Postal News from May 2012:
May 31, 2012
The the Spring 2012 Semiannual Report to Congress (SARC), covering the period October 1, 2011, through March 31, 2012 has been posted on the OIG website.
Marketwatch: The U.S. economy ran into a deeper soft patch in the first quarter than initially estimated, a government report showed on Thursday. The Commerce Department estimated that the economy grew at a 1.9% pace in the first quarter, slower than the 2.2% rate initially reported.
Rack up another company who has decided their future is no longer in the mail. Acxiom (for many years considered a direct mail marketing industry leader) has made the decision to pin its future to digital.
Welcome to PostCom Radio |
A PostCom Postal Podcast
Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito as well as two long-time postal veterans Bob Brinkmann and Art Sackler in a discussion about Negotiated Service Agreements
Here is the link to the RIBBS site for the USPS 2013 full service release schedule. https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2013/releaseschedule.cfm
Delaware First: DFM News recently sat down with Sen. Carper to discuss the crisis facing the Postal Service and the dangers of delaying action to address it. You can view extended excerpts of the interview here.
Global News: Canada Post has been thrown into the spotlight after two packages containing human body parts had been shipped through the Crown corporation's mail system Tuesday. It was a grisly discovery for staff at the Conservative Party's headquarters in Ottawa when a severed foot was sent in a simple white box with a red cartoon heart drawn on it. Police announced later that night that a second package had been intercepted, and it contained a human hand. Questions surrounding the postal carrier's standard protocol on how packages are screened aren't being answered, though.
Novinite: Austrian Post has continued its expansion in Eastern Europe by sealing deals in Poland and Bulgaria. The Post announced it has acquired a 26% stake in Sofia-based M&BM Express, a hybrid mail specialist in Bulgaria.
The USPS at the February MTAC meeting had received feedback from PostCom and others that mailers would like the USPS to start providing the service standards mapping tool that it had distributed some years ago via free subscription. The USPS on March 31, 2012, began posting a tool on its RIBBS web site, and noted at last week's MTAC meeting that it will be updated to reflect the newservice standards published in the Federal Register this week some of which take effect this summer and some of which will take effect in 2014.The tool can be found on the USPS' web site at https://ribbs.usps.gov/modernservicestandards/ssmaps/find_map.cfm (or go to the main RIBBS page at http://ribbs.usps.gov, click on the "Site Index A-Z," then on "Modern Service Standards," and select the "Service Standards Maps"). In response to the question of when the destination service standards feature will be added to the mapping tool, the USPS said it will work to include that feature. Mailers want the tool to become more interactive, which the USPS said it supports in the longer term. Enhancements can be incorporated into the full functionality, the USPS said at last week's MTAC meeting. Mailers should keep in mind that the "projected" service standards maps currently displayed using the tool are those which reflect the service standards changes last proposed by the USPS not the ones the USPS shared this week which will be published shortly in the Federal Register and take effect this summer. The USPS noted last week that as service standard changes continue to be made, the mapping tool would automatically be updated to reflect quarterly changes (which could be minor.)
From the Federal Register: Postal Service NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act , 32151 [2012-13377] [TEXT] [PDF]
FedEx is undertaking original research on the impact of our shipping services to you, our customers. Your opinion will be invaluable to help us understand how you view many services FedEx provides. We are partnering with an independent, third-party research firm (Burke, Inc.) to administer this survey. Please click on the link below to be taken to a survey where you can provide your perspective and help shape our understanding of how you feel about certain FedEx® services. http://survey6.burke.com/5639001b.asp?ID=a4c3b2dbb
See the Postal Service's Deliver magazine web site? If not, check it out.
May 30, 2012
Manila Standard Today: The Philippine Postal Corp. and its financial arm the Philippine Postal Savings Bank Inc. are focusing on revitalizing the under-utilized rural banking sector.
eMarketer: The US is still several years away from seeing a smartphone in every pocket, but the rise of mobile and the fast adoption of smartphones have led to many consumers going everywhere with their very own direct-response tool. With the device, they use calls to action from other media to get more informationand sometimes even make a purchaseimmediately, wherever they are.
Post & Parcel: Canada Post has said its revenue was lower then expected in the first three months of 2012, as it reported a $3m loss before tax. Overall, consolidated group revenue was about a third of a percent up on the same quarter last year, to $1.94bn, with the slight improvement "primarily" stemming from Canada Post's courier subsidiary Purolator. Along with e-substitution, the company has been facing competitive pressures, and continuing impacts from last year's industrial action, it said today. Canada's economy is also somewhat "uncertain" at present, with an unexpected contraction in February, which had analysts revising forecasts downward.
Schedule for Mail Preparation & Classification Changes External Release Schedule: 2013
The following report has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov). If you have additional questions concerning a report, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703-248-2201 or Agapi Doulaveris at 703-248-2286. Survey of Postmasters' Paperwork and Reporting Requirements (Report Number DR-MA-12-001). Our audit determined that postmasters' survey responses indicated that reporting requirements are appropriate. Sixty-eight percent of postmasters surveyed indicated the report quantities were sufficient and postmasters were generally satisfied with the report data reliability, quality, and usefulness; and time was sufficient to prepare and review reports.
BoSacks: There is a debate that is going on in our industry about sustainability that seems like it is mostly for the undereducated and terribly misinformed. If you really understand "green", which most of us don't, it is terribly wrong for the green wanna be's to insist that recycled paper be forced into all virgin pulp for a proper carbon footprint. It is actually in most cases counter-productive for sensible sustainability.
PRNewswire: In response to customer requests, the U.S. Postal Service is announcing the launch of the Picture Permit Imprint Indicia program for commercial mailers. The Picture Permit Imprint Indicia program provides new advertising opportunities for commercial mail customers by allowing them to use corporate logos, product visuals or other brand images in the permit indicia space on their mail.
Philadelphia Inquirer: For nearly a decade, a little-discussed, perhaps ingenious plan has been in the works for the Postal Service to deliver life-saving antibiotics to homes in the event of a bioterrorist attack. Antibiotics (a.k.a. "medical countermeasures") like ciprofloxacin and doxycycline can be taken to prevent and treat anthrax, which is considered the most likely bioterrorist threat. For the drugs to be effective, however, they must be taken within 48 hours of exposure. The Postal Service has the vehicles, manpower, and logistical knowhow to get the antibiotics to households swiftly. In addition to being efficient, delivering the pills door-to-door could negate the traffic, and potential chaos, that might occur if people had to go to central locations (or "points of dispensing") to get them.
Helsingin Sanomat: The state-owned postal service company Itella, formerly Suomen Posti (Finland Post), is attempting to acquire the logistics business of the retail branch. Two state-owned companies, Itella Corporation and the VR Group, have signed a letter of intent for a business acquisition where Itella Logistics acquires the groupage logistics business of VR Transport in Finland. "We are seeking a larger share of the logistics operations in the retail, telesales, and fast-moving consumer goods sectors", said Jukka Alho, President and CEO of Itella, when presenting the letter of intent on Tuesday. The acquisition will not affect Itella's parcel transportation service for customers nor the current prices.
The Slovak Spectator: Slovak Transport Minister Ján Pociatek has replaced the heads of state-owned postal operator Slovenská Pota and the Slovak Tourist Board (SACR).
The Voice of Russia: The Russian postal service in Tomsk reported today around 2 p.m. to police that one of the packages had a very strong smell. Employees, who were handling packages today at the postal sorting station, had to be hospitalized with symptoms related to poisoning such as strong headaches, nausea, high blood pressure. Police are tracking down the sender. Everyone was evacuated from the building. The contents of the package are now being analyzed.
Post & Parcel: Post Danmark has been continuing to expand its network of automated self-service parcel terminals this year, in response to good responses from customers. The Danish postal service began using KePol machines from Austrian supplier KEBA back in 2008, when a three-month pilot with 10 units led to the installation of a further 60 machines. After another 60 units were installed in 2009, this year the company is set to install another 60 machines, using KEBA's latest generation of the technology, bringing the total size of the Danish network up to 190. Post Danmark said expanding its network of parcel machines called Døgnposten in Denmark was an important part of meeting modern customer needs in parcel delivery.
The Globe and Mail: Stephen Harper's campaign manager Jenni Byrne was present Tuesday when Conservative Party headquarters staff opened a grisly package containing a severed human foot. Conservative Party staff remain traumatized by the incident, a spokesman said. It was one of two packages containing human body parts collected by police Tuesday that had been shipped through Canada Post's mail system.
Business Insider: Someone in Ottawa, Canada has a major beef with the Canadian Conservative Party. The party received Tuesday morning a bloody package containing a severed human foot. And a second package, containing a bloody dismembered hand has also been discovered at Ottawa Postal Terminal, the Calgary Herald reported Wednesday. The case of the missing body parts began Tuesday when a Conservative Party staffer began opening a blood-stained box that had been sent to the party's office. On Tuesday night, police found a human hand at the Ottawa Post Terminal, according to the Calgary Herald. The second package was sent from the same origin as the first but was not addressed to the Conservative Party.
Courier-Journal: Max Heath, MTAC newspaper representative -- Recent publicity about closing post office and mail processing plants, and massive financial losses, has Americans wondering if the U.S. Postal Service is an anachronism living on borrowed time in the electronic age. The answer is "maybe." There is no shortage of opinions, for sure. The problems stem from multiple sources. But despite the known problems of First-Class diversion to email and electronic bill paying, a stubborn recession since 2008, high payroll costs and generous benefits, and a no-layoff policy in union contracts, there is at least one other problem not often mentioned. That would be the U.S. Congress, known abusers of the postal service by those who work with postal issues on a daily basis.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Product List Changes , 31896-31897 [2012-13083] [TEXT] [PDF]
May 29, 2012
Wall Street Journal: The celebrated revival of U.S. manufacturing employment has been accompanied by a less-lauded fact: Wages for many manufacturing workers aren't keeping up with inflation. The wage lag is a key factor contributing to the rebounding competitiveness of U.S. industry. But sluggish wages also are squeezing workers' incomes and spending. That, in turn, hurts retailers who target middle-income earners and restrains the vigor of the economic recovery. But averages can be misleading because there has been so much change in the industry, and wages measures don't count health or retirement benefits.
The Guardian: In Margaret Thatcher's time, the early arguments over the privatisation of key public services were so heated, so polarised, that even the most disengaged voter would have had an idea about what was at stake. The opposite is true today with the tragic carve-up of our postal services. The three main parties in Westminster have long agreed that breaking up the postal services is the only sensible policy. Successive governments have treated competition as more important than universal service.
MySanAntonio: Mail delivery is about to become a thing of the past at the University of Texas at San Antonio's two school-owned dorms. If occupants of the dorms want to keep getting Cosmopolitan or their parents want to send handwritten notes, they can rent a private mailbox in the University Center for $100 a year, UTSA told students in an email last week. UTSA officials say they've seen a steep decline in the amount of snail mail students get mimicking the 25 percent national decline in first-class mail volume since 2006. But one parent speculated that UTSA officials might not have a problem with getting tuition checks the old-fashioned way. "Any person living in a third-world country can receive a letter but, if they're going to UTSA, they can't," said Dennis Eichelbaum, whose daughter will be a UTSA sophomore living in the dorms again next year.
Wall Street Journal: FedEx Corp. (FDX) has agreed to buy Brazilian logistics and transport company Rapidao Cometa Logistica e Transportes S.A. as it furthers its expansion into Latin America.
Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: Until Congress realizes that the Postal Service needs to be recapitalized in a way that allows it to make cost-saving, fuel-conscious investments, the Postal Service will likely be behind not only FedEx and United Parcel Service but many truck fleets one-tenth its size or smaller.
Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: For the First six months of the Postal Service's fiscal year Standard Mail volume revenue is down 5.1% on a 6.2% in volume. While it is easy to blame the decline on a shift in advertising expenditures from away from mail advertising, the simultaneous release of Standard mail service performance data raises a different question. The poor service quality of the Postal Service contrasts with both web-based mobile, display and social media advertising which can be delivered not on a specific day but at a specific time on a specific day. The same is true for old-media competitors including: broadcast TV and radio, cable-television newsstand sold magazines and newspapers.
BGR: Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are become focal points of our digital lives, and just as they did with email and other popular digital technologies, spammers are looking to capitalize. According to Mark Risher, chief executive officer of anti-spam software company Impermium, spammers are responsible for creating as much as 40% of the accounts on popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Roll Call: It fits on a Post-it note, but some lawmakers are still confused by what's on President Barack Obama's "to-do" list and so far, neither chamber has scheduled a vote on any of the five items the president has urged them to tackle "right now." But the biggest problem for the president's agenda isn't the usual partisan gridlock it's an unexpected surge in cooperation on a series of less-than-sexy bills, such as a Food and Drug Administration authorization package and postal reform.
Post & Parcel: The German government today ordered Deutsche Post DHL to repay EUR 298m in state aid and interest as required by the European Commission. Deutsche Post had been allowed to include the issue of pension considerations when it increased postal rates, which the EU Commission decided amounted to illegal state aid. See also BusinessWeek.
Press Release: The US Patent Office has concluded that RPost's 219 proof of delivery patent (US Patent 6182219) is patentable with all 89 claims deemed valid after re-examination. "We are pleased the patent office has interpreted this RPost patent in the manner in which we always have, a patent on proof of successful electronic transmission," states RPost CEO Zafar Khan. "We have heard that those who we have sued for patent infringement are putting out false statements to their customers claiming the RPost patents as not novel and invalid. This Patent Office re-examination conclusion delivers a clear message of novelty, patentability, and validity over all known prior art." Under US patent law, whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States, or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent. Further, whoever actively induces infringement of a patent shall be liable as an infringer (35 U.S.C. 271). RPost has sued Swiss Post, Canada Post, ZixCorp, Adobe Echosign, Docusign, RightSignature, Farmers Insurance and others for patent infringement. Jury trial dates have now been set for the cases in the Eastern District of Texas for August 2013.
Business Review: Romanian PostMaster, the largest private distributor of unaddressed mail and operator of private postal services, reported a net profit of RON 2.2 million (EUR 492 million) in 2011 and expects a similar result this year, while the turnover is expected to gain 10 percent to EUR 11 million in 2012. The company plans to invest EUR 1 million for acquiring transportation vehicles, software and sorting equipment. The distribution market for unaddressed mail (marketing and informative catalogs) is estimated to reach 800 million sent advertising materials and PostMaster's market share in this segment exceeds 60 percent. Companies using this instrument are active in the retail, FMCG, financials services and DIY sectors.
Post & Parcel: Royal Mail's plans to add a "delivered by Royal Mail" slogan on machine-sorted letters and parcels delivered in the UK are not being welcomed by direct mail customers. On the surface, the move aims to clear up confusion in the event that mail items arrive at the wrong address, so that customers know which company to contact about problems. But some customers have suggested the new mark is merely a "marketing exercise" for Royal Mail, particularly since the company delivers 99% of UK mail over the last mile. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) told Post&Parcel that members it had spoken to were not pleased with the requirement for the new mark on their mail. Mike Lordan, the DMA's chief of operation, said: "Royal Mail does not own the envelopes that it delivers, so it's hard to understand what right it believes it has to stamp its own marketing message on a medium that is not its property. "It's hard to understand what right Royal Mail believes it has to stamp its own marketing message on a medium that is not its property. If Royal Mail wants to market itself to householders by telling them who delivered their mail, then it should find another means of doing so."
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General invites you to comment on the new audit projects we have opened:
The OIG has posted a new white paper posted today on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) website (http://www.uspsoig.gov). If you have additional questions concerning the report or blog, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703-248-2201 or Agapi Doulaveris at 703-248-2286.
Digital Identity: Opportunities for the Postal Service (RARC-WP-12-011). As the Federal Government unveiled a long-awaited Digital Government Strategy focusing in part on the need for effective security and privacy measures in communicating with the government, a new paper released by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), Digital Identity: Opportunities for the Postal Service, examines potential roles for the U.S. Postal Service in the increasingly important area of digital identity authentication. Read more at www.uspsoig.gov and then we invite you to share your comments on this white paper on our blog.
ArsTechnica: America's broadband strategy isn't working very well. Unfortunately, it's not clear how to fix it. The experiences of other nations can yield useful insights, but such examples only get us so far. The American legal and economic systems are different from those in Japan or Denmark, so it's probably not practical to adopt another nation's policies wholesale. Still, the first step to fixing the American broadband policy is to admit that we have a problem
Wall Street Journal: Switzerland is considering capital controls to fight a sharp rise in the Swiss franc in the event of a euro-zone collapse. [EdNote: A sharp rise in the Swiss franc would mean a sharp rise in the dues and fees paid by those who participate in the Universal Postal Union where payments are made in Swiss francs.]
LloydsLoadingList: Preliminary traffic figures for the month of April released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) show international air cargo markets remained weak. International air cargo traffic carried by airlines based in the region, measured in freight tonne km (FTK), registered a 7.6% decline compared to the same month last year, reflecting continued weakness in demand.
Drudge Report: A bipartisan group of lawmakers is proposing the Victory for Veterans Stamp Act, which would have the U.S. Postal Service sell a 21-cent stamp to generate money for veterans programs, pay down the national debt and support the service. The stamp could not be used for postage.
The Record: The state's top elections official took a tour of the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voter's Office on Friday as workers checked signatures of absentee voters, stacked up completed ballots for later counting and kept the office humming in the lead-up to the primary election next Tuesday. But there's a problem looming in November that should be of particular concern to San Joaquin County voters, she said: A mail-processing center in south Stockton is on the U.S. Postal Service's list of facilities it will start closing this summer. It's still unclear which California centers on the list would close before the November election, according to Bowen's office. But a closure of the processing centers would delay delivery time of elections materials going out and ballots coming back in and ultimately result in uncounted votes on ballots received after the legal deadline, she said.
Experian QAS: New Zealand Post has won the direct mail campaign award for the third year at the HP Indigo Digital Print Awards in Germany, as well as picking up a host of other awards. The postal service scooped awards for its innovative approach to printing for Fly Buys, as well as taking the Asia-Pacific Direct Mail and Transpromo category for the third year running, beating 30 other entries to win. The results emphasise New Zealand's ability to compete on an international and technologically advanced stage.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: We're all for the U.S. Postal Service being more entrepreneurial in an effort to stem its red ink. But the USPS can't simply mail it in by using patently unfair business practices. That's essentially what the quasi-public corporation is doing with an ill-advised proposal to give a huge economic advantage to a key competitor to the newspaper industry.
TheJobMouse: The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and the USPS reached a settlement May 25 to protect staffing. The agreement, which resolves case number Q06T-4Q-C 10269698, scheduled for this week, will prohibit the Postal Service from deducting square footage of floor space in developing a Building inventory.
Reuters: If any organization has the incentive and the scale to roll out a fleet of alternative vehicles, it should be the United States Postal Service (USPS). The post office operates the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world, with more than 210,000 vehicles travelling almost 1.3 billion miles a year. The agency has a powerful reason to switch from expensive petroleum-derived fuels as rising fuel costs make a small but significant contribution to its mounting financial problems. Its struggles to find cost-effective alternatives, however, highlight the obstacles to rolling out alternative vehicle technologies across the United States.
Advertising Age: The New Orleans Times-Picayune survived Hurricane Katrina. Now it is making its play to stay alive during the digital revolution, stopping the presses for good on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays this fall. Where some see that as another nail in the coffin of dedicated journalism, others view it as a business evolution necessary to keep such journalism alive. In the broader newspaper industry, ad revenue has plunged more than 50% since 2005, while paper, printing and delivery costs rose.
Here's an item of note: "Built on Western Union's international telex/cablegram network, iTelegram is the new name for reliable telegram service. Why trust your important message to any other company? Compare our service and you'll see why more customers send a telegram with iTelegram, the world's leading telegram service." Everything old is new again.
The Hill: Senators and stakeholders are pushing House Republicans to move more swiftly on their postal reform bill, saying quick action is needed to prop up the cash-strapped Postal Service. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), in a memo to lawmakers on Friday, said the chamber would look to bring a GOP postal proposal to the floor between the July 4 holiday and the August recess. But GOP aides cautioned Friday not to read too much into the wording of Cantor's memo, which said Republicans would "be working" to bring the postal bill from Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) to the floor this summer. Issa and Ross have announced in recent weeks that they will work with Republicans from rural states to maximize rural access to postal services, even as they seek cost-cutting measures. If the House waits until July or beyond to vote on its postal bill, that could also complicate efforts to deal with the roughly $5.5 billion that USPS owes before Aug. 1 to help pay for future retirees' healthcare.
Washington Post: House Republicans plan to hold a series of votes this summer on bills designed to curtail the Obama administration's health-care reform law, rising gas prices and any last-minute attempt by President Obama to make regulatory changes if he loses the White House. Most of the bills have no chance of consideration in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but should provide GOP lawmakers with fresh campaign-trail fodder as they prepare to return home to run for reelection. A bill set for consideration by the House before the August recess would revamp the finances of the struggling U.S. Postal Service and permit the mail agency to eliminate more than 100,000 positions in the coming years through buyouts, early retirements and layoffs, if labor union contracts are renegotiated.
The Ledger: Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) -- The United States Postal Service does not take one dime of taxpayer money. You've heard this, I've heard this, and it is something postal employees say to me time and time again. For the most part, it is absolutely true. There are those who say "privatize it." Unfortunately, no one will buy it. There are those who say, "get rid of it, I will use email." Unfortunately, you can't get pills via email, send toys to the grandkids via email or conduct some commercial enterprises without the mail. It is not a choice between having a Postal Service and not. It is a choice of having a Postal Service that works, does not take taxpayer money and meets the needs of a 21st-century information society or a Postal Service whose only hope of survival is a taxpayer-funded bailout.
The City Wire: U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, used his Memorial Day to renew a call for passage of legislation he claims "will avoid drastic cuts" within the U.S. Postal Service. Ross, a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition in Congress, and U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark, have been some of the most vocal critics of an earlier USPS plan to cut costs.
May 28, 2012
The Post and Courier: Despite the perennial congressional scolding for the Postal Service to get its fiscal act together, the government-owned agency is limited by Congress in its response to market forces and budget difficulties. There has to be a better model to sustain the USPS, which provides essential services, despite email and private competition for parcel delivery.
Wall Street Journal: Lure of the Buyout. Larry Glazer, a Boston-based financial adviser, has seen retirement plans wrecked by another tempting idea: taking an early-retirement buyout. Companies dangle attractive-looking lump-sum buyout offers as a way to reduce payrolls and future pension or health-insurance commitments. "Many would-be retirees want to grab that check and sail off into the sunset," says Mr. Glazer, "but often these are employees that are still in their prime earning years." Even if they realize they will still need to keep working, people often underestimate the challenge of matching their former salary. "Often, they are under the illusion that they can find another job and that may not happen, particularly in a difficult job market," says Mr. Glazer. And managing a lump-sum payout presents its own risks, he says. "You must have the temperament to invest that lump sum to generate the income you need because that lump sum simply cannot be replaced." [EdNote: A factor that undoubtedly will have an impact on the decisions made by postal workers as to whether or not they should take a buy-out and leave the USPS.]
Mail Tribune: People and politicians alike need to be prepared to let the old Postal Service go, lest their efforts to save it instead end up dooming it. We are not advocating abandoning the Postal Service or its employees, but rather allowing the agency to make the changes necessary to survive in an environment in which its principal product is now tagged with the pejorative title of "snail mail."
NewEurope: Austrian postal services company Post AG has managed to increase its turnover and earnings. Post AG has around 23,000 full-time staff. With over 19,000, the lion's share is employed in Austria. Post AG boss Georg Polzl said his firm was currently checking the potential for takeovers in the now liberalised postal services market of Eastern Europe.
May 27, 2012
Postalnews Blog: The prospect of the House and Senate coming to an agreement that will save the Postal Service long term is severely diminished by the deeply flawed S. 1789 and the destructive H.R. 2309 as the starting points.
Congratulations to the National Association of Letter Carriers for conducting another very successful "Stamp Out Hunger" campaign -- an activity honored by having received the Association for Postal Commerce's highest honor -- The J.Edward Day Award.
Traverse City Record-Eagle: Never Enough Auto Accessories is riding high after a U.S. Postal Service advertising campaign featured the speed shop in glossy magazines such as National Geographic, History Channel, Popular Photography and Scientific American.
Kearney Hub: Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., said Congress needs to be flexible when considering cuts to the U.S. Postal Service in the future. Smith, who stopped in Kearney, Gothenburg and North Platte on his way home to Gering Friday, said the recent decision to cut hours at thousands of rural post offices was a better solution than closing them. "It's doable," he said. "It's not always the most convenient, but it's certainly better than nothing at all." Smith said cutting hours is not a permanent solution, but a transitional one that will not solve the Postal Service's money woes. "I don't want Congress, the heavy hand of government, to get in the way here to make the Postal Service less competitive," he said. "We want them to be competitive. They're an important part of commerce across America, especially in rural areas."
Who'd a thunk? The subject of the 2012 AP® English Language And Composition Free-Response Questions . . . the future of the U.S. Postal Service. Maybe these kids can teach the Members of Congress a thing or two about how the need for a universal mail delivery system may change in the years ahead.
May 26, 2012
New Zealand Herald: A deed of understanding dating back to 1998 stipulates that New Zealand Post must deliver mail six days a week to most of 1.9 million delivery points and maintain 880 outlets. Such has been the pace of technological change that it might just as well be dated 1888. Over the past 14 years, mail volumes have plummeted as social networking sites and online media make communicating easier, cheaper, more convenient and more immediate. To add to NZ Post's woes, charges for toll calls have dropped, and courier firms have stepped into the urgent-delivery market. It is, therefore, unsurprising, that the state-owned enterprise is seeking fundamental changes to its core postal operations. Its chairman, Michael Cullen, has told the Government that NZ Post is looking at cutting postal delivery from six to three days a week and reducing staff numbers as it seeks to weather the sharp and "irreversible" downturn in postal revenue. This points to mail being delivered only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as the increasing presence of self-service kiosks in place of PostShops. [EdNote: Has a ring of familiarity, doesn't it? Amazing . . . . To think just a few short years ago New Zealand Post was fashioned as the poster child of postal privatization.]
Check out Courier, the Royal Mail newspaper.
BBC: The UK government recorded a record £16.5bn budget surplus in April, thanks to the transfer of assets from the Royal Mail pension fund. Public finances were boosted by the one-off transfer of £28bn of Royal Mail assets, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. Earlier this year, the European Commission approved plans to nationalise the Royal Mail's pension scheme, allowing the government to privatise the group, without its huge pension scheme liabilities. The move transferred £28bn of pension assets - such as bonds, shares and properties - to the Treasury. The assets will be sold later when the Royal Mail is privatised.
The Globe and Mail: Lisa Raitt insists that companies and unions are always better off settling disputes on their own. But the federal Labour Minister's tough stand at Canada Post Corp., Air Canada and now Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. may, paradoxically, ensure that government intervention becomes a permanent fixture of the labour relations landscape. Back-to-work legislation typically begets more of the same. The reason is simple: Intervention lets both sides off the hook. Knowing the government is ready to step in discourages employers and employees from tackling the toughest issues at the negotiating table, such as the thorny questions of pensions or work rules.
The Record: Canada Post wants to cut down on the paper you don't want by making your mailbox digital. The corporation is launching the latest evolution of its ePost platform in Kitchener and Waterloo in June. It will roll it out across the rest of the country in subsequent months. Although many Canadians pay bills through automatic bank withdrawals, many don't like automatic withdrawal because they want to see their bills and be able to manage how much they are going pay and when. ePost makes it easy to do that. Instead of getting revenue from postage stamps, ePost sells electronic delivery systems to companies. The postal service has had to adapt to numerous technology changes during the past 200 years, but none as great as the dawn of computer networks and email. The future of Canada Post, just as with every other business, is in both the physical and the digital world. It doesn't matter whether you are the newest company on the planet, one of the oldest on the planet, the biggest or the smallest ... every company is going through some form of transformation and needs to evolve in the digital world.
