Association for Postal Commerce

"Representing those who use or support the use of mail for Business Communication and Commerce"
"You will be able to enjoy only those postal rights you are willing to defend."

1800 Diagonal Rd., Ste 320 * Alexandria, VA 22314-2862 * Ph.: +1 703 524 0096 * Fax: +1 703 997 2414

Postal News and Information from Around the World

October 21, 2014 

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   The Business Customer Gateway Release 9.1 will be deployed to Production on Sunday, November 2, 2014 from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. CT. The release will be completed in rolling fashion with no planned outages. This release will include additional enhancements in the BCG application. Release Notes for the Business Customer Gateway will be provided prior to deployment. This was originally scheduled for Sunday, October 26.

Cato: Daniel Henninger nailed it in his article “Killer Bureaucracies,” which discussed the poor performance of so many federal agencies recently. He called for “scaled-down, distributed public responsibilities” to reduce bureaucratic failure. To that end, Congress should pursue . . . reforms: Eliminate bureaucracies that we do not need. Departments that mainly pump out subsidies and intrude on properly state, local, and private activities should be terminated, including the Departments of Agriculture, Education, and Energy. Federal organizations that perform useful business functions should be privatized, including USPS, FAA, TSA, Amtrak, TVA, and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: "Sen. Bernie Sanders discusses the Postal Service with Ed Schultz on MSNBC."

City A.M.: Online retail giant Amazon will this morning announce a same-day pick-up service in partnership with Con­nect Group’s newspaper and maga­zine distribution arm, Smiths News. The service will let customers order goods from Amazon as late as 11.45am for collection at one of 500 newsagents or corner stores from 4pm later that day.

Mobile Marketing Watch: Looking for breaking news? You’re most likely to be doing it mobile. That’s in line with a recent study by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). Conducted by comScore, the study showed that 80 percent of U.S. adult internet users accessed digital news content. When it comes to unique visitors, the digital newspaper audience came in at 164 million this past August—an 18 percent YOY increase.

Important Updates on Address Correction Service, Mailer Scorecard Reports &
Full-Service Electronic Verification Assessment Period.

  • Address Correction Service (ACS) An issue was encountered with Full-Service Address Correction Service (ACS) that decreased the number of records provided to mailers. A fix was implemented and data is currently being provisioned as expected. Data not previously supplied will be provided by October 31, 2014.
  • Mailer Scorecard Reports Recent messaging from the Postal Service advised customers not to use the Mailer Scorecard until further notice. Since then, the Postal Service has been working with the mailing industry to validate the accuracy of the Full-Service Electronic Verification reports (Mailer Scorecard) to help identify system issues when they occur and to validate when those issues are corrected. We are continuing to work aggressively to address issues with the reports that are impacting a small percentage of mailings and specific mailing scenarios. The mailing industry is encouraged to start using the reports again beginning November 16, 2014. The attached document contains a listing of specific issues impacting the Mailer Scorecard reports, the scenarios in which they occur and the scheduled dates they will be fixed. A Read Me tab describing each column of the report is included in the first tab.
  • Full-Service Electronic Verification – Assessment Period Based on feedback from the mailing industry the Postal Service is delaying the deployment of Full-Service electronic documentation (eDoc) postage assessments until April 2015 to allow for the issues to be resolved and allow time for mailers to review the data.

Bloomberg: Poste Italiane SpA, Italy’s state-run postal service, plans to postpone an initial public offering that may raise about 4 billion euros ($5.1 billion), according to two people familiar with the matter. A share sale won’t happen before the second half of 2015 at the earliest. Chief Executive Officer Francesco Caio, who took over this year, is moving the company from traditional postal services to more profitable financial, insurance and mobile-phone offers, as well as digital payments. An IPO would be part of Italy’s effort to raise as much as 9 billion euros by selling stakes in state-run companies. The government said in January it planned to sell as much as 40 percent of Poste Italiane this year, part of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s efforts to reduce the country’s debt.

Business Day: The Financial Times carried a lengthy article on the successful privatisation a year ago of Britain's Royal Mail, led by CE Moya Greene, who is also credited with a turnaround at Canada's post office. The Royal Mail is competing successfully with the likes of FedEx on express parcel delivery. Like our own South African Post Office, it has universal service obligations, which are challenging, but it is meeting them. It has labour issues too, but is managing them so that services to customers are not disrupted. The contrast could hardly be more stark. SA's Post Office described itself in Parliament recently as being in "dire straits". It had strikes in August 2012 and February 2013 and the current, unprotected strike has now lasted for three months. Many companies have given up sending out bills to customers, or reports or notices to shareholders by post. Long-distance university Unisa has urged students not to send assignments in by post and two courier services are helping out for free. Small businesses have been hit particularly hard by the lengthy lack of postal services. Many organisations who used to use the post will have given up on the Post Office and found alternatives, from e-mail to courier services. The government must not be allowed to sink any more money into the Post Office unless it can be shown that the organisation can be properly fixed and that it is a genuine national asset, providing essential services which the private sector cannot. These are far from clear.

National Post: After Canada Post announced, by decree, that all home mail delivery in urban areas would be replaced by community mailboxes, some have marvelled at the continuing negative reaction of Montreal area mayors, including the writer and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre. What sticks in our craw is not just the painfully evident lack of planning behind this decision, but the gnawing absence of public debate on a diktat issued by a state monopoly. Ten months after the announcement, things have not changed. Serving up a blend of the usual communications cant and oxymoronic clichés, Canada Post said it is getting rid of home delivery "to better serve all its customers." They went on to say they are committed to "delivering a positive customer experience," but not actually delivering the mail. Yet their stated goal is "to offer customers the types of services they want and need." Right. They've decided on what we need. Who cares what customers want when you're a monopoly?

The New Age: A Protracted strike by postal workers may be brought to an end today if the Communication Workers Union (CWU) accept a revised offer for its members to return to work. The proposed offer pertained to a salary increase of 6.5% backdated to April 1 and another increase of 0.5% in January 2015. The Post Office agreed to convert about 8000 casual workers into permanent staff within 30 months.

eCommerceBytes: Amazon hates to disappoint customers, and no doubt with memories of last year's late holiday shipments still fresh, it has decided to impose new restrictions on third-party sellers beginning November 13th: - Sellers will no longer be able to offer one-day shipping (unless they use FBA -- Fulfillment by Amazon). - Sellers will only be able to offer two-day shipping if they use UPS, US Postal Service, FedEx or OnTrac and if their Order Defect Rates are less than 0.5% (unless they use FBA).

WFIR: Roanoke area postal employees hope public pressure will forestall or block Postal Service plans to close Roanoke's mail processing center next year, a move that would lengthen delivery times for most of the mail you send. The Postal Service says it is one part of nationwide cutbacks designed to reduce its costs.

