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Postal News and Information from Around the World

July 4, 2015

Postal news? With any luck, there won't be a single postal new all day. Happy 4th!

July 3, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
38477 [2015 16403] [TEXT]  [PDF]
38476 38477 [2015 16404] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
NOTICES
Product Changes:
  Parcel Return Service Negotiated Service Agreements ,
  38477 38478 [2015 16426] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  38478 [2015 16427] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreements ,
  38478 [2015 16425] [TEXT]  [PDF]

USPS Industry Alert: Labeling Lists and Mail Direction File Updates to L012 Labeling List. Errors were found within the L012 (5-Digit Zip Scheme Combination) list that was published on 7/1/2015 for the 8/1/2015 effective date. New labeling list files will be posted on the Electronic Product Fulfillment (EPF) website and on the FAST website (under Resources) no later than Friday, July 3, 2015. The changes between the original list (published on 7/1) and the new list (published on 7/3) are as follows: Change From: 77619, 77627, 77651 GROVES TX 77630 Change To: 77619, 77627, 77651 GROVES TX 77619

DOMESTIC NEWS

KMSP-TV: Stolen packages from a stoop or front porch are usually a big deal around the holidays when those gifts start arriving, but Minneapolis police have found it to be an issue even in the heart of summer. Minneapolis police are warning the public that sometimes the thieves can make off with more than just your latest amazon order. Vonn Taylor has spent the last 6 months walking different mail routes for the U.S. Postal Service. If he is delivering a package and no one's home, he is careful to do what he can to shield it from the eyes of a potential crook.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

ZIMBABWE: Post & Parcel: The Zimbabwe Government has dismissed all the Board members of the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (Potraz) over allegations of corruption, abuse of financial resources and poor governance, according to local sources.

NORWAY - SWEDEN - DENMARK - FINLAND: Postal Techonology International: DPDgroup and PostNord plan to combine their shop network to create approximately 26,000 parcel drop-off and collection points throughout Europe. This includes DPD's network of approximately 20,000 parcel shops across 10 countries, and PostNord's network of 5,800 sites in the Nordic regions. The partnership will also grant Nordic customers access to DPD's Predict mobile-services solution, allowing them to control and customize their parcel deliveries. To further emphasize the new strategic direction, PostNord will feature DPD branding on 200 of its delivery trucks across Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

JAPAN: Post & Parcel: Japan Post has been using Toyota electric vehicles for postal pickup and delivery duties on a trial basis. Aichi prefecture-based Toyota Auto Body Co, a division of Toyota Motor Corp., announced last month (June) that it has provided four single-seater "Coms" vehicles to post office branches in central Japan. This is believed to be the first time that electric vehicles have been used for mail delivery in Japan. The Coms cars have a maximum speed of 60 kilometres (km) an hour, and can run for about 50 km between charges. Charging takes about six hours and can be done using regular household AC sockets. Toyota Auto Body has reportedly said that the trial will continue until March next year.

July 2, 2015

If you missed the recent PostCom webinar on Kathy Siviter's Update of USPS Service Performance Measurement, you can still watch and listen. The recording and the accompanying slides are posted online.

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention Postal One! Users:

  • PostalOne! Release 41.1.3.0 Production Deployment- PostalOne! Release 41.1.3.0 will deploy on Thursday evening July 16, 2015 between 5:00PM CT and 8:00PM CT. This release includes fixes to known PostalOne! issues. The PostalOne! system will remain available during the deployment time. There will not be a mandatory Mail.dat client download required. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.1.3 can be found on https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm .
     
  • PostalOne! Release 41.1.3 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will also occur on Thursday evening Jul 16, 2015 as well. The PostalOne! TEM environment validation will occur on Friday morning July 17, 2015 between 09:00AM CT and 11:00AM CT.
     
  • PostalOne! Release 41.2.0.0 Production Deployment- PostalOne! Release 41.2.0.0 will deploy Sunday, Aug 2, 2015 between 4:00AM CT and 9:00AM CT. This release includes fixes to known PostalOne! issues. The PostalOne! system will remain available during the deployment time. There will be an optional Mail.dat client download created with the release. The download will not auto-update or be required for submission of Mail.dat. Changes in validations of update jobs will occur in both the available clients (41.1.0 and 41.2.0) and both will be supported. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.2.0 can be found on https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm .
     
  • PostalOne! Release 41.2.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will occur Sunday, August 2, 2015. The PostalOne! TEM environment validation will occur on Monday morning Aug 3, 2015 between 09:00AM CT and 11:00AM CT

USPS Industry Alert: Join the Postal Service for a webinar on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 11a.m. EDT Click-N-Ship Business Pro, free downloadable software that allows small and medium business mailers to produce domestic and international shipping labels with the required Intelligent Mail package barcode (IMpb), submit manifests and securely pay for postage via permit imprint. Because the IMpb contains detailed information about the package such as product, extra services, destination, and more customers gain visibility into shipments and day of delivery. Speaker: Mary M. Ballard, Business System Analyst Participant information is provided below: Tuesday, July 7, 2015 (11:00 a.m. EDT) Click-N-Ship Business Pro Attendee Information: US/Canada Attendee Dial-in: (866) 381-9870 Conference ID: 17345171 Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=ee0659b7ae0b6081af07a336de4d6560b

Federal RegisterPostal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 38243 [2015 16349] [TEXT] 38242 38243 [2015 16350] [TEXT]

USPS Office of the Inspector General

  • The USPS Office of Inspector General established an Audit Asks web site to provide an opportunity for our stakeholders to comment on our projects. Web site visitors can register comments and upload documents related to our project on Extraterritorial Offices of Exchange (ETOEs) at https://www.uspsoig.gov/audit-asks/etoes-what-are-they-worth-postal-service
     
  • U.S. Postal Service's Delivering Results, Innovation, Value, and Efficiency Initiative 30 Achieve 100 Percent Customer and Revenue Visibility

    Background. In fiscal year (FY) 2011, the U.S. Postal Service established 36 Delivering Results, Innovation, Value, and Efficiency (DRIVE) initiatives to improve its business strategy. DRIVE aims to reduce the reported $20 billion gap between revenue and expenses by FY 2016 through bold, aggressive initiatives with measurable outcomes. DRIVE 30 Achieve 100 Percent Customer and Revenue Visibility has six projects designed to increase customer visibility to 95 percent and product visibility to 76 percent for meter revenue by FY 2017. The Postal Service uses customer visibility to improve its sales and marketing efforts by identifying the owner of a mailpiece. Through product visibility, it obtains mail class revenue information about metered mail, which identifies products customers are using. Our objective was to determine whether DRIVE 30 used established DRIVE project management processes.

    What The OIG Found. DRIVE 30 managers did not follow established project management processes. Specifically, two roadmaps had gaps of more than 2 to 3 months between milestone dates. Based on the DRIVE Governance Guide, milestone dates should be no more than 6 weeks apart. When milestones are too far apart, it is difficult to effectively monitor and detect risks to the schedule and to demonstrate progress. In addition, 83 changes, additions, or removals to project milestones were made in the Technology Management Office System without completing the required change request form. The Meter Product Visibility goal of a 2 percent improvement per year is not bold and aggressive, as it is not based on any activities that would improve the project goal beyond past performance. These issues occurred because the Strategic Management Office did not ensure DRIVE governance requirements for DRIVE 30 were followed. As a result, executive-level managers could make less informed decisions because they cannot accurately evaluate project goals. There is no guarantee that key planning considerations have been taken into account before the change occurs. Additionally, the initiative lead and roadmap owner did not identify new activities to improve meter product visibility. Instead, DRIVE 30 managers used this roadmap as a placeholder for monitoring, which is contrary to the purpose of DRIVE. As a result, visibility may not improve beyond what would occur through normal business activity.

    What The OIG Recommended. We recommended management require initiative leads and roadmap owners to implement milestones at 4- to 6-week intervals and complete all appropriate forms when making changes to project goals. We also recommended management ensure that DRIVE goals are bold and aggressive.
     

  • Market Dominant Billing Determinants: First-Class Mail

    Background.
    Billing determinants are spreadsheets that U.S. Postal Service employees manually produce to report volume and revenue for each price in the five market dominant classes of mail, including First-Class Mail. The Postal Service primarily obtains this data from its published price list and the Revenue, Pieces, and Weight codes. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requires the Postal Service to produce an Annual Compliance Report within 90 days of the end of each fiscal year. The report analyzes costs, revenue, pricing, and quality of service for all products. The Postal Service uses billing determinants to ensure price adjustments do not exceed the price cap for each market dominant class of mail. Given the manual preparation and complexity of the spreadsheets, there is a risk of data entry errors. Our objective was to assess the completeness and accuracy of the data used in market dominant billing determinants for First-Class Mail.

    What The OIG Found.
    We did not find any issues with the completeness of billing determinants but opportunities exist to improve the accuracy of the Postal Service's billing determinant calculations. Specifically, there were errors in fiscal year (FY) 2013 and FY 2014 First-Class Mail billing determinants resulting from inconsistent accounting of mail volume due to reclassifications and calculations we could not verify. As a result, the Postal Service incorrectly calculated a combined $156.8 million in revenue for FYs 2013 and 2014. Although these errors did not impact compliance with 2015 price cap requirements, there is a risk that future billing determinant calculation errors could. Overall, these errors occurred because the Postal Service did not establish strong controls over the billing determinant calculation process. Specifically, the Postal Service did not have documented repeatable processes to guide in the preparation of billing determinant spreadsheets and did not conduct quality reviews of billing determinants prior to publication. Recently, the vice president, Pricing, stated that Finance employees have begun reviewing billing determinant calculations for accuracy.

    What The OIG Recommended. We recommended the vice president, Pricing, file corrected FY 2013 and FY 2014 billing determinants with the Postal Regulatory Commission; develop procedures to ensure billing determinants are produced using documented, repeatable processes; and establish a quality review process. The current process, with the amount of judgement required and the tight timeframes, would be difficult to automate; however, as business processes change, opportunities for automation may increase and should be pursued.
     
  • Customer Care Centers

    Background.
    Residential and business customers contact the U.S. Postal Service through various toll-free telephone numbers for information on hours, prices, service issues, or other postal-related inquiries. These numbers received over 52 million calls in fiscal year (FY) 2014, 16 million of which were routed to the four Postal Service Customer Care Centers (Care Centers). The Postal Service finished insourcing its Care Centers in March 2014, and has about 1,500 agents nationwide handling calls. Care Center agents typically either immediately respond to customer requests or route calls to local operations staff. Managers oversee Care Center operations and review select calls for quality assurance. Care Center operations cost $129 million in FY 2014, including $13.2 million in contractor costs for training, reporting, and other functions. Care Centers are crucial for retaining customers and revenue and the Postal Service identified three performance metrics for its Care Centers: customer satisfaction, timeliness, and quality of information. Our objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Care Centers and determine whether there are opportunities for improvements.