Canada NewsWire: Canada Post would like to remind Canadians that the domestic basic letter rate will increase by 2 cents, from 61 cents to 63 cents, for standard letters weighing up to 30 grams, effective January 14, 2013. This is part of a five-year pricing strategy announced in 2009. Canada Post is also proposing the following rate increases to come into effect on January 14, 2013 : For domestic letters weighing between 30 and 50 grams, a $0.05 increase to $1.10; An increase ranging between $0.04 to $0.10 for all other domestic letter weight categories, with the heavier categories incurring the larger increases; For letters, cards and postcards up to 30 grams destined for the USA, a $0.05 increase to $1.10; For letters, cards and postcards up to 30 grams sent to foreign destinations, a $0.05 increase to $1.85; For domestic registered mail, a $0.25 increase to $8.50. The price increases will help ensure that Canada Post's costs in maintaining postal service to more than 15 million addresses across Canada will continue to be borne by people and businesses that use the postal service, rather than through taxpayer support. The proposed increases would have a minimal impact on Canadian households: an estimated 15 cents per year for domestic Lettermail. The impact for a small or medium-sized business is estimated at close to $5 per year for domestic Lettermail. Canadians and small businesses can save money by purchasing the PERMANENT Stamp before January 14. PERMANENT stamps are always valued at the going basic Lettermail rate. Detailed information on these and other proposed rate changes will be published in the Canada Gazette Part I on May 26. Canadians will have 60 days in which to make representations to the Minister of Transport regarding the proposed rate increases.
Postalnews Blog: USPS is providing Postmasters additional time to take advantage of their Special Incentive Offer. Postmasters who meet the criteria now have until July 2, 2012 to take advantage of the offer. The new timetable gives Postmasters the opportunity to apply for one or more of the approximately 1,600 vacant Postmaster positions posted today on the eCareer website. Postmasters should visit eCareer located on LiteBlue to review the posted vacancies and to apply online.
Barron's: The U.S. Postal Service is about to go insolvent, unless a gridlocked Congress writes a check real soon. Actually, the postal service long has been a ward of the state, unable to support itself because of political interference and clumsy regulation intended to support its half-million workers at the expense of its customers. Unlike a real self-supporting business, it can't set its prices or control its costs or determine the services it will offer without saying "Mother, may I?" to Congress and the Postal Regulatory Commission. The same conflicts that have created the nation's general fiscal problems have affected the postal service. Every senator represents some rural communities; every state and every House district has more post-office facilities than are needed; and the Senate and House over the years have combined to give postal workers and their unions political clout and strong job security. Lawmakers think of the postal service only about once a decade, when it runs on the fiscal rocks, and then profits are the last thing they think to use to save the service.
Yahoo! Privacy: "Yahoo! is an advertising supported website. Most of the products and services we offer are largely free of charge to you because we display advertising. Other websites also partner with Yahoo! to show ads on their sites to support their offerings." [EdNote: Gee . . . . Just like the mail.]
Huffington Post: As every 6-year-old learns that there is real and there is make-believe. The massive post office deficit that is driving management to commit institutional suicide by ending six-day delivery, closing half of the nation's 30,000 or so post offices and half its 500 mail-processing centers, and laying off more than 200,000 workers, is make-believe.
The Scotsman: Royal Mail has produced its best quarterly figures for first- and second-class deliveries for almost two years. In the three months to March, 93.4 per cent of first-class mail was delivered the next working day, against a target of 93 per cent, while 98.9 per cent of second-class post was delivered within three working days, ahead of the 98.5 per cent target.
Federal News Radio: The U.S. Postal will offer buyouts and early retirements to more than 45,000 mail handlers, USPS announced Friday. Employees opting for the early-out will receive a $15,000 incentive payment half to be paid in December, and the other half to be paid in December 2013. The new buyout offers are the result of "in depth discussions" between USPS and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union. An agreement was inked Tuesday.
Defense News: A new rule issued by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) could cause logistical hurdles, as well as financial complications, for companies seeking to ship electronic items to and from APO, FPO, DPO and other international addresses. The rule bans shipment of lithium batteries, commonly found in mobile phones, laptops, watches, cameras and other items. The ban, which took effect May 16, responds to new standards developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU). It applies regardless of quantity, size or watt hours, and regardless of whether the batteries are packed in the devices they're meant to power.
May 25, 2012
The Hill: House Republicans are working to bring a proposal to overhaul operations for the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service to the floor this summer, they announced Friday. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), in a memo sent to GOP lawmakers on Friday, suggested the plan was to bring a Republican postal reform bill to the floor between Independence Day and the August recess. But Cantor also stopped short of promising a vote on the plan from Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Dennis Ross (R-Fla.). "We will be working to bring their bill to the floor," Cantor wrote. Issa and Ross are working with Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and other rural Republicans to ensure the bill causes as little trouble as possible for rural postal customers. For their part, House Democrats interested in postal matters have said they don't believe Republicans have the votes right now for their preferred option. If the GOP plan did pass the House, it would also need to be reconciled with the Senate bill.
Wall Street Journal: Few people know what happens to packages before they reach their doorsteps, but FedEx Ground CIO Ken Spangler was game to tell CIO Journal how the carrier sorts 9 million parcels a dayand how that highly automated process has helped the business grow.
Los Angeles Times: As the public joined the frenzy aroundFacebook Inc.'s Wall Street debut, well-connected institutional investors were hearing a more sobering message: The social network's main business, advertising, was sputtering. Analysts say most advertisers are still at a loss about how to wring a profit from Facebook advertisements.
Sen. Thomas Carper: One month after the U.S. Senate passed its comprehensive, bipartisan bill to reform the U.S. Postal Service, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), co-author of the 21st Century Postal Service Act and chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the Postal Service, called additional attention to the Postal Service's record losses while the U.S. House of Representatives delays further action on a postal reform bill. Today in the House, Republican Leader Eric Cantor announced in a memo to House Republicans that his intention is to delay any decision on bringing postal reform legislation to the House floor until after Independence Day in July. Between now and July 4, the Postal Service will lose an additional $1 billion, exacerbating the financial crisis the service faces ahead of two expensive payments to the U.S. Treasury this fall.
"The U.S. Postal Service is hemorrhaging money at a historic pace, and Congress can't stand idly by and allow it to continue to creep towards total financial collapse," said Sen. Carper. "The longer the House delays action, the more losses the Postal Service racks up losses that continue to threaten a mailing industry that employs over 8 million people and generates almost $1 trillion in economic activity each year. It is irresponsible to further postpone action creating more uncertainty, undermining confidence in the Postal Service's future, and harming its ability to build new business. Today's memo to the House majority raises more questions about the House's intentions because it doesn't even guarantee that the bill will get a vote. The House should act to debate and pass a bill as soon as possible."Although the Postal Reform Act of 2011 was passed out of the relevant House committee in October 2011, leaders in the House have yet to schedule a vote on the bill. The Senate, however, has passed the bipartisan 21st Century Postal Service Act, co-authored by Sens. Carper, Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.). This legislation gives the Postal Service the flexibility and resources it needs to right-size, modernize, and remain competitive in the 21st Century. As the House delays action on postal reform legislation, you can follow the Postal Service's record losses on Sen. Carper's website here.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
From the Federal Register: Here are the revised service standards in the Federal register. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-25/pdf/2012-12564.pdf
BGR: CBS, Fox and NBC have independently filed lawsuits against Dish Network, claiming its new automatic commercial-deleting service Auto Hop violates copyright laws; Fox even goes as far as to state that Auto Hop is "destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem." Auto Hop is a feature launched recently for Dish Network's Hopper DVR. When enabled, the free add-on allows users to automatically skip over commercials aired during prime time shows on each of the four major television broadcast networks ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. [EdNote: "Destroys the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem," eh? Then why are competitive media so critical of advertising that is distributed (e.g., "broadcast") via the mail? Doesn't mail's "fundamental underpinnings" count? Of course, there are those who would insist that despite all this stuff about fundamental underpinnings, consumers should be given the choice as to whether they wish to receive unsolicited advertising despite the fact that they get the service it provides for free.]
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
SmartMoney: Why scare the hell out of everyone? Because, as then-Treasury Secretary Paulson showed when he and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke met with leaders of both houses of the U.S. Congress in the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers' collapse, frightening politicians is often the only way to get them to take the unpopular decisions needed to avert economic disaster. [EdNote: Well, if that's what you need to do to get Europe to take seriously the Greece-Euro crisis, maybe that's what you need to do to get the U.S. Congress to take seriously the postal fiscal crisis. What Congress doesn't get is that mail-using businesses already are scared to death and are voting with their feet (and wallets) to leave the mail.]
Wall Street Journal: On Thursday, the U.S. reported that businesses were slowing their orders of computers, aircraft, machinery and other long-lasting goods. Measures of business sentiment in Europe slipped, and reports from purchasing managers at manufacturers around the globe turned down. Among them, China, the world's second-largest economy, registered its seventh straight drop in an important manufacturing index. With the latest reports, a new economic threat is emerging: That activity is slowing in sync around the globe and not just in a few markets with their own isolated problems. Europe, struggling with the risk of a Greek pullout from the euro area and broader fiscal problems, is the epicenter of global economic concerns right now. But reports of economic trouble are turning up in China, India, South Africa, Brazil and elsewhere.
Financial: Deutsche Post DHL, the world's leading postal and logistics group, announced its mid-term profitability targets consistent with the company's Strategy 2015 and outlined how the targeted earnings improvement is to be realized through profitable growth in the different divisions.
ReporterNews: For years, the Brookhollow Contract Postal Unit (CPU) inside Crafter's Gallery on Barrow Strret has been a convenient alternative to one of the larger post office branches, particularly for older customers. But because of a U.S. Postal Service policy change that went into effect this week, clerk Barbara Burwell said she is no longer able to help the older clients who make up so much of her business. As of Monday, customers at CPUs can no longer ship items internationally with a handwritten customs declaration card.
Smart Company: Australia Post is losing $70 million every year because of the huge number of parcels it has to process thanks to the rise in online retailing. The huge number of parcels weighing less than two kilograms cost the organisation more due to international pricing structures. These pricing structures are set by the Universal Postal Union. It determines the rates its member countries pay for international mail distribution.
From the Federal Register: Postal Service RULES Revised Service Standards for Market-Dominant Mail Products , 31190-31200 [2012-12564][TEXT] [PDF]
Press Release: In a second expansion in just nine months, UPS has extended its competitive advantage by enhancing its coverage area for early morning deliveries. For the critical 8 a.m. delivery option, the enhancement has allowed UPS to extend even more its advantage of delivering to more ZIP codes and more businesses than anyone. UPS also increased the number of ZIP codes it serves by 10:30 a.m. with its regular express service, another arena in which UPS already was serving more ZIP codes and businesses than any other carrier. The latest U.S. coverage expansion involved more than 2,600 Early A.M. and Next Day Air ZIP codes. More than 80 percent of all U.S. businesses now can receive guaranteed early morning UPS deliveries.
PostalReporter News: USPS is offering a Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) opportunity to employees represented by the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU). In addition, USPS has reached an agreement with the NPMHU to offer a separation incentive to employees the organization represents.
Multichannel Merchant: With more than 60 million Americans forecast to own a tablet computer by the end of this year, retailers say tablets are driving an increasingly larger share of their web revenue, according to the 2012 Shop.org/Forrester Research State of Retailing Online survey. Forty-nine percent of retailers say their average order value via a tablet is now higher than traditional web sales. Nearly three in 10 (28%) retailers say they are seeing about the same average order value from tablets as their website.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: National Trial Balance, April, 2012 (FY 2012); and Statement of Revenue and Expenses, April, 2012 (FY 2012)
USPS shows market dominant volume down 6.3% from same time last year, while shipping volume is up 24%. USPS shows a loss of $1.6 B for April 2012. Would have lost $129M if not for RHB.
May 24, 2012
Quad-Graphics Think Tank: What should the United States Postal Service be in the future and who will it serve? From a printer's perspective, I would say the USPS should continue to deliver the mail HARD COPY mail. But as mail volumes continue to decline, the USPS is trying to find new business opportunities and revenue streams. Some have said that the USPS needs to keep up with the times and develop a digital strategy. Regardless of whether you think the USPS should stick to hard copy mail, or develop products and services related to digital, banking, insurance or whatever, the time to lay the foundation for the next 20 years and beyond is now. As Congress continues to debate postal reform legislation that is critical to get the Postal Service back on solid financial footing, stakeholders and interested parties will be discussing the long-term future of the USPS. It will happen at this year's PostalVision 2020 Conference in Washington, D.C. on June 12-13. As the press release promoting the conference states:"PostalVision 2020 is an annual conference designed to create a dialogue between postal regulators and digital innovators about the long-term future of the United States Postal Service.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Docket No. N2012-1: "Mail Processing Network Rationalization Service Changes, 2012." On May 17, 2012, the Postal Service announced it "plans to move ahead with a modified plan to consolidate its network of 461 mail processing locations in phases."1 The proposals presented in the Postal Service's Modified Plan and in Docket No. N2012-1 share many similarities. However, the Modified Plan includes additional information that appears to supersede Postal Service testimony currently on the record in Docket No. N2012-1. For the advisory opinion to be most informative to the Postal Service, Congress, and users of the mail, the Commission should consider current Postal Service plans. Consideration of the current plans requires that up-to-date information be made part of the Docket No. N2012-1 record. This Order outlines the procedural steps the Commission will take to incorporate the information described by the Modified Plan into the Docket No. N2012-1 record. The Commission intends to adhere to the original procedural schedule in this docket, and will accommodate these additional procedural steps within the constraints of that schedule.
Forbes: Catalog Choice, the Berkeley, Calif., non-profit startup with a smartphone app that zaps junk mail, has been acquired by TrustedID, a Silicon Valley company that provides credit monitoring and identity theft services. Over the past five years, Catalog Choice has processed more than 22.5 million requests from consumers through its website to stop unwanted catalogs, credit card solicitations and other junk mail. The company also runs websites for some 100 U.S. cities that allows residents opt out of junk mail and help lower municipalities' recycling and landfill costs. Earlier this year, Catalog Choice launched MailStop, an iPhone app that lets people take photos of junk mail and send them to Catalog Choice to be put on an opt-out list. Since the acquisition involves a non-profit, the deal is subject to approval by the California Attorney General's office.
Picture Permit Imprint Indicia is now live on USPS.com! Picture Permit allows customers to use logos, trademarks, and brand images in the permit imprint indicia area of their mailpieces. Information about the Picture Permit program and registration requirements is available at: https://www.usps.com/picturepermit Potential benefits of Picture Permit include immediate recognition of your company's logo, product promotions and brand, which can boost the mailpiece's value and visual impact, including open rate. The premium for First-Class Mail letters and postcards will be 1 cent per piece, and for Standard Mail letters and cards, 2 cents per piece. Commercial mailers and mail service providers who want to use Picture Permit on automation First-Class Mail or Standard Mail letters and postcards (must be part of Full-Service Intelligent mail barcode mailings) may register immediately. Customers interested in using Picture Permit close to the June 24, 2012, implementation date are encouraged to register as soon as possible, since it may take several weeks to complete the approval process. Applications for Picture Permit image designs must conform to USPS specifications, be approved in advance, and include sample mailpieces for testing prior to final approval. To learn more about program requirements and find a fact sheet, design template and frequently-asked questions please go to: https://www.usps.com/picturepermit
Post & Parcel: FedEx Corp took two World Mail Awards home after this evening's annual ceremony recognising excellence in the global mail and express industry. The US integrator was rewarded in both the Innovation and Security categories for its a SenseAware information service, which allows customers to keep close tabs on sensitive shipments in near real-time, using multi-sensor technology.
Advertising Age: On Saturday, a European Union law governing the opting in and out of website cookies will go into effect. The law, often referred to as the E.U. Cookie Directive, was enacted in the name of privacy. However, the impact on the digital industry will be immense and, possibly, damaging. What's at stake when all cookies in Europe must be opt-in? Poor brand experiences online, even-more-terrible customer experiences, hobbled e-commerce, and the ruin of digital advertising and marketing as we know it.
CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:
Austrian Post and the company's works council have agreed on a new work hour scheme for posties. From January 1 2013 on, annual working time accounts will be introduced with the aim to provide a more flexible time management.
Portuguese CTT Correios achieved an improved result in 2011 on further decreasing revenues.
Swiss Post still dominates the domestic CEP market.
Polish Poczta Polska considerably improved its result on slightly decreasing revenues in 2011.
China's express and postal companies continued to record exorbitantly high growth figures.
Saudi Post offers a secure email service now.
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
Press Republican: The U.S. Postal Service, which turned 200 years old last year, is facing its most grave crisis since Benjamin Franklin took the helm in its infancy. Visionaries must now find that elusive balance between retaining vital service to the public and cutting costs to reflect actual revenue. Reduced hours of operation may be the compromise, and that may still include cutting Saturday delivery. Finding ways to make mail available other than in post offices may be another. Libraries, stores or other high-profile centers could become the new sites for mail distribution in some communities. But members of the public and the postal employees must all be prepared to give a little, one way or another, in order to preserve post offices. Fixing the financial lopsidedness will be difficult. But absolutely necessary.
Time: Plummeting mail volume. Bad press. Losses topping $3.2 billion in a single quarter. If the U.S. Postal Service is going to survive, let alone thrive, in the age of digital communication, "it has to take innovation seriously," says Steve Hutkins, a professor at New York University and founder of SavethePostOffice.com That means thinking beyond the solutions being debated in Congress--shuttering offices, reducing health care costs, eliminating Saturday delivery--and fundamentally reshaping its business. But what could a 21st century post office actually do? TIME gathered outside-the-mailbox ideas from economists, bloggers, overseas postal workers and more.
Press Democrat: Overnight delivery and broadband Internet service have yet to reach many of the far-flung corners of rural America. For those small towns, snail mail remains a vital link, and the local post office doubles as the community center. So it was welcome news to the denizens of Camp Meeker and Villa Grande, as well as in some 3,700 other communities across the country, when the U.S. Postal Service scuttled plans to close their local postal stations. The agency instead will reduce hours at those offices and thousands of others. That the reprieve arrived via email is a reminder that the Postal Service is struggling to survive in a world that's grown accustomed to instant communication.
East Oregonian: The U.S. Postal Service underestimated the fight it would have trying to close 3,700 rural post offices to save money. They didn't know that all those quaint country folks living in "Norman Rockwell paintings brought to life" are mighty tough political opponents. In a nation that is increasingly urbanized, from a strictly economic standpoint it makes sense to eliminate the offices that generate least revenue in relation to expense. A significant number of Americans say government should be operated more like a business. Based on this principle, we would not only close under-performing post offices, but also stop paying for paved roads in sparsely populated places.
The Malta Business Weekly: The Malta Communications Authority yesterday published a consultation on the pricing of postal redirection services. The postal redirection service allows an addressee who has moved to a new address to continue receiving mail, bearing the previous address, for a period of time. MaltaPost, as the designated Universal Service Provider, is required to provide redirection services as part of its Universal Service Obligation.
RTT News: German postal and logistics firm Deutsche Post DHL, in its mid-term profitability targets announcement, said it expects the Group EBIT to climb to between 3.35 billion euros and 3.55 billion euros by 2015. Also, the Group reinforced the goals set for 2015, including stabilising the MAIL division's EBIT at atleast 1.0 billion euros and having the DHL divisions reach a compound annual earnings growth rate of 13% - 15% by 2015, while generating an EBIT of 2.7 billion euros - 2.9 billion euros.
Washington Post: "Postal union president: 'We will do what's necessary'" [Video]
Logistics Manager: DHL has contracted foot courier firm JogPost to carry out crucial deliveries in London during the summer of 2012, and potentially beyond. JogPost couriers will join the DHL workforce to make deliveries on foot or via public transport, direct from DHL Service Centres in London. They will also join driving couriers for the final mile of deliveries in areas that are inaccessible because of the Olympic route network, or congestion which DHL expects to increase by 30 per cent on London' s core routes. DHL handles some 50,000 deliveries in London each day.
Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: If the Postal Service wants to make it easy for customers to use its Post Offices and retail services it needs to tell them when they move and when the hours change. Communities that will see changes need to be notified of the change and the Postal Service needs to use all available media to tell its customers about the change. At a minimum it has to make sure that its website reflects current locations and operating hours of each Post Office on the day that change is made and not wait for the complaints to come streaming in before changes are made.
National Association of Letter Carriers: The Case Against S. 1789. Overview: It's a short-term fix, not a long-term solution. Inadequate financial provisions: Pensions and retiree health pre-funding. Ending Saturday delivery: Degrading the last mile network, weakening privacy protections. Negative impact on postal workers: Interfering with collective bargaining and punishing injured workers.
WGAL: As the U.S. Postal Service struggles to boost its revenue, your mailbox could be its moneymaker. A service called Every Door Direct Mail allows small businesses to send fliers, coupons, menus and other advertising for just 14.5 cents per mailing. The unaddressed mail goes to everyone on the carrier's route -- meaning more mail in your mailbox. If you don't want such mail, the Postal Service says you should contact the business sending the mail and ask to be placed on its "do not mail" list. There are also other options you can pursue to decrease unsolicited mail, telemarketing calls and e-mail.
PRNewswire: The Newspaper Association of America called today for the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission to reject a proposed negotiated services agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and direct-mail giant Valassis, saying this special rate proposal will cause significant financial harm to newspapers throughout the country, and will not improve the financial condition of the nation's postal system. NAA's call was made in comments filed with the PRC, which is reviewing the NSA recently proposed by the Postal Service.
Post & Parcel: Spain's national postal service Correos is about to embark on a major effort to diversify its portfolio of services, according to its new president Javier Cuesta. Cuesta, who took over at Correos in March, spoke at the World Mail and Express Europe conference, which concluded today in Geneva. Discussing his company's reaction to the difficult economic situation at the moment in Spain, Cuesta said Correos was essentially still a "letter handling company", with one of the highest proportions of its revenue stemming from traditional postal services of any major postal operator in Europe. Correos currently receives about 85% of its revenue from postal services, 15% from parcels. The company has an 86% share of the Spanish mail market and a 7.5% share of the domestic parcels market, with most parcels delivered by private sector express operators in Spain.
May 23, 2012
MarketingWeek: Royal Mail is to start including the controversial "delivered by " mark on direct mail from next month, part of a strategy to increase the visibility of the mail service's brand in the face of increased competition from rivals. The mark, which sees the words "Delivered by ." next to the Royal Mail cruciform, will be phased in over a six month period from 23 June to allow no-marked items to used up. Machine sorted franked and stamped mail as well as parcels and other stationary, estimated to amount to 12 billion items annually, will carry the mark. Royal Mail argues that the mark is necessary to distinguish mail it handles and delivers for marketers from rivals. Deregulation in 2006 allowed competitors to offer business mail services, while the expected part-privatisation of the service will open Royal Mail to further competition from companies such as TNT Post and Royal Mail.
Marketwire: Manilla, the free service that allows consumers to manage their bills and other personal accounts online and on their mobile devices, announced today that it has already delivered more than 2 million pieces of transactional first-class mail. This milestone establishes Manilla, which emerged from beta in February, as the nation's leading digital mailbox service. "Having already delivered 2 million bills and statements is extremely encouraging because it demonstrates not only a very brisk rate of growth for Manilla, but also a change in the way consumers perceive online account management," said George Kliavkoff, chief executive officer of Manilla. "More and more consumers have realized that paper statements are an analog solution in a digital world. By receiving their mail through Manilla, our users avoid late fees, become more organized, and receive more complete documents almost a week before they would through the postal service." Manilla is a free personal bill and account management service that automatically aggregates customers' balances, bills, statements and other documents from all of their household service providers using a single password. Manilla organizes and simplifies its customers' lives by reminding them to pay their bills, renew their subscriptions, and use their expiring coupons and airline miles. Manilla also replaces its customers' filing cabinet by offering lifetime storage of all of their account documents for free.
Business Sale Report: Around half of the Royal Mail's London sorting office are due to be sold off in order to generate funds. The centrally-located office is likely to be sold to developers for transformation, which should generate around £1 billion for the postal service. However, the project is unlikely to be completed until after the company's privatisation in about two years' time. This has prompted concern that the new owners of the Royal Mail will strip it of its assets, rather than reinvesting to deliver an improved service.
The following reports have been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov). If you have additional questions concerning a report, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703-248-2201 or Agapi Doulaveris at 703-248-2286.
Newswise: The Smithsonian's National Postal Museum has launched a new microsite, "RFD: Marketing to a Rural Audience" (www.npm.si.edu/rfdmarketing), telling the story of how an experimental mail service in the late 1800s created a new commercial market.
Please join us THIS FRIDAY, May 25, 2012 , for a "Network Rationalization Update" webinar presentation by Dave Williams, the Postal Service's Vice President of Network Operations. The webinar will be conducted from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time . NOTE: Additional sessions of this webinar will be scheduled over the next two or three weeks, so there will be other opportunities to participate if you cannot attend this webinar. In addition, the webinar presentation will be posted on RIBBS next week. Instructions for participating in this session have been posted on this site.
Marketwire: Stamps.com®, the leading provider of USPS® postage online and shipping software to over 400,000 customers, today announced that its Co-President and Chief Financial Officer, Kyle Huebner, was named the 2012 "Overall Financial Star of the Year" by TechAmerica, representing TechAmerica's highest award during their 2nd Annual Financial Stars of the Year awards program in Los Angeles, CA.
Hellmail: Neopost has launched a free postage savings App. This new and unique App calculates the annual savings of a business if they switch from stamps to franking their mail. From April 30th Royal Mail increased the price of a 1st Class stamp from 46p to 60p, an increase of 30% and the price of a 2nd class stamp will raise from 36p to 50p an increase of 39%. For businesses still using stamps to send out their mail, franking is often a cheaper and convenient alternative. Franking machine users receive a discount on every item of mail sent, saving at least 16p on every 1st Class letter, 19p on every 2nd Class letter. So it now makes even more sense to switch from stamps to franking and Neopost's handy little App will highlight exactly how much money a business can save in a year by making that change. To download this new and exciting postage savings App visit iTunes
Post & Parcel: Royal Mail has extended its Airsure international tracked service to Australia to help consumers to purchase more products online from British retailers. The UK postal operator said yesterday that Australia was the "international export hotspot" with the biggest growth in packet services of 19% year on year.
Post & Parcel: New international mailing rules agreed between the postal and civil aviation industries are set to end the ban on posts sending packages containing lithium batteries and cells from the beginning of 2013. Lithium batteries are classified as dangerous goods by the United Nations and have been banned from the international air space. But the Universal Postal Union and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have been working to harmonize their respective technical instructions to admit the air transportation of postal items containing lithium batteries that are "properly packed". Posts wanting to apply the new rule as of 1 January 2013 have to coordinate training initiatives for postal staff with their national civil aviation authority, the UPU said.
AMEInfo: Several postal corporations from Arab countries took part in a workshop that threw new light on the International Financial System (IFS), a low-cost, post-to-post money transfer system, which is backed by Universal Postal Union (UPU).
The New Age: The 4000 SA Post Office (Sapo) workers who have been on strike for three months might return to work soon, provided the unions and the employer conclude a deal this afternoon.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 30560-30561 [2012-12659][TEXT] [PDF]
Postition Announcements (1) Position Title: Summer Intern Salary Range: $15.00 per hour; (2) Attorney Advisor, Associate Grade PRC15: Salary range: $84,375 - $135,002
Post & Parcel: Dutch regulators have cleared PostNL of abusing its dominant position in the postal market within the Netherlands. The Dutch Competition Authority (NMa) has turned down an appeal from PostNL's private sector rival Sandd against a decision in 2009 that there was no violation of competition rules.
Newspapers in all-out war against proposed Valassis negotiated service agreement:
ACT Media: The restructuring of the Romanian Post National Company (CNPR) will be presented, on Friday, in the Administration Board and, if it is approved by the unions, a number of 1,068 people would be laid off, the same as two thirds of company executives, Communications Minister Dan Nica announced on Thursday.
4-Traders: Most small business owners want to work with other small business owners who best understand their complex needs, according to a survey recently conducted by The UPS Store ® franchise network in recognition of National Small Business Week. Almost 75 percent of survey respondents say it is important to have support from a business resource who understands their issues because they, too, are a small business owner. Yet, only 52 percent of small business owners currently work with such a resource. "Every small business owner faces his or her own unique set of daily challenges," said Stuart Mathis, president of The UPS Store franchise network. "Our network is made up of franchisees who serve as a local resource for small business owners across the country."
National Association of Major Mail Users: NAMMU POSTAL FORUM AT PRINT WORLD 2012 -- Reserve November 17-19 for a major Canadian print industry event at the Direct Energy Centre: Print World 2012. The special market focus is on print and publishers, Direct Mail and Direct Marketing, the perfect setting for NAMMU and the mail industry, and the NAMMU 2012 Postal Forum. The NAMMU Mail Clinic will be open throughout the event, and the NAMMU Mail Theatre will host panel discussions and specialized seminars. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save the Post Office: Has the Postal Service just been winging it, sending up trial balloons, and improvising one misguided plan after another in a desperate response to events and forces that are out of its control? Or has the Postal Service been deviously orchestrating its strategy with Machiavellian skill pitting the unions against the postmaster organizations, Democrats against Republicans, Senate against House? Did it really play "bait and switch" and use the RAOI as a dodge to make POStPlan look more palatable? Who's running the Postal Service anyway? Fools or knaves? [EdNote: Silly you. And you thought things only got this personal and nasty with electioneering.]