Reuters: Package delivery company United Parcel Service Inc said on Monday that rates for its services within and between the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico will rise by an average of 4.9 percent as of the end of the year. The Atlanta-based company said the rate changes for its ground, air, international and freight services would start Dec. 29.

October 20, 2014 

Business in Cameroon: According to Hervé Béril, Managing Director of Cameroon Postal Services (Campost), Cameroon's public postal service's sales "have been rising regularly by 10% per annum" since the implementation of the e-post project which received 32 billion FCFA in financing from the government by way of a loan from Eximbnk of China. Cameroon's postal service is currently managed by a team provided by French company, Sofrepost, which renewed its two-year technical assistance contract with the Cameroonian authorities as a part of Campost's restructuring. The contract is worth 2 billion FCFA.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Position available: Management Analyst.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   Important Updates on Address Correction Service, Mailer Scorecard Reports & Full-Service Electronic Verification Assessment Period.
Address Correction Service (ACS) An issue was encountered with Full-Service Address Correction Service (ACS) that decreased the number of records provided to mailers. A fix was implemented and data is currently being provisioned as expected. Data not previously supplied will be provided by October 31, 2014.
Mailer Scorecard Reports Recent messaging from the Postal Service advised customers not to use the Mailer Scorecard until further notice. Since then, the Postal Service has been working with the mailing industry to validate the accuracy of the Full-Service Electronic Verification reports (Mailer Scorecard) to help identify system issues when they occur and to validate when those issues are corrected. We are continuing to work aggressively to address issues with the reports that are impacting a small percentage of mailings and specific mailing scenarios. The mailing industry is encouraged to start using the reports again beginning November 16, 2014. Posted on this site is a document that contains a listing of specific issues impacting the Mailer Scorecard reports, the scenarios in which they occur and the scheduled dates they will be fixed. A Read Me tab describing each column of the report is included in the first tab. This list is also posted to the RIBBS website at Ribbs.usps.gov.
Full-Service Electronic Verification – Assessment Period
Based on feedback from the mailing industry the Postal Service is delaying the deployment of Full-Service electronic documentation (eDoc) postage assessments until April 2015 to allow for the issues to be resolved and allow time for mailers to review the data.

Radio Times: Traditional stamp collectors in America have become furious over new designs from the US Postal service that feature everyone's favourite rodent-themed Superhero (sorry Squirrel Girl), Batman. Created to honour The Caped Crusader's 75th birthday, the stamp set is made up of 8 different designs and include the artwork of several well-known Batman artists – but the purists aren't happy. "They have really ruined the stamp program," former Postmaster General Benjamin Bailar told Businessweek. Bailar, who resigned from the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee in August as a protest to stamp series like this, went on to say: "They have prostituted it in an effort to make money." This isn't the first time that commercial stamp sets have raised the ire of philatelists; in November of last year, the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee were furious when a certain boy wizard popped up on a new stamp design.

CBC: The installation of Canada Post's community mailboxes has not gone as smoothly as some Quebec residents had hoped. Canada Post spokeswoman Anik Losier admitted the mail delivery corporation has been working perhaps too hastily to complete the project to switch five million addresses over to community mailboxes. She said the Crown corporation has five years to move five million Canadians from door-to-door delivery to community mailboxes. She said this step alone would save Canada Post $500 million a year once all the addresses have been switched over.

CTV: Thousands of Canadians will have to walk a little further to get their mail starting Monday as Canada Post begins phasing out door-to-door delivery in some communities.

Financial Times: "Royal Mail faces mounting challenges"

Finnbay: An Extraordinary General Meeting of Itella Posti Oy has made the decision on changing the name of the company. From January 1, 2015, the name of Itella Posti Oy will be Posti Oy (Posti Ltd). From the beginning of 2015, the subsidiary will produce all of the Group's postal, logistics and parcel services in Finland.

Herald Sun: Australia Post officials are internally forecasting that the service now has little way to avoid slumping to its first full-year loss as the slide in letter volumes gathers pace. While there was a 5 per cent fall in the number of letters posted last year, the slide in letter volumes is now approaching a double-digit rate.

October 19, 2014 

Calgary Sun: Only in the public sector could something like this happen! The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, along with other groups, is taking Canada Post to court. They're angry that home delivery is being downgraded to community mailboxes. They say the move violates their Charter rights! But why is this change happening? Because between 2006 and 2013 the volume of mail Canada Post delivered went down by 1.2 billion pieces. The world is changing. We're moving to an increasingly digital world. That's just a fact. But don't tell CUPW that. They don't like that 8,000 jobs will be lost from this.

ITAR-TASS: The authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic said on Sunday operation of postal services on the republic's territory will be resumed. "An agreement has been reached to resume operation post offices," Dmitry Gromov, a Deputy Minister of Information and Communications of the DPR, said on Sunday. Along with regular services, the postal offices will be entrusted to pay social allowances. In the recent months, Ukraine's postal service Ukrpochta stopped its operation in the Donetsk republic. People were unable to send or receive mail. Pensioners could not receive their allowances.

The Australian: Australia Post has appointed TNT veteran Bob Black to fill the gap at the helm of its $3.1 billion parcels business. The move comes as Australia Post awaits federal government decisions on its regular postal deliver business, which is losing money at a terminal rate.

Business Day: The irony about the South African Post Office strike, former First National Bank CEO Michael Jordaan tweeted this week, is that the longer it drags on, the more its customers will move to electronic alternatives —never to return. That the post office is in crisis is in no doubt. For more than 10 weeks, mail — letters, bills, magazines, parcels — has been piling up at its sorting centres. The only surprise is that there hasn't been a bigger outcry from its customers. That consumers aren't up in arms must give the institution real reason to be worried: if its clients have become blasé about the strikes, which have crippled the company with alarming regularity in recent years, it must mean they're finding alternatives. Private courier companies will be smiling. The question this latest strike raises is what should be done about the post office.

October 18, 2014 

New York Times: For the second time in five months, a venerable marketing trade association is acquiring another. The Association of National Advertisers in New York, founded in 1910, has agreed to acquire the Business Marketing Association in Naperville, Ill., which was founded in 1922. The two associations are announcing the agreement on Friday morning. It was the Association of National Advertisers that also made the acquisition in May, taking over an organization known as the Brand Activation Association, which had dated to 1911 and was long known as the Promotion Marketing Association. The Brand Activation Association became a division of the Association of National Advertisers, and that is what will become of the Business Marketing Association, effective on Nov. 30, pending approval of its members in a vote that is to begin on Friday.