    What The OIG Found. There are significant opportunities to improve the Postal Service's Care Centers. First, quality assurance reviews are insufficient, as 75 percent of them were not completed as required in FY 2014, and only shorter calls were chosen for review. Care Center managers stated this is a result of system issues and limited time. Second, there is no standardized, consolidated reporting process in the field to improve employee performance management and monitoring. Third, the Postal Service does not have a meaningful performance metric for evaluating the quality of information provided to callers. These issues collectively limit effective management and assessment of Care Center performance. We estimate $1.05 million in Care Center costs in FY 2014 as disbursements at risk due to insufficient quality reviews. Finally, the Postal Service should periodically assess the need for contractor-provided training and reporting. Contractor support is needed in this area at this time; however, using Postal Service employees for these activities may prove financially and operationally beneficial as the Postal Service becomes more experienced in managing its Care Centers.

    What The OIG Recommended.
    We recommended the Postal Service develop and implement controls for assuring that quality reviews are performed within established timeframes and calls are randomly chosen for review; establish standardized, consolidated reporting procedures for field supervisors; and develop a quality of information performance goal.
     
  • Award of Agilex Technologies, Inc. Contracts

    Background.
    U.S. Postal Service customers and employees increasingly rely on mobile devices to meet their business needs. To address this growing demand, the Postal Service awarded three contracts to Agilex Technologies, Inc. (Agilex). Agilex provides mission and technology consulting, software and solution development, and system integration. The first contract, valued at $389,871, was noncompetitively awarded in September 2009 for program management services. The second contract, valued at $512,710 and competitively awarded in August 2012, was for mobile computing strategy development. A third contract, valued at $8 million, was noncompetitively awarded in October 2013 to address immediate and future Postal Service mobile computing needs. When soliciting requests for proposals, contracting officers must ensure contract requirements correctly and clearly describe the Postal Service's expectations. The requirements must be outlined in enough detail to ensure a best value decision and effective contract performance. Our objective was to determine whether the Postal Service properly administered the Agilex contracts.

    What The OIG Found. The Postal Service did not properly administer one of three Agilex contracts. Specifically, contracting officials awarded a contract to develop a mobile computing strategy without ensuring the contract requirements clearly described the Information Technology department's expectations. This occurred because the contracting officer did not work with the Information Technology department to clearly define its needs. Because these requirements were unclear, contracting officials incorrectly approved additional requirements without treating them as a new purchase. As a result, the Postal Service spent over $3.8 million for work that was outside the scope of the original contract requirements. Contract awards that do not clearly define requirements pose an increased financial risk to the Postal Service. When contract requirements are vague, prospective suppliers may make assumptions in their proposals that lead to higher costs. Such awards are not in the best interest of the Postal Service and may negatively impact the brand.

    What The OIG Recommended. We recommended management reiterate to contracting officers the importance of collaborating with their internal business partners prior to solicitation to obtain clearly defined requirements.

DOMESTIC NEWS

Air Cargo World: It's no surprise that DHL's largest U.S. hub is in Cincinnati. Its central location allows the express carrier to best reach the U.S. East and West coasts from a flight timing perspective. That explains why two other major express integrators UPS, which has its U.S. hub in Louisville, only 90 miles down the road, and FedEx, 480 miles away in Memphis are nearby. But like its competitors, DHL's concern is not merely reaching the coasts but the rest of the world and it is now expanding to meet rising demand. Since its exit from the US domestic express market in 2009, DHL has set its sights on growing its international service to/from that country, investing US$108 million to upgrade and expand its Americas hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG). Travis Cobb, DHL's senior vice-president, network operations, Americas, said part of the investment would be for a new apron to accommodate an additional 18 aircraft, and the remainder would be used for infrastructure, including warehousing and automation.

Post & Parcel: Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics GmbH has announced that it is implementing a new global setup, which will include regional companies established in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Commenting on the new setup, SPPAL CEO Michael Reichle said: "Our company is perfectly positioned to maximize customer benefit by addressing customer needs locally and carry out project management on site." Siemens said that the setup was a "decisive step" for SPPAL to maintain its position as a provider of technology and solutions for logistics processes and to stay "stable, flexible and sustainable in the medium-sized competitive environment".

Postalnews.com: In a major blow to the Postal Service's deal with Staples, Region 5 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint charging that the USPS illegally subcontracted work to the office-supply chain and ordering the agency to return the work that existed on July 31, 2014, to the APWU bargaining unit. A hearing is scheduled before an NLRB Administrative Law Judge on Aug. 17. If the NLRB sustains the allegations in the complaint, it could effectively end Staples' foray into the mail business.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Journal of Commerce: Deutsche Post DHL's plans to set up new parcels companies to compete with lower cost rivals is "non-negotiable" the chief executive of the mail and logistics giant said on the eve of talks tomorrow with unions aimed at ending a three month long strike by postal workers. Members of the Verdi union have staged nationwide strikes since April after Deutsche Post announced plans to create 10,000 new jobs at its parcel business but said new employees would be paid less than the group's other parcel workers. "The fact that there are these new companies is non-negotiable," Deutsche Post DHL Chief Executive Frank Appel told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. The company has insisted it must cut its costs to compete with rivals such as UPS and TNT, the Dutch express delivery group that is being acquired by FedEx for 4.4 billion euros ($4.9 billion).

EUROPEAN UNION: Transport Topics: European Union antitrust regulators will decide Aug. 3 whether to clear FedEx's $4.9 billion bid for TNT Express, Reuters reported.

July 1, 2015

 PostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is now available online. Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. See what you've been missing.

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission

USPS Office of the Inspector ETOEs What are they worth to the Postal Service? Extraterritorial Offices of Exchange (ETOEs) are businesses operated by, or in connection with, a postal operator outside of its national territory, within the borders of another country. An ETOE collects and consolidates mail from customers in a country then ships them to a destination country where the mail will be delivered to the recipient. This entire process frequently bypasses the Postal Service. In addition, Title 39 only authorizes the Postal Service to open international post offices in military installations and diplomatic posts for the use of authorized personnel. Thus, the Postal Service does not have statutory authority to establish ETOEs in foreign countries. These regulations leave the Postal Service with few options to compete in the inbound international shipping market.

Federal Register

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
37671 37672 [2015 16050] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
PROPOSED RULES
Rules of Practice Before the Judicial Officer ,
37567 37568 [2015 16141] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Rules of Practice in Proceedings Relative to Debarment from Contracting ,
37565 37567 [2015 16143] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
International Product Changes:
  Global Expedited Package Services: Non-Published Rates ,
  37672 [2015 16142] [TEXT]  [PDF]

DOMESTIC NEWS

Politico: Hillary Clinton will attend an informal, intimate get-together for national and international labor leaders at campaign chairman John Podesta's Washington, D.C., home on July 14, sources told POLITICO. The event, which takes place amid lingering concerns in the labor community over Clinton's stance on trade, is scheduled for one day after a handful of influential labor leaders host a D.C. meet-and-greet with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Communications Workers of America president Chris Shelton, Larry Cohen, the outgoing CWA president and American Postal Workers Union president Mark Dimondstein will host that meeting, which will be held at APWU headquarters in Washington. "It's a meet and greet, he's an important candidate," Dimondstein said of Sanders. "He's not in the pocket of the corporations, and wants corporate money out of politics. We hope to hear from him, to go into some of what his platform and program is, and how it relates to working folks. I have not officially endorsed Bernie, but I'm happy to be a co-host so he can meet with other labor leaders." He said he is expecting a group of between 30 and 40 labor leaders to attend.

The Denver Channel: When the U.S. Postal Service cannot get mail to where it belongs, the items are sent to a central location in Atlanta. It's there that the items are supposed to be held for around 90 days, in case someone contacts the post office for a search or with an insurance claim.

Global Address Data Association: The latest issue of the GADA newsletter is now available online.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

IRELAND: Post & Parcel: Gary Delaney, the chief executive of Loc8, told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications yesterday (30 June) that the new Eircode "will not deliver on the legal definition of what the national post code should be". Loc8 operates its own digital address system, but Delaney told the Committee that he was appearing as an expert rather than someone with a commercial interest. He argued that Eircode was not fulfilling its brief because it does not allow ordinary citizens or visitors to the republic to use it to identity localities. As previously reported, the system, developed by Capita Ireland, has met with criticism from some quarters. The first three digits of the code are based on major national routes and will identify the area, but the other four digits are randomly assigned and this has proved a concern for some because the postcodes will not be sequential. This means that within a postal district of tens of thousands of properties, it will be difficult to tell if certain properties are close to each other without paying for access to the government database.

NETHERLANDS: NLTimes: Trade union FNV is threatening PostNL with protest actions if the company does not respond to the unions demands for better working conditions for the thousands of independent delivery drivers by 12:00 p.m. on Thursday. Union director Renier Stroo announced this on Tuesday, NU reports. According to Stroo, negotiations on the delivery workers collapsed last week. FNV thinks the proposals that PostNL has made are inadequate. The union wants package delivers who remain independent to work for a minimum hourly rate. According to Stroo, the postal company will not go beyond an additional fee per week. "But the independent deliverers often work a 50 hour week or even longer. The longer the working week, the lower the hourly rate works out", he said to NU.

ITALY: CEP News: The Italian regulatory authority AGCOM conditionally approved the changes to the universal service obligation that were demanded by the postal service (CEP News 14/15). Last Thursday, the authority announced that the postal operator could reduce the delivery frequency to every second day if specified geographical criteria are met. With this, the distribution would adhere to the following pattern: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Tuesday, Thursday etc. However, additionally, a D+1 delivery still has to be offered, but the postal operator may offer this for an extra fee. The authority justified the decision with the continued decline in mail volumes due to the electronic substitution.

NEW ZEALAND: Stuff: A reduction in postal deliveries to three days a week has taken effect, as New Zealand Post tries to stay afloat in the digital age. From Wednesday, households could expect to receive standard mail delivery on either Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The service will keep to its target of delivering at least 95 per cent of standard mail within three days and urgent courier packages overnight.

June 30, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Attention Postal One! Users

  • PostalOne! Release 41.1.2.0 Production Deployment- PostalOne! Release 41.1.2.0 will deploy on Tuesday evening June 30, 2015 between 5:00PM CT and 8:00PM CT. This release includes fixes to known PostalOne! issues. The PostalOne! system will remain available during the deployment time. There will not be a mandatory Mail.dat client download required. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.1.2.0 can be found on https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm.
  • PostalOne! Release 41.1.2.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will also occur on Tuesday evening June 30, 2015. The PostalOne! TEM environment validation will occur on Wednesday morning July 1, 2015 between 09:00AM CT and 11:00AM CT.