Flathead Beacon: The U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday a plan to close Kalispell's mail-processing center this summer, a decision that has drawn the ire of Montana Sen. Max Baucus. "We stopped them from shutting down Missoula, Butte, Helena and Wolf Point mail-processing facilities and I'll fight tooth and nail to protect Kalispell and the 20 jobs that are on the line," Baucus said in a statement.
Practical eCommerce: Consumers increasingly expect free shipping for ecommerce purchases. But as fuel prices continue to fluctuate greatly and the economy is mired by uncertainty, shipping continues to be one of the toughest costs to for etailers to manage. Free shipping hurts profit margins. So how do ecommerce merchants reverse these negative margin trends? Aggressively managing shipping costs can significantly impact financial results and lead to sustainable cost reduction. For many, adopting "hybrid" parcel offerings that combine services from the leading for-profit shippers with those of the USPS is the best way to go.
BusinessWire: Small businesses have long relied on the expertise and resources of Kinko's, now FedEx Office(R) for providing convenient print and shipping solutions to meet their business needs. FedEx Office recognizes its customers during National Small Business Week with the launch of the FedEx Office Business Edgea" online portal and discount program to help entrepreneurs be productive anywhere, anytime.
Sen. Charles Schumer to the PRC: "I write to express my strong concerns regarding the US Postal Service's Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) with Valassis. I have been presented with recent research conducted by the Newspaper Association of America which indicates that this proposed NSA violates underlying law and would result in a serious financial harm to local daily newspapers across the country."
May 22, 2012
CBS News: Printing company R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. said Tuesday that it will buy financial data company Edgar Online Inc. for about $38.6 million, adding to its digital products. The acquisition values Edgar at $1.092 per share. Including the company's debt and a payment equal to the redemption price of its preferred shares, R.R. Donnelley said the deal is worth $70.5 million. R.R. Donnelley's services include printing labels and online marketing tools. Edgar's website lets customers search, download and skim regulatory documents filed with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Edgar has provided services to R.R. Donnelley's financial services unit since 2008.
Investor Place: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) isn't exactly profitable, but it also isn't the financial basket case many think it is.
Post & Parcel: Deutsche Post chief executive Frank Appel said today he believed it would be very difficult for a post like Royal Mail to attract investors when it seeks privatisation from late 2013. Speaking at the World Mail and Express Europe conference in Geneva today, the head of the world's biggest logistics company, which had its own Initial Public Offering in the year 2000, said in the current market situation it would not be clear enough to investors how a mail company like Royal Mail would generate growth going forward. The German postal service CEO was speaking following a speech from Royal Mail Group chief executive Moya Greene in which she conceded that it would be very difficult for her company to attract investors as is currently planned by the UK government.
From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Product List Changes , 3033530336  [TEXT] [PDF] 3033630337  [http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-22/html/2012-12236.htmTEXT] [PDF]
EIN News: RPost and Saudi Post announce at the World Mail Awards in Geneva, that Saudi Post, one of the top government-owned technology pioneers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has selected the RPost Cloud platform as a central component of Saudi Post's electronic service modernization effort. For customers in Saudi Arabia, RPost services are now offered co-branded as Saudi Post Registered Email® services; the Saudi Arabian Post's standard for secure, legal electronic messaging and document services.
Marketwire: Harte-Hanks, Inc., a worldwide multichannel, direct and targeted marketing company, announced today that its resident postal issues expert, Charley Howard, vice president of postal affairs, will address how best to take advantage of direct mail marketing in a DirectMarketingIQ Webinar on Tuesday, May 22, 2012, titled "Postal Optimization: The Big Skinny on the Discounts and Programs, and How To Take Advantage in the Next Campaign." He will co-present with Gary Reblin, vice president, domestic products, U.S. Postal Service. Registration for the 1-hour event is $79, and interested marketers can register here: http://bit.ly/JeWnO1
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Commission Public Meeting, Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 11 a.m., Commission Hearing Room, 901 New York Avenue NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 202680001
May 21, 2012
Bloomberg Businessweek: With e-mails and even tweets being preserved for posterity, there's an undeniable appeal to having some form of written digital communication that won't stick around, or be read by parents or bosses. After all, everyone has written some texts they would like everyone to forget about as soon as possible.
BBC: Hub Europe said UK authorities made it impossible to carry on after refusing to recognise it as a postal operator. The Managing Director of Hub Europe Christopher Bee said he did not agree with HM Revenues and Customs that his firm works in freight. "We have a postal licence which is almost exactly the same as Jersey Post's postal licence."
DMM Advisory: Mailing Lithium BatteriesDomestic and International. Earlier last week two final rule Federal Registers were posted on the Federal Register website. The first, Mailings of Lithium Batteries, was posted on Monday, May 14 and revises the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) to remove all references regarding the mailing of lithium batteries internationally. The second, Outbound International Mailings of Lithium Batteries and Other Dangerous Goods, was published on Tuesday, May 15 and now incorporates the standards to prohibit the mailing of lithium batteries to all international destinations. Both final rules will be posted soon on the Postal Explorer® website under Federal Register Notices. These final rules incorporate standards that now prohibit the outbound international mailing of lithium batteries and devices containing lithium batteries. This prohibition also extends to the mailing of lithium batteries to and from APO, FPO, and DPO locations. Lithium batteries are classified as dangerous goods by the United Nations and are banned from international air space. Lithium batteries remain mailable within the United States or its territories by domestic air and surface transportation (subject to certain weight limitations), with the exception of individual small non-rechargeable consumer type batteries mailed without the equipment they operate, which may not be transported by air.
Lifehacker: Most of the time you head to Google Maps with an address in your head (or clipboard) with the goal of seeing it on a map. For those few times when you're looking at a Google Map and thinking, "I wonder what the address is here," Google Maps has a handy shortcut for you: Right-click the Google Map at any position you want the address and select "What's here?" Make sure you're zoomed in for accuracy, and it helps to be in satellite view, too, so you're sure you're clicking on the right spot. Google Maps will return the address of the location you clicked on, along with latitude and longitude. Friend of Lifehacker and Digital Inspiration blogger Amit Agarwal created a webapp to tackle this duty a while back, but turns out this feature has been helpfully baked right into Google Maps if you know where to look.
Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: Over the past week, the Postal Service announced significant changes in its business focus and management structure that could have significant impact on its ability to both serve customer needs and improve its financial position. The changes that the Postal Service is making suggests a vision for the Postal Service that goes beyond traditional postal services could include many non-traditional ways of meeting needs of its communication and parcel delivery customers.
PIWorld: IWCO Direct has begun to implement the next phase of its strategic platform enhancements. This includes the expansion of its headquarters campus and the installation of numerous pieces of high-speed equipment here and across the platform. These enhancements are designed to provide customers with significantly increased direct mail personalization opportunities, reduced cycle times and enhanced postal optimization.
PostCom Members! Here is the list of 48 sites that will be consolidated/changed during the summer months (July 1 Aug 31). This list does not show which operations are moving this summer, so it does not help in knowing how mail needs to be prepared, but it does give you a look at what the USPS plans to do. http://www.apwu.org/news/nsb/2012/nsb15-120517-consolidation-s1789-house-list-48summer.pdf Here is the list of 92 sites that will changed starting Jan 1, 2013. Same issues apply. http://www.apwu.org/news/nsb/2012/nsb15-120517-consolidation-s1789-house-list.pdf [EdNote: By the way, you should be able to tell from the links that you've got the APWU to thank for this information--not the Postal Service. Thank you, APWU!]
The Boston Globe: The US Postal Service cannot be described as "on the brink" of insolvency; it sailed over that cliff in 2006, when Congress decreed it must fund employee pensions and benefits 75 years in advance. But despite losing $3.2 billion in the first quarter of the year, the Postal Service will not make the hard decision to close 3,700 branches, making the creeping behemoth that is the Catholic Church seem nimble and bold. When its books bleed, the church shutters buildings like a Buddhist monk, serenely indifferent to fury. Not so the Postal Service, which caved last week on Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe's necessarily severe plan to save $6.5 billion a year. Instead of accepting the sensible but politically inexpedient course Donahoe believes would make his agency solvent by 2017, the Senate came up with its own plan: a quick-fix infusion of $11 billion to delay bankruptcy for a couple of years. Why give the postmaster general the opportunity to perform the budget-balancing equivalent of walking on water, when we can just throw cash at a problem? Greece is the word.
Now hear this: "This Week In Postal".........the latest podcast posted now!
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General invites you to comment on this week's "Pushing the Envelope" blog topic: Is Low Tech the Way to Go? Writing and sending letters used to be a popular, time honored tradition. Despite a decline of First-Class Mail usage, over 90 percent of mail customers preferred receiving greeting cards in the mail over e-cards. Do you prefer sending and receiving greeting cards through the mail? Let us know on our blog.
New audit projects have been started on the external website.
CNNMoney: The next deadline facing Congress to save the U.S. Postal Service is Aug. 1. That's when the agency won't have enough money to make a $5.5 billion payment to a retirement fund mandated by law. No one's quite sure what happens if Aug. 1 rolls around and the Postal Service has to use all its cash on the fund to prepay healthcare benefits for retirees. But when a similar deadline loomed last year (and was pushed back by Congress), Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe predicted doom. House lawmakers did make progress this week, with a move aimed at resolving concerns from lawmakers from rural districts. Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, agreed to make a change in his postal reform bill that would limit the number of rural post offices closed to no more than 5% of all closures that happen each year. Additionally, Rep. Adrian Smith, a Nebraska Republican who runs the House rural caucus, agreed to work with Issa to help smooth out other concerns lawmakers from rural areas may have.
Investors Business Daily: Pitney Bowes Inc. has announced notice of its election to redeem $400 million of its bonds which are scheduled to mature in October 2012. The bonds will be repurchased substantially with cash on the balance sheet and operating cash flow. At the end of the first quarter 2012, the company had about $950 million in cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet. According to Chairman, President and CEO, Murray Martin, "Redemption of these bonds reflects our strong free cash flow, ongoing confidence in our business and the strength of our balance sheet. We are a solidly profitable company and expect to generate $700-$800 million in free cash flow this year. Our free cash flow is sufficient to pay our dividend, reduce our debt and support ongoing investment in our business. This action also reinforces our support for maintaining our investment grade ratings."
The Ledger: The real fight ahead and it is a fight with both sides accusing the other of causing the money losses will be trying to retire more than 150,000 postal employees. [Rep. Dennis] Ross said that because of union agreements, no postal employee can be laid off even with the closing of the processing facilities. Postal employees argue that it is not postal salaries and benefits in union negotiations that are draining the mail service, but poor decisions at the top, mismanagement and failure to listen to employee suggestions for saving money. It is not something the Republican-controlled House agrees with.
JoyOnline: The Ghana Post Company Limited is undertaking reforms to ensure the efficient and reliable provision of services for the smooth running of the postal industry in the country. The Managing Director of the Company, Mr. Abdulai Abdul Rafui, who announced this in Accra last Thursday, said management would continue to promote postal reforms since it was the company's belief that a strong postal service could stimulate and foster economic expansion.
Washington Monthly: Joe Nocera thinks that a viable postal service is possible, but what's really necessary is "for Congress to get out of the way and allow it to begin truly operating like a real business." What he means is that not only was Congress responsible for imposing all sorts of uniquely onerous pension burdens that made the Postal Service's rapidly declining mail volume all-the-more-difficult to deal with, but also that the legislation that's been proposed in the House and passed in the Senate is not really up to the job of preserving the USPS....The entire point of a national postal service is that it subsidizes rural areas through artificially cheap postage and rural mail centers; something that can only be done if there's a political decision to provide a service with a higher level of coverage and accessibility than a private-sector equivalent.
May 20, 2012
Sioux City Journal: USPS started a comprehensive reorganization plan designed to stabilize its finances and position it for future strength, and it should continue with the plan, including closures and consolidations. Congress should support efforts by USPS to cut costs and return to profitability rather than settle for stopgap solutions like the infusion of more money into the troubled agency. If USPS wishes to start this reorganization process from scratch, then it should restore postal centers and stations it closed in the early rounds of its plan, like ours, and truly start from scratch. If it isn't starting over, then it should forge ahead with the rest of its plan. Halting the plan in midstream without reversing earlier decisions simply isn't fair to those communities like ours who have absorbed closures, experienced degradation of service and felt pain.
Times of Malta: Maltapost's interim profits have been halved after the postaloperation was faced with considerable direct mail costs following changes in tariffs regulated by the Universal Postal Union. The company reported pre-tax profits of 796,000 for the six months to March 31, down from 1.69 million in the corresponding period last year. It said the change in the tariff structure, as regulated by the UPU, also hit revenue streams. "Maltapost, as the national regulated postal operator, is mindful of its obligations to provide an affordable universal service, even extending some of its core services at a loss in the short term as local letter tariffs continue to be the lowest in the EU," the company said in its interim accounts statement. "Maltapost is working closely with the regulator, the Malta Communications Authority, to ensure a fair regulatory approach which is appropriate and relevant to the challenging and dynamic competitive market in which it operates."
May 19, 2012
The Independent: Successive governments since Margaret Thatcher's time have wanted to privatise the Royal Mail, and this time it looks likely tohappen, now that one of the major hurdles has been removed with the transfer of the costly pension scheme back to the taxpayer. A sale in the next couple of years looks likely. So don't you just know what's going to happen? The Government will sell the business to a private equity company for a depressingly small sum which it will justify by saying that the business loses money. After a depressingly brief period the buyer will home in on all those other prime sites which...the Royal Mail owns in most of our major cities and towns. It will then strip these out and sell them for development, making vast profits in the process. Meanwhile, the operational side of the business will continue to go to hell in a handcart. It has happened before.
InForum: The idea of cutting back service to save money is difficult to understand. The approach of management of USPS, like many U.S. businesses, seems to be to get rid of unions and lay off experienced employees. The problem comes when your business no longer functions because management doesn't know how it should work and the people who do are gone. Think a little outside of the box. There needs to be a change in the USPS, but it is in the business plan and in the management, not in the field at the post office or distribution centers.
The Times and Democrat: Drawing on their deep roots in their communities, newspapers have been one of the staunchest supporters of the U.S. Postal Service and the important role it plays in keeping all Americans connected with their communities. While newspaper companies have applauded the Postal Service's efforts to address its ongoing funding challenges through operational and financial reforms, it is astonishing to see the USPS try to solve its problems by offering a proposal that would severely harm local newspapers. The threat: In an effort to grow new revenues, the Postal Service has proposed a Negotiated Service Agreement (or contract rate) for Valassis that would give the national advertising mailer a 22 percent to 36 percent discount on "new" advertising mail pieces beyond what it mails now. The discounts are for qualifying mail that includes advertising inserts from national retailers of "durable and semidurable goods" which could mean companies such as Macy's, JCPenney, Best Buy, Home Depot, Sears and others. These ad inserts are delivered through newspapers' free-standing inserts.
New York Times: Other businesses with a declining core product have been able to change business models and come roaring back. There is no good reason the post office couldn't do likewise. So why hasn't it? Even though the post office has been self-financed since the 1980s, it remains shackled by Congress, which simply can't bring itself to allow the service to make its own decisions. There is nothing ideological about fixing the post office. It's not like the debt ceiling. The Internet notwithstanding, the country still needs a viable Postal Service. What is mainly required is for Congress to get out of the way and allow it to begin truly operating like a real business.
May 18, 2012
Attention PostalOne!® Users: A June 9 - June 10, 2012 Deployment Schedule:
PostalOne!® Release 31.0.0: The Deployment of PostalOne!® Release 31.0 will require an extended maintenance window to complete all software updates. There will be a PostalOne!® outage from 8:00 p.m. CDT on Saturday, June 9, 2012 through 9:00 a.m. CDT on Sunday, June 10, 2012. The new client version of Mail.dat will be available for download immediately after the maintenance window and will be required for use with this release
Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) PostalOne! Release 31.0 will deploy to the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) on Monday, June 11, 2012. PostalOne! TEM will be unavailable from 4:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. CDT. If you have any additional questions please contact the Help Desk at 800-522-9085.
National Association of Postmasters of the U.S.: "Does the Issa-Ross Bill Pose a Credible Threat to the USPS?" NAPUS' best guess is that H.R. 2309 will come to the floor around the July 4th Recess; the last week in June, or the second week in July. The House target for enactment would be August 1, the date on which the USPS is required to make last year's $5.6 billion retiree FEHBP prefunding payment. Over the next month, Issa will attempt to shore-up support within the House GOP Confer-ence. Once he can assure Speak-er John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor that he has the votes, he will ask Cantor to schedule the bill for floor action.
The Postal Service has sent a final rule to revise service standards for market-dominant mail products to the Federal Register. The final rule will be posted on our "Information for Mailers" webpage at http://about.usps.com/news/facility-studies/welcome.htm by COB Monday, May 21. Highlights excerpted from the final rule are provided below.
New Postage Statements Available Online. The June 2012 postage statements are posted on Postal Explorer®. These postage statements include minor changes to support the new Express Mail® Padded Flat Rate Envelope and Picture Permit Imprint offerings. Mailers have the option of using either the January 2012 or June 2012 Postage Statements. However, if you wish to take advantage of the new offerings, the June 2012 postage statements are required.
IMb Services Update.
Post & Parcel: CTT Correios de Portugal has recorded a 4.2% drop in its revenues for the full year 2011, as a result of a 6.4% reduction in mail volumes, but remained profitable. In the last full year before full liberalisation of the Portuguese postal market, CTT saw its EUR 761m turnover slide by EUR 33.3m. However, the company's margins increased by more than two percentage points, helping consolidated net income to grow by less than a point to EUR 56.7m, translating into a net profit of EUR 3.24 per share. Portugal's universal service provider said its postal and express services, providing the bulk of income for the group, felt the difficult economy and financial crisis particularly acutely.
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
MyFoxBoston: The cash-strapped Postal Service is spending $200 million a year renting empty buildings, including a massive, nearly empty warehouse complex in Springfield that's costing $2.6 million a year, a FOX Undercover investigation has found. The Postal Service is stuck with a long-term lease for a 41,200-square-foot Brookdale Drive building that it's never used and another, bigger building next door that is used as a storage shed and for seasonal mail processing. Combined, the two buildings cost the Postal Service $216,000-a-month to rent thanks to a 2004 lease they signed which doesn't expire for another year. "This is a waste," said US Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-South Boston, a member of the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is monitoring the Postal Service's cash crunch. "When we're thinking about shutting down post offices around the country to save money because we can't meet the budget and then you see this outlay of cash -- I know they're trying to recoup the money but they cannot go out ten years and put a long term lease out there like that in the future. That cannot happen." But it did happen, all over the country, and now the US Postal Service and its customers are paying a very steep price. Things are so bad the Postal Service is talking about closing post offices and stopping Saturday delivery as it deals with the need to cut billions to avoid bankruptcy.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Thursday issued the following statement in reaction to the U.S. Postal Service announcement that it would delay closing mail processing plants until 2013.
"I appreciate that the Postal Service is moving forward with its downsizing in a way that is consistent with the Senate-passed 21st Century Postal Service Act. The PMG assures us that no mail processing centers will be closed this year, which means the House still has time to pass a bill so it can be reconciled with the Senate-passed bill. While the PMG is moving cautiously now, the financial condition of the Postal Service continues to deteriorate, and he will not be similarly restrained next year. Congress must approve legislation as soon as possible to return the postal service to solid financial ground before essential services are lost for millions of people."
From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Product List Changes , 29701-29702 [2012-12002][TEXT] [PDF] 29703-29704 [2012-12061][TEXT] [PDF] 29702-29703 [2012-12169][TEXT] [PDF]
American Postal Workers Union: The American Postal Workers Union has told its members that "USPS management announced [PDF] on May 17 that it would begin implementing a "modified" consolidation plan immediately, but the "new" plan [PDF] employs the same essential strategy as the old plan: Impose drastic cuts to service and the mail processing network, and eliminate tens of thousands of jobs. The only difference is that the "new" plan will take a little longer to complete."
WDTN: Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a democrat, urges the U.S. House to act on a bill that would reform the postal service and possibly save the Dayton mail processing center. 2 NEWS spoke with him shortly after learning that the Postmaster General is planning to go ahead and close the Dayton facility. Senator Brown said, "The news so far is not as good as I hoped it would be." Senator Brown, however, told 2 NEWS he is not giving up and is calling on House Speaker John Boehner to get the House moving on legislation since the Senate has already passed a bill with bi-partisan support.
May 17, 2012
From the U.S. Postal Service: The Postal Service issued a press release today announcing that it would soon issue a new regulation to modify its existing Service Standard for overnight delivery. The Postal Service said a Final Rule would soon be published in the Federal Register that would initially shrink the geographic reach of overnight service to local areas and enable consolidation activity in 2013. The new rule would further tighten the overnight delivery standard in 2014 and enable further consolidation of the Postal Service mail processing network absent any change to the circumstances of the Postal Service. "We are essentially preserving overnight delivery for First-Class Mail through the end of 2013, although we are collapsing the distance that we can provide overnight service to the distribution area served by a particular mail processing facility," said Brennan. Approximately 80 percent of First-Class Mail will still be delivered overnight.
"We revised our network consolidation timeline to provide a longer planning schedule for our customers, employees and other stakeholders, and to enable a more methodical and measured implementation," said Patrick Donahoe, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the Postal Service. The first phase of activities will result in up to 140 consolidations through February of 2013. Unless the circumstances of the Postal Service change in the interim, a second and final phase of 89 consolidations is currently scheduled to begin in February of 2014. Basic information about this plan can be found on our Information for Mailers webpage at http://about.usps.com/news/facility-studies/welcome.htm. The list of mail processing locations to be consolidated by February of 2013 will be posted at approximately 3 pm EDT. More information will be posted in the next few weeks as it becomes available.
This is the first Industry Alert with others to follow as more information is available. The second Alert will be distributed when we send the Final Rule to the Federal Register. Additional Alerts will be distributed when other collateral such as Service Standard Directory files and FAQs are posted. If you have any questions or suggestions about additional material you would like to see on our "Information for Mailers" webpage, please write to us at IndustryFeedback@usps.gov.
Post & Parcel: DPD has been rolling out an updated delivery service for business-to-consumer parcels in Russia since the end of last month. The company, part of La Poste's GeoPost Group, has now expanded its DPD Consumer service to 3,000 towns and cities in Russia. The service in 2,600 of those areas includes the option of payment-on-delivery, important for distance selling where consumers do not have credit cards suitable for online payments, or distrust electronic payment channels.
Sen. Thomas Carper: Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Postal Service and co-author of the 21st Century Postal Service Act, released the following statement reacting to the Postmaster General's announcement that the Postal Service would begin closing select mail processing centers in an effort to save approximately $1.2 billion annually:
"Today's announcement comes a week after the Postal Service announced that it lost a staggering $3.2 billion in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2012. In fact, the Postal Service is hemorrhaging money at a rate of at least $25 million a day and is on track to lose far more over the course of this fiscal year. Given these dire circumstances it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Postmaster General is moving forward to reduce costs with the limited tools at his disposal, but the reality is that efforts of this scale are not enough to fundamentally fix the Postal Service's financial problems.
"For example, today's proposal does not address the Postal Service's two upcoming payments of $5.5 billion for its future retiree healthcare fund, its past overpayments of $11 billion into the Federal Employee Retirement System, or the need to significantly downsize the postal workforce. Only comprehensive, long-term reform of the Postal Service can address these and other serious issues facing this American institution, and that reform can only come from Congress. The Senate has recognized that need and last month passed a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that would modernize the Postal Service, allowing it to right-size and become competitive in the 21st Century. Now it's up to the House to pass a bill. In the three weeks since the Senate acted, the Postal Service has lost over $500,000,000 - already wiping out nearly half of the savings today's plan would achieve annually. Clearly, the Postal Service can't afford to wait any longer for Congress to pass a comprehensive plan. I hope that my colleagues in the House will recognize the urgency of this situation and announce when they intend to act to save the Postal Service."
Press Release: The U.S. Postal Service today announced plans to move ahead with a modified plan to consolidate its network of 461 mail processing locations in phases. The first phase of activities will result in up to 140 consolidations through February of 2013. Unless the circumstances of the Postal Service change in the interim, a second and final phase of 89 consolidations is currently scheduled to begin in February of 2014. The list of 140 mail processing locations to be consolidated by February of 2013 is available at http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/assets/pdf/facilities-list. You can find the Postal Service's presentation at http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/assets/pdf/NETWORK-OPS-May-17-Media-Webinar-final.pdf. A fact sheet is available online as well.
IT News Online: Neopost USA (www.neopostinc.com), an innovative solutions provider in the postal and related communications industry, launched a small business resource center today that features valuable tips and tools to help small businesses reduce mailing costs, maximize customer communications and increase efficiency. The small business resource center, maintained by Neopost USA's Small Office Solutions Group, (http://www.neopostinc.com/small-business.aspx) provides educational webinars, informative white papers and articles on mailing trends and technologies, as well as a monthly eNewsletter with the latest mailing industry news. Neopost recognizes the unique needs of small businesses and these resources are designed to help them navigate the mailing communications environment, raise their business productivity and enhance their corporate image.
EIN News: Four in five (81%) of Britain's SMEs, amounting to 3,645,000* businesses, believe that the Royal Mail's rate change will negatively impact their business. Of these, 7% fear that their business won't survive the threat.
Bloomberg News: The U.S. Postal Service, which last week backed off plans to close hundreds of rural post offices, will stick with its proposal to cut costs by shutting mail- processing plants, saving $1.2 billion annually.
UKZambians: Zambia Postal Services Corporation (Zampost) has reduced transmission fees on all swift cash money transfers by up to 30 per cent to enable its customers send money affordably to their loved ones. The corporation is also offering incentives to its loyal customers who send money on a regular basis through the introduction of loyalty cards which would enable the clients to send money at a discounted fee.
From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Product List Changes , 29393 [2012-11979][TEXT] [PDF]
Multichannel Merchant: Ecommerce grew 16% in 2011, but online merchant fraud grew 22%. This is an insidious worldwide problem that many online merchants know little about. There are two types of business: Those that have been hit by fraud, and those that will be hit by fraud.
Post & Parcel: Key members of the mail and express industry in Europe are to gather in Geneva from Sunday, to discuss the state of the market and best practice in the delivery of letters, packets and parcels. The World Mail and Express Europe Conference is being hosted this year by Swiss Post, taking place in the Hotel President Wilson on the shore of Lake Geneva from 21 May. Keynote speakers at this year's conference include Jurg Bucher, the Swiss Post chief executive, as well as Deutsche Post DHL chairman and CEO Frank Appel, and also Royal Mail Group chief executive Moya Greene.
Wall Street Journal: United Parcel Service Inc. could be opening itself up to new risks as it moves forward with its acquisition of Netherlands-based TNT Express NV, an express-mail company with a global reach that includes Iran, Cuba and Syria. In order to avoid running afoul of U.S. sanctions and embargoes, UPS may have to unwind TNT's business in those countries or institute rigorous and costly compliance and due diligence systems, according to experts on trade and export law.
The Missourian: The announcement last week by the United States Postal Service of its plan to keep offices open in smaller communities certainly was welcomed news. Earlier the plan was to close many of the smaller offices to save money. The proposed plan will save the USPS about a half billion dollars a year. The USPS said it has listened to the concerns of its customers and has decided to review its situation and offer a proposal to continue to service small communities.
Bloomberg Businessweek: China Postal Express & Logistics Co., the nation's biggest courier, is seeking 9.98 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in an initial public offering as it struggles to keep pace with a domestic delivery market growing 20 percent a year. The courier has trailed industrywide growth over the past three years, according to its IPO prospectus, as it restructured operations and missed out on an online-shopping boom because of a focus on business-to-business shipments. The company, a unit of the state-owned postal monopoly, also has to face competition from more than 7,500 local couriers who have largely shut FedEx Corp. (FDX) (FDX) and DHL out of the domestic market. China Postal "desperately needs additional capital to cope with the huge growth in the domestic express market," said John Manners-Bell, chief executive officer at Brinkworth, England- based Transport Intelligence Ltd. "It has lost significant market share to private competitors in the past few years."