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission New Postal Products , 62682–62683 [2014–24764] [TEXT]

October 17, 2014 

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

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission New Postal Products , 62473 [2014–24693] [TEXT]

October 16, 2014 

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) filed a written request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to change the date of the presentation scheduled for Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 10 a.m. PostCom represents that concurrent with that scheduled presentation, over 15 associations are meeting with the Postmaster General, and would therefore be unable to participate. In the interest of having interested members of the public attend the presentation on postal costs and costing, the Commission reschedules the presentation for Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 10 a.m. The second presentation, scheduled to take place Monday, November 17, 2014 at 10 a.m., remains unchanged.

American Postal Workers Union: The four postal unions are calling for a National Day of Action on Nov. 14 to send a message to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors: Stop Delaying America's Mail! "The Postmaster General is poised to make devastating cuts in service to the American people – cuts so severe that they will forever damage the U.S. Postal Service," the union presidents said. The unions selected the Nov. 14 date because it coincides with the USPS Board of Governors' final public meeting of the year.

The Washington Post: Republicans have a good chance to win the Senate on Nov. 4. No one expects them to lose the House. So what would a Capitol Hill controlled by Republicans mean for millions of people — federal employees, retirees and their families — directly affected by congressional action?

The Financial: The Federal Network Agency has approved the proposed adjustments to Deutsche Post mail prices, effective January 1, 2015, as submitted for approval on October 1. This will see the postage charge for a standard domestic letter (up to 20 grams) increase by 2 cents to EUR 0.62, according to DHL International GmbH.

NBCPhiladelphia: Spam emails aren't the only way people are trying to hustle you out of cash. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that newspaper subscribers are being targeted with "fraudulent renewal and new order notices for their subscriptions." The Inquirer and Daily News have run page-length ads to warn readers of the fraud in the form of junk-mail through the U.S. Postal Service. The ad states subscribers across the country have received notices from companies identified as Readers Payment Service, Associated Publishers Network, Magazine Billing Network, and Publishers Billing Exchange.  An operator for publisherpayment.com told Inquirer reporter Joseph N. DiStefano that they collect subscription applications and fees, sell them to independent third parties who then set up a paper subscription with the reader's credit card. However, the papers say the process is neither authorized by nor affiliated with them.

Ottawa Citizen: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers plans a federal court challenge of the decision to end home-mail delivery, calling it a human rights violation.

CTV: Seniors' groups and organizations for people with disabilities are joining the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in a planned legal challenge to preserve home mail delivery. Canada Post wants to phase out home delivery in an effort to cope with a revenue squeeze from falling mail volumes. The postal workers union said the Federal Court challenge, which has not yet been filed, will argue that doing away with home delivery is a decision for Parliament, not Canada Post.

Canada NewsWire: Canada Post is confident that its plan to secure postal service for all Canadians, including those with disabilities or mobility issues, will withstand any and all legal scrutiny. While two thirds of Canadian households do not receive mail delivery to the door, making the decision to transition the remaining one third of households to community mailboxes was difficult. Digital alternatives are rapidly replacing traditional mail and that trend will accelerate. As a result, people are using Canada Post differently than they have in past years. In 2013, Canadians mailed almost 1.2 billion fewer pieces of mail than they did in 2006. The changes being made are necessary to secure the future of postal service in Canada and avoid becoming a burden on the taxpayers. Canada Post remains committed to ensuring the right approach is taken and no one is left behind. All Canadians must have access to the postal service.

ZDNet: Most recently, Australia Post has been implementing a digital approach to its logistics and delivery solutions to cope with the decrease in traditional letter deliveries. Now, the postal delivery organisation has taken a similar approach to enhancing customer service in its call centres. According to Australia Post direct channels general manager, Brady Jacobsen, for as long as the company's call centres have existed, the personal connection that is formed between front-line staff members — who are working in the stores or delivering the parcels and letters — and the customer has never been achieved in its contact centres.

Citizen: "The financial situation of the post office is dire. It is seriously dire," Sapo general manager public affairs Andrew Nongogo told Parliament's communications and public enterprises select committee. Referring to the ongoing strikes that have crippled post office operations over the past 10 weeks, he warned the parastatal was losing customers and money, and suggested there might not be enough to pay salaries at the end of the month. "The fact that we are not at work right now [due to the strike], and we are losing customers, we are losing the public in general, means that there is no money – that should be coming into Sapo – that would allow us even go and continue to pay salaries on the 25th." Responding to questions, he later repeated the warning. "If we don't go to work, we don't get money in, and if we don't get money in, we come back to the same position that you are asking me about –what will happen on the 25th of this month, of next month, etc? So that's how serious the position is."

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission Restrictions on Unfair Competition , 62290–62294 [2014–24376] [TEXT]

October 15, 2014 

USPS Scorecards Part 2: eDoc Submitters and Mail Service Providers Join the Association for Postal Commerce, PostCom on Tuesday, November 11 for "USPS Scorecards Part 2" webinar. Bob Rosser, Director Postal Affairs, Products and Services, IWCO Direct will explain how to navigate your Scorecard. You'll learn how to interpret what the USPS data is saying about your mailing quality. Whether you have an in-house operation or are a Mail Service Provider, you are certain to gain new insights and tips that can be applied to understanding the data from your operation. Title: USPS Scorecards Part 2: eDoc Submitters and Mail Service Providers Date: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/172913920

Reuters: Connect Group Plc unveiled e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc as its first customer for a new same-day parcel delivery service in the UK, sending its shares up more than 18 percent. Connect Group, formerly known as Smiths News Plc, has sought to cut dependence on newspaper and magazine distribution as circulations drop.

PracticalEcommerce: There is an industry growing up around Ecommerce offering parcel forwarding services. It is mainly in the US but there are a few similar services in the UK. What they offer is a local address (US or UK) which you can use to get items delivered to from stores that will not ship internationally. Then these services will forward your purchases on to your real address. Many offer additional services like re-packing, inspecting and photographing the contents, and consolidating multiple parcels into one shipment. This can save postal costs, especially using couriers who charge more on size than weight. This is an industry growing up because so many Ecommerce retailers do not ship internationally. The gap in the market being filled by these middle men. All for a fee.

Save the Post Office: Goin Postal is a franchise chain of retail shipping & receiving stores based in Zephyrhills, Florida. The company has already arranged for its current franchisees to put stores in 500 Walmart locations, and it is currently looking for people who want to start a store in one of the other 1,500 Walmarts available for a postal counter. The Goin Postal stores are part of the USPS Approved Shippers program, which consists of stores that can also offer FedEx, UPS, DHL, and anything else they want. They make their profit by charging a fee on top of the USPS pricing. By expanding its network of "alternate retail channels" — whether through Village Post Offices in convenience stores, stamps on consignment at retail chains, online transactions on usps.com, postal counters in Staples, or an Approved Shipper counter in Walmarts — the Postal Service has been encouraging its customers to do business at places other than regular brick-and-mortar post offices.  [EdNote: What a fine idea! Postal services provided with greater accessibility offered at times and places more amenable to customers' needs, and provided in a more cost-efficient manner.]

