The USPS Problem
It has come as no surprise that the United States Postal Service lost money in the first two quarters of 2010. $8. 5 billion to be exact. Next year they, plan to lose even more. Somewhere in between $9 billion to $10 billion dollars. The problem will not be as simple to fix, but it is a problem that can be resolved with a few simple implementations and cost cutting options. Overspending and undercharging has led to needing to cut cost and raise prices. The USPS is trying to do both, but it requires Congressional approval and some simple economics. Here is what should be done in solving this problem.
1. Raise prices. Allow modest price changes without Congressional approval. If the prices change within the cost of living change or close the USPS should be able to implement them without wasting time and taxpayer money on a Congressional approval. The United States Postal Service does not charge enough for the service they provide. It does not cost 44 cents to move a letter from San Antonio, Texas to Hawaii, Alaska, or Puerto Rico. It does not cost 44 cents to move a letter to the next town let alone cross country with today’s raising fuel cost. Even with today’s new Postal pick up service the cost of fuel outweighs the cost of flat rate packaging.
2. Service. Service is part of the United States Postal Service name. End the Casual implantation of temporary workers. To many times customers complain to me that they saw a worker delivering mail without a uniform, and do not trust them in picking up the mail or package. Mail carriers should promote the business and make every interaction with its customers a positive one. I do many routes at my station and time and time again customers complain of the grumpy old letter carrier acting rude when approached, this has to come to a halt and management should be more involved in implementing ways to improve customer interaction and promote it.
If a station manager gets complaints on a mail carrier, the station manager should make a note of it and speak to the mail carrier at the end of day or first thing in the morning. Allow private business to run kiosk machines. Co-location works, and it is what the customers want, pay flat rate prices and do so fast and quickly, not waiting 20 to 30 minutes in line at the local Post Office. 3. Either end the retirement and health care pre-funding or make all government agencies abide by the same rule the United States Postal Service does. Although this has little impact on mail delivery, it has a huge impact on postal profitability.
The United States Postal Service officials think if given the same approach as other government agencies, they would save $5. 6 billion a year in revenue. If it weren’t for the cost of pre-funding future retiree’s health care benefits the service would have seen a profit of more than a quarter billion dollars. In other words, from an operational standpoint, the United States Postal Service made money. Understanding that the United States Postal Service is to break even, and any profits gain are to be made into the retirement and health care fund.
Pre-funding is a Congressional candy jar anyway. 4. Cut money wasting ideas. Management time and time again has cost the United States Postal Service revenue. Looking at some ideas management came just make no sense, like the idea to emplace a GPS system in every United States Postal Service vehicle. This idea was implemented to track and follow where the letter carrier goes during his delivery route. Along with that comes the idea to emplace 12 barcode scan points along the delivery route which the carrier must scan in increments of 45 minutes.
Rather than spend that kind of money and ways to spy on the letter carrier, someone in upper management should have suggested the idea that most of the United States Postal Service competitors have, which is continuous visibility of parcels. A idea that can make the United States Postal Service prove to their customers and competitors, that the United States Postal Service can provide the same service if not better than the other agencies. Currently the United States Postal Service cannot show the time of delivery of any package until the letter carrier returns to the office and downloads the information into the system.
Also batteries on the scanners fail and data is lost as well as the cost of a scanner brought to the letter carrier to be replaced. Instead of a GPS in every truck it would wise to spend revenue on something the United States Postal Service can improve its operational needs and improve visibility for every parcel scanned. After all it is what the business side of customers wants to see. The United States Postal Service is established so that every citizen could have an affordable means to move packages, and letters and to ensure timely delivery of mail to each home is delivered.
The Postal Service has tremendous business potential in the future, but Congress has to allow the United States Postal Service to use its own money in a businesslike fashion to get over the short term challenges,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. With the ever-changing market the United States Postal Service must focus on the parcel side of business mailing, and ensure every interaction with its customers is a positive one. After all it is the United States Postal Service customers that can fix the revenue problem the service is having.