The Japan Times: Japan Post Holdings Co. is reporting that its group net profit for fiscal 2011 increased 11.9 percent from the previous year to ¥468.9 billion, the most since privatization of the postal system started in October 2007. The increase was attributable primarily to the Japan Post group's bonus cut equivalent to 1.3 months' wages for the year to March. Consolidated operating revenue decreased 4.6 percent to ¥16.66 trillion as the volume of mail continued to decline. Among the four subsidiaries of Japan Post Holdings, Japan Post Bank alone registered an operating revenue increase.
American Postal Workers Union: The U.S. Postal Service has informed the APWU that:
The purpose of this notice is to Inform you of the modified network consolidation plan for implementation of the decisions announced on February 22. Now that the moratorium has expired, consolidation activities will begin this summer. Following a break from September through December, for election end holiday mail seasons, the first phase will resume in January 2013. A second phase will then continue and be completed by the and of 2014. A new, interim regulation to modify existing Service Standard for overnight delivery will be introduced. Final Rule will soon be published in the Federal Register that will shrink the geographic reach of overnight service to local areas. This new interim Service Standard will enable consolidating activity in 2013, and will be replaced with a permanent Service Standard for overnight delivery in 2014. A listing of the sites and implementation schedule will be provided to you tomorrow, May 17, in advance of the public release.
Dead Tree Edition: The U.S. Postal Service would be in Chapter 11 if it were a business, the Postmaster General points out, but others claim he and some political conservatives are manufacturing a crisis. You can debate the numbers and projections, but sooner or later tough choices have to be made about the Postal Service's cost structure. Still, we can't hide from the truth: The patient is sick, and the cure won't be easy.
Federal Times: The U.S. Postal Service is set to announce some downsizing of its mail processing plant network Thursday, but the plan will likely be more modest than leaders envisioned just a few months ago. Postmaster General Pat Donahoe and Megan Brennan, the Postal Service's chief operating officer, have scheduled a webinar for the news media at 11:30 a.m. Thursday EST to announce the next steps in "right-sizing" the network, according to a Postal Service advisory.
May 16, 2012
Post & Parcel: A corporate efficiency guru hired by Scandinavian postal operator PostNord as its executive vice president and chief financial officer last year is resigning his position, effective 1 June. Mats Lönnqvist was hired from last November as the parent company of Sweden's Posten and Denmark's Post Danmark looked to cut its operating costs and refocus its business towards growth areas like logistics.
Government Executive: Postmasters will not see pay-for-performance increases in their 2012 paychecks, according to a new agreement with the U.S. Postal Service, reached after months of discussion. The deal withholds postmasters' and Postal Career Executive Service members' pay-for-performance program ratings from salary determinations for fiscal 2011 and 2012. Pay-for-performance determinations are normally made at the end of a fiscal year and are not reflected in paychecks until January of the next calendar year, USPS spokesman Mark Saunders said. In fiscal 2013, pay-for-performance determinations will be subject to a USPS review of compensation practices and other factors also will be considered, such as the state of the nation's economy. At that time, the performance ratings either will be suspended or applied to salary determinations. Beginning in fiscal 2014 and 2015, pay-for-performance ratings could once again be applied to salary determinations, according to the agreement.
PRNewswire: The U.S. Postal Service has honored nine companies for superior supply chain performance and delivering optimum solutions that reduce costs, enhance performance, maintain high levels of service and provide innovative and sustainable solutions.
Business Recorder: A six-member delegation of American Postal Security Services on Wednesday arrived here to enhance cooperation with Pakistan Post and discuss various steps for safe delivery of international mail to the United States and Europe. The delegation's visit is an outcome of a meeting between the officials of two organizations during Universal Postal Union meeting in Switzerland in March this year, said a press release. The meeting had deliberated on evolving new techniques and systems for safe and sound delivery of international Pakistani mail to the United States and Europe.
Press Release: ProList, Inc., a Maryland based direct marketing service provider announced today the launch of a new business venture, SnailWorks, an integrated direct marketing platform. Concurrent with the announcement was the unveiling of a new website, www.MySnailworks.com. The service is designed to allow mailers to coordinate traditional direct mail efforts with new media such as email marketing, web landing pages, and mobile marketing. Direct mail projects set up in the SnailWorks system will be tracked as they travel through the Postal Service, using Intelligent Mail, and when each mail piece is delivered, that event will "trigger" other follow-up efforts such as email, telemarketing, or text messaging. The system will also host and track web and mobile-based landing pages that prospects will be able to access from the direct mail or follow-up efforts.
Forbes: The clarity of a corporate board is that its measurement of success return to shareholders is clear, and the marketplace rewards success and penalizes failure. There is no room for nuance. Either the stock goes up, or it goes down. Now contrast this with the abject failure of Congress, which is essentially our national governing Board, to deal with even the most basic of problems. But one issue in particular reflects the sad failure of Congress to act as a capable national Board of Directors that is willing to address problems and set a strategy. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is hemorrhaging financially because of many factors, but primarily due to declining revenue caused by the advent of the Internet. The USPS Board of Governors agreed to cut Saturday delivery and eliminate several postal locations to reduce costs. On April 25, the Senate stepped in and decided to put off many of these decisions, in a transparent effort to shield itself from the political blowback in an election year. Rarely do the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and USA Today agree on anything, but they roundly criticized the Senate for political pandering and short-sightedness. Fortunately, the House of Representatives is taking a more considered approach that would allow the USPS to reduce its suffocating overhead. The USPS situation is just one example of Congress's inability to set priorities, define a strategy, and make the tough decisions that will lead to a stronger nation. As American voters, we are the shareholders, and we must hold this Board accountable for its failure. If Congress won't act like a team, then it's time for the American people to act like one and force our Board to change course, or risk being replaced. [EdNote: Unhappy with your elected leaders? Be sure to remember who elects them. Can't remember? Get a mirror. Look straight into it, and all will be revealed.]
Post & Parcel: Canada Post is facing further delay in its attempts to finalise a labour contract for the urban members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. The Federal Court of Canada ordered a stay of proceedings in the current arbitration process last week, and set a date for a full judicial review over the government's appointment of Guy Dufort as arbitrator. The arbitration process is set to decide on the details of a labour contract that has already seen salary levels written into back-to-work legislation following last summer's strike action at Canada Post. Negotiations between Canada Post and CUPW over a new collective bargaining agreement for the union's 48,000 urban members have not proved fruitful since they opened in October 2010.
BrandChannel: The U.S. Postal Service is fighting for its life, and under government pressure to find new ways to decrease costs and create new business models that made delivery more efficient. Cue mobile. As part of the USPS 2012 mobile commerce and personalization promotion, it's offering a 2% discount on Standard Mail and First-Class Mail letters, flats and cards that include a 2D mobile barcode not much, but it's a start. Now SpyderLynk is sweetening the deal by offering those same customers a 10% discount for using SnapTags as their 2D mobile barcode. SpyderLynk's SnapTags were this week approved by the U.S. Postal Service for use by direct marketers to receive a discount on mass mailings. The company's two main products, SnapTags and Social SnapTags, are QR codes on steroids. Its Buy-it-Now Mobile Commerce SnapTag is a proprietary mobile barcode solution that when scanned activates a link to a mobile-optimized Web page that allows the mail recipient to purchase a product or service, or links to a mobile-optimized and customized Web page tailored to the mail recipient and accessible by a personalized URL.
News from the MTAC meeting:
CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:
Costs related to the already announced restructuring of the operating activities (CEP-News 09/12) spoiled PostNord's result in the first quarter.
Nasty surprise for CVC, a major shareholder of Belgian bpost. According to unanimous media reports tax investigators searched the offices of the investment company on Tuesday in Brussels and seized a huge amount of documents and several computers. It is reported that the tax authority also confiscated a lot of confidential information.
Swiss Post started into the new year with declining profits.
A recent study by the International Post Corporation (IPC) concludes that regulatory authorities worldwide are concentrating on the wrong parameters. Instead of ensuring a delivery on the following day the regulatory authorities should rather focus on a reliable delivery within 2 or 3 days. Reliability was more important for customers than speed.
Unaddressed advertising mail is still growing in Europe, in contrast to the addressed mail market.
Postal operators worldwide are facing declining revenues from their mail services. Last week the Universal Postal Union (UPU) reported that mail services contributed around 46% to the total global postal revenues of 257bn euros in 2010. That's down from 54 per cent in 2001, UPU reported.
PostNL suspended the restructuring process of its mail delivery in the Netherlands which was launched just at beginning of this year.
For the first time China's regulatory authority did not only publish figures for the entire express market but also about the market shares of China Post and private operators.
Apparently, FedEx took the gloves of concerning the consolidation of its ailing Office unit (formerly Kinko's). Last week the integrator disclosed that the unit's domestic activities in Japan were sold to Konica Minolta Holdings. According to unconfirmed media reports Konica pays around 78m euros for the 61 offices.
The job cuts, Italy's postal union SLC/CGIL worried about seem to be a done deal.
experts from the postal industry will discuss this topic in the course of the '10th International Petersberg Conference'. The event held by the German Federation of Postal Service Providers will take place in Bonn on June 12 and 13. Representatives of international postal companies will present a number of innovative success stories from postal outlet networks among other things. Registrations can be made on the association's website www.bvdp.de.
The South African Post Office (SAPO) doesn't even have an acting CEO now. After Motshoanetsi Lefoka had to resign due to 'wasteful expenditure' and 'irregular lease contracts' at the beginning of this year, interim CEO Nick Buick surprisingly left the company.
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
Azerbaijan Business Center: Azerpoct, the national postal operator of Azerbaijan, is negotiating with Russian banks on the occasion of a series of fast money transfer services.
Governing: If you want to send a birthday card from your home in Anchorage to your aunt in Key West, the U.S. Postal Service will deliver it for 45 cents. If you want to send the same letter via United Parcel Service, it will cost you $28.05. At least that was the price the last time I checked the UPS online rate calculator. The rate may have gone up or down since then because UPS, Federal Express and their competitors, unlike the Postal Service, can change their rates as much as they want, any time they want. That 45-cent stamp is central to our ongoing debate about our beleaguered national mail service. What's odd about that discussion, however, is what isn't being debated.
Announcement from PMG:
I am pleased to announce two important leadership changes designed to strengthen the way the Postal Service approaches the marketplace and adapts to the evolving needs of our customers. The Postal Service is embarking on an exciting new venture to better explore growth opportunities in the digital space, and to translate those opportunities into new streams of revenue, enhance the value of our current offerings, and improve customer experiences. We are convinced there is growth potential in this dynamic digital environment.
And so, this week we are launching a digital solutions group, which will be lead by Paul Vogel. Paul is taking on an exciting new role as President of Digital Solutions and will continue to serve on the Executive Leadership Team. Paul will stand up this new business group to formalize and fully support our efforts to create digital products and services. Digital Solutions has a broad mandate to extend our current technology and data platform in ways that help us better support the mailing industry and the American public we serve. Paul has a great track record of driving successful new initiatives within the Postal Service. In addition to his excellent recent service as Chief Marketing/Sales Officer, he was instrumental in establishing our transportation partnership with FedEx, he stood up and launched our global business, and he played a vital role in early efforts to realign our operational network. Digital Solutions will begin with a matrixed structure and will grow into a separate business unit over the coming year with the flexibility to explore, pursue, and/or create quickly evolving digital technologies. Paul will be taking us into new waters in a number of ways that should generate a lot of external interest and excitement.
I am also pleased to announce that Nagisa Manabe is joining the Postal Service as Chief Marketing/Sales Officer. She will be responsible for all domestic and international product marketing, development, and management, as well as sales, Nagisa will serve on our Executive Leadership Team and will lead our efforts to frame a new generation of ideas to better promote and grow our organization. Nagisa is a 20-plus-year marketing, strategy, and product development veteran, with a strong background in analytics and innovation. Nagisa comes to us from the Coca-Cola Company, where she served as Vice President of New Growth Platforms. Prior to her work at Coca-Cola, Nagisa was Vice President of Marketing for Diageo Guinness USA Inc., the beer and malt beverage division of the world's leading spirits, wine, and beer company. During her seven years at Diageo, Nagisa assumed various marketing and innovation leadership positions, including Vice President of U.S. Rums and Vice President of Innovation. She began her career at Procter & Gamble in 1991. Nagisa earned a bachelor of arts degree with a double major in Economics and Japanese Studies from Yale University and a master of business administration from Harvard University.
The following report has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov). If you have additional questions concerning a report, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703-248-2201 or Agapi Doulaveris at 703-248-2286.
Every Door Direct Mail-Retail (Report Number MS-AR-12-004). Our report determined that the Every Door Direct Mail-Retail® (EDDM-R) product is rapidly approaching the annual revenue cap imposed by law for experimental products. Consequently, the Postal Service must act quickly to transition the product from experimental to permanent status to avoid disrupting marketing momentum. In transitioning the product, the Postal Service could improve its methodology for measuring product success, strengthen controls over acceptance and verification, and better monitor product costs.
Wall Street Journal: House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that any increase in the government's borrowing limit must be accompanied by spending cuts and other budget savings of greater value, and he rejected tax increases as part of any deal to reduce the federal deficit.
Tico Times: On June 1, Correos de Costa Rica, the company that manages the country's postal service, will take over the renewal process for cédulas (Costa Rican IDs) for foreigners.
The News Tribune: The world changes. Heaven forbid that the U.S. Postal Service should change with it. The USPS is supposed to operate like a business which includes adapting to the real world but the U.S. Senate has again made certain that it operate as a vehicle for patronage and political pandering. It has just pressured the organization into abandoning an emergency-cost cutting plan to close hundreds of money-losing post offices and mail-sorting centers nationwide. The Postal Service which has been losing $25 million a DAY will keep on running immense losses unless Congress permits it to restructure itself for the 21st century.
Martinsburg Journal-News: It is difficult to see how the Postal Service can save the $500 million it hopes without cutting service. Postal Service officials have said they have no alternative but to find ways to reduce spending dramatically. Without cuts, the agency will face a deficit of more than $18 billion by 2015, analysts predict. Despite flashy marketing of some new services, the Postal Service continues to operate on a model that dates back two centuries. Until and unless the agency modernizes - as most businesses have had to do - its financial woes will not go away.
Zawya: DHL Express, a division of the world's leading postal and logistics group, sees strong growth opportunities in Middle East and Africa, and would continue to invest in its operations to meet the ever-changing needs of the region's key industries, its top official said. The German company continues to invest in the region and expand its infrastructure to further enhance its extensive network and unique connectivity strength in the Middle East.
AllAfrica: The Gambia Postal Services (Gampost) and DHL, Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to link up the two for easy access to mails and delivery system to worldwide network of DHL and the postal service worldwide.
From the Federal Register: Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 28903  [TEXT] [PDF] 28904  [TEXT] [PDF] 28904  [TEXT] [PDF] 28904  [TEXT] [PDF] 28904  [TEXT] [PDF] 28904  [TEXT] [PDF]
WPTZ: The Postal Service will announce changes to its distribution network Thursday. A self-imposed moratorium on potential closures within its mail processing network ended Tuesday. Last week, the agency said it would keep the 3,700 rural offices open, but shorten hours at 13,000 offices nationwide. On Monday, the Postal Service announced plans to hold off closing 600 urban and suburban offices.
Seattle Times: The United States Postal Service is taking a curious path as it struggles with budget and operational reforms in desperate pursuit of financial stability. Alienating customers as loyal and old as the postal system itself is an odd business choice, but that is what the USPS ensures with a negotiated service agreement with a primary competitor of newspapers. The agency hopes to find revenues in a deal with Valassis Direct Mail that offers postage discounts up to 36 percent on new advertising mail pieces. Advertising from targeted national retailers is now delivered as newspaper inserts, and to nonsubscribers via the Postal Service. Newspapers already spend $500 million a year as part of Total Market Coverage programs to get advertising inserts to nonsubscribers. Why the Postal Service would seek to undercut established business and point newspapers to private delivery services is a mystery.
Federal News Radio: This week on Your Turn, Sally Davidow of the American Postal Workers Union joins host Mike Causey to talk about the challenges facing postal workers as the giant government corporation downsizes. In the second half of the program Steve Watkins, editor of the Federal Times, and senior writer Sean Reilly will talk about postal reform, buyouts, a pending 5 percent pension hit for federal and postal workers, and the fallout from the GSA's Las Vegas conference. Listen if you can (1500 AM or online), and if you have questions Email us or call in during the show at (202) 465-3080. The show will be archived here.
DMM Advisory: March - April MailPro Available. The March - April MailPro [HTML] [PDF] is available now on about.usps.com/mailpro. You'll find a two-page spread on election mail and the political campaign 2012 mailing season as well as informative articles on full-service IMb, Premium Forwarding Service®, Postmaster General Donahoe's address to the National Postal Forum, and more. Customers can access current and past issues of MailPro online or subscribe by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Include your name, title, company name, complete delivery address, and daytime phone number. Customers can access current and past issues of MailPro online or subscribe by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, title, company name, complete delivery address, and daytime phone number.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Latest Revenue Piece Weight report
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has announced that Larry Kimmel has resigned as CEO to join the agency Hawkeye. To help with the transition, Kimmel will continue as President Emeritus of the DMA and will serve in a senior advisory capacity. DMA Executive Vice President of Washington Operations, Linda Woolley, will become the organization's acting President and CEO. Linda Woolley has been the head of the DMA's Washington D.C. office and advocacy programs since joining the organization in 2008. Woolley is a recognized leader in Washington D.C. and the direct marketing industry with a background that includes more than 30 years of extensive leadership experience in corporate public affairs, government relations and corporate and trade association management.
May 15, 2012
POST-EXPO 2012 Conference Programme announced. A world-class postal industry conference.
National Journal: Republican leaders appear unable to muster votes for their preferred version-from House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif.-but they are so far also unwilling to take up an alternative that the Senate passed last month with support from both parties. Without enactment of an overhaul bill, the self-supporting agency, which announced a $3.2 billion loss last quarter, has said it will default this fall on payments it owes. Working from that timeline, House Republicans are assuming that their real deadline to take action will come in August or later. House GOP leaders say they want to move Issa's bill. "The postal service needs more meaningful reform than the Senate bill provides," Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said. "They don't even have enough Republican support," said, Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that oversees the postal service. Lynch, a supporter of postal unions that oppose the collective-bargaining changes in Issa's bill, said Republicans will eventually have to bring up the Senate-passed bill and try to amend it. Not yet ready to concede that necessity, House Republicans appear stalled. They have placed no postal legislation on the House floor this week, and the chamber will be in recess starting this weekend and will not vote again until May 30. That means there will be no House action on a bill until June at the earliest.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: The Postal Regulatory Commission has posted the latest recalculation of the average 12 month change in CPI-U -- now set at 3.248%.
From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Product List Changes , 28640-28641 [2012-11675][TEXT] [PDF] Postal Service RULES Outbound International Mailings of Lithium Batteries and Other Dangerous Goods , 28488-28489 [2012-11483][TEXT] [PDF]
The Times of Malta: Maltapost's profit before tax has been halved, to 796,000 in the six months up to March from 1.69 million in same period last year. Traditional mail volumes are still on the decline, in line with trends across the world The company said its revenue streams had been impacted by the considerable increase in direct mail costs due to changes in tariffs regulated by the Universal Postal Union.
ITWeb: The South African Post Office (SAPO) says its e-business initiative that was started last year is starting to pay off.
May 14, 2012
SelfServiceWorld: Postea Inc., a technology provider for the postal, mailing and logistics industry, and NCR Corp. are partnering to "bring the post office into the 21st century." The companies are marketing their next-generation point-of-sale system for international post offices and their alternate access channels such as agencies, grocery stores or self-service kiosks.
Canadian Business: Arbitration hearings to settle a lingering dispute between Canada Post and its biggest union have been delayed again after the union won a stay of proceedings from the Federal Court. The union is seeking to block arbitrator Guy Dufort from hearing the case because of his previous work for Canada Post and history as a Tory candidate in Quebec.
PRNewswire: Neopost USA (www.neopostinc.com), an innovative solutions provider in the postal and related communications industry, and Bell and Howell (www.bellhowell.net), a leading provider of solutions and services for paper-based and digital messaging, announced a new partnership. Under the terms of the agreement, Bell and Howell will distribute and provide services and support for Neopost's folding and inserting technologies.
To MTAC Members Associations, Association Executives, and Representatives: In order to better understand the issues related to the Postal Service's offering the option of a Street-Style address to PO Box customers in approximately 6,400 offices, Frank Ippolito sent an email on April 30, 2012, to MTAC Association executives with a custom link to a survey to help track responses by industry. He asked the executives to share this link within their associations, and asked that responses be submitted by May 15th. Few responses have been received. The survey deadline has been extended another week to MAY 22 to give the industry more time to respond. Even if you are unable to complete the entire survey, please make an attempt to provide some information, and follow up with additional information later. If you have any questions, please contact: contact Frank at email@example.com, or call him at 202-268-4681.
PRNewswire: The U.S. Postal Service is offering the 2012 Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion to encourage commercial mailers to use mobile marketing tools such as QR codes on their mail. During July and August, the Postal Service is offering an upfront 2 percent postage discount on Standard Mail and First-Class Mail letters, flats and cards (presort and automation) that include a two-dimensional barcode or print/mobile technology that can be read or scanned by a mobile device. When scanned, the technology must activate a link directly to either a mobile-optimized Web page that allows the mail recipient to purchase a product or service or to a mobile-optimized and customized Web page uniquely tailored to the mail recipient and accessible by a personalized URL.
Columbia Journalism Review: While the service has often run a deficit during its 237-year history, it now faces the possibility of insolvency. Following a loss of $5.1 billion in fiscal year 2011, the service reported a $3.3 billion loss in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 alonea period that's typically the most profitable of the year because of mail sent in the winter holiday season. The USPS's total deficit as of last December was already $12.9 billion, and in February, the agency projected that it may run out of cash completely by October. All of this is alarming news for the magazine industry, which, despite its recent forays into digital publishing, still depends on the postal service to deliver almost 90 percent of its circulation. Some publishers at the summit wondered aloud just how worried they should be. What would happen if the USPS actually shut down?
Memorandum from Kathleen M. Turco, Associate Administrator, Office of Governmentwide Policy:
This bulletin provides guidance to Executive Branch agencies for improving mail management policies, procedures, and activities. This bulletin is effective on May 2, 2012. Federal agencies internal policies should address: (a) Consolidation of mail including presorting; (b) Reductions of hard copy agency-to-agency mailings; (c) Sustainable mail practices; and (d) Secure mail for teleworkers.
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General invites you to comment on this week's "Pushing the Envelope" blog topic: 2050 Dreaming. What will the world look like in 2050? A study commissioned by Deutsche Post DHL presents five potential visions of the future. What do you think of these scenarios? What role could the Postal Service play? Let us know on our blog.
From the Federal Register:
PostalVision2020: PV2020: an opportunity for imaginative thinking on future of #USPS, with insight from impressive lineup of speakers.
Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: Over the past week, Postal Service restrictions on shipping electronic devices such as cell phones, mpc players, tablets and laptops that contain lithium batteries have attracted significant interest on Russian language websites and among Russian language twitter users. The Postal Service will ban shipping consumer electronic devices (i.e. smart phones, tablets, laptops, and hearing aids among other items) starting May 16th due to UPU and international aviation bans of shipping lithium ion batteries on commercial aircraft. The last day for standard airmail international shipments is this Friday, May 4. As private sector carriers, DHL, FedEx and United Parcel Service, are not subject to the band they will continue to handle these shipments internationally. However, using a private sector carrier significantly reduces the advantage of buying from U.S. merchants as it can double or triple shipping charges and reduce or eliminate the arbitrage that foriegn buyers take advantage of by buying from U.S. merchants and using an agent in the U.S. to represent them in the purchase so that they can buy with a U.S. address and U.S. credit card.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), co-author of the 21st Century Postal Service Act and chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the Postal Service, has launched a new Web page that tracks the Postal Service's record losses and puts those losses in perspective by highlighting how rapidly the institution is hemorrhaging money while the U.S. House of Representatives continues to delay taking action on a comprehensive postal reform bill.
"The U.S. Postal Service is hemorrhaging money at a historic pace, and Congress can't stand idly by and allow it to continue to creep towards total financial collapse," said Sen. Carper. "The Postal Service can't afford to continue implementing stopgap, piecemeal measures that, unfortunately, don't begin to address the colossal financial challenges it's facing. The only action that will keep the Postal Service from insolvency and a potential disruption in service is for Congress to pass comprehensive postal reform legislation, but that can't happen until the House passes a bill. The longer the House delays action, the more losses the Postal Service racks up losses that continue to threaten a mailing industry that employs over 8 million people and generates almost $1 trillion in economic activity each year. As losses mount, the next step is clear: the House needs to act. I hope my friends in the House heed the call and pass a bill."Last week, the Postal Service announced that it lost $3.2 billion in the second quarter of this year and that it would move forward with an approach that would cut costs by offering modified services. This plan would only save the Postal Service $500 million annually the same amount the service is currently losing every 16 days. Although the Postal Reform Act of 2011 was passed out of the relevant House committee in October 2011, leaders in the House have yet to schedule a vote on the bill. The Senate, however, has passed the bipartisan 21st Century Postal Service Act, co-authored by Sens. Carper, Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.). This legislation gives the Postal Service the flexibility and resources it needs to right-size, modernize, and remain competitive in the 21st Century.
Daily Freeman: The U.S. Postal Service is still a lifeline for countless millions of Americans. For them, the prospect of reduced or, worse, no mail delivery is terrifying to imagine. Not so for the many millions who no longer rely on the mail in this age of digital commerce and social interaction.
Zawya: President of Saudi Post Mohamed Saleh bin Taher Benten confirmed the company has several initiatives in the pipeline in order to raise its performance and overcome difficulties since the organization started work eight years ago. Benten said the most important initiative is to improve customer satisfaction, stating that the Saudi Post is considered the first government agency to set up a profitable company specialized in postal transport called Naqel.
Statesman Journal: We hate to see Congress, once again, try to solve something piecemeal instead of looking at the issue comprehensively, and making substantial change that will address these financial issues that have been lingering for decades.
Time: "Post Office Hour Reductions, Called a "Win-Win," Feel More Like a Lose-Lose"
BBC: England's largest postal sorting office, based in central London, has had £32m worth of machinery installed. It is hoped the new equipment, which sorts letters at a rate of more than 30mph, at the Mount Pleasant depot will help improve delivery times in London. Recent figures show Royal Mail missed its delivery performance targets in 12 areas in the city. Royal Mail said the redevelopment had put it in a good position to "deliver a quality service".
Jobmouse: The House of Representatives voted for a 5 percent cut in postal and federal workers' pay May 10 by approving an increase in employees' pension contributions. A total of 218 Republican members of the House provided all 218 of the votes in favor, while 183 Democrats and 16 Republicans opposed it. The bill requires FERS employees to contribute 5.8 percent of each paycheck toward the FERS basic annuity portion of their pensions and requires CSRS employees to contribute 12 percent.
Great Falls Tribune: One might think news would be greeted warmly that 80 rural post offices in Montana, and many others across the country, will not be closed after all. Instead, U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus, both Democrats, replied that rural areas should not accept the offered alternative shorter hours for 13,000 rural post offices and pay and benefit reductions for postmasters and other postal workers in small towns across the country.
London Loves Business: Ahead of its privatisation in 2014, Royal Mail is planning to build homes on 6.5 acres of its 12 acre Mount Pleasant site in Farringdon. The plans have triggered fears that the new owners might not reinvest land sale profits in the modernisation of the postal service.
KCAU: A rally has been planned in support of keeping open a downtown Des Moines post office, which remains on a list of mail centers that could be closed. The American Postal Workers Union and other organizations are planning the rally Monday at 11:30 a.m. at the Capitol Square Post Office.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: While the Senate has approved a postal reform bill, there is no rush in the House, as no postal reform legislation is on the schedule again this week. And since the House will be taking another 10 day break at the end of this week, no postal legislation could even reach the floor until June.
Hellmail: The soon-to-be-privatised Royal Mail remains in a dire financial position. Despite the rise in e-commerce, and the knock-on effect of people sending more packets, Royal Mail's core letters business continues to haemorrhage money losing £41m for the half year to September 2011 (£55m: 2010). One of the key reasons behind the company's grave economic condition is the massive slump in mail volumes since 2006. The Royal Mail is still a trusted service and little would work without it, despite the increased use of electronic mail and other forms of communication. Despite the recent price hike, UK stamp prices are amongst the best value in the EU.