MAIL PREP AND ENTRY FOCUS SESSION WEBINAR NOVEMBER 6 1:00-2:00 p.m. (EST) The Mail Prep and Entry Focus Group will host a webinar for MTAC members that will include all of the regular updates normally given during the focus group meetings at MTAC in addition to a special segment on FAST appointment procedures. Covering these topics in advance of MTAC week will allow time to share new opportunities and have more robust discussion on topics of interest at the face-to-face focus group meeting. Agenda topics include: (1) FAST Appointment Procedures (2) Engineering & Technology Update (3) Work Group Updates (4) User Group Updates (5) MP&E Steering Committee Update (6) Flats Strategy Update (7) Remittance Mail Update. Instructions for participating in the webinar appear below: Attendee Information: Event number: 993 917 073 Event address for attendees: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=993917073 Dial-in: (855) 821-1290 Conference ID: 17222149 If you cannot join using the direct link above, please use the alternate logins below: Alternate URL: https://usps.webex.com

GFK: GfK has released its Europe Map Edition 2014/2015, which reflects thousands of changes that have occurred in Europe since last year. These digital maps of administrative and postal regions comprise the basis for place-based or so-called "geomarketing" analyses for companies across all industries. The approximately one thousand digital maps in the GfK Europe Map Edi-tion have been updated to reflect the latest status. The maps have been supplemented with numerous regional levels; one of these enhancements includes an increase in the level of detail, particularly along coastlines and in cities. The maps offer comprehensive coverage down to Europe's most detailed postal and administrative levels such as five-digit postcodes and municipalities. GfK's geomarketing experts have also calculated seamless-ly fitting 2014 data on GfK purchasing power, inhabitants and households.

Postalnews: The United States Postal Service is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to evaluate the possibility of purchasing a new commercially available Right Hand Drive vehicle to supplement its existing fleet of light delivery vehicles. This would be a stop gap solution to meet Right Hand Drive vehicle requirements until the development of a purpose built Right Hand Drive vehicle can be accomplished. The Postal Service anticipates the need for up to 10,000 Right Hand Drive delivery vehicles to replace high maintenance cost Long Life Vehicles (LLVs) over the next two years.

WDSU: Thanksgiving and Christmas are just weeks away, and postal offices in New Orleans are looking for some additional manpower from former employees. Officials with the United States Postal Service announced this week that retired city carriers can temporarily return to their jobs during the peak-mailing season.

Finger Lakes Times: Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, will speak Wednesday at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Kennedy, a legal strategist and financial attorney, will reflect on government gridlock and bipartisanship. Her appearance, which is part of the President's Forum series, is free and open to the public. Kennedy is awaiting Senate Confirmation as a member of the board of governors of the U.S. Postal Service.

Wall Street Journal: Singapore's main postal service is spending 182 million Singapore dollars ($145 million) on a new e-commerce logistics center in a bet that online retailing in Southeast Asia is set to boom.

Daily Bhaskar: In a bid to enhance its electronic connectivity and capability across 1.5 lakh Post Offices in India, Department of Posts is in the process of inducting new-age technology through an enterprise wide IT Project. In this series, it has also signed Business MOU with snapdeal.com & shopclues.com. In tune with the emerging e-Commerce market, parcel product has been revamped & Cash on Delivery (CoD) facility has been introduced. State-of-the-art Parcel centres are also being set up across the country. Department is also developing exclusive Parcel Network to cater the needs of e-Commerce companies.

Financial Times: Drones are a useful tool for delivering flags to football pitches . . . but they remain an extreme option for same-day parcel delivery. But if convenience really does trump everything these days, I foresee another twist to this story: a link-up between Amazon and the ambitious taxi-disrupter Uber. Parcel delivery competitors to Royal Mail already use "lifestyle couriers" – the marketing name for the man in the unmarked car sullenly handing over your parcel on his way to work – for "last mile" delivery. Uber, meanwhile, is keen to use its drivers to deliver virtually anything to consumers within a five-minute range.

Workplace Savings and Benefits: Royal Mail has seen more than 35,000 employees take-up the offer to be a part of the postal group's first save as you earn (SAYE) share scheme. The massive interest in sharesave scheme equates to more than 23% of the organisation's 150,000-strong workforce. As a result the firm has been forced to reduce the amount that can be saved each month by 43% to allow everyone who applied to participate. This reduction will only begin to apply for values over the minimum contribution level of £1.25 for weekly paid workers and £5 for those paid monthly. Savings had originally been capped at a maximum of £25 per week or £100 per month.

The Telegraph: Mount Pleasant, one of the largest sorting offices in the Royal Mail Network, receives and delivers over a million items of mail every day and Telegraph Business was given an exclusive look at how this is done.

Office of the Inspector General: Post Office Relocations: Having Your Say Our blog this week looks at the Post Office relocation process and our recent audit findings. If you have experienced a Post Office relocation in your community, were you satisfied with how and when you were informed? Share your experiences on our blog.

Postal Technology International:

Press Release: NPI (National Presort L.P.), a leading mail and parcel sorting technology company, was selected by Brazil Post, a world-leading postal service provider, to upgrade the country's mail and parcel sorting equipment. The initial contract of $11 million USD is for the revitalization of all of Brazil Post's Siemens Delivery Bar Code Sorters (DBCS) machines. The upgrades will streamline Brazil's postal services, improving delivery times, and will add at least 10 years of additional life to the country's existing systems. The contract with Brazil Post reflects the company's continued international growth, as mail processing organizations worldwide turn to NPI for exceptional equipment and support.

October 14, 2014 

Senate Committee on Homeland Securty and Government Affairs: "Here are the Top Ten Reasons Congress Must Act on Postal Reform . . . ."  "To this day – more than 200 years after its founding – the Postal Service remains an important part of our lives and economy. But it continues to face financial challenges that threaten its future. Only Congress can put the Postal Service back on solid financial footing and give it the tools it needs to innovate and grow. The bipartisan Carper-Coburn Postal Reform Act of 2014, reported out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee earlier this year, would fix the problems ailing the American institution and enable it to thrive for years to come."