Postal Regulatory Commission

Federal RegisterPostal Service NOTICES Product Changes:

  • Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement , 37315 [2015 15989] [TEXT]
  • Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement , 37315 [2015 15990] [TEXT]

Office of the USPS Inspector GeneralAn Uber Good Idea? -- Uber, the technology company that matches car service to rider, has successfully disrupted the entrenched taxi industry. And now pundits are wondering what might be next for the successful upstart. Recent news articles in Marketwatch and Forbes say it could be the package delivery industry. Even if this Uber scenario is just a notion, it reminds us that package delivery has become an attractive and competitive business. As consumers do more of their shopping online, everything from groceries to pharmaceuticals to clothing is being delivered to homes and businesses. Traditional package delivery companies find themselves competing with new entrants such as Deliv (sometimes called the Uber of the retail world) and Postmates, a company that operates a network of local couriers. And, don't take your eye off Amazon.com. It is reportedly testing an Uber-like app that would let it use regular people to deliver packages.

DOMESTIC NEWS

PostalConsumers.orgUniversal Postal Service in Major Economies --- New Edition Updated June 2015 This report outlines major dynamics and strategies characterizing universal service across the world's largest postal markets, comprising 96 percent of global postal revenues, and 70 percent of domestic mail volume, with an emphasis on how they can be expected to impact consumers.

Direct Marketing News: In an attempt to cross over into the realm of digital marketing channels, the U.S. Postal Service will introduce an email preview of what's in people's mailboxes in New York this fall. Called Real Mail Notification (RMN), it will offer direct mailers interactive options to allow people to click through to websites or make purchases directly via email. A test of RMN among 6,600 users in Northern Virginia earlier this year elicited response rates of 5.9% to direct mail pieces that were engaged with by only 0.5% of non-subscribers. Nine out of 10 users surveyed said they would continue to use RMN were it offered on a permanent basis and that they would recommend it to their friends. Mailers wanting to take part in the New York pilot will be happy to know that the Postal Service is offering interactive options in RMN free of charge, and may continue to do so if all goes as well as planned. The Postal Service is looking at the service more as a mail volume-builder rather than a profit center.

Digital Trends: In the ultimate victory for environmental activists, Google is planning to spend $600 million on a server farm that will span a whopping 350 acres of land in NE Alabama, near Huntsville, and will ultimately be 100 percent powered by green energy.

American Postal Workers Union: The APWU has taken the Postal Regulatory Commission to court, challenging the commission's decision to dismiss its complaint that the Postal Service is failing to meet service standards. The union filed the Petition for Review on May 29 in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals and submitted a Statement of Issues to be Raised on June 18. In dismissing the APWU's allegations of system-wide service failures, the PRC concluded that service standards are simply "expectations," and, as a result, the commission could not compel the Postal Service to adhere to them. The appeal challenges those assertions.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

AutoBlog: Norway's postal service has ordered a bunch of zero-emissions vehicles, but they're not exactly zero emissions. Posten Norge has placed an order for almost 300 Renault Kangoo Maxi Z.E. electric utility vans, Inside EVs says. What's interesting is that the vans are equipped with diesel-powered heaters, for it does get cold up there, and the mail has to be delivered regardless of weather conditions. The fuel use to keep the drivers warm might add up to two liters a week in the cold. Not exactly the same as the emissions from a smoking tailpipe of an old Mercedes-Benz 300D, but still. Posted Norge says any additional acquisition costs associated with the van will be repaid via lower refueling costs

GLOBAL: Some nuggets from the June 2015 issue of Postal Technology International:

  • According to the IPC Global Postal Industry Report, non-mail revenue represented 54.7% of the industry revenue base in 2013.
  • Of that 54.7%, parcels and express, financial services, logistics and freight accountedfor 47.9% of revenue,with postal retail, information services, and telecommunications comprising the remaining 6.8%.
  • One business area that is proving fruitful for posts to explore is fulfillment. The rise in e-commerce has prompted posts to begin offering full supply chain services for some online retailers, from storage and inventory to delivery and returns.
  • Another area is self-service, in the form of kiosks where customers can buy products and send letters and parcels without requiring any assistance from staff.
  • Diversification is the best strategy to drive long-term financial performance and sustainability for postal organizations.
  • Posts need to defend their core mail business and must build their parcel capabilities.
  • Three areas for diversification: (1) retail, (2) logistics, and (3) value-added services.
  • While most agree that a universal service obligation is essential, the question remains as to whether the USO is still fair in an increasingly competitive postal market, and how incumbent posts can change and inprove tehir business models to meet customer demands.
  • The Postal Operations Council of the UPU has approved the placement of advertising on the reverse side of envelopes for international services, coming into force in January 2016.
  • The postal industry today is all about diversification, and playerswho have neither the ambition nor mindset to reach beyond flagging lettermail volumes and domestic markets will likely perish within this new global marketplace.
  • Traditional revenues have become subject to greater competition, making it essentialfor operators to explore sectors that will ensure they remain profitable.
  • Areas to consider: information technology for parcel data, facilitating delivery and optimizing cross-border e-commerce, and merchandise return services.
  • Expect growth in robotic applications for loading and unloading processes.
  • Although sorting and warehousing processes are fully automated and optimized, their efficiency is reduced by neglected processes in the yard, such as waiting times for trucks and shunting vehicles, a lack of transparency and cumbersome processing of paper forms.

UNITED KINGDOM: The Telegraph: Julius Reynolds' brainchild is a glorious example of 21st-century collaboration and consumption. In a fluid online age where we're constantly making friends and travelling the globe, it's astounding that nobody has thought of the idea before. Sendy, his new peer-to-peer delivery app, lets users connect with people travelling to their desired destination, cutting out postage fees and allowing the traveller to make a bit of extra cash in the process. How it works is that you sign up, choose what you want to send and where, and other Sendy users make you a delivery proposal. You choose the best and pay (thanks to escrow) only when your item has been delivered. Sendy is based on Mr Reynolds' belief that "most human beings can be trusted". The app also has a rating system similar to Airbnb and eBay's, so anybody untrustworthy is quickly weeded out.

GERMANY: WhatTheyThink:  Bell and Howell, a leading provider of solutions and services for communications and commerce technology solutions, hosted the first Bell and Howell Forum with its partner Postcon Germany at its production site in Griesheim/Frankfurt from June 25 to June 26. With a focus on the market of private postal services companies in Germany, the organizers put together a varied program over two days. The participants were able to gain new impressions about the current and future developments in the national postal market, which were presented by Bell and Howell staff and guest speakers. The guest presentations were given by the decision makers of some of Germany's largest private postal companies and network partners.

CAMBODIA: The Phnom Penh Post: State-owned postal service Cambodia Post launched a point-to-point van service yesterday, to tap into the rising demand for passenger transportation, in a bid to increase its revenue from domestic services. Director General of Cambodia Post Ork Bora said the new passenger van service will capitalise on the rising number of passengers in Cambodia, as well as supplement its postal services. "The van service is not only to serve passengers but also to make our Express Mail Service faster," he said.

GERMANY: Post & Parcel: Deutsche Post and trade union Ver.di have agreed to return to the negotiating table on Friday after four weeks of strikes by postal workers in Germany. The union said yesterday that industrial action will continue until an agreement is made, claiming that about 32,000 workers are currently on strike across Germany.

JAPAN: Wall Street Journal: Japan Post Holdings Co. plans to apply Tuesday to list itself and its banking and insurance units on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in three deals that together would amount to one of the biggest share sales ever by a Japanese state company. Here are some key takeaways.

June 29, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission

DOMESTIC NEWS

LifeHacker: Sick of walking over to the mailbox only to find it empty? Adafruit has a guide for building a system where you'll get notified when the mail arrives. The system here uses a couple XBees pieces, the Flora, and a bunch of other random parts. When all is said and ton, a magnet triggers a switch that lights up, then sends a message to you telling you that you've' got mail. It's a pretty complicated solution for something that isn't a huge problem, but it's fun nonetheless.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

CHINA: WomenOfChina: The 'Postal Parcel for Mothers' project has benefited around 560,000 impoverished mothers and families over the past three years, according to a video and telephone conference held in Beijing on June 26. Since it was launched by the foundation in May 2012, the project has received over 78 million yuan (U.S. $12.56 million) in donations from different sectors and delivered around 560,000 parcels in 10,660 villages among the country's 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, including Inner Mongolia, Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan and Tibet. The variety of parcels has expanded from daily necessities to include domestic necessities and warm clothing. The project has also expanded its target group from impoverished mothers to children, from families to schools, giving full play to its characteristics of being small but effective, cheap but beneficial, and fully playing its role in conveying social care and promoting people's livelihoods. The scheme has made active efforts in improving impoverished mothers' living conditions and quality of life.

HUNGARY: Budapest Business Journal: Hungarian state-owned postal company Magyar Posta has started offering personal loans, the company confirmed to Hungarian news agency MTI today.

CANADA: Canadian Lawyer Magazine: As Canada Post Corp. proceeds with its five-year plan to phase out door-to-door mail delivery in favour of community mailboxes, it is facing a Charter challenge from its major union, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, joined by several seniors organizations. The plaintiffs claim that only the federal government, not CPC, has the authority to make this decision, and they argue the decision discriminates against the elderly and the mobility-challenged. No court hearing has yet been held.

AUSTRALIA: The Conversation: The announcement by Australia Post that it will shed around 2,000 jobs over the next three years comes on top of fairly steep increases in the price of basic stamps from 60 cents to 70 cents last year. The cause of Australia Post's problems is well understood. The rise of digital communication has led to a decline in letters being delivered with consequent financial losses in its letter business. The decline in letters this year has apparently exceeded expectations and losses are higher and expected to be around A$500 million. They are threatening to swamp profits from the parcel business and Australia Post is indicating a company wide loss for the first time in over 30 years. Australia Post is not alone in facing these challenges.

June 28, 2015

DOMESTIC NEWS

New York Times: Few methods beat email for sending communication blasts, getting a note in front of a far-flung sales prospect or employer, or attaching pictures and documents. Too bad about the downside: You may not sound your smartest. New research shows that text-based communications may make individuals sound less intelligent and employable than when the same information is communicated orally. The findings imply that old-fashioned phone conversations or in-person visits may be more effective when trying to impress a prospective employer or, perhaps, close a deal.

Reuters: A federal appeals court said a U.S. Postal Service regulation banning firearms on postal property is constitutional, and reversed a lower court ruling that would have let people keep weapons inside their vehicles in post office parking lots.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

PHILIPPINES: Manila Times: Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has filed graft and malversation charges against 10 Philippine Postal Corporation (PPC) officials and employees at the Sandiganbayan for allegedly running away with P8.2 million.