Forbes: Advertising plays the same role in your media diet that vegetables play in your regular diet; most of us would prefer to skip that course and go straight to dessert. But, just like veggies, advertising plays an important role in sustaining a body; in this case, a diverse body of content. Advertising is the great subsidizer of the press, entertainment, and online services. Without advertising, we'd all be stuck picking up the tab for our media content and online services by either paying higher prices or higher taxes
May 13, 2012
StarHerald: If you wonder why Congress can't get anywhere trying to cut federal spending, take a look at the Postal Service. Postal officials may be the first bureaucrats in history to propose cutting their own budget and find Congress standing in the way. On Thursday, the Postal Service reported a quarterly loss of $3.2 billion and blamed Congress for blocking the agency's cost-cutting efforts to offset declining mail volume and mounting costs for future retiree health benefits.
AllAfrica.com: DAR ES SALAAM region will soon start an exercise to register its postal code. The regional leadership will next week host a fundraising dinner, to be officiated by a national leader to facilitate the exercise, the Commissioner, Said Mecky Sadiki has said. Mr Sadiki made the comment during a seminar for editors on the importance for post codes organized by the Tanzanian Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) held in Dar es Salaam yesterday. According to Mr Sadiki, the postal code project is part of the implementation of the National Policy on Posts (2003). Earlier, TCRA Director General, Professor John Nkhoma, said postal codes are vital for enhancing social economic development, by facilitating easy distribution of letters, parcels and other services more efficiently. Postal codes also promote jobs creation.
The Guardian: The TNT Post trial is one of several challenges that the government-owned Royal Mail faces as it prepares for a disposal or partial sale in 2014. The company has separated from the Post Office network, which will stay in state hands, and its £37bn pension deficit has been taken on by the Treasury. Solving the pension problem makes the business more attractive to investors, but TNT Post is a worry because if the trial becomes a nationwide operation it will take the most profitable business from Royal Mail. The Royal Mail's core mail collection and delivery unit picking up the post, sorting it and putting it through your letterbox has lost nearly £1bn in four years. Mail volumes have fallen by a quarter since 2006, to 59m letters and parcels a day, leaving the company with an ever tougher challenge to make a profit. All the while it must carry out its universal service obligation to deliver mail anywhere in the UK, six days a week. The Royal Mail is calling for the TNT Post service to be regulated.
Des Moines Register: Were post offices truly snatched from the jaws of death last week when the United States Postal Service reversed course and announced that instead of closing 3,700 mostly rural offices, it would slash hours of operation at 13,000 of them 572 in Iowa? Depends on whom you ask. I encountered a mixture of relief and skepticism as I checked in with everybody from a feisty mayor in southwest Iowa to the chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C. Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway said that she anticipated this new plan at least in broad outlines: Donahoe hinted within the last two months that reduced hours could be a fresh tactic. But now she's curious to hear how the USPS calculated its proposed reduced hours for all 13,000 post offices on last week's list; the formula hasn't been revealed. Goldway's core, "principled dispute" with the USPS remains: Its vast retail network should be seen as a "strategic advantage" to drive revenue, not a playground for cost-cutting sprees.
Des Moines Register: Trying to make sense of the numbers whenever the United States Postal Service launches into a new cost-savings plan can be maddening particularly because the plan shifts even as you try to reconcile the millions of dollars at stake. Midwest and rural states do seem to take a beating with these reduced hours, similar to the previous closure plan. Save the Post Office also weaves together intriguing estimates that suggest how the USPS's projected $500 million in savings from its new plan might easily evaporate with all the additional costs created. This has been a familiar discussion the last couple years. When I spoke to Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway earlier this week, she noted how previous USPS estimates included double-counting of productivity changes. And a $2 billion projected savings from reduction of the mail-processing network has since been shaved by 22 percent.
Heritage: JPMorgan Chase's $2 billion trading loss is top news nationwide. But over at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), such losses are business as usual. USPS reported a typical (for it) $3.2 billion loss for the most recent quarter. Try that comparison on for size.
Federal Times: It ranked among the U.S. Postal Service's biggest automation investments ever: an $875 million contract with Northrop Grumman to produce 100 massive sorting systems, each capable of handling millions of magazines, catalogs and other pieces of flat mail. Five years later, the deal has dissolved into acrimony and finger-pointing. In a newly filed lawsuit in the Court of Federal Claims, Northrop accuses the Postal Service of violating the terms of the 2007 fixed-price agreement. Specifically, Northrop says the Postal Service imposed numerous after-the-fact changes to the contract that delayed and disrupted delivery of the systems, thereby driving up costs. The company argues the contract now worth about $902 million after modifications agreed to by both sides should be restructured to allow payment of all reasonable expenses. Early last year, the Postal Service stopped paying invoices, leaving an outstanding balance of some $63 million, the suit says. In all, Northrop is seeking about $179 million. Last year, Northrop was the Postal Service's third-largest contractor. Now, however, the company has decided to "de-emphasize" the domestic postal automation business, its chief financial officer, Jim Palmer, told stock analysts in a conference call last month.
May 11, 2012
News.am: For introducing new services Haypost Armenian postal service will use the experience of one of Europe's leading companies the Italian postal service, the General Director of Haypost Trust Management Juan Pablo Gechidjian announced at a press conference on Friday. "This program will raise the social involvement level of Haypost in the regions which is very important," he said. The project participant from the Italian Poste Italiane Alberto Butaroni announced that they have already conducted the needed research and are ready to start work in Armenia.
Missed the PostCom webinar on using the IMb code as a substitute for the QR code? Not to worry. You can still listen to the webinar by going to https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/398743864 and you can find the slides used during the webinar on this site.
DMM Advisory: Recognition of Distribution of Periodicals via Electronic Copies On Wednesday, May 9, the PeriodicalsRecognition of Distribution of Periodicals via Electronic Copies final rule was posted on the Federal Register website. It will be posted soon on the Postal Explorer® website under Federal Register Notices. The final rule permits limited reporting of electronic copies of Periodicals publications to satisfy the circulation standards for Periodicals qualification. The implementation date is May 9, 2012.
American Postal Workers Union: As the May 15 expiration of a moratorium on the closure of post offices and mail processing facilities approaches, the American Postal Workers Union is urging the House of Representatives to address postal reform immediately, and to use the Senate bill as a starting point. The attention of lawmakers, postal workers and customers shifted to the House after the Senate passed a bi-partisan postal bill (S. 1789) on April 25, but, so far, House leaders have displayed no sense of urgency in addressing the issue. The USPS' May 9 announcement about keeping rural offices open isn't binding and won't solve the USPS financial crisis, so we must keep fighting, the union says. "We cannot allow legislative inaction to force the USPS to implement drastic cuts that will destroy the nation's mail system, damage service, and jeopardize tens of thousands ofjobs," said APVlU President Cliff Guffey. "The Senate bill is flawed," Guffey said, "but it is much better than an earlier version - and it is infinitely better than the bill that was approved by a House Committee last year.
PostCom welcomes its newest member: Opower 1515 N. Courthouse Road, 8th Floor Arlington, VA 22201-2909 represented by Valerie Florez , Senior Manager, Production Operations
The United States Postal Service® has been working closely with a wide range of organizations through MTAC and individually on issues related to the Postal Service's offering PO Box customers in approximately 6,400 offices the option of a Street-Style address. The purpose of the survey is to ensure a broad range of input on how the P.O. Box Street Address (PBSA) may impact the mailing community. Below is the link to the USPS Street Addressing survey that has been developed with the help of our MTAC participants: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/StreetAddressing18 Responses are due by COB May 15th. For additional information on PBSA, you may access the Street Addressing Guide on the RIBBS website: https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mtcsa
New Kerala: Indian postal services are being modernised and upgraded to provide more services including banking in rural areas.
Consumer Electronics Net: Hybrid Mail certainly isnt new although many existing services serve only the business-to-business market. Elementary Mail is bringing a fresh introduction to this already popular concept, with a consumer-geared service for the everyday person. The new online mailing service allows users to send postal mail to any address in the world by doing nothing more than spending a few minutes at their computer.
Bloomberg News: The U.S. Postal Service said it will temporarily run out of cash in October unless Congress allows cuts that include ending Saturday delivery and its requirement to pay for future retirees' health benefits in advance. "We cannot continue to run a business with a cash balance that's expected to be zero," Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett said yesterday on a conference call with reporters, noting it would reach that point at the start of what's historically the service's strongest quarter. "We need to put ourselves on solid financial footing."
Charleston Daily Mail: The Postal Service, like many other businesses, faces a greatly altered situation as a result of the rapid extension of Internet services like email and online shopping and bill-paying. The volume of mail has dropped by 25 percent since 2006. Many of the nation's post offices are simply not needed. But it's an election year, and the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate positioned themselves as defenders of rural residents, and more importantly, unionized postal workers.
Houston Business Chronicle: To ensure timely delivery of the Houston Business Journal, beginning with the May 25-31 issue, the HBJ will be delivered to most subscribers by hand. The U.S. Postal Service is preparing to make changes in its delivery standards that affect the timing of how it handles periodicals, including the Houston Business Journal, that could result in a delivery delay of 24 hours or longer. That means delivery of the Houston Business Journal on Friday could not be guaranteed, and in most cases, HBJ subscribers would not receive their issues until a day or two later. Under the new system, most subscribers will receive the paper early Friday morning at the addresses currently on file. Those HBJ subcribers who also take delivery of the Houston Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times or USA Today will find their Houston Business Journal in the same location.
Atlanta Business Chronicle: Starting May 16, new United States Postal Service (USPS) regulations will prohibit customers from mailing iPads, Kindles, Smartphones, and other electronics with lithium batteries overseas, reports Fast Company. While the news is a headache for military families and electronics manufacturers and resellers, private delivery firms such as Atlanta-based United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) stand to gain, the publication notes. Shipping with a private service to the military could take more work in addition to extra cash, Fast Company says. Neither UPS, DHL, nor FedEx ships directly to many military boxes. (FedEx offers a service for military boxes, SmartPost, which is subject to the same restrictions).
Chicago Tribune: It always was hard to fathom that our representatives in Washington, given what influence they have, ever would allow mass closings of rural post offices. This could yet happen, but not this year during a presidential election and a vote on all 435 House seats. Not next year, either, or apparently the year after. Instead of closing 3,700 low-revenue post offices, more than 13,000 will have their hours of operation cut by two to six hours daily, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said Wednesday. The decision is a remarkable acknowledgement the "independent" U.S. Postal Service requires support from both Congress and the public.
New Haven Register: Of all the service cuts proposed to save the U.S. Postal Service, the one that would be missed the least is Saturday mail delivery. The Postal Service has lost $26 billion since 2006 as first-class mail has dropped from 213 billion pieces then to 168 billion in 2011. Email, Twitter and social media such as Facebook now carry much of the communication that used to be mailed. Ending Saturday service would save $3.1 billion a year. But that savings is not in a Senate bill cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn.
Marketwire: Zumbox, the world's first digital postal system, today announced a secure, digital alternative for Wells Fargo vSafe to service the Wells Fargo customers affected by the service's closing as of March 2012. As consumers increase interactions with various online properties, the need for a secure digital destination for document storage and retrieval also increases. Zumbox is a provider of digital postal mail and gives consumers a free system that allows them to receive and store bills, statements, insurance disclosures and other important postal mail in one central, online location. Unlike vSafe and other similar offerings, a person's Zumbox stores everything forever, for free and enables convenient anytime access, including from a mobile device. Digital postal mail provides users with a combination digital mailbox and filing system based on individual street addresses. It offers additional benefits above and beyond traditional document storage services
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Quarterly Performance Reports for Quarter 2 of FY 2012
Rep. Dennis Ross: "The Postal Service continues to lose money at a staggering rate of $25 million a day. Today's announcement is yet another clear example that Congress needs to put the public interest ahead of special interests, and let USPS adapt to the changes the American people have already made. Unfortunately, the recent Senate-passed bill would actually make things worse for the Postal Service because it will stop USPS from almost all necessary cost-cutting measures. With USPS running out of cash, Congress must be willing to make hard decisions to let USPS modernize. Only the House bill allows this to happen."
The Atlantic Wire: The odd thing about the news that the United States Postal Service will soon ban overseas shipments of iPads, Kindles, or similar electronics with lithium batteries is how little a splash it seems to be making among electronics fans. The Postal Service mentioned it in a bulletin on May 3 and the folks on the shipping website Shipito's message board noticed last week -- and it just doesn't seem to have grabbed the attention of gadget fans. Perhaps the implication of the ban, which starts May 16, hasn't fully sunk in: This means you can't use the postal service to ship an iPad, laptop, smart phone, or any other device that uses a lithium battery, anywhere overseas -- including to soldiers posted abroad. While hard statistics on the USPS's international operation weren't readily available through its website (we've called to ask if such data is available and will update you if we find it), the decline in overall mail volume has been well documented. Meanwhile, you're more likely to ship electronics with companies such as DHL, whose international shipping operation is growing, and which doesn't ban the batteries. Just a thought: If the postal service is struggling so much, maybe it should think about making changes that encourage people to use its service, not discourage them.
PRNewswire: The U.S. Postal Service's announcement about the most recent fiscal quarter reinforces our view of the financial situation facing the USPS and how it can be fixed. The Postal Service reports that 96 percent of its losses $3.05 billion out of $3.18 billion have nothing to do with mail delivery expenses, but rather result from an external political mandate. Today's report follows on last quarter's financial statement by the Postal Service, which also showed that in operational terms the Postal Service is doing quite well in fact last quarter there was a $200 million profit delivering the mail, with pre-funding accounting for all the losses. The Postal Service's own data shows that the first thing Congress needs to do is address this artificial political burden that is driving almost all the red ink. For the first half of this fiscal year, the USPS reports that pre-funding accounts for $6.2 billion of the $6.5 billion in red ink. It would be absurd to start to dismantle the universal network and degrade service to the American people and America's businesses when almost all of the red ink has nothing to do with the costs of those services but stems directly from a burden that Congress imposed and Congress could fix overnight.
Business Insider: "The United States Postal Service can't manage to balance a budget. USPS enjoys a "statutory monopoly" on non-urgent First Class Mail and the exclusive right to put mail in private mailboxes. (No joke!) Yet it bleeds money like no privately-owned business ever would or even could. Why is that? American individualist anarchist and proud owner of one of history's coolest beards, Lysander Spooner, thought he knew the answer to this question 150 years ago. Put simply: It's the government, stupid! Postal rates were notoriously high during the 1840s, a direct result, thought Spooner, of the USPS's aforementioned monopoly status. Why charge less when there is no competition? Nobody's going to undercut you at any price. Similarly, why bother to offer better service? Nobody's going to siphon off your customers. You're the only game in town! In response to the outrageous rates and abysmal service, Spooner set about opening his American Letter Mail Company. He argued that the constitution (with which he didn't necessarily agree on many issues), granted the government powers to establish mail but not to exclude others from entering the marketplace too.
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
American Postal Workers Union: The APWU is continuing to analyze the Postal Service's May 9 announcement that it will allow rural post offices to remain open, but with reduced hours. "We support efforts to preserve servi"e to the American people," said APWU President Cliff Guffey. "In fact, we believe the long-term survival of the Postal Service depends on expanding service and offering new products. "We applaud the proposal to allow greater community input on rural postal services and to keep offices open, but we are disappointed by the decision to reduce hours at these offices. "The outpouring of interest in USPS plans demonstrates the importance of the Postal Service to our nation. It also demonstrates the importance of maintaining the service standards the American people have come to expect. "Unfortunately, the Postal Service's latest plan will not solve the USPS financial crisis, and it is important to note that 223 mail processing facilities remain in jeopardy. "Only Congress can restore financial stability to the USPS by relieving the agency of the unreasonable requirement to pre-fund 75 years worth of healthcare benefits for future retirees in a 10-year period.
BusinessWire: FedEx Corp. has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire TATEX, a leading French business-to-business express transportation company. The acquisition represents the latest FedEx investment in delivering sustainable growth in Europe. This transaction is subject to necessary regulatory approvals and customary conditions.
May 10, 2012
U.S. Postal Service: The U.S. Postal Service announced that its quarter two loss for the current fiscal year totaled $3.177 billion. The Postal Service said that it continues to suffer from a severe lack of liquidity caused by over $25 billion of cumulative net losses in the past five fiscal years which included $21 billion of Congressionally-mandated payments for prefunding retiree health benefits. During those five years, the Postal Service's debt has increased by nearly $11 billion to finance the losses and prefunding payments. It said that won't have the cash to make a required payment for future retirees' health benefits. Mail volumes are continuing to decline. See also the Postal Service's press release. The slides used by the CFO during his teleconference have been posted on this site.
Sen. Thomas Carper: Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Postal Service, released the following reaction to the announcement that the U.S. Postal Service lost $3.2 billion in the second quarter of fiscal year 2012:
"Today's announcement that the U.S. Postal Service lost $3.2 billion in the second quarter of fiscal year 2012 shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. This comes on the heels of several years of steep losses, including a $3.3 billion loss just last quarter, which historically is the Postal Service's strongest financial quarter. The Postal Service can't afford to continue hemorrhaging money like this and Congress can't stand idly by and allow it to continue to creep towards collapse. The Postal Service supports a trillion dollar mailing industry and over eight million jobs. At a time when we're fighting to create jobs and grow our economy, allowing the Postal Service to go under is simply not an option. As I have said time and time again, this is a dire situation but it is not hopeless - it does, however, require quick action from Congress to solve the problem. While the Postal Service is moving forward under its current authorities with some stopgap, piecemeal efforts to reduce costs, these measures don't even begin to address the serious financial crisis facing this American institution. The reality is that Congress must pass comprehensive postal reform legislation to provide the Postal Service with the tools and resources it needs to not just survive in the 21st century, but to thrive. The Senate responded to this need for action by passing the bipartisan 21st Century Postal Service Act (S.1789) last month. While that legislation is not perfect, it includes meaningful reforms that respond to the Postal Service's financial woes. Now the House must do its part and pass its own version of postal reform legislation. Every day that the House delays, the Postal Service loses $25 million. We can't afford to wait any longer. It is my hope that the House will soon announce its plans for action so that Congress and the Administration can come together on a plan in to save the Postal Service before it's too late."
Wall Street Journal: "Two years after Europe bailed Greece out to protect the euro, the rescue has become a debacle that threatens to unravel the common currency." [EdNote: Makes you wonder what we'll be saying about the Postal Service and its impact on the economy if we fail to come up with a truly sufficient postal reform solution.]
(1) It must ensure the fiscal viability of the U.S. Postal Service,
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., cosponsor of the House postal reform legislation (H.R. 2309) offered the following statement on today's announcement by the United States Postal Service (USPS):
"The smallest 10,000 post offices collectively cost USPS less than $600 million dollars to operate each year. That is less than one-eighth of the $5 billion USPS spends each year to operate its network of 32,000 post offices. To achieve real savings creating long-term solvency, the Postal Service needs to focus on consolidation in more populated areas where the greatest opportunities for cost reduction exist. Under House postal reform legislation, USPS would achieve substantial savings and improve customer service by shifting retail access in densely populated areas to less expensive alternatives that offer superior hours."
Washington Post: A bill passed by the Senate last month placed restrictions on most post office closings, placating senators from Maine to Wyoming. But the House bill, which demands more cost savings, allows the closings to proceed, prompting bipartisan opposition from House members representing rural districts. "If the House bill came to the floor, there would have been an uprising in both parties," said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who has joined forces with Rep. Michael G. Grimm (R-N.Y.) in fighting the closures. Ali Ahmad, a spokesman for House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the bill's sponsor, said the congressman is "continuing to work with rural members to address their concerns about their constituents' access to postal services." In a statement, Issa said postal officials need to make deeper cuts to the retail network, looking for cost savings beyond rural post offices to suburban and urban ones.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 27491-27492 [2012-11204][TEXT] [PDF]
USPS Network Operations will host a webinar on Mail Transport Equipment (MTE) next Monday, May 14, from 2:00-3:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time) -- Mail Transport Equipment (MTE) includes trays, sleeves, flat tubs, sacks, pallets and rolling stock used by mailers and the Postal Service to move mail throughout the network. Please join this webinar to learn how the Postal Service serves the MTE needs of mailers of all sizes. The webinar will cover the processes for fulfilling orders, and for repositioning MTE from locations where there is excess to areas that need more. Webinar participants will hear about the large quantity of new MTE arriving now and continuing through late summer, as well as the debut of a new MM tray material that is being tested. Please join in to learn the latest on web-based MTE ordering, which will be phased in starting in early Fall 2012. If you have questions about the webinar, please contact Wendy Hocking, Manager, Industry Engagement Strategy and MTAC Program Manager, at 202-268-8149 or firstname.lastname@example.org
May 9, 2012
Government Executive: As U.S. Postal Service representatives announced a new plan for rural post office closures Wednesday, discussion continues on a more comprehensive USPS overhaul. No matter the outcome or timeline for reform, a lesser-known regulation already on the books could affect Postal Service retirees' pay and benefits in the near term. About half the Postal Service's 283,000 employees are eligible to retire, and 80 percent of the cash-strapped agency's costs are labor-related. Some who work on postal reform legislation estimate that as many as 150,000 USPS employees could retire today, and another 100,000 could be eligible in the next four years. As a result, USPS policymakers are closely watching recent proposals that would institute work-retirement hybrid programs for all federal workers. Both the House and Senate have approved proposals to help ease eligible employees into retirement slowly -- allowing agencies such as USPS to delay hiring and training new employees.
The Republic: U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus say rural areas shouldn't accept reduced hours. They argue Senate legislation currently stalled in the GOP-controlled House cuts spending in other ways while fully protecting rural post offices.
WTRF: W.Va. Sen. Jay Rockefeller issued the following statement on the U.S. Postal Service's decision to reduce hours at 13,000 post offices nationwide and almost 500 in West Virginia.
The Emporia Gazette: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) today announced it will not close any of the 134 post offices in Kansas that were being considered for closure or consolidation, nor will it close the more than 3,600 post offices nationwide that were included in USPS' Expanded Access study. U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a member of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee which has jurisdiction over the Postal Service said that "this news is a win for communities across Kansas."
Rapid City Journal: South Dakota's congressional delegation welcomed the U.S. Postal Service's announcement Wednesday that it will seek to keep thousands of rural post offices open with shorter hours.
A copy of the Postal Service's slides used during its press presentation on its "Plan to Preserve Rural Post Offices" has been posted on this site.
Auctionbytes: On April 26, 2012, the Postal Service filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission requesting that Parcel Post service be moved from the market dominant list to the competitive product list, which would give it more flexibility in raising rates. The Postal Service estimates that only 15 percent of Parcel Post's volume is attributable to small businesses. The USPS said it recognizes that a price increase would be necessary "to ensure that Parcel Post covers its attributable costs and prohibits market dominant products from subsidizing competitive products."
USPS Lite Blue: USPS has announced a strategy that could keep the nation's smallest Post Offices open for business. The plan would provide a framework to achieve significant cost savings as part of an overall strategy to return the organization to financial stability. The new strategy would keep an existing Post Office in place, but with modified window hours to match customer use. Local management will strive to make access to the retail lobby and to PO Boxes available even when window service hours are not offered. Under this plan, the Postal Service estimates a half-billion dollars in annual savings after implementation. USPS also has announced a Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) and Special Incentive Offer for the nation's 21,000 Postmasters. The offer consists of a one-time, $20,000 cash incentive, payable in two installments. Postmasters who want to leave under the VER as well as Postmasters who have reached their minimum retirement age and service requirements, and those who wish to voluntarily resign are eligible for this special cash incentive. PCES Postmasters are not included in this offer. Postmasters will have until June 22, 2012 to accept the offer and must agree to leave the Postal Service effective July 31, 2012. Postmasters accepting the offer will receive two payments $10,000 on Dec. 21, 2012, and $10,000 on Dec. 20, 2013, less withholdings and taxes. Part-time Postmasters will receive pro-rated payments on the same dates. All eligible Postmasters will receive a retirement kit and a retirement annuity payment estimate from the Postal Service next week.
National League of Postmasters: The National League of Postmasters shares the news with its members regarding the PMG's announcement of small post office hour adjustments.
Sen. Susan Collins: U.S. Senator Susan Collins, one of the lead sponsors of bipartisan, comprehensive postal reform legislation, issued the following statement regarding the Postmaster General's comments today about rural post offices.
Postmaster General Pat Donahoe announced that none of the 3,200 post offices slated for closure last year will be forcibly shuttered. However, about 13,000 post offices will either have work hours reduced, be co-located at a nearby business such as the local pharmacy, merged with another location, or service will be provided to residents and businesses in the affected community by either rural carrier or highway contract route.
"I am cautiously optimistic that the Postmaster General has now devised a plan that will help preserve some essential postal services for rural America, while allowing the Postal Service to reduce its costs as it must do. Reduced hours at certain post offices or their co-location with another facility or a retail store, if properly designed, could well accomplish both goals. To be effective, such a plan must, however, take into account people's schedules and post offices should be open at times convenient to their customers. The fact is, there are many options to cut costs and expand revenue while preserving service, such as: reducing the size of processing plants without closing them, shifting hours of some post offices, permitting other state or local services to be administered at post offices, or moving tiny post offices into grocery or other stores within the same community.
"It's good news if, indeed, most of the 3,200 smaller post offices currently targeted by the Postal Service will not close, but rather that creative ways to reduce their costs will be explored. Involving communities and providing different options for mail service will both save the Postal Service money and also continue to ensure timely and effective access to postal services for customers. There should be clear minimum standards for service -- which we establish in the bill just passed through the Senate -- and communities should have a real voice in the decision.
"It is good news as well that the Postmaster General apparently has decided to implement some of the common-sense suggestions many of us have been urging for more than a year. I remain troubled that processing facilities could still be closed beginning just next week, which makes no sense at all given the progress on postal reform legislation. I expect to discuss this issue with the Postmaster General later today."
A list of post offices which will be operating under reduced hours in accordance with the USPS announcement made earlier today has been posted on this site.
DMM Advisory: POSTNET Barcode Discontinuation On Thursday, May 3, the POSTNET Barcode Discontinuation final rule was posted on the Federal Register website and it is posted on the Postal Explorer® website under Federal Register Notices. The final rule, which takes into consideration comments received from the mailing community, discontinues automation price eligibility based on the use of POSTNET barcodes on all types of mail. The implementation date is January 28, 2013.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Docket No. RM2010-13: "Consideration of Technical Methods to Be Applied in Workshare Discount Design" The Commission emphasizes that its collection cost workpapers serve only to illustrate how the new analytical principles adopted in Order No. 1320 would be applied to current data in the event that the Postal Service proposes to adjust discounts for presorted First-Class Mail."
PostCom Members! The USPS at the IDEAlliance Print Distribution conference today gave an update on its network rationalization plans. Here are some highlights:
Attention PostalOne! Users. PostalOne! Database Maintenance - There will be maintenance performed on the PostalOne! database during the scheduled maintenance window 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. CDT on Sunday, May 13, 2012 to address today's system availability issue root cause. This will be accomplished in a rolling fashion with no expected system outage. Users may experience brief connectivity interruptions but should be able to immediately log back in to the system. Web Services will be available for FAST and eDoc processing
PostCom Members! At today's IDEAlliance Print Distribution conference, the USPS said that it plans to publish its final rules outlining the new service standards for its network rationalization initiative by the end of May, with the changes taking effect around the start of July. The USPS also plans to announce specific plans for facility changes at that time, and said the changes it will make in 2012 are likely to include some operational changes and centralization within existing facilities to reflect the new service standards, which will occur between July and August, without making widespread facility closures in 2012.
New York Times: The United States Postal Service said Wednesday that it wanted to keep hundreds of small post offices open with reduced hours, whittling down its ambitious plan to streamline its services and balance its books. Giving Congress more time to consider alternatives, the service held back from the wholesale closures of thousands of mostly rural post offices or slowing down mail delivery, as it had proposed earlier.
Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican of California who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued a statement that a House proposal would seek to save money mostly by consolidating post offices in more populated areas rather than the tiniest rural offices. "The smallest 10,000 post offices collectively cost U.S.P.S. less than $600 million dollars to operate each year," he said. "That is less than one-eighth of the $5 billion U.S.P.S. spends each year to operate its network of 32,000 post offices. To achieve real savings creating long-term solvency, the Postal Service needs to focus on consolidation in more populated areas where the greatest opportunities for cost reduction exist."