PostCom Members!! Did you catch the latest PostCom webinar on "USPS Mailers' Scorecards: What Does the Data Say?" If not, you can still listen and follow along with the slides that have been posted on this site. See also PostalScorecardWebinar-BobSchimek Oct 14 2014.pdf

National Newspaper Association: The U.S. Postal Service should evaluate the impact of slower service to newspaper subscribers before proceeding with 2015 closings of mail processing plants, National Newspaper Association President John Edgecombe Jr., said this week. Edgecombe is the publisher of The Nebraska Signal in Geneva, NE. NNA seconded the concern expressed by the USPS Office of the Inspector General that the Postal Service has not completed service impact evaluations on the planned closings of 82 more mail processing plants starting in January 2015. The evaluations should include public notice and comment. The OIG strongly recommended that USPS complete these evaluations and requested confirmation that they are being completed. NNA has previously reminded the Postal Service that the impact of moving mail processing operations into urban areas creates mail delivery problems for its subscribers, who may judge the effectiveness of the mail by the on-time arrival of their newspapers.

Columbus CEO: In digital age, snail mail is an anachronism for a large percent of the population. But when it comes to the business of politics, postal in the form of direct mail is dug in on the front lines.

Wall Street Journal: Google Inc. is expanding its delivery service and will start charging a membership fee, intensifying its battle with Amazon.com Inc. for consumer spending. Starting this week, Google will charge $10 a month, or $95 a year, for unlimited same-day or overnight delivery on orders over $15. Nonmembers will pay $4.99 an order, or $7.99 if the order costs less than $15. Until now, the deliveries had been free. The service, initially named Google Shopping Express but now known simply as Google Express, lets customers place orders online for products from physical stores run by retailers including Costco Wholesale Corp. , Staples Inc. and Walgreen Co. Google said it is expanding the service to Washington, D.C., Boston and Chicago on Tuesday.

The Telegraph: Royal Mail remains a solid income generating investment for the long term. The UK letter and package giant generates plenty of cash, pays a handy dividend and its dominant position in the postal market gives it pricing power.

Post & Parcel: Japan Post is forming an alliance with La Poste's international parcel-express company GeoPost to further its ambitions in the e-commerce space. As part of the deal the Japanese postal operator will for the first time in its history invest in a non-Japanese company. Japan Post has agreed to buy a 14.9% stake in Hong Kong-based global logistics provider Lenton Group, in which GeoPost holds a 34.7% stake.

REJournals: With the rapid growth of e-commerce, there is a huge push on speed of delivery, more specifically, the speed of goods to clients, according to Daniel E. Fogarty Jr., vice president of Conor Commercial Real Estate. "People are now at the point where they are ordering more and more of their goods online," said Fogarty. "Next day delivery had become the norm, and now same day delivery is the push by all of the major online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot.

TVNZ: The managing director of a postal service in New Zealand says he was "horrified" to learn that one of the company's addresses might be linked with a terrorist group. Internet in Iceland Inc, or ISNIC, earlier revealed that it had "suspended domains that were used for the website of a known terrorist organisation" and said it was registered to a New Zealand address. ONE News tracked down the address used to register the website khilafah.is, which ISNIC said was run by a group calling itself Islamic State. The address is a safe deposit box in Parnell provided by Private Box.

October 13, 2014 

Washington Post: Northrop Grumman of McLean won a contract worth up to $30 million from the U.S. Postal Service for professional, administrative and management support services.

Rising Kashmir: Postal services in flood-hit Jammu and Kashmir have been fully restored as most of Post Offices have been re-opened again in Kashmir except 12. "All these Post Offices have been opened again and Postmasters and Inspectors have restored working in all Post Offices except about a dozen Post Offices," Chief Post Master General, Jammu & Kashmir, Chandra Prakash told reporters here today. He said recent floods in September in Srinagar and other parts of J&K have badly affected working of number of Post Offices.

BBC: Somalia's government has launched its first postal service in more than two decades. It has also introduced postcodes nationwide for the first time in the country's history. The postal service fell into disuse when long-serving ruler Siad Barre's regime collapsed in 1991.

WFMY: A medical alert device was at the heart of a scheme that resulted in elderly consumers losing millions of dollars. U.S. Postal Inspectors said the con artists used intimidation as a tool to get what they wanted. Postal inspectors said thousands of elderly consumers felt scared after being intimidated into buying a device called the instant response system. Schemers said the "instant response system" pendant would trigger a call center who in turn would call police or family, and cost $470. Postal inspector Michelle Purnavel said, "Some of these elderly individuals did not choose to purchase the pendant, however they ended up receiving the pendant in the mail." Victims said telemarketers called every day and threatened them with legal action if they didn't pay for it. Purnavel said, "They would tell them we have recordings of you agreeing to go into this contract and you now owe us $300 or $500 dollars depending on the contract." Inspectors say the elderly victims were often bullied into giving their bank information over the phone. They figured let me pay the money and get it over with. A total of two thousand victims lost almost $2 million.

Daily Journal: A top Kentucky Republican is asking the U.S. Postal Service to take away the state Democratic Party's nonprofit mailing permit, at a time when political mailings are stuffing mail boxes ahead of next month's election. State GOP Chairman Steve Robertson filed a complaint alleging the Democratic Party abused its nonprofit permit. Robertson points to Democratic state Senate candidate Will Cox's campaign in his allegations. Robertson says mass mailings indicating the material was paid for by Cox's campaign included the Democratic Party's nonprofit mailing permit information and return address. Robertson says candidate campaigns are ineligible for mailing at the lower nonprofit rate.

Press Release: AMSP/NAPL/NAQP Chairman Tom Duchene today announced a transition of executive leadership at the combined association. Effective January 12, 2015, J. Kenneth Garner will become association Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE. Truncale has announced his intention to step down at that time to become Chief Executive Officer of the New York City-based Public Relations Society of America. AMSP/NAPL/NAQP was created this year through the merger of the Association of Marketing Service Providers, National Association for Printing Leadership, and National Association of Quick Printers.

Postal Reporter: The United States Postal Service is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to evaluate the possibility of purchasing a new commercially available Right Hand Drive vehicle to supplement its existing fleet of light delivery vehicles. This would be a stop gap solution to meet Right Hand Drive vehicle requirements until the development of a purpose built Right Hand Drive vehicle can be accomplished. The Postal Service anticipates the need for up to 10,000 Right Hand Drive delivery vehicles to replace high maintenance cost Long Life Vehicles (LLVs) over the next two years.

WDSU: Thanksgiving and Christmas are just weeks away, and postal offices in New Orleans are looking for some additional manpower from former employees. Officials with the United States Postal Service announced this week that retired city carriers can temporarily return to their jobs during the peak-mailing season. According to the USPS, retired employees can sign up for Holiday Term City Carrier Assistant positions beginning Dec. 6. Their positions will be for a four-week period ending Jan. 2.

