes its business. RR Donnelley is a global provider of integrated communications. Founded more than 145 years ago, the company works collaboratively with more than 60,000 customers worldwide to [...] Read more »

Closing Post Offices … in Switzerland

The United States Postal Service has announced that the list of post offices being closed is down to 168.   The process of whittling the number of possible closures from 3,600 to 168 raise real questions about what the Postal Service was doing when it made the original announcement of closures. Why did the Postal Service even started the process with such a long list of possible closing Post Offices? Why did it not do the due diligence and confidential local market research  that resulted in trimming the list of post offices to be closed prior to announcing possible closings rather than once the closings were placed before the Postal Regulatory [...] Read more »

Congress and the Postal Service

The United States Postal Service is unique among publicly-owned postal operators in that no executive department has the “shareholder.” responsibility for the enterprise.   By default, this responsibility has fallen on Congress.  Since the passage of the PRA, Congress has tended to downplay its shareholder role which has resulted in Congressional actions that undermine the competitiveness of the Postal Service and the value of the enterprise. The problem with Congress reflects the inherent conflict between its interest in the Postal Service as shareholder and its institutional interest in reelection.   As such, the Postal Service has frequently become a tool to help balance the Federal Budget, with these actions constantly weakening the [...] Read more »

Publicly Traded Industry Firms

Direct Communications Group has updated its list of publicly traded firms in the courier, express or postal service industry. The list of firms includes firms that provide: Physical Delivery Services Printing and Document Preparation Mailroom, Sortation, and Mail Preparation Equipment Software Consulting/Outsourcing E-Commerce The list can be found on the new Direct Communications Group website. Tweet Read more »

Purolator USA, Canadian in the US Parcel Market

When DHL exited from its United States domestic business, most commentators suggested that shippers would face only the duopoly of UPS and FedEx. The Postal Service was considered a marginal player that could not meet the service quality needs of business to business customers. More importantly, it rarely was price competitive on shipments over 5 pounds. In a previous post, I noted that Amazon in its drive to shorten the time from order to delivery is expanding the number of competitors that compete in the parcel delivery market as it uses same-day couriers to delivery parcels that UPS or FedEx would have delivered previously. Amazon can expand the list of [...] Read more »

Is the Future in Letter Mail?

In his most recent statement, Here We Go Again, on the current debate on postal policy, APWU President Burrus makes a fairly bold statement. The future of the Postal Service is tied to the revenue generated from letter mail. (All quotes in this post are in italics.) His statement is both true and troubling. It leads to two simple questions. If the future of the Postal Service is tied to letter mail, are there initiatives that can grow letter mail enough to replace revenue lost to the transition to the digital documents in order to maintain a workforce of 600,000, current levels of service quality, and the current operating and [...] Read more »

Mail Model For Rural America

In previous posts, this blog has described the retail strategies in Germany, Sweden and Denmark. While northern Sweden has some rural areas which are as rural as any in the Continental United States, these countries have a urban-rural mix equivalent to a state east of the Mississippi with the most rural areas similar to rural areas in these states as well. (See: Should the Postal Service Close All Post Offices?, Marketing the Packstation, Packstation Vender, Creating a Self Service Footprint and Section 3.5 (page 26) of Examination of Potential Postal Business Models) Australia is much more characteristic to the population density of mountain West and Great Plains. Australia has a [...] Read more »

Amazon: Avoiding the Post Office

In Rethinking the Parcel Market, I noted Amazon’s effort to offer same day delivery and what that means for UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service in the United States. Today’s Times Online reports that Amazon has launched “a secret search for bricks-and-mortar stores to support its rapidly growing website. It is understood to be scouring the country for high-profile sites.” According to the article, Amazon is not looking to open retail outlets where customers can buy goods that the store has in inventory. Instead, the stores will provide a delivery point for customers that order larger items that mail or truck delivery is inconvenient. [Monday 12/7/2009 Amazon has subsequently denied [...] Read more »