Press Release: Bell and Howell, a leading provider of solutions and services for paper-based and digital messaging, is pleased to announce that Bob Schimek, vice president of postal software engineering, has received the 2012 IDEAlliance Donald A. Mumma Award. The IDEAlliance Donald A. Mumma Award is the highest award of distinction that IDEAlliance presents in the mail preparation and processing arena. The award recognizes Mr. Schimek's contributions to the industry spanning nearly twenty years and was presented at the 2012 IDEAlliance Print Distribution Conference in San Antonio, TX.
Sen. Tom Carper: Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Postal Service and co-author of the 21st Century Postal Service Act, has released the following statement reacting to the Postmaster General's announcement that the Postal Service would seek to reduce operating hours at post offices across the country and offer retirement incentives to postal employees:
"I am glad that many of the ideas presented today by the Postmaster General track closely with those included in the Senate bill, the 21st Century Postal Service Act, which I co-authored and which passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote in April. The Postal Service's plan gives local communities a voice in ensuring that essential postal services are preserved by allowing them to select from a menu of service options while still allowing the Postal Service to reduce costs. It also encourages eligible postal employees to retire, saving additional money for the Postal Service. This proposal allows the Postal Service to move forward with some cost saving efforts by utilizing tools it currently has access to, but the reality is that the Postal Service is forced to rely on a limited toolbox because Congress has yet to pass comprehensive, long-term reform to give the Postal Service the resources and flexibility it needs to significantly address its financial challenges.
"Stopgap, piecemeal measures like the proposal offered today only address a small part of the problem and will not keep the Postal Service from an imminent collapse. This plan does not address some serious issues that continue to drain the Postal Service's finances every day, including its costly retiree health care payments and past overpayments to the Federal Employee Retirement System - which total nearly $11 billion. Moreover, this solution doesn't go far enough to encourage a responsible reduction in its workforce.
"The Postal Service needs a comprehensive solution, not more tinkering around the edges. The Senate passed a comprehensive bill that would modernize the Postal Service, allowing it to right-size and become competitive in the 21st century. Now, it's up to the House to pass a bill. We can't wait any longer."
U.S. Postal Service announced a new strategy today that could keep the nation's smallest Post Offices open for business , while providing a framework to achieve significant cost savings as part of the plan to return the organization to financial stability. The plan would keep the existing Post Office in place, but with modified retail window hours to match customer use. Access to the retail lobby and to PO Boxes would remain unchanged, and the town's ZIP Code and community identity would be retained. The Postal Service will provide an opportunity for the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to review this plan prior to making any changes. The Postal Service intends to file a request for an advisory opinion on the plan with the PRC later this month. Community meetings would then be conducted to review options in greater detail. Communities will be notified by mail of the date, time and location of these meetings.
This new option complements existing alternatives, which include:
Federal Times: The U.S. Postal Service's inspector general is out with a new overview of employee retirement options. This is a hot topic nowadays, given that USPS leaders have been open about their interest in using early-out incentives as a glide path to a much smaller agency. One finding: More than 189,000 postal employees (that's well above one-third of the current career workforce) are eligible to retire in fiscal 2012. That number appears to be a good bit higher than the figure used by postal execs, who generally put the ratio at around one in four. The report also notes that the Postal Service already has the authority to offer early retirements in fiscal 2012, and "may request an extension to" 2013. The IG doesn't attempt to answer the big question, though: When the agency might actually follow through with an offer. The IG also makes no recommendations on how USPS leaders should proceed, but does offer a handy summary of annuity formulas, the mechanics of early retirement options, etc. Definitely worth a look.
BusinessWire: Vertis Communications, a results-driven marketing communications company, today announced an extension to its proven postal optimization offerings with the addition of advanced commingling capabilities. With commingling, Vertis improves its comprehensive postal solution that moves its clients' programs further downstream in the USPS delivery system and achieves higher postal discounts.
WISH: The struggling U.S. Postal Service is trying to tamp down concern over its wide-scale cuts, saying it will seek to keep hundreds of rural post offices open with shorter hours. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe tells a news conference the new plan will save the mail agency half a billion dollars each year while addressing concerns of rural residents most opposed to post office closings. Previously, up to 3,700 low-revenue post offices were slated for closure or consolidation beginning sometime after May 15, many in rural areas. It was part of a multibillion-dollar postal cost-cutting effort to stave off the agency's bankruptcy. The Postal Service now plans to seek regulatory approval for the new plan and get community input, a process that could take several months.
Press Release: Bell and Howell, a leading provider of solutions and services for paper-based and digital messaging, has announced support for USPS® Customer Supplier Agreements (CSA) in its BCC Mail Manager Full Service and BCC Mail Manager solutions at no additional charge to customers. With this new functionality, mailers will be further equipped and ready for future Full-Service Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb) requirements. CSAs are specialized postage sortation, container separation and induction requirements negotiated between mailers and the United States Postal Service®.
Financial Times: If there's one thing that works across the Arab world, it's delivery. From Cairo to Dubai, a fleet of men on scooters, bicycles and foot will deliver pretty much anything to your door, from a Big Mac to a cigarette lighter. And plugging that hunger for to-the-door service into the global e-commerce boom is proving to be a healthy earner for one Middle East company.
Post & Parcel: The world's postal regulators are concentrating on the "wrong parameter" to enforce postal delivery standards, according to a new benchmark industry report from the International Postal Corporation. The Focus on the Future report says regulatory regimes are forcing postal operators to focus on the percentage of their mail that is delivered next day which it says customers do not necessarily care about. Instead, the report suggests reliability of service over a two- or three-day speed is more important to postal customers, who ultimately want a predictable rather than an overnight delivery.
DI-VE: In its interim results for the six months ending March 31, MaltaPost plc stated that the considerable increase in direct mail costs due to changes in tariffs regulated by the Universal Postal Union have had a negative impact on the company's revenue. The company, owned by Lombard Bank plc, said that it is now working closely with the Malta Communications Authority "to ensure a fair regulatory approach which is appropriate and relevant to the challenging and dynamic competitive markets in which it operates."
Bloomberg Businessweek: Forty-one years ago Congress told the U.S. Postal Service to start acting like an independent business and pay its own way. Every time the Postal Service tries, something stands in the way: Congress. Facing annual losses of $18.2 billion by 2015 and a possible default this year, the Postal Service has a five-year plan for profitability. Each element of the plan has an opponent.
Wisconsin State Journal: Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has been saying the right things. If only our meddling lawmakers would listen. Donahoe is the man with a solid plan to fix the U.S. Postal Service's bleeding bottom line. Other industries including the newspaper business have had to hustle and adjust to changing technology during a challenging economy. Postal Service leaders seem willing to deliver change, too, if only Congress would let them.
Washington Post: The U.S. Postal Service intends to announce Wednesday that it has found a way to save hundreds of rural post offices it had planned to close, in part by cutting hours of the postmasters and other workers that staff them, postal and congressional officials said. The move comes in response to pushback from members of Congress representing rural areas, who waged a vocal campaign in recent months to protect small post offices in their districts that were on the chopping block.
CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:
PostNL experienced a weaker start into the new year than expected. On Monday this week the Dutch post reported a 4% drop in revenues to 1.07bn euros. 'Overall, the start of the year was slightly weaker than anticipated', Herna Verhagen, the company's new CEO, commented on the results.
Flourishing business in Asia and the booming e-commerce sector spurred Deutsche Post's performance in the first quarter.
Itella recorded turnover and volume growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. Especially increased revenues from the advertising and parcel business contributed to this development.
Austrian Post bought into another Eastern European company. Just a few weeks after the takeover of Polish Kolporta Rzetelny (CEP-News 12/12), Austrian Post bought a stake in Bulgarian postal operator M&BM Express.
The parcel market remains 'the warrantor of growth for the entire postal industry'. The German regulatory authority, the Federal Network Agency, comes to a clear conclusion in its now published annual report.
In 2011 the Canada Post Group slid into the red for the first time in 17 years.
La Poste plans to take over French online marketing specialist Adverline through its subsidiary Mediapost.
10% of Posten Norge's post offices can be closed or run by external partners in the next two to three years. In particular this affects 149 of Posten Norge's current 1,450 post offices. According to unanimous media reports around 1,000 jobs will thus be lost at Posten Norge.
Complaints from private households and companies about La Poste's quality of service have sharply risen in France.
The Federal Network Agency has forbidden Deutsche Post to deliver bills as so-called Infopost
Consumer protection organisations are not poised to accept Swiss Post's price increase without a fight. Recently, Swiss Post increased the rates for several special services like change of address and registered mail considerably. After a meeting of the Alliance of Swiss Consumer Right Protection Bodies and Swiss Post did not bear any results.
Austrian Post plans to boost its Mail-Solutions unit and tries to convince domestic firms to digitalise their mail.
Itella announced to significantly expand its parcel terminal network in Finland and Estonia.
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
Postal Technology International: A benchmark industry report from International Post Corporation (IPC) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) concludes that with consumer and business habits irrevocably changed, the postal industry requires fundamental transformation to take fullest advantage of the great opportunities these new realities offer the postal industry. [Full Report]
From the Federal Register: Postal Service RULES Periodicals: Recognition of Distribution of Periodicals via Electronic Copies , 27125-27126 [2012-11107][TEXT] [PDF]
May 8, 2012
YouTube: Fox News covers the Senate bailout plan for the U.S. Postal Service and Rep. Issa & Rep. Ross' Postal Reform Act, which would fundamentally change the way USPS is run so that it can save itself as a business without using a taxpayer-funded bailout.
YouTube: The U.S. Postal Service has launched a new mobile application for iPhone users that allows them to use the device's camera to scan barcodes on shipping labels for quick, easy and convenient tracking of their packages and other mail. The application stores the label numbers so customers can easily recheck the status of their shipments. The scanner function is available on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad 2. THESE new features build on services already available through the Postal Service's online mobile technology, including the ability to locate nearby Post Offices and find a ZIP Code. Postal Service mobile apps also are available for BlackBerry and Android. More than 3 million people each month use Postal Service mobile apps. Go to usps.com/mobile to learn more about these mobile solutions.
Postalnews Blog: why doesn't the USPS handle the Northrup Grumman contract the way it did the APWU agreement? Forget about wasting thousands or millions of dollars on litigation- just ask Darrell Issa to add a provision to his postal "reform" bill making it go away, just like his bill makes the unions' contracts go away! Wouldn't that be more cost effective? Isn't the alternative a costly "taxpayer bailout" of Northrup Grumman? [EdNote: Ooooooo, now things are getting mean.]
PRNewswire: Valassis VCI, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, announced today that our Board of Directors approved an increase to our stock repurchase program authorization by 6 million shares of our common stock. As of March 31, 2012, we had approximately 1.4 million shares available for repurchase under the prior authorization. Valassis is one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, offering unparalleled reach and scale to more than 15,000 advertisers. Its RedPlum media portfolio delivers value on a weekly basis to over 100 million shoppers across a multi-media platform in-home, in-store and in-motion. Through its digital offering, including redplum.com and save.com, consumers can find compelling national and local deals online. Headquartered in Livonia, Michigan with approximately 7,000 associates in 28 states and eight countries, Valassis is widely recognized for its associate and corporate citizenship programs, including its America's Looking for Its Missing Children® program. Valassis companies include Valassis Direct Mail, Inc., Valassis Canada, Promotion Watch, Valassis Relationship Marketing Systems, LLC and NCH Marketing Services, Inc.
Reuters: New York state lawmakers are moving closer to repealing a provision of state law that prohibits attorneys from serving legal documents via postal mail sent from outside the state. The Senate Judiciary Committee last week approved the measure, which was first proposed last year by state court administrators, meaning it is now eligible to be voted on by the Senate. The state Assembly passed the bill in February. When the state Civil Practice Laws and Rules, or CPLR, was written in the early 1960s, almost all service of legal documents went through through postal mail. The in-state requirement was included in Section 2013 (f)(1) to ensure that service would not be delayed by mailing from a distant location. But with the advent of faxing and email and the rise of overnight delivery services such as FedEx, postal mail fell out of favor with most attorneys. Allowing service by mail from outside the state will remove an artificial barrier to service and encourage litigation to be brought in New York, court administrators have said.
Washington Times: After presiding over three consecutive years of trillion-dollar deficits, President Obama told an audience in New York on Tuesday not to believe critics who accuse him of running a "bloated government." "The only time government employment has gone down during a recession has been under me," Mr. Obama said at a high-tech manufacturing center in Albany. "I make that point just so you don't buy into that whole bloated government' argument that you hear." Actually, data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that federal employment has risen under Mr. Obama. When he took office in January 2009, there were about 2,064,000 federal workers, excluding the Postal Service. Last month, there were 2,202,400 such federal employees, an increase of 6.7 percent. Including postal workers, overall federal employment has risen from 2,792,000 to 2,821,000 since January 2009.
Federal Times: The U.S. Postal Service and one of its largest contractors, Northrop Grumman Corp., are locked in a bitter battle over a runaway modernization contract in which each claims the other owes it hundreds of millions of dollars. Northrop Grumman claims in a new lawsuit that the Postal Service owes it about $180 million. The Postal Service claims the company owes it $341 million.
Washington Post: The rise in viral marketing (including text messaging and e-mail marketing) have allowed companies to shift their resources to more innovative marketing tactics that can be tracked with analytics to show greater return on investment. The Postal Service, given its long-standing history, brand recognition and deep roots in the evolution of communications can adapt its services. Adaptations can include, for example, e-mail hosting services, international communications services, social media integration and viral marketing initiatives. Perhaps the agency could partner with a leading tech company to begin hosting these services as early as 2013. Launching an integrative platform that offers a competitive pricing model and hosting paid search advertisements (Facebook reported that 85 percent of its 2011 revenue stemmed from advertising) is a viable revenue generator for the Postal Service.
Member Alert! The USPS at the IDEAlliance Print Distribution conference today outlined some pricing initiatives it is considering for 2013. (1) Feb-March: coupons (social platform/mobile redemption) (2) May-July: earned value CRM/BRM promotion (3) Aug-Sept: samples, emerging technology (NFC, Augmented Reality, Authentication) (4) Nov/Dec: Buy It Now. The USPS said it will share a 2013 promotions calendar with industry when it submits its Jan 2013 pricing request to the PRC this fall. It also said it is looking at seasonal two-tier pricing for Standard Mail.
DMM Advisory: May DMM Update Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date mailing standards. The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) is fully searchable on Postal Explorer and features fly-out menus, cross-reference links, and an extensive subject index. Yesterday, we updated our mailing standards to include the following changes:
Post & Parcel: German regulators have ordered Deutsche Post to stop allowing major customers to send bills and statements at lower cost rates allowed for advertising mail.
Malta Today: MaltaPost plc published its interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2012, registering 11 million in revenue - a 3.1% increase over the same period in 2011, on the back of increased cross-border traffic and non-postal revenue. The company, which is owned by Lombard Bank plc, said it was faced with a considerable increase in direct mail costs due to changes in tariffs regulated by the Universal Postal Union, impacting revnue streams.
Paragould Daily Press: In rural communities, post offices serve more than just as a place to get the mail. These are centers of the community where people go to stay connected with their neighbors. In addition these serve as a lifeline for seniors who get their medicine through the mail and help industry conduct business.
Correos, the leading postal service company in Spain, and Western Union, a global leader in payment services, announced today the signing of a new agreement for another five years to continue providing the Western Union(R) Money Transfer(SM) services and, in addition, the Western Union Business Solutions service to the customers of the Correos network.:
Postalnews Blog: The renewed interest in post office naming may be in response to an alarming report from the Progressive Policy Institute, which noted last month that "In just the latest sign of how gridlocked Washington has become, Congress is currently failing to pass even the most reliable of legislative standbys: naming post offices and federal buildings." Take that, progressives!
The following reports have been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov). If you have additional questions concerning a report, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703-248-2201 or Agapi Doulaveris at 703-248-2286.
MediaDailyNews: Last week brought more bad news for the newspaper business, with the Washington Post Co. announcing that total revenues fell 7% from $1.04 billion in the first quarter of 2011 to $973 million in the first quarter of 2012, due to declines at its newspaper publishing and education divisions, while its cable TV division remained flat. Revenues increased at its broadcast TV division, but not enough to offset losses elsewhere. The company took an even bigger hit in its education division, including Kaplan, which over the last decade had grown to be the company's largest and most lucrative business -- before legislative reforms tightened student loan policies and triggered a series of revenue declines continuing into the present.
Law360: A conservative policy group on Monday called for the elimination of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, advising Congress to reject a bill extending the international trade subsidy organization's authority when it goes up for vote this week. [EdNote: The U.S. Ex-Im Bank is headed by former PostCom board member Fred Hochberg.]
Wall Street Journal: Here's a wake-up call for the world's two billion Web users, who take for granted the light regulation of the Internet: A group of 193 countries will meet in December to reregulate the Internet. Every country, including China, Russia and Iran, gets a vote. Can a majority of countries be trusted to keep their hands off the Web? The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a low-profile United Nations organization, is overseeing this yearlong review of the Web. Its process is so secretive that proposals by member countries are confidential. The Obama administration has yet to nominate a negotiator for the U.S. side, even though Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last year that his goal was "international control over the Internet." Word of a few proposals has leaked out. Several authoritarian regimes want to prohibit people from being anonymous on the Web, which would make it easier to find and arrest dissidents. [EdNote: So much for the excitement and freedom of the digital frontier.]
Reuters: Dutch postal group PostNL , under pressure to improve performance as mail volumes decline, said on Tuesday it has reversed its impairment charge on its TNT Express stake following United Parcel Service's takeover offer.
Bloomberg: Two months after forcing through the biggest-ever sovereign bond restructuring, Greece once again faces the prospect of becoming the first developed nation to default on its debt. The government taking office after this weekend's election has 30 days to decide whether to make today's interest payment on 20 billion yen ($250 million) of 4.5 percent notes maturing in 2016, or default. Then, by May 15, officials must decide if they're going to repay the 436 million euros ($555 million) due on a floating-rate note issued a decade ago. "It's default or pay up," said Gabriel Sterne, an economist at Exotix Holdings Ltd. in London and a former International Monetary Fund official. "There are no other options. It's too late." "How can anyone be expected to do business in Greece or invest there when the state has declared a moratorium on some of its bond payments?" Koutras said. "It's also true that if they pay up, the headlines won't look good." [EdNote: Ταχυδρομικές υπηρεσίες Hmmmm. Thought we were done with Greece, didja? Still here, and the result of half fixes that simply kick the can down the road. And all centering on a May 15th deadline. Imagine that.]
Lexington Herald-Leader: Max Heath -- "Senate bill gives Postal Service best chance to prosper"
Sacramento Bee: Stop blaming the United States Postal Service for how badly it's run; start first with the United States government. On Monday, a Postal Service moratorium on closing facilities will expire. But lawmakers, unable to finish legislation to revamp the struggling agency, want the moratorium extended. Baloney. It's pure parochial, bring-home-the-bacon politics lawmakers protecting wasteful postal centers in their districts just so they can get re-elected. I protect your job; you protect mine. I trust nobody in this scenario, but what's really wrong here is government's ham-handed mangling from all sides lawmakers insisting on less government while continuing to saddle the Postal Service with further government encumbrance. Stop meddling. Let the Postal Service run its operation as it sees fit, not as lawmakers see fit. And if the agency meets an untimely end, then let it come. At least we'll know whom to blame.
Expatica: German postal and logistics group Deutsche Post said on Tuesday that growth in Asia and profitability improvements helped bolster first-quarter net profit by more than 60 percent.
Daily News and Analysis: State government's initiative to provide driving licenses through postal service seems to be causing more inconvenience to the citizens, rather than simplifying the process. Earlier if the postman could not find anyone at the postal address, the postal department would send those undelivered licences to Regional Transport Office (RTO) from where people could collect their licences. However, after identifying the loopholes in the system, the counter to deliver these undelivered licences and registration certificates (RC) has been shifted from the RTO to the General Post Office (GPO). Since the citizens aren't aware of this change, this is adding to their confusion. Besides, people have to pay additional Rs50 as postal fees, but aren't receiving the services as per their expectation.
Fox News: "If the post office was a business, it would be in bankruptcy," said Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla. "It's insolvent." Ironically, however, Congress shares much of the blame. For years, the Postal Service begged Washington for the freedom to cut its own budget by closing post offices and cutting employees. But Congress, under pressure from rural constituents and labor unions, prevented the cuts, and the service continued to bleed red ink.
Viet Nam News: The domestic postal service has great potential to develop, but first urgent solutions must be found to overcome the existing market difficulties, experts said. General director of Viet Nam Postal Corporation (VNPost) Do Ngoc Binh said the domestic postal service market has an average growth rate of 10-25 per cent per year, which has attracted the attention of many enterprises that trade postal and express mail services mainly in large cities such as Ha Noi and HCM City. Viet Nam is now integrating into the world economy, and the postal market would have new chances to develop, he said. According to the commitments that accompanied World Trade Organisation membership, Viet Nam must open the domestic postal service market this year.
Journal Times: In the long term, we need a discussion about what the Postal Service should be. Do we give up the idea of a self-supporting Postal Service so it provides only the service which private entities won't? Do we cut costs by giving local businesses contracts as part-time post offices? Do we eliminate home delivery and require people to walk to large mailboxes serving an entire block of homes? In some small cities and villages, people still must go to the post office to retrieve their mail. Why do we need a postal service? Answer that, and the structure of what we need will flow from it.
Luray Page Free Press: Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va) and other senators have asked Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to extend the moratorium on the closing of post office and mail processing facilities until Congress approves reform legislation. The current moratorium ends May 15. "For those in rural communities in Virginia and throughout our nation, a post office is critical to economic development and the quality of life," said Sen. Webb. "I signed this letter because I want to assure that no additional offices are closed until the Congress completes action on postal reform."
May 7, 2012
Beaumont Enterprise: You could write a book about why federal deficits are so huge and why Congress repeatedly fails to trim them - and some people have. But just one slice of this big messy pie will illustrate the point today: The U.S. Postal Service is losing billions every year as mail volume continues to fall in our increasing electronic era. So what's the problem? Four words: the United States Senate. That's right, the same chamber that thinks it's smarter than the House. The Senate bill on postal operations might as well have come out of the 1950s, when cheerful mailmen hauled bulging sacks of letters and catalogues down every street in town. That's outrageous. And irresponsible and stupid and about 10 other adjectives. The Senate bill completely ignores the modern realities facing the Postal Service.
Washington Post: "Postal Board of Governors knocks Senate legislation" Senate-approved legislation designed to deal with the critical financial situation of the U.S. Postal Service doesn't get the job done, according to the chairman of the USPS Board of Governors. "We remain unanimous in our conviction that this comprehensive five-year plan is a fair and reasonable approach for our customers, our employees and the communities that we serve," he said.
Law360: Northrop Grumman Corp. on Friday sued the federal government for allegedly breaching an $874 million U.S. Postal Service contract by improperly delaying and disrupting the company's work to install machines that help sort mail. The company says that since the Postal Service awarded the fixed-price contract for the Flats Sequencing System, a huge system of machines that sort flat mail such as envelopes, it has hampered the project by continually altering and updating its requests for how the project should proceed.
Post & Parcel: Swiss Post's banking arm, PostFinance, is now managing customer assets valued at more than 100bn Swiss francs for the first time in its history. Swiss Post said PostFinance is now the third largest financial institute in the Swiss retail market.
Post & Parcel: Lithuania Post has continued profitable operations into the first quarter of 2012, after last year saw its first annual profit in four years.
Post & Parcel: The US Postal Service is requesting regulators allow it to move its Parcel Post service from its portfolio of monopoly services to its competitive shipping portfolio. The move would mean a "nearly identical" less-than-urgent parcel product but without the inflation-based price cap that the Postal Service's market-dominant parcel service currently faces. Parcel Post is mainly a ground package delivery service that accounts for just 1.1% of the Postal Service's packages overall, but a greater proportion 17.6% of packages shipped from post offices.
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General invites you to comment on this week's "Pushing the Envelope" blog topic: Semipostal Stamps: Fundraisers for Charities and New Revenue Streams. The U.S. Postal Service has issued four semipostal stamps since 1998. These stamps, which include a surcharge, have successfully raised funds for various charities. Would you pay extra for stamps if the additional charge benefits a charity? What other charities, causes or issues should be considered for future semipostal stamps? Let us know on our blog.
Bernama: The Dewan Negara was told that the increase in stamp price from 30 sen to 60 sen since July 1, 2010 did not burden the people. Deputy Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Joseph Salang said the reason being that the corporate customers were the main users of the postal service, involving more than 90 per cent of the 1.2 billion mail volume a year. "The old rate (30 sen) was used since 1992 and never increased," he said in response to a question by Senator Lee Cheam Choon on the price increase of stamps, which he said was burdening the people. Salang said the increase in the stamp price had nothing to do with the privatisation of Pos Malaysia Berhad on July 4, 2011. The increase in the stamp price had enabled Pos Malaysia Berhad to carry out restructuring of the salary of its 15,000 postmen and postal clerks to enable them to enjoy a better standard of living, he added. Salang said that although Pos Malaysia Berhad had been privatised, it continued to carry out its corporate social responsibility by providing free postal service to certain groups.
PRWeb: Flex Mailer was created for sending a Flex DVD using the United States Post Office with postage costing less than a $0.25 cents per unit. Due to the ingenious design of the Flex DVD and Flex DVD Mailer, postage cost is 50 percent less expensive in any bulk-mailing scenario. The flexible attributes of the disc allow the Flex DVD to move through sorting machinery at U.S. Postal Service sort facilities without any type of special handling. The disc is also 33 percent lighter than its rigid standard DVD counterpart. Flex DVD also decreases breakage in transit by providing a flexible, resilient disc product that will almost never crack, break, or become damaged in postal equipment. If an organization is planning on mass marketing by mailing out a DVD to reach the maximum audience with great savings, the best solution is the Flex DVD with our automated Flex mailer.
MarketWatch: China's largest courier company, China Postal Express & Logistics Co., won approval last week from securities regulators to proceed with an initial public offer in Shanghai
PRNewswire: Tomorrow Eurogiro's annual Community Meeting will bring together more than 60 members of the Eurogiro network to share strategies for the development of the money transfer business throughout the world. Many payments made in Greece, and transferred rapidly and reliably to a beneficiary in another country, are likely to have been carried by Eurogiro, a community of important postal organisations, banks and networks in the international electronic payments business.
Tampa Bay Business Journal: As tax fraud grows in the Tampa Bay region, United States Postal Service letter carriers have been put to the front lines of the effort to clean it up. Across central Florida, criminals have been intimidating letter carriers into delivering bogus returns to empty homes or even imaginary addresses in order to pull off their crimes, according to the Tampa Tribune. This spring in Tampa, one letter carrier was robbed at gunpoint of U.S. Treasury checks and another had his truck burglarized on a Seminole Heights route. Officials with USPS are warning carriers to avoid illegal activity and bribes. In addition to being prosecuted if found guilty, they could be putting their fellow carriers in danger, according to the Tribune.
The Hill: Lawmakers hoping to force a House vote on a Senate-passed postal reform bill believe some of their colleagues could be swayed by their message of saving jobs and rural access to postal services. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who is circulating a letter of support for the Senate bill with Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), also told The Hill that the measure has momentum behind it after clearing the Senate in late April. But top House Republicans like Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the Oversight Committee and the sponsor of a GOP postal overhaul plan have called the Senate plan insufficient, and Issa even suggested that the effects of the Senate bill become worse over time. Issa said in an April statement. Issa and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), another key sponsor of the House postal plan, have said they are working with members from rural areas to preserve postal access. The House bill would allow USPS to move more quickly to eliminate Saturday delivery, and give an oversight board authority to create a plan for consolidating post offices.
May 6, 2012
The Telegraph: The U.S. Postal Service has asked Congress for billions of dollars and permission to close hundreds of small-town post offices in an effort to avoid bankruptcy. I suggest another alternative. Keep the small post offices open and simply charge all mail the full First Class rate, thereby eliminating the ultra-low not-for-profit and bulk rates. The reduction in workload and the increase in real revenue should help close the postal office's shortfall. [EdNote: And if you believe American businesses would stand for this and still provide the revenue needed to maintain the nation's universal mail delivery system, I've got a bridge you might care to buy in Brooklyn. Where do people come up with this stuff?]