Eyewitness News: As the post office strike enters its tenth week, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) is expected to brief employers on the feedback from its members. Workers are demanding a 15 percent pay increase while casual staff want also permanent positions. The strike has brought postal services to a virtual standstill.

Post & Parcel: The Norwegian Government has agreed to fund Norway Post's unprofitable postal services. The state-owned company said last week that NOK 418m (EUR 50.7m) has been included within next year's national budget for loss-making postal and banking services. Norway Post welcomed the move to support the universal postal service, but said postal reforms were still needed to help it cope with changing customer requirements. Dag Mejdell, the Norway Post chief executive, said: "We are pleased that the government will pay in full for the unprofitable postal services that Norway Post provides, including a six-day delivery of mail throughout the country. "At the same time, we expect the government to submit proposals for new postal regulations first, which will give Norway Post flexibility to adapt to new customer needs."

October 12, 2014 

The Hindu: India Post has come a long way since postal services were first introduced in the country on October 1, 1854. India Post has changed and so have the services it offers to the public. With the drastic reduction in the number of personal mails, India Post is now offering a host of other services such as cash on delivery for parcel services and parcel packing units and has also opened Post Shoppe to provide add-on services. On Saturday, India Post launched free pick up service for bulk mailers.

Dead Tree Edition: Mail carrier was recently named the most endangered job in the U.S., but the U.S. Postal Service seems to have other ideas. Its plan to deliver groceries to households in major metropolitan areas is the latest among several strategic moves that would mean more work for employees who handle the "last mile" of delivery.

Office of the Inspector General: Revenue Protection Rules -- "Revenue protection has become increasingly critical to posts' survival as mail volumes decline worldwide. The Universal Postal Union estimated that posts lose 5 to 10 percent of postage revenue because of fraud, poor mail acceptance, sampling and billing processes, or unreliable revenue collection technology. Our objective was to evaluate Postal Service rules related to revenue protection and to determine whether opportunities exist for improvement."

October 11, 2014 

Reuters: Workers at a New Jersey facility of package delivery company FedEx Corp unit FedEx Freight voted against union membership on Friday, the latest in a series of setbacks for the Teamsters union's efforts to unionize the company's workforce.

The Mirror: Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said: "The botched privatisation of Royal Mail was a national scandal. "Not only did the public not want it, but it was an unnecessary and costly process that left taxpayers £1billion out of pocket. "We are already beginning to see the effects of the Government's ill-thought out privatisation firsthand with the threat to the sustainability of the universal postal service." He urged the Government to keep its 30% stake.

Sen. Thomas Carper: Chairman Carper continues to call on his colleagues to work together to pass comprehensive postal reform this year. The Postal Reform Act of 2014, introduced by Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), is the only bipartisan and comprehensive postal reform bill in Congress. The bill aims to reform and modernize the Postal Service by addressing its longstanding health care and pension issues, streamlining operations and generating additional revenue. It would also preserve existing service standards – including those 82 plants and Saturday mail delivery – for years, while allowing Postal Service to act more like a business and innovate in an effort to raise additional revenue and help keep the institution from insolvency. You can learn more about the bill and the impact Congressional inaction is having communities on Chairman Carper's interactive website, "Reforming the Postal Service."

October 10, 2014 

Columbo Page: Sri Lanka's head of the postal services today dismissed the media reports which said the mail delivery to the North and other parts of the country is being delayed due to the railway strike. Due to the railway strike launched by the Professional Railway Trade Union Alliance (PRTUA), nigh mail trains from Colombo to distant parts of the country had been cancelled and local media reported that about 500,000 letters are stuck at the Central Mail Exchange in Colombo.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • The Postal Regulatory Commission's advisory staff, in addition to several contractors engaged by the Commission to perform research on its behalf, will present briefings on two recent projects. (1) A presentation on several aspects of postal costs and costing by John Panzar, Robert Cohen, John Waller, and Commission staff will take place Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 10:00 AM. (2) A second presentation on the terminal dues system by Copenhagen Economics will take place on Monday, November 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM. Both briefings will be open to interested members of the public, the Commissioners, and Commission staff. Questions from and discussion with the audience is encouraged. The briefings will be informal and no transcript will be made; however, an audio recording or webcast of the discussion may be made. The Commission is not hosting these briefings as part of any ongoing proceeding. All presentations solely represent the views of the authors of these studies and have not been endorsed by the Commission. Background information on each presentation is below, and the reports and papers giving rise to these presentations are available to download and review with this notice on the Commission's website.
  • National Payroll Hours Summary Report, Pay Period 21, FY 2014
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/90/90489/Letter_Payroll_PP21FY14_20141010145015.pdf
    http://www.prc.gov/docs/90/90489/NationalPayrollSummary_PP21_2014.xlsx

iNVEZZ.com: Royal Mail tomorrow celebrates its first birthday as a public company after one of the most controversial privatisations in history. A year ago, the UK government sold 60 percent of the 500-year-old postal service despite protests from staff, unions and politicians. On the first day of trading on the London Stock Exchange, Royal Mail's shares soared 38 percent, sparking criticism that the postal operator was sold too cheaply to the detriment of the taxpayer (Royal Mail's share price surges 38% on market debut). Despite the business secretary, Vince Cable, dismissing the initial price spike as ‘froth and speculation', the shares continued to climb to a January peak of 618p – almost double the 330p float price. Since then, the stock had given back most of its gains, currently trading at around 400.00p.

Parcel2Go: E-commerce growth around the world is more than making up for falls in global letter post volumes, according to new figures. Post volumes rose by 2.3 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2014, data from the International Post Corporation shows. Courier firms are seeing the benefits of concentrating efforts on expanding their parcel and express delivery services, while many state-owned carriers are also seeing a positive impact on their businesses, according to Herbert-Michael Zapf, the IPC's president and chief executive. Such businesses "are uniquely positioned to play a bigger role in the e-commerce market, as they can reach every customer," he said. His organisation is aiming to help national carriers maximise their share of e-commerce traffic, by "providing them with the technical backbone to offer their customers a seamless [international] network," Mr Zapf added. Meanwhile, the IPC reported that a slowdown in the decline in mail revenues had been seen because more  businesses were increasing their spending on direct mail as part of their advertising programmes.

Daily News: TANZANIA Posts Corporation (TPC) says it is determined to expand its internet services to remote areas, to cope with stiff competition in the wake of advanced information and communication technology.

USPS Proposed 2015 Promotion Calendar

Wednesday, October 15th, is the deadline to submit a presentation(s) for the 2015 National Postal Forum! And, if you're interested in submitting a proposal, you won't want to delay your submission.  The Oct. 15th deadline will not be extended.