AUSTRALIA: The Sydney Morning Herald"Four graphs that show why Australia Post is in so much trouble." Posties' baskets have been getting lighter and lighter for years as people abandon the art of letter writing and instead turn to email and social media. There's every chance your grandma sent you a text message on your last birthday instead of posting a card, while even engagement party invitations are now sent via Facebook. More than 90 per cent of letters posted in Australia are now from businesses or governments, according to a government-commissioned report released by The Boston Consulting Group last year, and much of that correspondence is going online too.

June 27, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Office of the USPS Inspector GeneralDo You Use Postal Service Market Dominant Billing Determinants for Periodicals? Billing determinants are spreadsheets U.S. Postal Service employees manually produce to report volume and calculated revenue for every Postal Service price in the five market dominant classes of mail: First-Class Mail, Periodicals, Standard Mail, Package Services, and Special Services. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) requires the Postal Service to produce an Annual Compliance Report (ACR) within 90 days after the end of each fiscal year. The ACR presents an analysis of costs, revenue, pricing, and quality of service for all products. Billing determinants are presented in the ACR as a part of the process to develop cost avoidance estimates, which the Postal Service uses to set workshare discounts. The Postal Service uses billing determinants to ensure price adjustments do not exceed the price cap, based on the Consumer Price Index, for each market dominant class of mail. Given the manual preparation and complexity of the spreadsheets, there is a risk of data entry errors. How do you use billing determinants for Periodicals? Have you ever noticed discrepancies in the Postal Service's billing determinants for Periodicals? Do you have any concerns about the Postal Service's billing determinants for Periodicals?

Federal RegisterPostal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 37030 [2015 15908] [TEXT] 37030 37031 [2015 15909] [TEXT]

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

EUROPEAN UNION: Reuters: FedEx has asked the European Union's competition regulator to approve its 4.4-billion-euro ($4.9 billion) bid for Dutch rival TNT Express, the U.S. package delivery service company. The deal, which will combine FedEx's air fleet with TNT's sizeable European road network, will extend FedEx's reach in competition with United Parcel Service and Deutsche Post. FedEx submitted its request to the European Commission on Friday.

June 26, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • R2013-11 Initial Comments of Association for Postal Commerce, MPA-The Association of Magazine Media [and 8 other parties] on Remand [PDF]
  • R2013-11 Comments of American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO [PDF]
  • R2013-11 Comments of the Greeting Card Association and the National Postal Policy Council [PDF]

Federal RegisterPostal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 36860 36861 [2015 15700] [TEXT]

DOMESTIC NEWS

Politico: Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) unloaded on her Senate colleague Bernie Sanders on Thursday, saying the Vermont independent is far too liberal to make it to the White House. "I think that the media is giving Bernie a pass right now," McCaskill said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "I think they are not really giving the same scrutiny to Bernie Sanders that they're giving to, certainly, Hillary Clinton and the other candidates." "Any other candidate that had the numbers that Hillary Clinton had right now would be talked about as absolutely untouchable," she said. "I think Bernie is too liberal to gather enough votes in this country to become president, and I think Hillary Clinton is going to become a fantastic president." Sanders said McCaskill's comments were a first for him. "This is the first time I've had a colleague attack me," Sanders said in an interview with New Hampshire's WADR radio station later on Thursday. "You'll have to ask Senator McCaskill why." [EdNote: Welcome to the beginning of the 2016 political season.]

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

ITALY: Post & Parcel: Nexive, PostNL's postal business in Italy, has launched a new digital-physical communications service for small businesses. The new Multi Formula Self service offers to help SMEs comply with new national regulations requiring electronic invoicing. Nexive, rebranded last year from TNT Post Italy, said the new offering also helps it respond to the evolution of the postal market, where digital delivery services are forecast to grow by nearly 50% up to 2019. The company said the simplicity of the Multi Formula Self service will allow even the smallest businesses to improve the management of their communications, without the need to pay for software licenses or the need to manage different suppliers. Through a single point of contact, businesses can upload files, process them and deliver them as required either in physical letter form, or as email or electronic invoices.

NIGERIA: Punch: The Nigeria Postal Service on Thursday announced the revocation of the licences of 10 courier operators and the shutdown of four others for operating illegally.

INDIA: YourStory: what makes India Post, seen by many as a relic of a bygone era, so attractive to these online portals? India Post's network of post offices in India is incomparable. None of the private courier or logistics firms can even come close say experts and e-commerce firms. "India Post has an unmatched network that is critical for the growth of e-commerce in India," says Ashish Chitravanshi, Vice President of operations at Snapdeal. A view echoed by Amazon.in. "Through India Post's extensive network, Amazon India is able to service over 19,000 pin-codes through 140,000 post-offices across all 35 states and union territories in India," says Samuel Thomas, Director of transportation at Amazon India. This network covers about 25,000 pin codes, while even large private courier companies like DTDC reach only about 10,000.

AUSTRALIA: Perth Now: Australia Post workers are bracing for up to 1900 jobs to go as losses spiral beyond $1.5 billion in the group's letters business, it can be revealed. The postal service has tipped $190 million into a pot to pay for voluntary redundancies as the letters division continues to bleed cash. Most job cuts are expected in the major cities. Chief executive Ahmed Fahour is telling staff this morning that Australians are abandoning mail at an unprecedented rate, underscoring the need for reform.

June 25, 2015

PostCom Members!! August MTAC Review Join us for a webinar on Aug 25, 2015 at 2:00 PM EDT. Register now! https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2455352768756013825 Join PostCom's MTAC representatives on Tuesday, August 25 as they provide an overview of the activities and insights from the August 2015 MTAC meeting. Presented by: Justin A. Krawczyk, Postal Consultant, FedEx SmartPost Jerry Faust, Vice President Print & Distribution, Time, Inc. Bob Rosser Director Postal Affairs, Products and Services, IWCO Direct This webinar is for PostCom member companies only. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Roll Call: After all the infighting, after all the threats and bad blood caused by Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz stripping Mark Meadows of his subcommittee gavel, Meadows is staying put. In a joint news release, Chaffetz announced that he was keeping Meadows in his role as chairman of the Government Operations Subcommittee. Chaffetz said a number of people had asked him to reconsider his decision.

USPS Industry AlertPostalOne! Release 41.1.2 Production Deployment

  • PostalOne! Release 41.1.2 Production Deployment - PostalOne! Release 41.1.2 will deploy on Tuesday evening June 30, 2015 between the hours of 5:00PM CT and 8:00PM CT. This release includes fixes to known PostalOne! issues. The PostalOne! system will remain available during the deployment time. There will not be a mandatory Mail.dat client download required. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.1.2 can be found on: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm
  • PostalOne! Release 41.1.2 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will also occur on Tuesday evening June 30, 2015. The PostalOne! TEM environment validation will occur on Wednesday morning July 1, 2015 between 09:00AM CT and 11:00AM CT.

Federal RegisterPostal Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Periodic Reporting, 36498 [2015 15579] [TEXT]

Postal Regulatory Commission

DOMESTIC NEWS

Reuters: The top executives of many a corporate giant must feel like the fictional character Gulliver, waking up to find themselves under attack from modern-day Lilliputians, small start-up companies which overwhelm their established rivals with new technologies. The old powers of market incumbents - massive scale, control over distribution, brand power, millions of customer relationships - are no longer seen as the obstacles they once were to agile rivals with innovative business models. A new survey finds business leaders believe four out of 10 top-ranked companies in their industries worldwide won't survive the next five years. They blame the accelerating change in technology, shifting business models and a need to merge to cut costs in order to ensure they don't become footnotes in someone else's corporate history. "Not just lone companies, but entire industries are being side-swiped by these effects," said James Macaulay, co-author of the study, which polled 941 business leaders from a dozen industries in the world's 13 biggest economies.

Law Street: The financial issues of the U.S. Postal Service have massive effects on our country from the thousands of employed postal service workers to everyday citizens receiving and sending mail. An increase in stamp prices severely affects businesses that allocate a certain amount of their budgets to sending out materials. All in all, it is a national issue. With certain actions already in place, the USPS saw a $569 million revenue increase in the 2014 fiscal year. This by no means offsets the deficit, but it proves innovative ideas can make a difference. With any luck, revisions made to the 2016 fiscal budget will provide promising results.

eCommerceBytes: The USPS has been rolling out self-service kiosks in post offices around the country since 1999, but did you know the kiosks have generated over $5 billion in revenue as customers increasingly use the automated machines for retail transactions? Many readers likely have their packages picked up by a shipping carrier, but if you find yourself headed to the post office with some packages, you might be interested to learn that kiosks are more than glorified stamp dispensers - and most are available 24 hours a day.

The Detroit News: The U.S. Postal Service is a steady fixture in every American's life. From the post office on Main Street to the postal worker who has delivered mail to our houses for 25 years, the U.S. Postal Service has been a dependable entity in our daily lives. Recently, a bipartisan group of senators, including Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, met with Postmaster General Megan Brennan to discuss a long list of Postal Service complaints. At the top of the list was lagging delivery times that are continuing to get worse. As part of the evaluation process, Peters and the group maintain that declining postal standards and the consolidation of mail processing facilities is negatively impacting rural communities across their states.

Roll Call: he punishment from GOP leadership over a procedural vote didn't start with Mark Meadows and it might not end with him either. The two-term North Carolina Republican is the latest conservative to face retribution for voting on June 11 against the rule to bring trade legislation to the House floor, joining 33 other Republicans in a major sign of defiance that embarrassed leadership. First, three conservatives Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Cynthia M. Lummis of Wyoming were booted from the whip team. Now, Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah has taken Meadows' Government Operations Subcommittee gavel. Leaders may have thought making an example out of Meadows perhaps the most mild-mannered member of the bomb-throwing House Freedom Caucus was the best of any number of noisy, conference-shaking options. But in a half-hour sit-down interview with CQ Roll Call Monday morning, Meadows made it clear he wasn't going quietly. He's taking his moment in the spotlight to tell multiple news organizations something has to change and it could start with Speaker John A. Boehner and his lieutenants. Chaffetz has publicly taken sole responsibility for the decision, though Meadows told CQ Roll Call he suspected there was more to it than that.