The Hill: Congress is on track to ignore most major tax and spending decisions until the lame-duck session or beyond but there are some bills that just can't wait. For these, Congress will have to take a break from the campaign trail and work together even if the result is to simply extend the status quo. The following is a list of must-pass legislation: Postal service reform -- Three deadlines loom related to the troubled U.S. Postal Service. On May 15, USPS will move forward with consolidation plans that could shutter local post offices and processing facilities, in the absence of enacted reform legislation that helps it get back on solid financial footing. On Aug. 1, USPS will be required to make a $5.5 billion prefunding payment for retiree health benefits and that is followed by another $5.6 billion prefunding due on Sept. 30. USPS has said the payments cannot be made and Congress must waive the requirements. The Senate in late April passed a postal reform bill sponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.). The Senate bill would ease the sting of the required prepayment, use a pension fund overpayment to incentivize workers into retirement and give USPS new avenues to raise revenues. The bill differs greatly from a House GOP version authored by Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). The Issa bill would appoint a board to come up with ways to streamline the Postal Service, expedite the end of Saturday mail and keep the retiree funding requirement in place. The House hasn't scheduled a floor date for their bill.
The Economist: Hit hard by the recession and the march towards electronic mail, the Postal Service is in desperate need of reform. To its credit, it has produced a bold plan to cut costs and increase revenue. But the agency inhabits a unique place in America's bureaucracy. Although it receives no public money, it is obliged to reach every house, at a fixed price, no matter what the cost; and Congress has the final say over its business plan. So it was that on April 25th the Senate passed a bill that would delay many of the reforms sought by the service. The measure halves the number of sorting centres to be closed and protects underused post offices for at least another year. It also puts off a decision on whether to end Saturday delivery, a move the service craves and the public accepts. A normal business could not operate like this.
Flathead Beacon: Do you know how much the secretary of defense makes per year? It is just a hair under $200,000. Now I want you to guess how much the postmaster general makes per year. Until lately he made almost twice what the secretary of defense makes. Sen. Jon Tester got a bill passed to reduce the post master general's pay to what any other Level l employee of the Federal Government makes.
Town Hall: First-class mail is the USPS's most profitable product. Thus, the large and permanent drop in first-class mail volume has the USPS facing red ink as far as the eye can see. The U.S. Postal Service's inspector general recently reported its findings from focus group discussions held with high-volume first-class mailers and mail service providers. The feedback is quite telling: Both mailers and customers are turning to electronic alternatives for the obvious reason that it's cheaper and more efficient than physical mail. The participants estimated that the per-piece cost of sending transactional mail (e.g., billing statements, invoices, etc) is 45 to 50 cents whereas it costs between "pennies" and 13 cents to send mail electronically. The report notes that "the most senior levels of corporate management have already made decisions to move to electronic means as quickly as possible."
Watertown Daily News: The Postal Service is clamoring for even more changes to post office structure, which risks becoming parochially toxic when offices in legislators' home districts are targeted. The Senate bill included a moratorium on post office closures and a measure to get the $11 billion in retirement overpayments back. The House bill also uses the $11 billion in retirement overpayments, but unlike the Senate bill, does not use the money to offer buyouts for Postal Service employees. Matthew A. Doheny, who will face Mr. Owens on the Conservative and Independence lines in the Nov. 6 election and is vying for the Republican nomination in a June 26 primary, said the House of Representatives shouldn't act as 435 postmasters general. In the case of the Postal Service, Mr. Doheny said, that core mission is delivering basic packages and letters. It ought to focus on that, he said. But at the same time, Mr. Doheny said, the Postal Service should consider thinking outside of the cardboard box. He said it should sell advertisements to companies looking to plaster their names in one of the nation's most ubiquitous sights: Postal Service uniforms and mail trucks. The Postal Service also should look at subcontracting out its retail locations to existing businesses, which would pay a fee to run the operation.
Boston Herald: The U.S. Senate has passed a bill to tie the hands of the Postal Service in trying to mend its ragged finances. It's an instance of cheap posturing if we ever saw one. Ignoring realities, the Senate forbade change in delivery standards for three years and ending Saturday delivery for two years, and any change in labor contracts at all. Some accounts of the Senate vote late last month said it was bipartisan, but that's a little misleading. Thirteen Republicans (including Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who should have been on the other side) joined 49 Democrats (including John Kerry of Massachusetts) to yield a filibuster-proof 62 votes for passage and a trophy for the Democrats to display to the postal unions. Five Democrats stood opposed with 32 Republicans. The corresponding House bill is far different, setting up a commission to control Postal Service finances, renegotiate contracts and reorganize the service. The House needs to get cracking on it.
Dexter Patch: Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) -- There is little doubt that change is necessary; the Postal Service faces an extraordinary financial challenge, and it must make changes to take into account a new reality in which physical mail has in many cases been replaced by electronic communication. But in making these necessary reforms, we must ensure that all the American people can continue to rely on the U.S. Postal Service to provide universal service, as it has since our nation's founding. And we must ensure that in making changes, any reduction in facilities and personnel yields real cost savings to the Postal Service that outweigh the loss in service.
The Joplin Globe: The Senate bill will only provide short-term financial relief to the postal service by returning $11 billion in overpayments to federal pension funds. It would prohibit the postal service from closing post offices in the next year. And, then what? Are we back in the same place we find ourselves now?
Dead Tree Edition: Liberal conspiracy theories about the Postmaster General's plan to downsize the U.S. Postal Service ran head on into reality yesterday. The plan "would return the organization to sustained profitability," Thurgood Marshall Jr., chairman of USPS's Board of Governors, said in a prepared statement. In contrast, legislation recently approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate would "not provide the Postal Service with the flexibility and speed that it needs to have a sustainable business model." If you're going to attack a plan as an anti-labor Tea Party plot, it doesn't help to have the name "Thurgood Marshall" singing its praises.
May 5, 2012
Washington Post: Everyone from Obama's closest advisers to the GOP's top tacticians agrees that the first year of a second term and perhaps even more than that would be "fiscal." That is to say, it would be devoted to budget and tax issues. At the end of 2012, we'll face what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke calls "the fiscal cliff": The Bush tax cuts are set to expire, the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts initiated when the deficit "supercommittee" failed to reach a deal are set to begin, we're expected to hit the debt ceiling again, and many other programs and tax credits will come up for renewal. Around the Hill, they refer to this as "taxmageddon." And it won't wait for a second Obama term to officially begin: Most of it will come due in the lame-duck session. But everyone expects that the outgoing Congress will manage to kick the problem to the incoming Congress.
Petra News: Jordan Post Director General Ahmad Obeidat on Saturday discussed with a delegation from the French Postal Group "La Poste" ways and means of boosting bilateral cooperation to increase their annual revenues. According to a Jordan Post statement, the two sides tackled twinning mechanisms between the Jordan Post and its French counterpart, which include a program to upgrade the Kingdom's postal service through benefiting from France's expertise. Obeidat said that the delegation had offered cooperation to raise express mail and parcel post revenues and launch financial or banking services
The Dayton Beach News-Journal: Powered in the past by horses, cars, trucks, airplanes and the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Postal Service is facing its toughest challenge yet. Now comes a bold proposal to lift the Postal Service well into the 21st century and beyond: Power postal vehicles with wind. U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said he imagines a Postal Service with a fleet that is powered by electricity generated by Atlantic Ocean winds. Carper envisions a new fleet of Postal Service vehicles powered by batteries that would be plugged in to the grid when not operating. Last May, the Washington Post reported the Postal Service didn't readily have the $6 billion needed to replace its vehicles. But federal officials delay tough decisions such as closing post offices and cutting daily service, and instead talk about futuristic Postal Service vehicles powered by the breaths of Neptune and Zeus. Carper's suggestion is especially ill-timed, coming after several high-profile bankruptcies of alternative-energy companies that received millions in taxpayer-funded financing. Perhaps federal officials such as Sen. Carper should wait until the technology is feasible and profitable (and cheap) before retiring the gas vehicles in favor of battery-powered trucks. And they should look closely at the Postal Service -- its finances and procedures -- for efficiency gains and financial savings. The Atlantic winds can wait. They aren't going anywhere.
From the Federal Register:
Financial News: US package delivery firm United Parcel Service Inc said it would increase by USD2bn (EUR1.5bn) to around USD5bn the cash it would use to finance the planned acquisition of Dutch peer TNT Express NV. UPS, which agreed to pay USD6.8bn for TNT, said it will cover the remaining USD1.8bn with an issue of new debt.
American Postal Workers Union: In an interview televised on C-SPAN on April 27, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe down-played the threat of post office and mail processing plant closures and suggested no major changes would take place anytime soon. "Closure' is a word we've never used," he said. Really? How about a March 7 USPS press release [PDF] that said, "Most closures or consolidations would have to take place starting after May 15, 2012, and be completed by August 31, 2012." And there was the Nov. 16, 2011, submission to the Postal Regulatory Commission [PDF] that said the USPS would "Redesign the operating network, infrastructure, and processes by reviewing retail office productivity and studying under-utilized offices for potential consolidation, closure or conversion " Before that there was the Sept. 15, 2011, press release that said, "Proposals under consideration include studying nearly 250 processing facilities for possible consolidation or closure " And an Aug. 5, 2011, USPS press release said, "The Postal Service announced plans on July 25 to identify and study nearly 3,700 under-utilized Post Offices for possible closure " APWU Executive Vice President Greg Bell said, "Whether the Postmaster General calls it closure,' consolidation,' right-sizing,' or rationalizing the network,' it means the same thing: Drastic cuts to service, jobs, and the postal network, and irreparable harm to the USPS."
May 4, 2012
The Hill: With a Postal Service moratorium on closing facilities set to expire in less than two weeks, senators have lobbied the agency this week to both slow down and press ahead with its consolidation efforts. Almost half of the Senate's members have now called on Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to extend the moratorium, after the chamber passed its postal legislation last week. Three senators Tom Coburn (Okla.), Bob Corker (Tenn.) and John McCain (Ariz.) have largely panned their own chamber's bill, and expressed sympathy with a House GOP bill that would allow USPS to move more quickly on cost-cutting initiatives.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Docket No. MC2012-4; Docket No. CP2012-8: The Postal Service seeks the elimination of the requirement that it file, within 30 days of the expiration of each Global Expedited Package ServicesNon-Published Rates (GEPSNPR) contract, a statement of costs, volumes, and revenues associated with that contract. For the reasons discussed below, the Commission denies the request, but will modify the reporting requirement. . . . It is ordered: (1) The Motion for Partial Reconsideration, filed January 25, 2012, is denied. (2) Beginning with GEPS-NPR contracts expiring in FY2012 quarter 3 and thereafter as well as all future GEPS-NPR contracts, the Postal Service shall file, within 30 days of the end of each FY quarter, costs, volumes, and revenues disaggregated by weight and country group associated with each contract that expires during that quarter, including any penalties paid.
The Imperial Republican: Say what you may about the U.S. Postal Service and it's level of service in a new digital world. But let's not forgetthe U.S. Postal Service plays a vital role in the day-to-day lives of rural Americans. Granted, we don't use the post office for mailing letters like we did before e-mails and PDFs became standard place. Nonetheless, rural America still depends heavily on the USPS, whether it's for personal mail, business mail or package shipping.
The Hour: EMCOR Group, a Norwalk-based mechanical and electrical construction company, announced that its Customer Solutions Center was selected as the winner in the "Supplier Excellence Award Category" of the 2011 United States Postal Service Supplier Performance Awards Program. EMCOR's Customer Solutions Center has a 10-year contract with the United States Postal Service (USPS) that covers all of its nearly 32,000 locations.
Post & Parcel: The US Postal Service promised today to provide detailed plans "in the coming weeks" on its intentions to close thousands of post offices, and keep customers informed about planned service changes. USPS is less than two weeks away from its self-imposed six-month moratorium on closing area mail processing plants and under-used post offices. But with Congress yet to finalise postal reform legislation that could have a significant impact on the USPS consolidation plans and service standards, postal customers and workers have little idea of what exactly is to come this summer, nor when it will happen. Today, USPS Board of Governors Chairman Thurgood Marshall Jr said talking to the US Senate and House of Representatives, the Postal Service has been amending its plans regarding post offices.
U.S. Senator Susan Collins, one of the lead sponsors of bipartisan, comprehensive postal reform, received praise for her leadership on the issue from the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General. David C. Williams wrote to Senator Collins to express his appreciation for her work to put the Postal Service on a financially viable path.
Federal Times: Financially, the U.S. Postal Service has been performing a bit better than expected lately. Politically, that could be bad news for the mail carrier. Why? Because USPS leaders have banked on a sense of crisis to rouse Congress to act on some heavy-duty service cuts. The faintest glimmer of hope may be all it takes to persuade lawmakers to let the Postal Service muddle through until after the November electionsif not longer. Postmaster General Pat Donahoe conveyed in an appearance on the C-Span cable TV show, "Newsmakers" that revenues are running slightly ahead of projections, while continued cost-cutting is also helping the bottom line. As a result, the Postal Service's cash-flow situation "is OK through the fall and into probably late next year," he said. Senators are meanwhile intent on dissuading the Postal Service from proceeding with any post office or mail processing plant closures after a self-imposed moratorium expires May 15. On that score, Donahoe didn't back down, but he also said the 15th was never intended to be a "shutdown date." "Any changes that we make will be incremental over the course of the summer," he said. After August, the Postal Service plans on another breatherthis one for the electionsuntil year's end.
PRNewswire: Check this link for comments made by Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Thurgood Marshall, Jr. and Postmaster General & CEO Patrick R. Donahoe during today's open session meeting of the Board of Governors.
News-Journal: We have heard Gohmert and other lawmakers decry proposed cuts and make attacks on post office bureaucracy and poor decision making. But have they offered solutions? The fact is if Congress wants the post office to have long-term stability, lawmakers must help come up with a creative rescue plan that provides alternatives to the agency's cuts-heavy proposals, and that gives it the freedom it needs to do business in today's digital era. As we have argued before, that should include allowing the Postal Service to access overpayments made into its pension funds. But Congress also should pass laws allowing the post office to undertake the radical change it needs to pay its own way. That means giving it the freedom to offer different kinds of business products that can make the post office relevant again, such as secure digital communications and database management. We enjoy a good outburst from our congressman as much as the next East Texan, and this one was right on the money. But we continue to hope for solutions.
Post & Parcel: Post Danmark has said 99.5% of Danish household letter boxes are now in compliance with legislation requiring proper placement at the street. Denmark's Postal Act of December 2010, which opened up the Danish postal market to full competition, allows postal operators to refuse delivery to households that do not have letter boxes in the right place. The letter box requirement came into effect at the start of this year, with Post Danmark warning customers several times to comply, or find their mail returned to sender. Parcels can continue to be delivered to the doorstep under the rules.
Associated Press: With financial losses mounting, the nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service is urging the House to quickly pass legislation that would give it wide authority to close thousands of low-revenue post offices, reduce labor costs and end Saturday delivery. At its meeting Friday, the Postal Service's board of governors said that a bill passed by the Senate last week doesn't go far enough to give the agency the latitude it needs. That bill would provide the Postal Service with an $11 billion cash infusion to help pay down ballooning debt but halt the immediate closing of up to 252 mail-processing centers and 3,700 post offices. The Postal Service called the closings a critical part of its cost-cutting plan to save some $6.5 billion a year and regain profitability by 2015. Anxious for legislative action but uncertain when the House may act, the mail agency says it will proceed with its planned closings after May 15, but in a "methodical and measured" way that considers the special needs of rural communities. "The bottom line is that the Senate bill does not provide the Postal Service with the flexibility and speed that it needs to have a sustainable business model," said Thurgood Marshall Jr., chairman of the postal board of governors. "Our financial condition has been deteriorating for several years, and we have been operating with a very low cash balance." "We therefore strongly encourage the enactment of legislation that enables the Postal Service to avoid a default and return to long-term profitability," he said.
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
Press Release: Noting the unlikelihood that Congress will reach an agreement on postal system reforms anytime soon and that the postal service is on track to lose $21 billion annually by 2016 without changes to its business model, U.S. Senators Bob Corker, John McCain, and Tom Coburn today wrote to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe urging him to "move forward with cost-saving changes." "As Senators committed to fiscal responsibility and preventing future taxpayer-funded bailouts, we support your efforts to put the USPS on a sustainable financial path for the future," Corker, McCain and Coburn wrote to Donahoe.
Board of Governors:
Gizmodo: Over 13 million Facebook users don't useor don't even know aboutany of Facebook's privacy settings, according to a new study by independent, non-profit Consumer Reports.
Postalnews Blog: Shipping services are growing. Chief Marketing/Sales Officer Paul Vogel says this growth is helping to bring more revenue to the Postal Service. "Through March, USPS shipping services revenue is up 20 percent and volume has increased 54 percent," says Vogel in the latest edition of his "Growth and Revenue" series.
DAWN: The Federal Board of Revenue has declared Pakistan Post as a banking company' and asked the postal department to levy 16 per cent Federal Excise Duty on its financial services on regular basis. However, postal authorities have refused to comply with the FBR directives saying that the duty will hit the poor man already burdened with inflation. In a directive to Pakistan Post, the FBR notified that the banking services being rendered by Pakistan Post to the public come under the purview of Federal Excise Rules 2005. The financial services of Pakistan Post includes international money transfer, money order, postal order and postal draft, on which currently no FED is charged, sources in FBR told Dawn on Thursday.
Pakistan Observer: Director General Pakistan Post Syed Ghulam Panjtan Rizvi Thursday said the prime objective of the organisation is to serve the nation, not only to earn money. Addressing participants of two-day workshop on "Customer Relationship Management" concluding session here at Postal Staff College, he said the services would be further improved to facilitate people. Pakistan Post still have a good business but due to competition with private sector we should also think for survival of the organization. He said that quality services is our priority and customers trust the organization.
The Youngstown Vindicator: On the surface, the U.S. Senate's bipartisan approval last week of legislation that would halt the immediate closing of up to 252 mail-processing centers including one in downtown Youngstown looks like a lifesaver to preserve hundreds of thousands of jobs and an American institution. On closer inspection, however, that lifesaver lacks enough air to keep the postal service responsibly afloat. It fails to guarantee American taxpayers' efficient use of their hard-earned dollars, and it falls flat in ensuring maximum efficiency in postal-service operations. The bill ought to be stamped "Return to Sender."
Balkans Business News: The public enterprise "Serbian Post" has celebrated the completion of the construction works on the main postal center "Belgrade", which took 15 months. The value of construction, adaptation and equipping of main postal centers in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis is 40 million euros, which the Serbian Post paid from its own assets.
The Portugal News: The Royal Mail's use of a private courier company to send parcels from the UK to Portugal as opposed to using the national CTT postal service, has caused some upset among residents, as the courier does not deliver to apartado' postal boxes, sending these parcels back to the sender.
Save the Post Office: The Network Rationalization plan to consolidate some 260 mail processing plants may be running into problems. Not all the plants were approved for consolidation, so this week the Postal Service submitted revised estimates to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The total cost saving estimate has dropped from about $2.1 billion to $1.6 billion. That's about half of what the Postal Service originally told the media, and even that lower estimate is being challenged by the postal worker unions and other intervenors in the PRC's Advisory Opinion process.
Washington Post: If there's one thing Republicans and Democrats in Washington say they agree on, it's the need to reduce federal spending. And it's something they almost never do, as recent events have proved again. Last week the U.S. Postal Service asked the Senate for permission to proceed with a multibillion-dollar savings package that included closing thousands of money-losing post offices. The Senate refused, voting instead to give the Postal Service another $11 billion amid speeches hailing the historic role of post offices in small towns. The vote also delayed plans to end Saturday mail delivery. The Postal Service's board of governors was incensed. "It is totally inappropriate in these economic times to keep unneeded facilities open," it said. Congress' aversion to cost-cutting has driven the nation's debt skyward. The government now borrows 39 cents of every dollar it spends.
From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES International Mail Contract, 2658326584  [TEXT] [PDF]
Postal Service NOTICES Transfer of Parcel Post to the Competitive Product List , 2658426585  [TEXT] [PDF]
CNN: What does May 15 mean for your local post office? Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says don't panic. Donahoe said the Postal Service plans to go "slowly" and "methodically," and follow the regulatory process, which will take months. That doesn't give the Postal Service a lot of time this year. Donahoe has already said he won't close any postal facility from October through the end of December to accommodate campaign and election mail as well as the year-end holiday rush -- the service's busiest and most profitable season. So closures can basically only happen this summer .
Advertising Age: Time was named magazine of the year at the annual National Magazine Awards on Thursday night, taking home a prize introduced in 2010 to honor brands that excel across both print and digital.
Chicago Tribune: A bipartisan group of lawmakers is trying to drum up support in the House of Representatives to vote on a Senate-passed bill that would make it tougher for the Postal Service to close some facilities, in part by targeting representatives who may lose postal facilities and jobs in their districts. The group hopes representatives who are concerned about the planned closures of post offices or mail processing sites under the Postal Service's own cost-cutting plan will join them in pressing House leadership to hold a vote on the Senate bill.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Docket No. MC2012-14; Docket No. R2012-8: "On April 30, 2012, the Postal Service filed a request pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3622 and 3642, as well as 39 CFR 3010 and 3020 et seq., to add a negotiated service agreement (NSA) with Valassis Direct Mail, Inc. (Valassis) to the market dominant product list. The Postal Service believes that this NSA conforms to the policies of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, and meets the statutory standards supporting the desirability of special classifications that improve the net financial position of the Postal Service by increasing contribution. The Postal Service states that the objective of the instant contract is twofold: (a) to maintain the total contribution the Postal Service receives from Valassis Saturation Mail Postage, and (b) to provide an incentive for Valassis to find innovative ways to expand its use of Standard Mail. Valassis has agreed to initiate mailings under the instant agreement within 90 days of its effective date. The Commission establishes Docket Nos. MC2012-14 and R2012-8 for consideration of the Request pertaining to the proposed new product and the related contract, respectively. Interested persons may submit comments on whether the Postal Service's filing in the captioned dockets are consistent with the policies of 39 U.S.C. 3622 and 3642 as well as 39 CFR parts 3010 and 3020. Comments are due no later than May 23, 2012."
May 3, 2012
Post & Parcel: Austrian Post has continued expanding its direct mail reach in Eastern Europe with the acquisition of an unaddressed mail company in Poland, and a 26% stake in a hybrid mail specialist in Bulgaria. The Post has bought the Kolportaz Rzetelny business from Integer.pl Group, the Polish company that is currently pushing its parcel terminals business on the international stage. Austrian Post entered the Romanian postal market last year with the acquisition of an initial 26% stake in Bucharest-based direct mail specialist PostMaster S.r.l.
The Hill: The Senate has taken an easy, election-oriented way out of dealing with the Postal Service's imminent insolvency crisis. By passing a bill that only gives back over-funded retirement payments, the Senate is providing just enough to keep the USPS liquid for a year or two. It provides no "reform" to speak of and barely keeps the Postal Service alive into just the second decade of this 21st century.
Security Management: A response exercise scheduled for this weekend will measure the time it takes to deliver the first dose of antibiotics to a population after a widespread biological attack. Postal workers will deliver empty pill bottles to 37,000 homes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area as part of Operation Medicine Delivery, the first dry run of a United States Postal Service anthrax response plan. Health officials announced the exercise at a joint Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)-USPS press conference in St. Paul Thursday morning.
Target Marketing: The USPS recently shared some interesting data on the volume and cost of undeliverable as addressed (UAA) mail. According to the USPS, "Total UAA volume dropped from 9.3 billion pieces (4.71 percent of total mail volume) in FY 1998 to 6.9 billion pieces (4.11 percent of total mail volume) in FY 2010. (This reduction, while significant, falls far short of previous Postmaster General Jack Potter 's goal of reducing UAA mail by 50 percent by 2010.) All this UAA is money down the drain to the mailerswho designed, produced and labeled it and applied its postageand to the Postal Service that has to deal with its final disposition.
DMM Advisory: IMb Services Update
Starting May 16, lithium batteries and electronic devices containing lithium batteries will be prohibited from being mailed internationally. They also will not be allowed in shipments to or from Army Post Offices, Fleet Post Offices and Diplomatic Post Offices. Lithium batteries already are prohibited in mail shipments on international commercial air transportation under International Civil Aviation Organization and Universal Postal Union regulations. Shippers and mailers are advised that: (1) Lithium batteries must be removed from electronic devices to be shipped in international or overseas military mail before the package is submitted for mailing. (2) Electronic equipment with non-removable lithium batteries may not be shipped using international or overseas military mail. (3) USPS retail associates will begin asking Post Office customers whether lithium batteries are contained in any international shipments for which batteries or electronic equipment have been declared as contents on customs labels. The new regulation will not apply to packages containing lithium batteries or electronic devices mailed within the U.S. on domestic commercial air or ground transportation.
National Postal Mailhandlers Union: As we approach the deadline of May 15, 2012 on the Postal Service's self-imposed moratorium on closings and consolidations, there is much uncertainty as to what happens next. There may be some closings and/or consolidations over the next couple of months, but the Postal Service has indicated that it will not make any changes during the Fall mailing season. We also do not yet have an accurate listing of plants that may still be on the chopping block, but we've asked for that information, and will circulate it once it is finalized. Indications are that the latest list of 250 or so closings will be pared down to somewhere in the neighborhood of 120. This means that many of the plants that were on the original list of 250 may now be spared (at least for now). We expect that many of those 120 plants would be smaller facilities, but we just don't know yet.
Azerbaijan Business Center: Azerbaijan's national postal operator, LLC Azerpocht, is planning to enter the country's social payments market.
From the Federal Register: Postal Service
Reuters: Dutch parcel delivery company TNT Express said its acquisition by U.S. group United Parcel Service was on schedule, as it reported a return to a first-quarter operating profit.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: You can find the webcast audio recording of the May 2 2012 PRC Monthly Meeting at http://www.prc.gov/prc-docs/home/whatsnew/Monthly_Meeting_05022012.mp3
May 2, 2012
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: - On May 1st, Commissioner Tony Hammond was sworn in for the third time to again become a Commissioner at the Postal Regulatory Commission. Hammond joins Chairman Ruth Goldway, Vice Chairman Nanci Langley and Commissioners Mark Acton and Robert Taub. Hammond served on the Postal Regulatory Commission and its predecessor agency, the Postal Rate Commission, from August 2002 to October 2011, as an appointee of President George W. Bush. During that time, he was elected to two separate terms as Vice Chairman of the Commission. President Obama nominated Commissioner Hammond to fill a vacancy in a term on the Commission that ends in November 2012.
So, did you miss the PostCom webinar on What is Needed From Postal Legislation? If so, no sweat. You can still view the webinar by going to https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/465646928. You can download a copy of the slides from this website.
PRWeb: IWCO Direct, a leading national provider of direct marketing solutions, has recently been recognized for the company's Safety and Technical Excellence achievements by two leading industry organizations. A 2011 Industry Safety Leader Award was presented to IWCO Direct on April 21 at the Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA) Spring Meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz. This is the sixth consecutive year IWCO Direct has been recognized for its commitment to safety by the association. EMA evaluates organizations on their safety achievements based on quarterly and annual surveys. Employers are required to provide information on injuries and illnesses, as well as internal safety programs, which are then calculated to determine a Lost Time Case Incident Rate. To qualify for the award, a company must have a Lost Time Case Incident Rate at or below 1.5 days per 100 employees.
PRWeb: "Political mailing lists give clients direct marketing target audience coverage."
Agenzia Giornalistica Italia: A new Poste Italiane service for transferring funds to Egypt will allow the reduction of transaction cost between between the two countries. The agreement between Poste Italiane and Egypt Post was signed today in Rome by the Poste Italiane CEO, Massimo Sarmi, and Egypt Post President Mosad El Ghani. The Egyptian Ambassador in Italy, Mohamed Farid Mohamed Monib, and representatives of the Italian Foreign Minister, Eurogiro and UPU attended the ceremony. The innovative technological solution was created by the collaboration between UPU (Universal Postal Union) and Eurogiro. "The launching of this new service for the trasfer of funds opens a new chapter in the history of financial services between Italy and Egypt, thanks to the cooperation between UPU and Eurogiro", Sarmi claimed, underlining that "the Egyption community in Italy will benefit from a system that will allow a safe and competitive transfer of funds".
Practice Business: With Royal Mail price rises effective from April, increasing numbers of GPs are using an online service to reduce the cost of contacting patients. The secure service, known as Medical Messenger can reduce the number of letters the surgery needs to send out as well as cutting postage costs. Practices are using the service to contact large numbers of patients about healthcare initiatives such as flu clinics, screenings or general events, saving an estimated 42% per letter. By giving patients the option to receive information via text message rather than post, surgeries are also able to reduce the number of letters sent out. Text messages are free when sent out via NHS Mail, making an overall combined saving of 70% or more on conventional postage costs.
