Ending Denominated Stamps

USA Today reported on December 28, 2010 that all First Class stamps in 2011 will be forever stamps.  Currently, forever stamps are only available in a limited number of generic designs. The switch puts commemorative stamps on a equal competitive plain as more generic stamps sold in booklets and sheets. The shift reflects a final blow to the traditionalists and penny counters at the Postal Service that held onto denominated stamp concept far beyond the point that it made business sense for either First Class mail or for the Postal Service’s commemorative program.  For those with some memory of the regulatory process, the forever stamp was pushed for many years [...] Read more »

Web Sales – Who Delivers?

As we close another holiday season, the increasing importance of web based shopping becomes increasingly evident.  Marstercard Advisers reported that Internet sales rose 15.4%.  This increase is consistent with the results generated by the monthly surveys of retail activity conducted by the Commerce Department.   What the Postal Service, FedEx and United Parcel Service need to do is delve a bit deeper into the data as they begin to make their plans for handling the even larger volumes of parcels that will be delivered next year. Mastercard Advisers estimated that total web-based sales were $36.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010.  However, Mastercard Advisers figures underestimate the total value [...] Read more »

Who Will Lead Postal Reform in the House?

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), the incoming Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has recently announced the creation of three subcommittees in the next Congress and their chairman.  They are as follows: National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) – This subcommittee appears to have a similar jurisdiction to the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee.  This appointment moves Congressman Chaffetz, who was ranking member of the subcommittee handling the Postal Service, from primary responsibility for developing postal legislation Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending, Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) – This subcommittee appears to have a very broad mandate covering government regulations across [...] Read more »

Can the Postal Service Do Direct Mail for Itself?

In order to promote its buy stamps by mail program, the Postal Service sent out a direct mail piece promoting its holiday stamps.   Only problem with the mailing is that it arrived too late for customers to order by mail or internet and receive the holiday stamps before the deadline for mailing Christmas cards passed. While buying stamps by mail may be a great program, this mailing was a waste of money in the same way that advertising that arrives after a sale (or an election)  is a waste.  When this happens to an advertising mailer every vendor from the advertising agency to the printer to the Postal Service is [...] Read more »

Best Christmas Stamps

It is not uncommon for countries to use cultural icons on their Christmas stamps.   One of the best examples are the Christmas stamps produced by Royal Mail that illustrate Wallace and Grommit celebrating the holidays.  They clearly put one in a festive spirit. Here is a beautiful stamp from Luxembourg. The simplicity of this design is fairly spectacular In Australia, they issued a series of bird stamps linked with Christmas Island Again from Australia, a set of stamps relating to Santa. If you have other links send them on and I will add them to to the post Tweet Read more »

Increased Competition in the US Parcel Market

Yesterday, Transforce, Inc., one of Canada’s largest transportation companies announced that it had reached an agreement to purchase Dynamex, North America’s largest same day courier.  The purchase will more than double Transforce’s revenue from parcel delivery with its total North American revenue after the acquisition running around $800 million U.S. With this purchase Transforce now owns five companies that provide parcel delivery services in the United States and Canada.   Canpar – a traditional parcel carrier focused on business-to-business services with its largest market share in Eastern Canada ICS Courier – an express carrier serving all major markets in Canada.   ICS Courier’s service description suggests that it service centers around fixed [...] Read more »

How will the 1.8% increase affect Bulk Rates?

One of the readers of this blog asked the question that is the title of this post.  To answer this question before the Postal Service files a case requires both a review of the exigent rate increase as well as some fairly simple calculations.  Here would be my working assumptions and are based on what would appear to make the most business sense from the Postal Service’s perspective.  However there may be regulatory or legal restrictions that prevent using the the pricing authority in a way that would maximize the Postal Service’s revenue from the available authority to raise rates. Bulk First Class Rates will likely rise by less than [...] Read more »

Developing a Flat Mail Distribution Network

The Postal Service is in the midst of deploying its automated FSS machines in a limited number of sites.   There has been significant criticism of the program given the significant decline in the volume of flat mail.   However, a map contained in a recent presentation by Quad Graphics suggests that the Postal Service’s placement of FSS machines makes some sense if the goal is to create a network that is designed to optimize the transportation and handling costs without building a new flats distribution network from production location to delivery location.     So here are the maps that allowed me to draw this conclusion Quad Graphics Periodical and Catalog Printing Plants [...] Read more »

Time for Mailers to Stand Up

These are hard times.   Over 15 million Americans are out of work, and over 6 million have been out of work for more than six months.   When the economy is tough, foodbanks become the primary source of food for thousands of people who do not have the resources to feed their families.  Living without is toughest during the Christmas season when all media is saturated with advertising encouraging spending. One of the greatest programs to help provide food for the poor has been the National Association of Letter Carriers food drive.  For 18 years letter carriers have collected non-perishable foods from households which have gone a long way to fill [...] Read more »