Daily Caller: Customized Delivery is part of a larger effort by the USPS to find new sources of revenue through expanded service offerings, including same-day delivery. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved a two-year market test of the program last October, but capped annual revenues at $10 million until its financial feasibility could be evaluated, according to 21st Century Postal Worker. Despite the PRC's backing, though, opponents of Customized Delivery argue the forthcoming expansion was approved without adequate data from previous test runs, and warn the USPS could end up losing money on the program while undermining private sector competitors. "This announcement comes on the heels of unanswered questions about previous attempts at grocery delivery service, a quarterly loss of $1.5 billion, and a plan to spend $6 billion on a new fleet of trucks," David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, points out in a blog post. "Instead of trying to compete with the private sector to deliver groceries and buy new trucks," he contends, "the USPS needs to get their fiscal house in order and focus on their core mission: delivering mail."

Direct Marketing News: Same-day delivery options are now must-haves for retailers, both brick and click. Google, Amazon, the U.S. Postal Service, and even Uber are getting into the game. But one deliverer whose name may not be familiar, by design, today moved a step closer toward its goal of being the biggest same-day option for retailers nationwide. Deliv, which partners anonymously with retailers to move the goods, has announced the acquisition of Chicago competitor WeDeliver to take ownership of same-day delivery in that market. Deliv is now operational in eight markets spanning the country from Los Angeles to Houston to New Jersey. "Two-day delivery for retailers has become the norm, but retailers are feeling the need to respond to Amazon and its same-day delivery option," says Deliv VP of Marketing Ingrid Bekkers. Deliv currently services Bloomingdale's, FootLocker, Macy's, and Williams-Sonoma, along with hundreds of local merchants.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

ITALY: Satellite Today: Poste Mobile, the mobile operator of Poste Italiane Group, has selected Eutelsat Communications to provide broadband services to 300 post office locations through its Ka-Sat satellite. The first 120 locations are expected to have satellite connectivity by the end of 2015 with the additional 180 post offices to follow in 2016. Post offices will have download speeds of up to 22 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 6 Mbps, improving postal, insurance and banking services to the public as well as back-office operations. The agreement will enable Poste Italiane offices located beyond terrestrial broadband to provide the public with the same level of service as branches in major population centers. Staff will also gain improved office IT and telecommunications services that will benefit their customers. Furthermore, Poste Italiane has successfully tested additional public and back-office services through Eutelsat that can be rolled-out in the future. These include public Wi-Fi access in post offices, security surveillance options and videoconferencing facilities.

FINLAND: Postal Technology International: Finnish postal operator Posti is to add 100 new service points to its network over the next few years, taking the total number to 1,500. Cooperation negotiations have been completed, covering 98 of Posti's outlets, with the aim of renewing and improving the accessibility of the postal operator's services. A total of 21 outlets will be managed by Posti, while negotiations will be held concerning the remaining 77 outlets, which are to be transferred to partners between 2015 and 2018. The number of Posti service points will be increased by 100 over the next few years, with the total growing to 1,500.

RUSSIA - CHINA: WantChinaTimes: Russia is going to launch a China-Russia express rail line for postal services to shorten the package delivery time between the two countries, reports China's state newswire Xinhua. Dmitry Strashnov, CEO of Russian Post, suggested the creation of an online mechanism for people to report the contents of their packages instead of physically taking them to the post office, which will reduce delivery time to just 14 days. If this can happen, Strashnov said cross-border postal services will increase tenfold. Russia has great potential for e-commerce as 70% of the public use the internet but the internet only accounts for 2%-3% of retail sales.

June 24, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission: Representatives of the Postal Regulatory Commission and the Postal Service Board of Governors met on June 23, 2015 to share information of interest concerning the operations of both organizations. This session was limited to the sharing of information for the purpose of familiarizing each entity with the operations of the other organization, such as reporting on the status of major initiatives. Pending (or anticipated) postal matters before the Commission were not discussed, nor did deliberations or decisional matters take place during this session.

DOMESTIC NEWS

The Boston Globe: Anyone who has lived in an apartment complex has probably encountered that pile of delivery boxes tucked behind the front desk, waiting for residents to claim their latest haul from Amazon. Entrepreneurs are betting there's a promising business hiding in that heap of cardboard. A growing number of companies, including the Medfield startup Package Concierge, are seeking to outfit apartment buildings with banks of high-tech lockers that can serve as a mail drop for packages. Apartment managers are spending an increasing share of their time wrangling with deliveries. Residents can have trouble getting their packages if a building doesn't offer concierge service after typical working hours, said Georgianna Oliver, founder and chief executive of Package Concierge.

Wall Street Journal: E-commerce made it a breeze for a shopper to buy something from the other side of the country. Now, retailers and delivery companies are making it just as easy for shoppers to buy something on the other side of the world. FedEx Corp., United Parcel Service Inc. and other global delivery companies are banking on cross-border shoppers who believe geography is no object when it comes to finding what they want.

Great Falls Tribune: Now, we undoubtedly have different means for many types of information sharing through the Internet. While many may rely on email and other Internet-based communications platforms, most still use the mail to send birthday cards or pay the mortgage and a myriad of other purposes. Additionally, rural America still lags behind more urban areas in Internet use, which only makes the USPS that much more important in many areas of the country. Unfortunately, the U.S. Postal Service seems to be increasing service and product offerings in metropolitan centers like San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York, while they are shutting down mail processing facilities and decreasing service in other areas.In truth, USPS service standards have steadily deteriorated over the last three years. An example is the elimination of overnight delivery for local first-class mail that would arrive the very next day. Even worse, according to the USPS, first-class mail, which is supposed to reach its recipient within 3-5 days, failed to meet this standard for over one third of all mail delivered in the first seven weeks of 2015.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

FRANCE: Post & Parcel: La Poste Group has selected Paris-based software firm Weborama to provide a data management platform to digitise its advertising and customer data system. The project is part of the transformation of the French national postal operator and should allow La Poste to take better advantage of its direct mail reach, while providing advertisers with better and more targeted access.

GERMANY: Post & Parcel: German union Ver.di has said indefinite strike action has expanded to 31,000 employees at Deutsche Post as the conflict entered its third week. The industrial action began after a sixth round of negotiations with the country's universal postal service provider failed on 2nd June. Ver.di said the dispute over wages and working conditions for 140,000 public employees at Deutsche Post has affected mail and parcel delivery activities and also mail and parcel sorting centres.

GERMANY - UNITED KINGDOM: Tamebay: There have been postal strikes in Germany which yesterday escalated to 31,000 workers downing tools and it's starting to impact ecommerce sellers in the UK. Deutsche Post posties have been engaged in regular walkouts and work to rule since the 8th of June and millions of letters and, more importantly for sellers, parcels haven't been delivered. The issue is Deutsche Post plans to hire thousands of workers in sister companies on different terms to the collective Deutsche Post agreement deal with the German trade unions. The strikes are to go on indefinitely with no end in sight. This of course won't affect sellers who are using couriers to deliver packages, although it's still worth keeping an eye on as their volumes may increase as companies switch from mail to courier. It is however likely to affect merchants who despatch parcels via Royal Mail.

FRANCE: PressTV: French postal employees have gone on a strike after authorities unveiled a plan for fresh job cuts within the postal services. La Poste is a state-run company. Now it's facing pressure to allow more private players into the market. Labor unions say the employees should not pay the price for the competitive atmosphere the government is trying to create.

June 23, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

USPS Office of the Inspector GeneralUndeliverable as Addressed Costs More than You Think -- Undeliverable as addressed (UAA) mail is a clunky name for a big problem: Mail not reaching its intended recipient because the address is incorrect, incomplete, or illegible. UAA mail is costly to both the Postal Service and its customers about $1.5 billion a year for the Postal Service and $20 billion for the mailing industry, according to a report we issued last month. But the costs of UAA go beyond just returning, destroying, or forwarding undeliverable mail. For mailers, there are direct costs, such as printing and postage, and indirect costs, such as lost opportunities. Despite concerted efforts by the Postal Service and mailers to reduce UAA mail, it actually increased by 2.1 percent to a total of 6.6 billion pieces from fiscal years 2011 to 2014, our report notes. We found the Postal Service's strategies to reduce UAA have been ineffective because of how complex the address verification process is and because mailers have to abide by conflicting laws and regulations. For example, companies in the financial and insurance industries are legally required to send mail to the last known address even if Postal Service systems indicate a change of address has been submitted.

Federal RegisterPostal Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Periodic Reporting , 35898 35899 [2015 15361] [TEXT]

DOMESTIC NEWS

Associated Press: An employee of the U.S. Postal Service in western South Dakota has been indicted on a theft of mail charge. Authorities are accusing Daniel Newman, of Rapid City, of embezzling letters, post cards, packages, bags and other mail between November and March. Authorities say Newman stole money, gift cards and other items contained in the mail he embezzled.

Wall Street Journal: Business keeps getting better for third-party-logistics companies. Revenues for U.S. 3PLs, which provide services ranging from booking truck drivers to managing warehouses, rose 7.4% to $157.2 billion last year, according to data from Armstrong and Associates, a research firm. Driving the growth was an improving U.S. economy and a shortage of capacity in a few key areas, notably trucking, said Dick Armstrong, president of Armstrong and Associates. "More companies are outsourcing logistics than we've seen in many years," Mr. Carlier said. "As business has increased, customers are saying they need to increase their warehousing as they build up their inventories. But rather than build for themselves, they're looking to third-party providers. Rather than go through the challenge of hiring drivers, they're outsourcing."

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

BERMUDA: Today In Bermuda: The Bermuda Post Office (BPO) would like to advise the public that it will introduce a rate change and modernization of its postal products on July 1st, 2015 for local and international letter mail, parcels and International Data Express (IDE). The BPO has not issued a rate increase on the majority of its products since 2000. However, given the increased global costs for doing business, rates must be adjusted to reflect these trends. Local postage rates are used to calculate the terminal dues that Bermuda earns as revenue for delivering mail from postal services in other jurisdictions. Terminal dues are an important source of income for all postal administrations, including the BPO. Stamp sales and terminal dues represent 74 percent of the BPO's annual revenue which underscores the need for a rate increase.

TAIWAN: Taipei Times: Like postal services worldwide, Chunghwa Post loses money on mail delivery. However, its other products and services are proving valuable. The 199-year-old Chunghwa Post has undergone significant changes since it was established in China in 1896 as the Great Qing Post. Renamed in 1912 after the founding of the Republic of China, it began offering banking and insurance services in the 1930s. In recent years it has begun selling micro-insurance to blue-collar workers, offering free fruit delivery for farmers and much more, adding services that have helped the company turn a profit at a time when the postal services of other nations are hemorrhaging money.

June 22, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Politico: House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz has stripped North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows of his subcommittee chairmanship, just days after he defied leadership on the House floor by voting against a party-line procedural motion.