 Our Educational Program Team is looking for innovative speakers who want to share case-studies, operations and management strategies, execution of successful mailing & shipping campaigns — or lessons learned from ones that did not work!

  Not submitting to speak at the 2015 Forum?  Feel free pass this on to someone who might have knowledge to share. Even if you are not speaking...budget and make plans to attend the National Postal Forum in sunny Anaheim, CA on May 17-20, 2015! Again, Wednesday, Oct. 15t is the deadline for the call for papers.

 You can submit your presentation ideas using our online submission at www.npf.org. Questions? Please write or call Laurie Woodhams at lwoodhams@npf.org or 703-218-5015.

Politico: In an exclusive interview with POLITICO, Mark Dimondstein, president of the 200,000 member American Postal Workers Union, calls for the resignation of Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe "and the promotion of a Postmaster who is gonna do right by the people of this country." Dimondstein says that Donahoe is on "a rampage to cut, cut, cut" and has no plan to save the Postal Service, which shed 37,400 jobs in 2013 alone and is projected to eliminate approximately 169,000 jobs by 2022. What could the Post Office be doing? Dimondstein said that the final straw was the failure of Donahoe to embrace Senator Elizabeth Warren's plan to stabilize Postal Service's financing by introducing postal banking.

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission Semi-Permanent Exception from Periodic Reporting of Service Performance Measurement , 61345 [2014–24189] [TEXT]

Associated Press: Amazon is planning to open its first physical store. In this Oct. 18, 2010 file photo, an Amazon.com package is prepared for shipment by a United Parcel Service (UPS) driver in Palo Alto, Calif. That's according to a report in The Wall Street Journal that said Thursday the largest U.S. e-commerce retailer will open a store in Manhattan ahead of the holiday shopping season. It cites anonymous sources familiar with the matter. It is not clear if the store will be permanent or a holiday pop up. The newspaper says the store could function as a warehouse and a showcase for inventory

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

October 9, 2014 

Linns: Susan McGowan, a public relations executive who was named head of the United States Postal Service's stamp program in December 2012, has been replaced, a USPS spokesman confirmed Oct. 8. Spokesman Mark Saunders said McGowan was "not ousted" from her stamp position, but had been detailed to another position in the marketing department. Cindy Tackett, a senior Stamp Services executive, was named McGowan's interim replacement, Saunders said. There has been considerable turmoil within the Stamp Services office, which controls the stamp program, according to several current and former postal employees. The office also has come under fire from stamp collectors, especially first-day cover collectors, for the slow release of information about upcoming new stamp issues.

Business Standard: India Post is improving its parcel network to tap benefits of the booming e-commerce business in the country. "State-of-the-art parcel centres are being set up across the country. The Department is also developing parcel network to cater to the needs of e-Commerce companies," the Department of Posts said in a statement on start of National Postal Week celebrations today.

International Business Times: The hostilities between Royal Mail managers and the postal service's main union have died down after the state-owned employer was privatised, according to Moya Greene. The chief executive of the Royal Mail told IBTimes UK that she has implemented a renewed emphasis on "improving relationships everywhere" in the FTSE 100 firm. "If you've got 150,000 people, it's inevitable that you're going to have disputes," Greene said. "You're not going to agree on everything. The question is not so much the dispute, it is how do you solve it, how do you approach it. "Sadly, we had a history of approaching it with a very conflictual attitude. Our union is a strong industrial union, known for strike activity. "Well, we have reduced a lot of that. Our union has decided that, for the good of the company, and the people who work in it rely on us having better relationships and looking for less conflictual ways to resolve our differences.

Punch: The Nigerian Postal Service intercepted fake financial instruments worth N13.65bn in the first nine months of the year.

Vocativ: You might think dark net drug dealers use some super secret delivery method to get their products point A to point B. Maybe, you thought, it's some sort of stealth drone that dispatches from some clandestine warehouse and drops off the packages in the dead of night. Not exactly. They use the post office—and the government isn't happy about it. "The postal service—the mails are—being used to facilitate drug dealing," former Attorney General Eric Holder said at a Senate committee hearing earlier this year. "It is shocking to see the amount of drugs that get pumped into communities all around this country through our mail system, and we have to deal with that."

usps logo DMM Advisory:   IMb™ Services Update 2014 Election Cycle — Political Campaign and Official Election Mail Webinar The Postal Service™ has scheduled two sessions of a webinar for anyone responsible for preparing or mailing Political Campaign Mail and Official Election Mail. The webinars will explain changes with the 2014 Election Cycle and mail preparation requirements for Political Campaign Mail and Official Election Mail.

  • Session 1 Wednesday, October 15, 2014 Time: 1 – 2 p.m. EDT Meeting Number: 748 101 830 To Log on: Go to https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=748101830 Teleconference information Provide your telephone number when you join the meeting to receive a call back or: Call-in-toll-free number: 1-855-860-7461 (US) Conference Code: 173 522 9720
  • Session 2 Thursday, October 16, 2014 Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT Meeting Number: 746 100 493 To Log On: Go to https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=746100493 Teleconference information Provide your telephone number when you join the meeting to receive a call back or: Call-in-toll-free number: 1-855-860-7461 (US) Conference Code: 173 522 9720

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

". . . The United State Postal Service (USPS) is a government agency and a congressionally backed monopoly afforded certain rights and privileges to which private enterprises are not privy. The agency has a track record of taking advantage of these freedoms and using them to undercut the market in which they operate. The USPS is seeking permission to expand its grocery delivery services to additional markets. Inserting themselves into this industry space would simply be another way for the USPS to expand their reach without instituting real reform, not to fulfill its mandate of delivering the mail on time to its customers anywhere in the country. This growth would work to push out already established private providers. This action works to hurt private businesses who cannot afford to bring their price down to a level where they can be competitive. A government agency should not be working to compete with American businesses. . . ."


Department of Justice: A federal grand jury has indicted Larosa Bolton, age 53, of Laurel, Maryland, today on charges of theft of government property and making false claims in connecting with fraudulent claims for medical travel expenses.

Newcastle Herald: The federal minister responsible for Australia Post has sympathised with the financial hardship plaguing Australia Post licensees but said their plight was part of the broader challenges facing the company. He said licensees were struggling because the fee they are paid when a letter and parcel is posted is not increasing in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). He said the agreement with Australia Post was 20 years old and the licensees' inability to renegotiate it had left them well behind inflation.

