What Happened to USPS Early Out Notices?

Pat Donahoe

Boy did I blow it.  I thought the Postal Service was actually going to implement its network optimization on the schedule they told mailers, unions, and management associations.   That schedule would have required beginning the process last week in order for the Postal Service to implement the service standard change in late may and start reassigning employees in late June.  Now, it looks like the Postal Service has blinked.  What is unclear is for how long.   The Postal Service continues to state that the Network Optimization Initiative is the core of its business plan.   Pat Donahoe testimony today before the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and Labor Policy of the Committee [...] Read more »

Why the Postal Service is Needed: the Digital Divide


Emily Badger, writing for the Atlantic Cities, illustrates the challenge that exists to bring a significant portion of Americans into the digital age. Two cities, San Francisco and Philadelphia have hired Chief Innovation Officers to develop innovative ways for the city government to serve its citizens. In Philadelphia, one of the biggest challenges in trying to use technology to connect with citizens is the digital divide. Adel Ebeid, Chief Innovation Officer, for the city states that 41% of Philadelphians do not have access to a computer or the Internet. This makes it particularly difficult for the city to reduce its costs through the use of technology if it has to [...] Read more »

Postal Service Delivers a Record share of FedEx Ground Shipments


In its most third quarter, 2012, FedEx, through its FedEx SmartPost Operations delivered 32% of all shipments handled by its FedEx Ground Division.  The FedEx Ground Division includes FedEx Ground, FedEx Home, and FedEx SmartPost. During the quarter FedEx Ground had the Postal Service deliver 123 million parcels, an increase of 12.9% over the number of FedEx shipments that the Postal Service delivered a year ago.  On a daily basis this means that between FedEx dropping nearly 2 million parcels a day into the Postal Service’s delivery network. The Growth of FedEx SmartPost Volume is less than the growth in volume that Postal Service handled from all carriers that use it [...] Read more »

Politics, Network Optimization and Early Retirement


As Senator Susan Collins’ speech on the Senate floor indicated, the Postal Service’s announcements that it is going ahead with its network optimization plan shortly after the moratorium expires on May 15th has created some significant political blowback. While this has not changed the Postal Service’s public statements on network optimization, the Postal Service has its network support staff developing staffing plans for a range of scenarios based on how the political winds blow. Scenario 1 – The Postal Service Follows its Publicly Announced Plan Under this plan, the Postal Service changes its service standards starting on Saturday, May 19, 2012. The Postal Service will announce the change on or [...] Read more »

How Much Does Service Quality Matter?


Going through some old e-mail, I came across this e-mail from the Economist magazine that they sent me in December.   The service problems that the Economist has experienced caused them to experiment with alternative delivery and has driven Bloomberg BusinessWeek to make alternative delivery their preferred delivery mode. Currently, the Postal Service plans to implement changes in delivery standards for Periodicals this May and a major upheavel in the processing network a month later.  These changes are already creating headaches for managers of mail operations for weekly publications and time-sensitive First Class mail who want to have their printing and mail preparation operations optimized to get the best service possible under the [...] Read more »

Why Mail Matters: The Internet is a Fad

A little humor as we think about the future of mail.   Apple sold 3,000,000 iPads on the first day of sale. That is more iPads sold on that day than any type of PC.   How will printed magazines and newspapers survive when tablets are as ubiquuitous as cell phones?  They will, but it may require a different business model than what is currently in place. Tweet Read more »

UPS – TNT Express Merger – Real Gains For UPS Come in Asia

UPS Logo

UPS announced an agreement to purchase TNT Express in an all cash offer.  Most of the stories focus on the impact on European competition. However, the real advantage to UPS is how the merger allows it to quickly gain market share in Asia where UPS and TNT are both small players in a larger pond. Market Shares in Asia Deutsche Post Group Results Presentation March 8, 2012 The following chart illustrates current market share in the time definite market in Asia.  The chart shows that prior to the merger both TNT and UPS were relatively small competitors compared to either DHL and FedEx.  With the merger, the combined Asian market [...] Read more »

When Will USPS VERA Announcements Come, What Will be Offered, and Who Will Be Eligible?

retirement sign featured

The volume of traffic on this blog clearly has shown the interest among Postal Service employees on possible opportunities for early retirement and incentives. While the leaks last week indicated that an announcement was coming the end of last week, it did not happen. I apologize for giving false hope to Postal Service employees who are looking to taking early retirement. Now the rumor mill is suggesting an announcement on Monday or Tuesday. As the discussion below indicates, an announcement about early retirements coming early this week fits the Postal Service’s current plan to implement the network restructuring in the second half of June, 2012. Any further delay in announcing [...] Read more »

Could Royal Mail’s Approach to Postal Retail Services Work in the United States?

Post Office UK

One of the major issues related to the United States Postal Service is the future of its retail infrastructure. The issue of the future of retail is important everywhere. In Great Britain, where 97% of all Post Offices are contract operations, the issue of the future of retail postal access has been a major issue because Royal Mail had reduced the number of retail locations by 25% over the past decade. Royal Mail Ltd, runs its retail operations as a separate, for profit entity called Post Office, Ltd. This subsidiary currently has a ten year exclusive contract to sell Royal Mail Services through a franchise network of retail counters as [...] Read more »

What would an optimized Postal Service infrastructure look like in the 21st century and beyond?


In trying to define an optimized Postal Service infrastructure, I was stuck at trying to define what “an optimized Postal Service infrastructure” meant.  The problem that I had was not with the mathematics of optimization which is focused on either cost minimization or profit maximization but with four sets of constraints that affect the formulation of an optimization model.   These constraints are: Customer service needs which determine product characteristics; Labor management constraints that impact operating costs; Capital spending constraints that limit options for infrastructure optimization; and Regulatory constraints which modifies a market-driven optimal network to reflect political considerations. While in the future, the Postal Service’s customers are going to need [...] Read more »