DOMESTIC NEWS

Business Insider: Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated in a congressional hearing that regulations for commercial drones will be finalized and put in place within one year. Almost immediately after, Amazon said that as soon as these regulations are implemented, they will be ready to launch their drone delivery system, reports the Daily Mail. The company wants to bring packages to Prime members within 30 minutes of an order placement. Amazon already holds patents for drone delivery, including a system that will bring packages to a person's current location as opposed to a stored shipping address.

Wall Street Journal: A shrinking supply of boxcars once the ubiquitous symbols of U.S. railroads and a rolling bellwether for the economy is causing a freight-hauling crunch for industries that continue to use them. The number of boxcars in service in North America fell by 41% in the past decade to slightly less than 125,000 last year as 101,600 cars were scrapped and only about 13,800 replacement were added. That downsizing accelerated a decadeslong shift by railroads to more specialized railcars and intermodal carriers that allow shipping containers to hop from trucks to trains. While the transition has worked fine for many shippers, paper manufacturers, lumber producers and other companies that rely heavily on boxcars to protect and move heavy shipments say the fleet has declined so much that they're struggling with a boxcar shortage. Paper and building products maker Georgia-Pacific LLC. has had to periodically slow production at some paper mills, and idled one mill for a short time recently when it couldn't obtain boxcars to move its paper. The paper industry accounted for half of the 1.25 million boxcar loads in North America last year.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

SINGAPORE: Post & Parcel: Singapore Post has sold off three printing and mailing businesses as it continues to position itself with more of a focus on e-commerce. SingPost said on Friday that it will sell a 90% stake in its hybrid mail business DataPost Pte Ltd to Hong Kong-based Jing King Tech Solutions Ptd Ltd for about S$39.3m ($29.5m USD). The sale comes following last months' divestment of SingPost's Novation Solutions Ltd and DataPost (HK) Pte Ltd for S$24.4m ($18.3m USD). All three of the businesses being sold are involved in secure printing, document management and transactional mail printing services. SingPost will retain a 10% stake in the DataPost business, intending to continue its use of the business on behalf of its customers.

NEW ZEALAND: Wellington Scoop: Tomorrow New Zealand Post will continue its removal of road side post boxes. This is privatisation by stealth says the Postal Workers Union. At the same time that NZ Post is quietly engaged in the removal of many of its road side post boxes and reducing its delivery service, private mail company DX Mail is steadily building up its own postal delivery network.

UNITED KINGDOM: The Guardian: Households could be sent marketing material routinely through the post based on their online shopping activity if a trial between Royal Mail and a big retailer takes off. Royal Mail said the plan was similar to advertising that already happens online whereby internet shoppers are shown ads based on their recent shopping history. The company is working with an unidentified retailer to run a similar system, already in operation, using physical mail. If an online shopper puts an item in their basket but does not complete the purchase this triggers a letter or brochure to the customer's home encouraging them to buy the product.

June 21, 2015

DOMESTIC NEWS

Los Angeles Daily News: A proposal last week to go to postal voting here made by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is . . . to get more of us voting in the first place. "California ranked 43rd in voter turnout nationally for the 2014 General Election," a Padilla press release said. "This problem cannot be ignored." It is a dismal statistic indeed, and we understand the handwringing about it, having done some of it ourselves. The secretary would like to see a voting system based on Oregon's in which the state of California would send ballots to every registered voter, who could then either mail them back, drop them off or use an old-fashioned voting machine at one of the (far fewer) remaining polling places. In the end, we think democracy is better served by encouraging people to vote, and we have faith they won't do so capriciously. The proposal is a sound experiment, and we look forward to its implementation.

Dead Tree Edition: Postal workers may begin early-morning delivery of groceries for Amazon in the New York metropolitan area by the end of this month. The U.S. Postal Service filed a statement with the Postal Regulatory Commission on Thursday saying it "intends to expand the Customized Delivery market test to the New York City metropolitan area, on or shortly after June 29, 2015."

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Daily Mail: The Government announced earlier this month that it is to sell its remaining stake in Royal Mail. The move, apart from raising much needed money, is aimed at enabling the postal giant to compete in what is a fiercely competitive market. Here, The Mail on Sunday looks at the best options for sending a parcel whether it is popping into the post office, finding a cut-price courier or even learning from carrier pigeons.

June 20, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Federal RegisterPostal Regulatory Commission RULES Mail Classification Schedule , 35573 35575 [2015 15198][TEXT]

DOMESTIC NEWS

National Association of Postmasters: The Executive Boards of NAPUS and the League decided to name their successor consolidated organization the "United Postmasters and Managers of America (UPMA)".

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

TAIWAN: Focus Taiwan: Taiwan's 119-year-old postal service Chunghwa Post has undergone significant changes in recent years. From simply delivering mail when it was first founded in China in 1896, and to offering banking and insurance services starting in the 1930s, its services have now expanded to selling micro-insurance to blue collar workers, offering free delivery of fruits for farmers, and much more. And unlike postal services operating in the red in other countries, due to increased use of e-mail and a decline in traditional mail, Chunghwa Post has been making a profit in recent years.

ARMENIA: Panorama.am: National Assembly of Armenia today passed in the first reading a bill on amendments to the 2006-2007 State Property Privatization Program, with 61 votes in favor, 22 against, and 16 abstentions. The bill was drafted due to the inclusion of Haypost Company in the 1st list of companies in which the state has a stake. The privatization of Haypost CJSC national postal operator is expected to help attract private investment, increase financial flows, modernize the company and develop postal services.

June 19, 2015

DOMESTIC NEWS

Forbes: An initial public offering (IPO) of the United States Postal Service (USPS) could realize some US$40 billion (c.25.23bn) despite a number of significant obstacles lying in the way of such a corporate action. But heaven forbid could the Americans learn anything from UK's privatization of Royal Mail?

Post & Parcel: The United States Parcel Service (USPS) has claimed that rolling back mail delivery service standards to 2012 levels as envisaged by an amendment to the FY2016 Financial Services Bill which was approved the US Congress Appropriations Committee on Wednesday (17 June) would cost $1.5 billion annually. "[The] House Appropriations Committee vote to roll back mail delivery service standards to 2012 levels is financially and operationally indefensible, and the Postal Service strongly encourages the Congress to remove this requirement," said Sarah Ninivaggi, a USPS spokeswoman. "The Postal Service simply cannot afford costly, legislatively-mandated inefficiencies that undermine our viability as a self-funding entity." Ninivaggi added that requiring USPS to "forego vitally necessary future cost savings would be highly disruptive to our operations and our employees and to our business customers who have already invested in and otherwise adapted to our current service standards."

Postal Technology International: Pitney Bowes has announced the completion of its acquisition of Borderfree, a global e-commerce solutions provider.

Government Executive: A House committee on Wednesday advanced a measure to reinstate U.S. Postal Service delivery standards from 2012, which would effectively halt any of the agency's desired facility closures. The provision was attached as an amendment to the financial services and general government appropriations bill after being introduced by Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., formerly the head Democrat on postal issues. The amendment would restore the delivery standards in place in 2012, meaning most first-class mail not leaving a city would have to be delivered overnight. The Postal Service previously reduced the amount of mail it delivered overnight and shifted a substantial amount of mail from a two-day delivery standard to a three-to-five day range. Overall, USPS downgraded its delivery standards for about 28 percent of first-class mail. USPS cited those changes as necessary to enable it to consolidate facilities and rely less heavily on air delivery. The agency shuttered 141 processing facilities in 2012 and 2013, and had begun closing an additional 82 in 2015 before it suddenly decided to cancel those plans last month. The slower mail delivery and corresponding consolidations have generated controversy and have proved major sticking points in delivering comprehensive reform to the agency.

GlobeNewswire: Command Security Corporation has announced the notification by the U. S. Postal Service ("USPS") of their decision regarding the previously announced contract award. On December 31, 2014, Command Security Corporation ("Command Security" or the "Company") received notification of the award of the USPS contract under Solicitation No. 2B-14-A-0078, valued at approximately $250 million over a ten year term of service. The contract provides for security services at 50 USPS locations in 18 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, valued at approximately $20 million per year, as well as the operation of the two USPS National Law Enforcement Communication Centers (NLECC) at Dulles International Airport, Virginia and in Ft. Worth, Texas, valued at approximately $5 million per year. The award includes a four year base contract and three two-year options.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION: Post & Parcel:The Universal Postal Union has told members it will undergo a "fundamental review" to respond better to member countries' requirements. The Swiss-based UN-affiliated agency supporting the global network of universal postal service providers made the pledge at a conference organised by its regional satellite, the Pan African Postal Union, at the start of the month. UPU director general Bishar Hussein said the organisation needed to change to cope with the changing needs of postal administrations in Africa as they adapt to changing communication trends among their customers.

NORWAY: EV Fleetworld: Norwegian postal service, Posten Norge, has purchased 300 electric delivery vehicles for its fleet, aiming to have them in service within the next 12 months. Set to be deployed nationwide, the new vehicles will be used for mid-length routes and urban deliveries, and are expected to save millions of krone per year in operating costs.

EUROPE: Postal Technology International: More consumers are opting for tracked delivery when shopping online the result of retailers offering a greater variety of affordable options. Paul Galpin, managing director, P2P Mailing, examines this trend and highlights the importance of meeting the delivery service needs and expectations of today's customers Previously, when shopping online, consumers were limited in their choice of delivery service. The options broadly divided into two categories: standard delivery services which offered no tracking; or more express alternatives which offered faster delivery and gave the customer visibility of the progress of their order but at a cost. However, in the past couple of years this situation has started to change. Retailers and their delivery service providers have realised that as online shopping continues to grow, customers are becoming more discerning when it comes to exercising their purchase power. In particular, delivery is playing a big role in that decision. Our research shows that experiencing delays or delivery problems just twice or more would convince 87% of people to switch to another supplier

PORTUGAL: Post & Parcel: Portugal's CTT Group has appointed banking sector veteran Luis Pereira Coutinho to launch its planned postal bank.

EUROPE: Wall Street Journal: The largest U.S. logistics companies are preparing for a boom in spending on specialty drugs that require temperature-controlled shipping by investing in so-called cold-chain infrastructure. On Thursday United Parcel Service Inc. announced it is building a health care distribution center in the Netherlands, just a month after opening an air freight facility at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol dedicated to health care shipments. . The announcement comes in the same week that Deutsche Post DHL AG released a white paper that said pharmaceutical manufacturers face an "exponential growth in the need for temperature assured distribution and handling of materials, from active ingredients to finished products."