MSNBC: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company has reported first-quarter net earnings. Net sales for the U.S. Print and Related Services segment decreased 3.1% from the first quarter of 2011 to $1.9 billion in the first quarter of 2012. Drawing on a range of proprietary and commercially available digital and conventional technologies deployed across four continents, the Company employs a suite of leading Internet-based capabilities and other resources to provide premedia, printing, logistics and business process outsourcing services to clients in virtually every private and public sector.
Detroit News: They say the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is broke. But just six years ago, it generated a small profit, paid for itself and wasn't a burden to taxpayers. You could blame the rise of the Internet and decline in regular mail volume for wiping out their traditional revenue model. You could blame politics and yet another attempt by extremist Republicans to kill public sector unions, and outsource the entire mail industry to their contributors. Yet the biggest blame goes to Republicans who manufactured the crisis. [EdNote: I object! Let's find an arbitrator and grieve that.]
Washington Post: The Postal Service, eager to implement a three-year, $22 billion cost-cutting plan, expects to resume closing thousands of post offices and hundreds of distribution centers May 15. It had agreed to wait until that date so Congress could pass a bill overhauling the agency's finances and delivery network. But with the House and the Senate unlikely to strike a deal in the next two weeks, the four main sponsors of a bipartisan Senate postal bill that passed last week told Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe in a letter that "there is considerable concern in the Senate" that resuming closures this month "will unnecessarily degrade the infrastructure which is one of the Postal Service's most important assets."
New York Times: Despite Senate approval of a bill to help the debt-ridden Postal Service, thousands of post offices across the country still face closings beginning in two weeks if the House has not completed work on its version of the legislation. On Tuesday, a group of senators who co-sponsored the Senate legislation called on House leaders to bring the postal overhaul bill to the floor for a vote. The senators also sent a letter on Tuesday to the postmaster general, asking that the Postal Service delay closing post offices until legislation is completed. The Postal Service did not respond to the letter, but Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, denounced it, saying the senators were seeking to protect post offices in their states. The House bill differs substantially from the Senate version. It would create a commission much like the one that recommended military base closings to oversee the shutting down of post offices and processing centers. It would also allow the Postal Service to end Saturday deliveries. The bill would also establish a panel to cut costs and change the structure of the Postal Service if the agency defaults on any of its obligations to the federal government for more than 30 days.
The Register-Guard: The U.S. Senate made a good start last week toward that goal by adopting a plan to deal with the financial crisis at the Postal Service, which is losing more than $20 million per day. The Senate bill, which passed by a bipartisan majority of 62 votes, takes a more moderate approach. The Senate bill is not perfect and fails to reduce costs fast enough. But it's preferable to a House bill that would give the Postal Service two years to make major reductions in facilities and Saturday service. If the cuts aren't made by then, it sets up an independent panel that would supplant the Postal Service board and make the cuts. The House version also requires that the Postal Service continue to make regular billion-dollar payments to the Treasury to prefund health care benefits for retirees, a primary cause of the agency's woes. The House bill is draconian and fails to acknowledge that reliable, universal postal service is an essential government function that can be put on a financially sustainable footing without massive disruptions in service.
RuralInfo.net: On Wednesday, April 25, the parties completed their interest arbitration hearings before the arbitration panel chaired by neutral arbitrator, Jack Clarke. After completing presentations on compensation and health care proposals, the parties each addressed proposals on standards, mail count, EMA, and other proposals. The parties spent a total of 26 days in hearing. After receipt of post-hearing briefs in early May, the arbitration panel will meet to decide the terms of a successor contract to the 2006-2010 National Agreement.
Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: Senator Tom Carper (D-De) has upped the ante in the battle between the Senate and the House on postal reform legislation when he launched a new page on his website that includes a clock that counts down to the date that the Postal Service's current moratorium on facility closures ends. The web page, http://www.carper.senate.gov/May15 also calls on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass legislation aimed at reforming the U.S. Postal Service before a critical deadline of May 15, 2012, the date that the Postal Service has stated that is facility closing moratorium ends.
Postalnews Blog: The APWU and Postal Service have settled a grievance [PDF] regarding the proper procedure for covering absences of custodians, Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer has announced. The April 25 agreement [PDF] stipulates that in offices with multiple custodians, the staff that is present can work additional hours, using additional part-time flexible hours or overtime for full-time regulars. In offices with just one custodian, the duties may be performed by non-custodial personnel, including mechanics, part-time flexible clerks, part-time carriers, etc. Normally, when the work is to be performed by non-custodial personnel, it will be assigned to available APWU-represented employees.
Postalnews Blog: "Pat Donahoe talks to postal employees about the current state of the USPS"
Toronto Star: As mail volumes continue to dip in the digital age, Canada Post is trying to figure out ways of shoring up its business, and possibly branching into new ones. It has hired its own tech guy Kerry Munro, who headed up Yahoo! Canada for four years to figure out how Canada Post can capture a foothold in this changing market. Munro, group president of digital delivery network, envisions expansion of Canada Post's epost system as critical, though it is still unclear how much money can be made. Epost, which began in late 1999, is a billing consolidation program where consumers can pay all bills from one spot, using any of the major banks of credit unions. It is secured behind the firewalls of all five big banks. While it's free for consumers, businesses that sign up and about hundred have to date, from hydro companies to Highway 407 to department store credit cards pay a fee per transaction, but Munro says it's less than the cost of mailing the bill. More than 7.5 million people have signed up for the service, and Munro believes expanding its offerings is the way to go.
PRNewswire: On May 12 postal carriers around the country will collect non-perishable food from customers along their routes and deliver the food to local food banks. The National Association of Letter Carriers' (NALC) Stamp Out Hunger campaign the country's largest one day food drive, will once again replenish food pantries throughout the United States.
Lifehacker: It's no surprise that Apple has topped an index of Australia's most reputable brands it's a highly-regarded company with massive market share. But how on earth did Australia Post come second?
CBS Chicago: The U.S. Postal Service is warning about some temporary service disruptions in the week before and during the NATO summit. As a security precaution, designated street collection boxes within the downtown area, including McCormick Place, and along the designated march route will be removed from May 13-23. The summit runs May 20-21.
Cato@Liberty: The postal reform bill passed in the Senate last week is further evidence that politicians shouldn't be entrusted with running a hotdog stand, let alone the nation's mail. The U.S. Postal Service is supposed to operate like a business, but congressional micromanagement makes that impossible. Nevertheless, 62 senators voted for an eye-glazing 191-page bill that would keep Congress's hand placed firmly around the USPS's neck.
The Globe and Mail: After 16 years of profitability, Canada Post recorded a pretax loss of $253-million in 2011 the result of dwindling mail volume, a costly pay equity ruling and June's strike and lockout. The fundamental challenge for Canada Post is that it must work harder every year to deliver less mail to a generation hooked on Facebook, Twitter and texting. Canada Post's core business of delivering letters to Canadians is in steady, and apparently, irreversible decline. Letters account for more than half of Canada Post's business, and Canadians are receiving an average of 20 per cent fewer pieces of mail than they were five years ago. The volume decline is expected to reach 50 per cent within a decade.
Coast River Business Journal: Now that U.S. Senate has passed a bill, S 1789, to reform the ailing U.S. Postal Service, critics are trying to disable the bill on its way to the House of Representatives. Business Week recently catalogued unhappy stakeholders, including postal unions, postal management and some Republicans who wrongly think the bill burdens taxpayers. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, whose own bill awaits action in the House, blasted "special interests." But Business Week says, "Considering how many people are unhappy with the bill, it isn't clear which special interests Issa is referring to." Some see Senate bill as the inevitable product of the sausage machine. But it is neither a budget buster nor processed meat. It is the expression of a better vision of the Postal Service. If you consider that survival of the service means maintaining the circulatory system for a $1.1 trillion mailing industry - or in other words, making sure cash, greeting cards, packages and newspapers and magazines arrive on time, the Senate bill is good medicine.
Wall Street Journal: Ronald Reagan liked to quip that only in government is failure rewarded with more money. Witness the U.S. Postal Service, which the Senate has voted to give another $34 billion while delaying reforms that would save money. If today's Senate had been around a century ago, the Pony Express would still be delivering the mail. This may be a first in Washington: a federal agency wants to reform itself to save money but Congress won't let it. Management wants to close about half of its mail processing centers and some 3,000 unnecessary post officesletting Wal-Marts or local stores take packages and sell postage stamps. But the Senate bill creates new rules to prevent or delay this. Managers want to end Saturday delivery as soon as possible. The Senate bill allows this in two years but only if a federal study certifies there is no viable alternative. The Senate bill is the result of one of those unholy political alliances of Democrats, who don't dare take on the union lobby, and Republicans who don't want local post offices shut on their watch. We can only hope House Republicans have the good sense to laugh this out of the Capitol. Darrell Issa of California is cosponsoring a better reform that gives the Postal Service a fighting chance to survive for five to 10 years without being a $12 billion annual drain on the Treasury.
Politico Influence: POSTAL LOBBY REVS UP IN REFORM FIGHT: Senate Democrats and Republicans are pushing for the House to take up postal reform legislation before the May 15 deadline and the postal lobby is weighing in as well. The American Postal Worker Union's Sally Davidow told PI the union is encouraging the House to take action and hopes the Senate bill will be a starting point, not other bills before the deadline. "We're very concerned about what steps postal management will take if there is not legislation in place before then," Davidow said. "We think there could be irreparable damage to the postal service and mail delivery." The union spent big in the first quarter of this year, dolling out $180,000 on lobbying. The spending dwarfed the other postal interests. The Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service paid Sackler Policy Services and Williams & Jensen a combined $50,000 over the same time period.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Docket No. MC2012-13 : "Transfer of Parcel Post to the Competitive Product List"
Bloomberg: Like a Pony Express rider wobbling toward Fort Laramie with an arrow in his hat, the Senate bill passed last week to reform the U.S. Postal Service is far from its goal and facing attack from all sides. The ambush -- led by House Republicans, postal-worker unions and the service itself -- seems overly aggressive. The bill has some weaknesses, especially when it comes to tying the USPS's hands in cost-cutting.
May 1, 2012
Today marks the first day of registration for the 2012 Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion at http://gateway.usps.com. The promotional pricing program will be available to mailers from July 1 through August 31, 2012. As a reminder, mail service providers who wish to enroll their customers in this promotion will be able to register beginning June 10, 2012. Full details, including a program requirements document, user guide for the incentive tool enrollment and frequently asked questions document, are available online at the RIBBS website at https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mobilebarcode. Registration for the 2012 Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion will remain open through August 30th.
Mobile technologies are one of the fastest growing marketing sectors. As the impact of technology continues to change the marketing landscape, combining mail with digital technologies is a logical step in developing new customer touch points for transactions while ensuring the mail remains a relevant part of the marketing mix. The Postal Regulatory Commission approved the 2012 Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion on March 26. For business mailers who qualify, this promotion will provide an upfront 2 percent postage discount on Standard Mail® and First-Class Mail® letters, flats and cards (presort and automation only) that include a two-dimensional (2-D) barcode or print/mobile technology that can be read or scanned by a mobile device. The technology must directly lead the person to a mobile optimized website that allows the purchase of an advertised product or to a unique, mobile optimized and personalized web page.
Marketwire: Zumbox, the leader in digital postal mail services, today announced the launch of its Digital Postal Mail iPad® application. The free iPad app makes it easy to manage postal mail, receive alerts, view and pay bills and file statements, from an iPad. Application users can also easily elect to go paperless from their providers to reduce their environmental impact. Digital Postal Mail, a web-based mailbox service from Zumbox, serves as a hub for all of the important paper mail consumers receive. It enables them to view, interact and archive their postal mail in a secure, central, online environment for free. This includes cable and satellite bills and statements, mobile and residential phone bills, credit card statements, shareholder communications, such as annual reports and proxy statements, utility bills and health and property insurance documents.
Free PostCom Webinar: USPS 2012 Summer Promotion - No QR Codes? No Problem! Please join the Association for Postal Commerce for a free webinar on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 2:30 Eastern as Shahrom Kiani, General Manager AddressVision Inc. explains the requirements and constraints for the USPS 2012 Summer Promotion. Included are options and alternatives that mailers can use to participate and realize savings provided through the promotion. AddressVision (AVI) is a Bull company and one of the world's premier providers of postal automation technology. For over 25 years, AVI has offered solutions to postal authorities, couriers and commercial mailers worldwide. Our customers have come to rely on AVI's quality, dependable, feature-rich software to automate their mail preparation, processing and distribution tasks. Title: USPS 2012 Summer Promotion - No QR Codes? No Problem! Date: Thursday, May 10, 2012 Time: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EDT Register at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/398743864. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
Bloomberg Businessweek: Kinston, North Carolina, is near just about nothing. The textile jobs went overseas years ago. Tobacco fell victim to lawsuits and health concerns. The airport has a runway two miles long and no commercial flights. The Kinston Indians baseball team, pride of this town of 21,677 residents, left this year. Now the mail-processing plant and its 93 full-time jobs might follow the minor-league ballplayers to Raleigh -- leaving more room for the landlord of part of its space, a homeless shelter.
National Association of Major Mail Users: "In 2011, the core Canada Post segment had its first financial loss after 16 consecutive years of profitability. The loss before tax was $327 million. Four significant factors contributed to this result: the June 2011 labour disruption; a continued decline of mail volumes; the sizable, volatile pension obligation; and the Supreme Court of Canada's decision regarding pay equity. Deep and enduring shifts in technology and demand for postal services point to the urgent need to transform the business. Structural transformation will involve efforts to achieve operational excellence through modernization, as well as increased customer focus, technological transformation and a plan to leverage the Group of Companies. It is essential that this transformation also address labour costs through the collective bargaining process in order for Canada Post to remain competitive, to be able to continue to offer affordable services, and to restore and sustain profitability. The growth agenda focuses on enhancing Canada Post's leadership in home delivery to capitalize on the rapid growth of e-commerce, expanding digital delivery via epost, building data and location intelligence as a growth business and maximizing the value of traditional and marketing mail."
Overview of 2011 Annual Report, http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/assets/pdf/aboutus/annualreport/2011_AR_front_end_en.pdf
Financial Performance of 2011 Annual Report, http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/assets/pdf/aboutus/annualreport/2011_AR_financial_en.pdf
Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE): Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), co-author of the 21st Century Postal Service Act and chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the Postal Service, launched a page on his website http://www.carper.senate.gov/May15 that calls on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass legislation aimed at reforming the U.S. Postal Service before a critical deadline of May 15, 2012 the date that the Postal Service can begin moving forward with closing over 1,000 postal facilities across the country.
The following letter was sent by Sens. Lieberman, Collins, Carper, and Brown to the House speaker and minority leader:
The Senate last week passed a bipartisan postal reform bill designed to preserve the United States Postal Service and put it on a solid financial ground for the next generation of Americans. We are writing to urge that the House of Representatives act promptly, so that the two chambers can reconcile their bills to turn around the Postal Service's daily loss of $25 million, prevent the unnecessary wholesale closing of regional mail facilities and local post offices, and save this iconic institution that delivers over 500 million pieces of mail a day and sustains over 8 million jobs.
The Postal Service's financial crisis will likely come to a head in the next few months. Without legislation, the Postal Service will not be able to make payments that are due and will likely be forced to slash services. In addition, we face a looming deadline of May 15, when the Postal Service is scheduled to begin wholesale closures of potentially thousands of rural post offices and other retail sites and hundreds of processing centers. We fear that the resulting degradation of mail service will further drive away postal customers, only hastening the loss of postal revenue, the accelerating contraction of mail processing and mail-related industry, and further loss of associated jobs.
We believe the Senate bill, S.1789, takes a better approach. Under the Senate bill, the Postal Service would use the same kinds of retirement-incentives that private industry uses to restructure and voluntarily "right-size" its workforce, to reduce the postal workforce over a period of 3 years by 18 percent, or roughly 100,000 positions, eventually saving $8 billion per year. Analysis provided by the Postal Service shows this bill would save more than $19 billion per year by 2016. The bill also establishes an orderly and predictable process for achieving a more optimal network of post offices and mail processing plants, requiring involvement of local communities to ensure that essential postal services are preserved. (more)
The Hill: The four original sponsors of Senate postal legislation are urging the Postal Service to extend a moratorium on closing facilities until Congress finishes its work on the issue. With the moratorium set to lapse in two weeks, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) noted that the legislation that passed their chamber included a resolution calling on the Postal Service to push back any plans to close post offices or processing centers. "There is considerable concern in the Senate that this approach will unnecessarily degrade the infrastructure which is one of the Postal Service's most important assets," the four senators, senior members of the Homeland Security Committee, told Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in a Monday letter. "We believe an attempt to proceed with the planned closures to get in under the wire' while legislation to the contrary is being considered would be counterproductive and would violate the clear intent of the Senate." Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee and sponsor of the House postal legislation, has sharply criticized the Senate bill, and said the amending process in that chamber made the bill worse. [EdNote: If you don't want the Postal Service to proceed, pass a LAW not a non-binding resolution. If the Postal Service caves to the Senate, the House Oversight and Postal Reform committee chairman will skewer, roast, and have the PMG for lunch.]
Discovery News: Will email soon replace the letter? Some experts say the writing is on the wall for the friendly local mail carrier even as new forms of digital document delivery are beginning to make inroads. "The very idea of the letter is becoming rapidly extinct," said Jeff Jarvis, author of "Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live" and professor of journalism at the City University of New York. "With the shift of marketing dollars from paper to digital, at the same time with the growth of parcel delivery (by private firms), we're going to see continuing disruption. That changes everything about the postal service." [EdNote: Jeff Jarvis will also be one of the featured speakers at the PostalVision 2020 conference that will be held in Washington, D.C. on June 12-13, 2012. You can get more information on PostalVision 2020 from the conference registration and information site.]
The following reports have been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov). If you have additional questions concerning a report, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703-248-2201 or Agapi Doulaveris at 703-248-2286.
· Assessment of Overall Plant Efficiency 2012 (Report Number NO-MA-12-001). Our report determined that the U.S. Postal Service made substantial progress reducing workhours in the network from the previous year. During fiscal year (FY) 2011, productivity for all plants improved by more than 5.9 percent over the prior fiscal year and overtime decreased by almost 4.2 percent compared with FY 2010. The Postal Service made these reductions with only slight declines in service from FYs 2010 to 2011; however, we found the Postal Service has not yet fully adjusted workhours in response to declining mail volume or achieved all possible efficiencies in mail processing operations.
· Postal Vehicle Service Nationwide Analysis (Report Number NL-AR-12-005). Our report determined that U.S. Postal Service Headquarters needs to strengthen nationwide processes, guidance, and monitoring of Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) fleet management procedures for conducting required schedule and vehicle utilization reviews. In addition, management could create more efficient PVS schedules by using non-traditional full-time employees and changing work schedules to include split days off. We also determined that, at some previously audited facilities, drivers were not consistently following prescribed safety procedures when conducting PVS operations.
· Summary of Focus Group Discussions on the Future of First-Class Mail (Report Number MS-MA-12-001). We coordinated focus groups with high-volume First-Class mailers and mail service providers whose clients include high-volume First-Class mailers to discuss current and projected First-Class Mail usage, future expectations for First-Class Mail usage and potential opportunities for the U.S. Postal Service, and the perceived role of the Postal Service in providing electronic mailings. Participants indicated there is little the Postal Service can do to prevent the steep decline of First-Class Mail, but identified mechanisms to potentially slow the rate of decline over the next several years and overwhelmingly concluded that an alternative electronic service is necessary to stay viable.
The Coloradoan: The USPS has tried to innovate. It was at the forefront of online bill paying, but it faced pressure from dot.com companies to let the solution come from private businesses. The beleaguered service has been interested in adding nonpostal delivery services to its portfolio, but that was refused on a federal level as well. Now, the USPS is left with little recourse other than to "innovate" by downsizing. A bill to help the post office seems like the right idea, but the tenets of the Senate's bill seem to contain all of the wrong ideology. Our congressional leaders should pull back on regulating the USPS and give it more latitude to choose its own fate. The USPS should be given a fair shake at innovating its way out of its deepening decline. If it can't innovate when the shackles are removed, then we should let more nimble companies fill the gap.
USA Today: For the most part, the Postal Service is a business. But it has a 535-member board of lawmaker-directors who can't resist second-guessing the business decisions the post office desperately needs to make to survive in the Internet era. If this were an ordinary business, it would have closed thousands of its under-utilized facilities and reduced staff far more than it has. Or it would have filed for bankruptcy. But unlike a real business, that's not an option for one of the country's oldest and most important institutions. A House plan sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is closer to what's needed. Postal unions insist that the core business is fine. But the post office's core business isn't fine. Even without the pre-funding, it's losing money, and that will only get worse. There's nothing pleasant about cutting jobs and closing post offices and mail processing centers. But the alternative is forcing taxpayers to subsidize a bloated system that operates at a loss. Unless Congress is willing to make tough choices, the Postal Service's woes could make the bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler look like chump change.
USA Today: Opposing view by Sens. Lieberman, Collins, Carper, and Brown -- By a strong bipartisan vote, the Senate passed a bill last week that gives USPS the authority it needs to right-size, modernize and remain competitive. It isn't a perfect bill, but it would put USPS on a path toward financial stability. Nearly 80% of Postal Service costs are workforce-related; these must be confronted. Under the Senate bill, USPS would use the same kinds of retirement incentives that private industry uses to restructure and voluntarily "right-size" its workforce, to further reduce the postal workforce by 20%, or roughly 100,000 positions, eventually saving $8 billion a year. The bill also establishes an orderly and predictable process for achieving a more optimal network of post offices and mail processing plants, requiring involvement of local communities to ensure that essential services are preserved, while reducing mail processing centers by a third. It's not enough just to cut expenses; USPS must grow revenue through innovation, new products and services in a digital age.
From the Federal Register: Postal Service RULES Inspection Service Authority; Seizure and Forfeiture , 2559625609  [TEXT] [PDF]
Washington Post: S.1789 leaves postal union leaders ambivalent, at best. John F. Hegarty, president of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, said: "We're not endorsing it whole--heartedly. We've come out in cautious support, recognizing there are still some improvements that need to be made." James Sauber, chief of staff for the National Association of Letter Carriers, said: "We're sort of disappointed. . . . It's sort of a missed opportunity, sort of tinkering around the edges." And Greg Bell, executive vice president of the American Postal Workers Union, said: "It's an improvement over the original bill, [but] we have some issues." The first issue Bell cited is a provision in the legislation that would reduce some workers' compensation payments three years after enactment, not including those who are totally and permanently disabled or already above retirement age. This would apply to federal employees generally, not just postal workers.
Aardvark.co.nz: There are quite literally thousands of ideas that could be floated to take advantage of the existing Post Office infrastructure and its international links. What NZ Post (and the other postal services around the world) needs is a team who can come up the ideas, sort them into some kind of ranking (based on viability and profitability) then actually implement them. The postal service isn't dead -- but if it doesn't adapt, it will be.
Buffalo News: It makes more economic sense to keep the Buffalo facility open than to close it. Not only has the Postal Service failed to produce a credible explanation for its push to close the processing center, but the evidence suggests that it will be counterproductive to the Postal Service's goal of remaining efficiently and usefully in business. In the meantime, a couple of useful adjustments are under consideration. Both are in the U.S. Senate. The more radical House of Representatives is resisting. First, the Senate moved to restrict the closing of rural post offices for at least a year. Unfortunately, neither the Postal Service nor the House of Representatives seems very interested in that possibility. But this is a start. Reps. Brian Higgins, Kathleen C. Hochul and Louise M. Slaughter need to leverage the Senate's approach to protect not only jobs, but adequate mail service in Buffalo.
PressReleasePoint: Matt Swain, Associate Director of InfoTrends' Document Outsourcing Consulting Service, will be speaking at the PAYMENTS 2012 Conference on Monday, April 30th hosted by NACHA at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Swain will be moderating a session on Digital Mail along with panelists Chris Johnson, Senior Vice President of Strategy & Innovation at Fiserv Biller Solutions; Dana Johnston, Vice President of eSales and eBusiness Development at DST Output; and Andy Jolls, Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing at Zumbox. Together, they will discuss the role of digital postal mail as an emerging customer communications channel and what it means to the payments market. "Our research shows that businesses are looking to digital mailbox services to assist with electronic payments initiatives," commented Swain. "PAYMENTS 2012 represents an ideal forum to discuss the digital postal mail market and the potential impact of the channel on the electronic payments market." [EdNote: Matt Swain will also be one of the featured speakers at the PostalVision 2020 conference that will be held in Washington, D.C. on June 12-13, 2012. You can get more information on PostalVision 2020 from the conference registration and information site.]
Newton Daily News: The U.S. Senate's bailout of the faltering Postal Service just postpones reforms and restructuring that have to take place. And the nearly $11 billion allocated to the service in the bill would make the needed changes all the more expensive. House GOP leaders have rightly said it's going nowhere in their chamber. Even Postal Service officials have said the Senate legislation doesn't provide the service with "the speed and flexibility it needs" to make needed cost reductions.
Post & Parcel: The Norwegian Government has issued a white paper proposing changes to Norway Post's retail network to improve customer service and cut costs. The Ministry of Transport and Communications is set to allow the Post to convert 149 of its post offices into in-store facilities run by partners, on the condition that postal services will be "at least as good as today". Norway Post should have at last 1,420 post offices and in-store retail counters, ministers said. Minister Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa said lower operating costs would strengthen Norway Post's ability to maintain high quality services across the country even where mail volumes fall more than expected. "Post offices in-store is a good way to improve the accessibility of postal services through longer opening hours," said the minister. "Customer surveys show that customers are satisfied with in-store postal counters."
The Telegraph: Courier TNT has launched a postal delivery service in West London, the first to compete with Royal Mail in 400 years.
Trefis: UPS results shows solid volume growth supported by its U.S. business and better pricing. Europe was weaker relatively and an area that UPS is looking to expand. This quarter also saw acquisition of European consumer delivery company, Kiala and UPS' intentions to acquire TNT Express which would further solidify its non-U.S. operations. Going forward, the company expects a similar growth in the next quarter as well. UPS faces stiff competition from FedEx and national postal services agency USPS (United States Postal Service).
DMM Advisory: Picture Permit Imprint Indicia. On Friday, April 30, the Federal Register published our Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) final rule that will add standards allowing customers to include business-related color images, such as corporate logos, company brands, or trademarks, in the permit imprint area of full-service IMb mailings of First-Class Mail® automation letters and postcards and all Standard Mail® letters. The implementation date is June 24, 2012. The complete final rule Federal Register can be found on the Federal Register website at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-04-27/html/2012-10014.htm and will be available soon on the Postal Explorer® website at pe.usps.com.
The United States Postal Service® has been working closely with a wide range of organizations through MTAC and individually on issues related to the Postal Service's offering PO Box customers in approximately 6,400 offices the option of a Street-Style address. The purpose of the survey is to ensure a broad range of input on how the P.O. Box Street Address (PBSA) may impact the mailing community. Below is the link to the USPS Street Addressing survey that has been developed with the help of our MTAC participants: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/StreetAddressing18 Please share this link within your group so that we can ensure a comprehensive approach to addressing the concerns. Responses are due by COB May 15th. For additional information on PBSA, you may access the Street Addressing Guide on the RIBBS website: https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mtcsa
The Postal Regulatory Commission today issued an order approving the implementation of Picture Permit Imprint Indicia as price categories for First-Class Mail and Standard Mail letters and cards. Picture Permit will be available beginning June 24, 2012. The offering will be available for commercial mailers of presorted First-Class Mail letters and cards and Standard Mail letters using Full-Service Intelligent mail barcodes (IMbs). The premium for First-Class Mail letters and cards will be 1 cent per piece and for Standard Mail letters 2 cents per piece. Picture Permit allows commercial mailers to include logos, trademarks, and brand images in the permit imprint indicia area of their mail. This provides immediate recognition of companies' logos, products promotions and brands, and boosts the value and visual impact of First-Class Mail and Standard mailpieces. Applications for Picture Permit image designs must conform to USPS specifications and be approved in advance. In addition, sample mailpieces are required for testing and approval prior to mailings. Details are available in the April 27 Federal Register at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-04-27/pdf/2012-10014.pdf. Additional information on Picture Permit, including registration and program requirements, is expected to be posted on RIBBS and usps.com by mid-May.