Competition: Interview with Swiss Post USA CFO

Post and Parcel posted an interview with the CFO of Swiss Post USA Debbie Deakin.   In the interview she provides a fairly good picture of the services that Swiss Post USA offers.   She notes the difference between offering services in the unregulated European market and the regulated US market and provides a picture of how Swiss Post will cope with the decline in letter volumes that the United States Postal Service could only dream of. From an American perspective, her approach to answering questions and the answers themselves illustrate a stark difference from what is often said by Postal Service executives whom are always cognizant of the political and regulatory [...] Read more »

Five Day Delivery: Do polls of the general public matter?

Today Gallup published the results of a new poll asking Americans about what they think about the idea of reducing mail delivery by one-day a week.   The poll asked Americans their opinions about several options for reducing the Postal Service’s losses  This survey should aid the Postal Service in convincing members of Congress that supporting its 5-day delivery proposal would not result in political suicide.   The survey would appear to suggest that consumers would prefer reducing access to the Postal Service and delivery by the Postal Service to all other options.    However, the second Gallup question puts into context why consumers are sanguine regarding a reduction in service. They don’t [...] Read more »

Leaving the Mailstream: Checking, Savings and Credit Card Statements

At most banks, customers opening a new account have the option of paper or electronic statements.   Yesterday, for the first time I was offered an account for which paper statements were an option that included a $5.00 fee.   The fee will not affect my decision over which bank I choose, as I had planned to only have on-line statements anyway.  What I did not like was that this bank only allowed access to on-line statements for 18 months where other banks with similar accounts offer on-line storage for twice as long. Nor is it likely to affect this bank’s customers most of whom are businesses and non-profits.  In fact, [...] Read more »

USPS: February Financial Results, Still Not Good Enough

In February, the Postal Service continued to show financial results that were significantly better than plan and slightly better than last year.   Its results reflect a more robust advertising environment that resulted in the first month of growth in Standard mail volume in revenue this year and a smaller decline in periodical revenue than volume that most likely indicated that periodicals in February had more advertising pages per issue than a year earlier. The results for February continue to illustrate the risks going forward for the Postal Service.  The continuation of high single digit declines in First Class mail at a time that advertising is flat if not growing, suggests [...] Read more »

USPS: Last Post Standing

The Japanese government announced yesterday that it will begin the process of privatizing Japan Post.  (See: Business Week)  The decision by the Japanese government leaves the United States Postal Service alone as having a business model with many characteristics of a government department. The following chart illustrates where many of these posts sit on a continuum from government department to a corporation with only private shareholders.     Postal Operators operating as a government department, in a manner similar to the pre-Postal Reorganization Act Post Office would be placed on the far left side of the chart.   A national post with only private sector shareholders would be placed on the far right [...] Read more »

Pension Legislation Could Help United Parcel Service

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) plans to introduce legislation that would change some of the rules controlling multiemployer pension plans, or union-operated retirement pools to which United Parcel Service as well as companies in trucking, retail grocery and a number of other industries participate. The press conference announcing the bill was attended by representatives of the Teamsters and two large less-than-truckload companies, ABF Freight Systems, and YRC Transportation.  ABF Freight Systems, and YRC Transportation are the last remaining large nationwide less-than-truckload trucking firms that existed when the Motor Carrier Act was passed in the 1980′s.  The legislation would make the following changes in existing law: Mergers and Alliances – The language [...] Read more »

Understanding the Postal Regulatory Commission’s Power.

In a number of previous posts, I indicated that the Annual Compliance Review had the potential to become a mini-rate case.  In her remarks before the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway laid out a view of the Postal Regulatory Commission that more than reinforces that view. Chairman Goldway, in response to a question from Senator Durbin, noted that the PRC’s opinion on the Postal Service’s 5-day delivery proposal was advisory.  The PRC could not stop the Postal Service from implementing a service change that it advised against.   However she indicated that the Commission had the power to compel [...] Read more »

Why the Postal Service Matters: FedEx Needs It

The financial data unveiled along with the FedEx earnings report that was announced yesterday revealed how closely tied the fortunes of FedEx and UPS are tied to the Postal Service.  FedEx is one of the Postal Service’s largest suppliers.  It provides the postal service with a significant portion of the $2 billion spent on air domestic air transportation annually.   FedEx uses the Postal Service to deliver a significant portion of its light weight ground parcels. While the size of the air transportation contract with the Postal Service is proprietary, FedEx reports its use of the Postal Service as a delivery supplier.  The following chart shows that FedEx’s Ground delivery service [...] Read more »

Leaving the Mailstream – Consumer Periodicals

The iPad, and other devices coming to market in the next 12 months are about to revolutionize how consumer magazines are designed, printed, and sold. The Associated Press has reported that “the Audit Bureau of Circulations said Tuesday that it has changed its definition of a digital magazine to accommodate the new class of tablet-style devices. The new rules allow publishers to count paid digital subscriptions as part of a magazine’s overall circulation as long as all the same editorial and advertising material is included.  That means publishers can custom design their articles and photo spreads for Apple Inc.’s iPad, which goes on sale April 3. Without the rule change, [...] Read more »

The Future of Print – Is it on an iPad?

Business Week just reported that the number of e-book applications in the Apple app store now exceed the number of game applications.   The growth in digital books as a means of gaining access to text-based documents can be seen in the rapid growth in the interest in consumers in just six months.   According Mobclix, a company that tracks iPhone application use, in October of 2009 six times as many games were sold as e-books.   By February of 2010, the ratio dropped to 4 games to every e-book.  This shift occurred even before the more text friendly iPad device even hits the market.  More importantly, a higher share of the e-book [...] Read more »