June 18, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

USPS Industry Alert:

  • USPS Shipping Products and Services Webinar Series June 23, 2015, 11a.m. EDT Returns Join us as the Postal Service continues to host its series of informational webinars on a variety of products and services. The webinars will focus on service enhancements, features, benefits, how to get started, and onboarding information to acquire the knowledge and skills to effectively use the service. Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 11a.m. EDT Returns
    USPS Return Service offers a variety of ways for customers to return items to merchants. There are options based on the weight and urgency of the return, as well as options to return using pre-printed labels and Merchandise Return labels. Speaker: Karen Ward, Manager, Shipping Solutions Participant information is provided below: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 (11:00 a.m. EDT)
    Attendee Information: US/Canada Attendee Dial-in: (866) 381-9870 Conference ID: 17345168 Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=eeabaab4093296a8fa74d2aa3129b5201 If you cannot join using the direct link above, please use the alternate logins below: Alternate URL: http://usps.webex.com Event Number: 999 427 799
     
  • The latest issue of "Mail Spoken Here" has been posted on this site.

Federal RegisterPostal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Rate Adjustment Remand , 34937 34939 [2015 14965] [TEXT]

House Committee on Appropriations: "Appropriations Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2016 Financial Services Bill" Including the following from Rep. Fattah An amendment to restore mail delivery standards to the July 1, 2012 level. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 26-23.

Office of the USPS Inspector General:

Background. The U.S. Postal Service uses workshare discounts to increase its operational efficiencies. It offers these discounts to mailers for mail preparation and distribution activities it would otherwise have to perform. The Postal Regulatory Commission approves the discounts. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 states that workshare discounts should not exceed the costs the Postal Service avoids when mailers perform these preparation and distribution activities. For the Postal Service to realize the full benefits of workshare discounts, worksharing must align with its mail processing operations. Our objective was to review workshare discounts related to automated mail processing to identify those that may no longer be valuable to the Postal Service. We also reviewed opportunities for new workshare discounts to encourage network efficiency.

What The OIG Found. Some workshare discounts for automated mail processing no longer benefit the Postal Service's processing network. Recent changes to the network offer an opportunity to re-evaluate discounted rates and potentially add new workshare discounts. Specifically, we identified workshare discounts for sorting mail into carrier route delivery point sequencing that duplicate Postal Service functions. As a result, we estimate a revenue difference of $438 million annually for mail volume that was processed in the same manner but received different rates. We also identified obsolete or unnecessary discounts and product prices that could be eliminated. Specifically, unnecessary workshare discounts exist in the current Flats Sequencing System pricing schedule. This may add complexity to the pricing structure that could deter mailers from establishing or expanding relationships with the Postal Service. There may be opportunities for new workshare discounts that reflect current network operations. For example, mailers suggested the Postal Service could consider discounts to encourage increased participation in the Seamless Acceptance program. This program automates bulk mail acceptance and verification using data provided by mailers and gathered during mail processing. Increased participation may reduce costs associated with mail verification by business mail entry unit personnel. The Postal Service could lose opportunities to grow revenue, partner with mailers, and gain operational efficiencies if it does not update workshare discounts periodically to reflect current network operations.

What The OIG Recommended. We recommended management work with the Postal Regulatory Commission to periodically review existing workshare discounts for opportunities to eliminate obsolete discounts. We also recommended management periodically evaluate potential workshare discounts and add those where opportunities for greater efficiency exist.

  • U.S. Postal Service's Delivering Results, Innovation, Value, and Efficiency Initiative 30 Achieve 100 Percent Customer and Revenue Visibility
    Background. In fiscal year (FY) 2011, the U.S. Postal Service established 36 Delivering Results, Innovation, Value, and Efficiency (DRIVE) initiatives to improve its business strategy. DRIVE aims to reduce the reported $20 billion gap between revenue and expenses by FY 2016 through bold, aggressive initiatives with measurable outcomes. DRIVE 30 Achieve 100 Percent Customer and Revenue Visibility has six projects designed to increase customer visibility to 95 percent and product visibility to 76 percent for meter revenue by FY 2017. The Postal Service uses customer visibility to improve its sales and marketing efforts by identifying the owner of a mailpiece. Through product visibility, it obtains mail class revenue information about metered mail, which identifies products customers are using. Our objective was to determine whether DRIVE 30 used established DRIVE project management processes.

    What The OIG Found. DRIVE 30 managers did not follow established project management processes. Specifically, two roadmaps had gaps of more than 2 to 3 months between milestone dates. Based on the DRIVE Governance Guide, milestone dates should be no more than 6 weeks apart. When milestones are too far apart, it is difficult to effectively monitor and detect risks to the schedule and to demonstrate progress. In addition, 83 changes, additions, or removals to project milestones were made in the Technology Management Office System without completing the required change request form. The Meter Product Visibility goal of a 2 percent improvement per year is not bold and aggressive, as it is not based on any activities that would improve the project goal beyond past performance. These issues occurred because the Strategic Management Office did not ensure DRIVE governance requirements for DRIVE 30 were followed. As a result, executive-level managers could make less informed decisions because they cannot accurately evaluate project goals. There is no guarantee that key planning considerations have been taken into account before the change occurs. Additionally, the initiative lead and roadmap owner did not identify new activities to improve meter product visibility. Instead, DRIVE 30 managers used this roadmap as a placeholder for monitoring, which is contrary to the purpose of DRIVE. As a result, visibility may not improve beyond what would occur through normal business activity.

    What The OIG Recommended. We recommended management require initiative leads and roadmap owners to implement milestones at 4- to 6-week intervals and complete all appropriate forms when making changes to project goals. We also recommended management ensure that DRIVE goals are bold and aggressive.
  • Market Dominant Billing Determinants: First-Class Mail
    Background. Billing determinants are spreadsheets that U.S. Postal Service employees manually produce to report volume and revenue for each price in the five market dominant classes of mail, including First-Class Mail. The Postal Service primarily obtains this data from its published price list and the Revenue, Pieces, and Weight codes. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requires the Postal Service to produce an Annual Compliance Report within 90 days of the end of each fiscal year. The report analyzes costs, revenue, pricing, and quality of service for all products. The Postal Service uses billing determinants to ensure price adjustments do not exceed the price cap for each market dominant class of mail. Given the manual preparation and complexity of the spreadsheets, there is a risk of data entry errors. Our objective was to assess the completeness and accuracy of the data used in market dominant billing determinants for First-Class Mail.

    What The OIG Found. We did not find any issues with the completeness of billing determinants but opportunities exist to improve the accuracy of the Postal Service's billing determinant calculations. Specifically, there were errors in fiscal year (FY) 2013 and FY 2014 First-Class Mail billing determinants resulting from inconsistent accounting of mail volume due to reclassifications and calculations we could not verify. As a result, the Postal Service incorrectly calculated a combined $156.8 million in revenue for FYs 2013 and 2014. Although these errors did not impact compliance with 2015 price cap requirements, there is a risk that future billing determinant calculation errors could. Overall, these errors occurred because the Postal Service did not establish strong controls over the billing determinant calculation process. Specifically, the Postal Service did not have documented repeatable processes to guide in the preparation of billing determinant spreadsheets and did not conduct quality reviews of billing determinants prior to publication. Recently, the vice president, Pricing, stated that Finance employees have begun reviewing billing determinant calculations for accuracy.

    What The OIG Recommended. We recommended the vice president, Pricing, file corrected FY 2013 and FY 2014 billing determinants with the Postal Regulatory Commission; develop procedures to ensure billing determinants are produced using documented, repeatable processes; and establish a quality review process. The current process, with the amount of judgement required and the tight timeframes, would be difficult to automate; however, as business processes change, opportunities for automation may increase and should be pursued.

Attention Postal One! Users:

  • PostalOne! Release 41.1.1.0 Production Deployment- PostalOne! Release 41.1.1.0 will deploy Thursday, June 18, 2015 from 5:00 PM CT through 9:00 PM CT. This release includes updates to existing functionality and database maintenance activities. This release will not require an extended maintenance window but users may experience brief interruptions during this period. Please note, there will not be a mandatory Mail.dat client download required for this deployment.
  • PostalOne! Release 41.1.1.0 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will occur on Thursday, June 18, 2015 as well. The PostalOne! TEM environment will not be available between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM CT. TEM validation will occur on Friday, June 19, 2015 between 9:00 AM CT and 11:00 AM CT.

DOMESTIC NEWS

MarketWatch: Legacy delivery companies like FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. played a huge role in the decline of the U.S. Postal Service, but it's time for them to pay the piper--technology has brought them face-to-face with their own competitive threat: Amazon.com Inc., Uber and other startups. Mobility, brought upon by the proliferation of smartphones, apps and connected devices, has created a climate of instant gratification and given way to a fast-growing market for on-demand delivery services, such as Postmates. The millennial generation is much less loyal to legacy brands than generations past. Data shows consumers are hungrier for better, faster and more transparent services--from shipping to cable--and don't much care who provides it.

WindowBook Press Release: Window Book, Inc. is pleased to announce the release of their latest breakthrough technology, PostalWeb, which improves the efficiency of mailing operations by automating the transfer of PostalOne! documents and data back to the mailer. Mailers can now use PostalWeb to automate retrieval of unpaid and finalized postage statements from PostalOne!. In addition, mailers can also automatically receive Barcoded Confirmation Pages, which can be scanned by USPS acceptance personnel, and important postage statement data in an XML format. This data can be used by both mailers and mail owners to automate entry of postage data into internal systems. In addition to automated document and data distribution, PostalWeb has an innovative eDoc dashboard which is mobile friendly and provides a unique view of e-doc submissions that has been designed for mailers.

Washington Post: Federal charges unsealed Wednesday allege that, far from being Santa's helpers, three employees of the Postal Service were real grinches during the 2013 Christmas season. The three postal workers face charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud, according to the criminal complaint, and two of the three are charged with receipt of stolen mail.

USA Today: Mike Glenn, executive vice president of FedEx, who on a conference call to discuss the company's latest earnings report, also addressed a key question about a long-term threat to the entrenched shipping giants: the emergence of technology companies as competitors. For example, ride-sharing service Uber is hoping to make shipping a core part of its business as it ramps up its national network. And retailing giant Amazon.com is also considering a mobile app that would offer to pay individual customers to deliver packages, according to a Wall Street Journal report. But FedEx's Glenn doesn't seem too concerned. Without mentioning Uber or Amazon by name, Glenn brushed off the prospect of a big new techie competitor, saying the "extremely capital intensive" nature of constructing a shipping network and the "sophisticated information technology" required to run the business are major obstacles to new entrants.

PRNewswireAmerican Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein -- Today's vote by the House Appropriations Committee to approve an amendment to restore postal service standards is an important step forward for postal employees and our customers large and small. The bipartisan vote was 26-23. Postal workers have been fighting the drastic cuts in service that management implemented unilaterally on Jan. 5. Today's committee's vote is a vivid example of how the demands of postal workers reflect the people's demand for good postal service. The amendment would rescind the lower service standards which have wreaked havoc on mail delivery and restore the standards that were in place on July 1, 2012. If enacted, it would require postal management to restore overnight mail delivery within cities and towns, and the 2- and 3-day delivery standards that were wiped out in January.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

ARMENIA: News.am: The proposal to privatize Armenia's National Post Service has been introduced in Armenia's parliament. The bill on including the national postal operator Haypost CJSC in the privatization list was introduced by Arman Sahakyan, Head of State Property Management Department adjunct to the Government of Armenia. Currently the operator is under the confidential management of HayPost Trust Management' company, which is controlled by the Argentinean-Armenian billionaire Eduardo Eurnekian.

AUSTRALIA: The Australian: Ahmed Fahour has just a couple of years to start implementing the changes he plans for Australia Post. The 49-year-old has been chief for five years and says 10 years is long enough for anyone to run an organisation. It has been a tough few years for the former banking executive who in March reported a 56 per cent drop in first-half profit to $98 million from $222m a year ago. Always keen to present the right image, Fahour let it be known he and other executives would forgo bonuses this year amid the rationalisation, and at a personal cost to Fahour of about $2.5m. With its traditional mail delivery business disrupted by the internet's capacity to provide alternative communication, Australia Post must move fast to reinvent itself. Fahour says the organisation's biggest assets are its capacity to become the delivery van for the internet, and its image as a trusted provider of services. Australia Post has been thrown a lifeline with the federal government's decision to deregulate the price of stamps providing a boost to cash returns. Its booming parcels division is a plus. But it will need a more radical overhaul in the next few years.

INDIA: Business Insider: After Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal are planning to join hands with India Post for a one-day delivery system to areas where private courier services are yet to reach. So, is e-commerce shipping becoming a great business opportunity for India Post which has seen tremendous loss in this digital age? What is in it for e-tailers is crystal clear to all. India Post being one of the best in the country enjoys a very high confidence of the consumers. So it will solve a really big problem for most of the companies who are not able to find a good solution to reach out to the smaller cities of the country.

June 17, 2015

POSTAL/FEDERAL NEWS

Postal Regulatory Commission

Federal RegisterPostal Service NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act , 34715 [2015 14949] [TEXT]

USPS Link: The Postal Service has taken new steps to strengthen its business practices and reduce program costs under the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) accounting law. USPS began transitioning most SOX functions to the Deloitte & Touche consulting firm June 8, part of a broader effort to simplify its SOX organizational structure. The Postal Service also created a revenue assurance unit to ensure USPS collects the appropriate amounts due. About 95 Postal Service headquarters employees will be affected by this transition.

DOMESTIC NEWS

NASDAQ: FedEx Corp. said it is boosting its capital spending by 7% to $4.6 billion, with the entire increase going toward its ground segment as it tries to keep up with the boom in online shopping.

Digital Journal: A new, national online mailing service allows businesses to send real invoices from their computer through the U.S. Mail, one or all at a time. The ease and speed of the service has resulted in saved time and faster receivables for many companies. Postalocity.com is a new online service that purports to be "the easiest way to send real mail, ever."

eCommerceBytes: Members of Congress turned their attention this week to an issue that's long been a source of frustration for online sellers. They heard from a panel of experts, including Amazon's top policy official, about the imbalance in shipping fees that puts U.S. merchants at a competitive disadvantage against foreign retailers, particularly those from China. Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president of global public policy, told members of a House subcommittee that U.S. sellers suffer under what he called a "frustrating" and "completely unnecessary and illogical" system whereby Chinese firms can ship low-weight orders to American buyers at significantly cheaper rates than are available to domestic sellers. "The clear losers are American businesses selling to American consumers, and these are many of the sellers through our website. The clear winners are foreign sellers selling to American consumers. They get a terrific benefit," Misener said. "It's a big deal for our seller customers, and we're looking out for them. We're going to be fine either way, but this kind of imbalance for our seller customers is illogical," he added.

UPS Newsroom: UPS Capital, a subsidiary of UPS, which provides supply chain financial, insurance and payment services, today announced the acquisition of Parcel Pro, the leading independent logistics provider to the jewelry, wristwatch and collectibles industries.

Investors.com: Vantiv, Inc., a leading provider of payment processing services and related technology solutions for merchants and financial institutions of all sizes, announced today that it has been selected by the United States Postal Service to provide a full suite of omni-channel payment solutions. Vantiv's processing services will support the efficiency, scale and functionality required for the large volume of retail visits to Postal Service locations nationwide as well as those to usps.com. "With the rapid evolution taking place in payments, there is a need in the marketplace for highly flexible, scalable and easily integrated solutions that can meet the dynamic demands of a large retail customer base," said Royal Cole, group president of merchant and financial institution services at Vantiv. "This contract with the Postal Service is another example of how the strength of Vantiv's omni-commerce solutions, innovative capabilities and service leadership is helping us win new clients." The agreement includes a full suite of payment solutions, including Vantiv's innovative risk and data security solutions designed to help protect customers' sensitive data and deter the use of fraudulent credit cards. Vantiv's encryption and tokenization technology helps protect customer data at the point of entry as well as data held for use in reconciliation, chargeback processing and other functions such as recurring payments.

The News Tribune: It took an inexcusable 10 years and at least nine formal complaints by women for action to finally be taken against a Tacoma mail carrier dubbed the "stalker mailman." But it wasn't the U.S. Postal Service that finally responded appropriately to complaints it received; it was the Tacoma Police Department after a woman reported in 2014 that carrier Robert Taitano had entered her home without permission and asked if she were married. The USPS has given no reason for why it didn't report Taitano to authorities, only saying that it had "vigorously" investigated allegations. But it has denied News Tribune requests to see copies of the complaints or paperwork on any investigations of those complaints. Nor will the Postal Service say whether Taitano is still employed, on administrative leave or delivering mail. However, the TPD investigation cites an October USPS report showing Taitano to be on administrative leave at that time. Is that still the case, or is he back on the job? Is he being paid? No one's talking.

The Ledger Independent: Residents of Augusta have been given a reprieve on paying their water, gas, garbage and sewer bills this month. Though the reason is not known, the bills took longer than usual in the U.S. Postal Service care, before being delivered, city official said on Tuesday.

eNewsChannel:  SmartKiosk today announces their new technology designed to reduce the cost of incarceration. Taxpayers across the country are spending Billions of dollars annually to house and provide services to incarcerated people in U.S. jails and prisons. Drugs and other contraband smuggled through the postal mail has hit epidemic levels. Letters, envelopes, stamps, photos and all other items mailed, are soaked in odorless, colorless, highly potent drugs and poisons. Unable to detect drug tainted mail, it is hand delivered by Deputies to inmates much like dealers on the street. Maintaining security and control is beyond challenging and expensive. SmartKiosk announces their no cost solution. The world's first patent pending, postal mail elimination system for corrections.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

UNITED KINGDOM:Invezz: Royal Mail is facing the threat of restrictions on raising postage prices as part of a wide-ranging inquiry by Ofcom. The communications watchdog yesterday announced that it would conduct a "fundamental review" of the postal group following the withdrawal of its main rival Whistl from the direct delivery letter market. Ofcom said it was concerned that in the absence of national competition, Royal Mail might fail to make itself more efficient, threatening the UK's universal postal service in the long run. One of the options considered by the regulator is to introduce additional controls on the prices Royal Mail charges for its service.

UNITED KINGDOM: Interactive Investor: Royal Mail's current pension scheme costs the postal giant about 400 million a year, but the charge to the profit and loss account is over 600 million. That's confusing broker UBS, which believes that in the long-run this situation is "unsustainable". "We believe the most likely option is closure of the Defined Benefit scheme, which should result in upgrades to earnings (although cashflow will be less affected), "writes analyst Dominic Edridge. "However, the reaction of workers and the union to a closure would need to be watched, with a new labour deal required next year." Pensions are such a big deal for the valuation of Royal Mail because of the importance of cashflow generation. The gap between pension cash costs and the accounting charge has widened from 72 million last year to an estimated 255 million in 2016. This is because a deal with pension trustees allowed a surplus to be created and the scheme to remain open until March 2018. The P&L cost assumes the scheme remains open and has risen in line with interest rates.

ROMANIA: Business Review: The Romanian National Postal Company (Romanian Post) announced a net profit of EUR 4.16 million (RON 18.7 million) for the first four months of 2015, as a direct result of an increase in income of 3.1 per cent compared to the same time frame of last year. After five years of financial loss, the Romanian Post has closed 2014 with a net profit of EUR 5 million (RON 22.8 million) and continued the ascending trend throughout 2015.

FINLAND: Helsinki Times: Expectations formed in the world of online shopping turned into reality or disappointment at the outlet of Posti in T""l" on Tuesday. Posti confirmed after wrapping up its consultative negotiations on Tuesday that 77 of the 98 postal outlets it currently operates will be shut down and the services transferred to partner companies by the end of 2018.

FINLAND: Post & Parcel: Finland's Posti Group has unveiled a new three-year strategy aiming to boost profitability given the "sharp" decline in mail volumes. The national postal operator has pledged to defend its letter, magazine and direct mail delivery business despite the trend towards digital alternatives. At the same time, Posti will look to reinforce its position as one of the largest package and logistics players in Finland, while also pushing to be a major logistics operator in Russia.

INDIA: Indian Retailer: Leading online marketplaces Flipkart and Snapdeal could follow in Amazon's footsteps and join hands with India Post's Bengaluru chapter to provide same-day delivery for customers in the city according to a senior official in the postal department. The technology capital is the first city where India Post began delivering packages to customers of online marketplace Amazon on the day an order is placed.

TAIWAN: Transport IntelligenceFedEx Express and 7-ELEVEN, a global convenience store chain, have announced a collaboration under which FedEx extends its services to more than 5,000 7-ELEVEN stores across Taiwan. This brings the total number of FedEx retail service points in Taiwan to more than 6,300 together with the more than 1,300 FedEx Authorized Ship Centers at Chunghwa Post offices, Eslite Bookstores, Kodak Express stores and Sir Speedy centres. The partnership means that FedEx customers are now able pick up packages from 7-ELEVEN's network at their convenience at no additional charge.

UNITED KINGDOM: Daily Mail: Shares in Royal Mail fell to its lowest level since the start of the year this morning after Ofcom announced a fundamental review' of the way it regulates the group to make sure it continues to carry out its universal service. The communications watchdog said the review was prompted by the withdrawal of rival Whistl from the direct delivery' service, leaving Royal Mail with no competitor in that market.

FINLAND: YLE: Finnish mail service company Posti announced on Tuesday that cooperation negotiations are now complete, and that 319 of its employees would be laid off due to the closure of 77 Posti shops. The company said its decision was motivated by a need to "renew and improve the accessibility" to its services.

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