Office of the Inspector General: Management Alert – Lack of Service Standard Change Information in Area Mail Processing Feasibility Studies (Report Number NO-MA-15-001)

The Postal Service has not analyzed the impact of planned service standard changes or informed stakeholders of the changes related to Phase 2 consolidations. Specifically, management did not complete the service standard impacts worksheet in 91 of the 95 AMP feasibility studies. The other four feasibility studies did not include updated service standard changes in the service standard impacts worksheet (see Appendix A). The worksheet should detail the upgrades and downgrades between 3-digit ZIP Codes4 by class of mail5 and volume.

Invezz: Royal Mail has reached a settlement agreement with the French competition authority, Autorité de la Concurrence, over allegations it breached antitrust laws in the country. The British postal services group said in July it had received a notice that one of its subsidiaries in France, GLS France, may have breached competition laws, which could result in "material losses" ( Royal Mail share price drops on French competition probe). Royal Mail, which listed on the stock market a year ago, said in a statement this morning that the French regulator is continuing its investigation, but by entering into an agreement the business will benefit from a reduction to any potential fine. The group revealed that it had made a provision of £18 million in its financial statements for the half year ended September 28 with £12 million of that representing the current estimate of any fine to be imposed and £6 million to cover associated legal costs.

The LoHud Journal News: Nine people have been arrested in a sticky-mailbox "fishing" scheme that targeted letters mailed by postal customers in southern Westchester over the spring and summer. The Postal Inspection Service announced the arrests, which were made after a joint investigation with Eastchester, Pelham, Westchester County and New York City police.

RFID Journal: Some Belgian postal workers are helping police locate missing or stolen bicycles this fall as part of their daily rounds, and they are using radio frequency identification technology to do so. As they deliver mail, some employ an RFID reader, along with a PDA with GPS capability, to read RFID tags attached to the bikes' frames. The service, known as CycloSafe and provided by postal company bpost, has been taken live in four Belgian cities, with a small number of mail carriers in each city armed with RFID interrogators. The long-term plan is to expand the system's use to most Belgian municipalities. Bpost, also known as the Belgian Post Group, is a private company that delivers mail throughout Belgium. Its mailmen travel by bicycle, as well as by foot, to do their jobs. In recent years, the company has undertaken initiatives to expand the roles of its mail carriers, thereby offering non-postal services that can help communities, and to secure the jobs of their mail carriers.

The Motley Fool: Understanding the proverb that idle hands are the devil's workshop, the U.S. Postal Service wants to make sure its letter carriers aren't standing around doing nothing while U.S. mail volume steadily declines. According to a proposal submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission two weeks ago, beginning on Oct. 24 the USPS wants to begin a two-year test of a "groceries and other prepackaged goods" delivery service it calls "Customized Delivery."

The Tribune-Review: President Obama nominated David S. Shapira, executive chairman of Giant Eagle, to the board of governors of the United States Postal Service, the White House announced on Wednesday. Shapira has been in his current position with Giant Eagle for two years. He was CEO and chairman from 1980 to 2012 and served as president from 2005 to 2012. He is a trustee of Oberlin College and Carnegie Mellon University, director of EQT Corp. and a member of the advisory board of Aquatech International. He previously served on the boards of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and is a former director of Mellon Bank Corp.

October 8, 2014 

Office of the Inspector General: "The Postal Service has not analyzed the impact of planned service standard changes or informed stakeholders of the changes related to Phase 2 consolidations. . . . . Without completing and disclosing the analysis of planned service standard changes the Postal Service may experience: * Degradation of service to communities, including delayed mail. * Carriers delivering mail after 5 p.m. because of unexpected workload. * Customer dissatisfaction, which could harm the Postal Service's brand and affect future revenue. Moreover, completing the feasibility studies based on the revised service standards will allow the Postal Service to accurately assess the reasonableness of the consolidations, determine their impact on customers, better communicate the AMP results, and improve the probability of successful consolidations."

Fortune: UPS, the world's largest package delivery service, is currently testing out a new service, called UPS Access Point, at 300 locations in Chicago and New York. The idea is to recruit local businesses with evening and weekend hours within a short distance of customers to serve as additional pick-up spots where UPS can leave a package when someone isn't home to accept it, thereby lowering the number of failed delivery attempts. The company is planning on rolling out the service, already available in Europe, to all major U.S. metro area next year, and in January, to its own network of 4,400 UPS stores.


Postal Technology International:

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission New Postal Products , 60871–60872 [2014–23987] [TEXT]

RTTNews: United Parcel Service Inc. announced Tuesday it has acquired U.S.-based international e-commerce enabler and logistics company i-parcel, LLC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. UPS said that the acquisition complements its international cross-border logistics capabilities from the U.S. and U.K., to over 100 countries.

Fierce Government: The Postal Regulatory Commission published a final rule that lists the elements that need to be shown to bring a complaint that the Postal Service has violated competition rules. A valid complaint requires that the USPS have a rule, regulation or standard that precludes competition or establishes the terms of the competition, the rule says. Other valid complaints include USPS forcing someone to disclose intellectual property or if the Postal Service obtains information about a product and then uses it without the permission of the person or company. The rule was established as a framework for how the PRC deals with unfair competition at the Postal Services.

Press Release: Satori Software today announced a partnership with RedPoint Global to resell and support the RedPoint Data Management™ data quality product. RedPoint's product provides a powerful on-premise replacement option for Satori® customers using the soon-to-be-unsupported SAP® Postalsoft® DQ DataRight IQ and Match/Consolidate software.

usps logo Attention Postal One! Users:   PostalOne!® Release 38.1.3 Deployment-- This release repairs known issues in PostalOne!® and also includes database maintenance activities. The deployment will occur on Thursday evening October 9, 2014 between 8:00PM CT and Midnight 12:00AM CT. There will not be an outage during the maintenance release, i.e. the application will remain available. There is no mandatory Mail.dat® client download required. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 38.1.3 can be found on https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2014/releaseoverview2014.cfm. PostalOne! Release 38.1.3 Deployment to Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will occur also on Thursday, October 9, 2014, TEM will remain available from 8:00 PM. CT thru 12:00 a.m. CT.

October 7, 2014 

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Philly.com: Post office clerks rallied outside a Staples office supply store in Center City Tuesday. They were complaining that the U.S. Postal Service's plans to install in-store postal counters where lower-wage Staples employees sell stamps and accept packages hurts postal jobs and jeopardizes the safety of the mail. Calling for a boycott of school supplies at Staples, the workers say the Staples initiative is part of a postal management plan to privatize the Post Office. [Bunkum! This is all about making retail postal services more accessible to the public in as cost-efficient a way as possible. It means trying to do more . . . more conveniently, more smartly, and more cost-efficiently.]

Cato At Liberty: This is a really bad policy idea: the U.S. Postal Service wants to get into the grocery delivery business. Economists will sometimes support government interventions in industries where there are serious market failures. But with grocery delivery, private businesses are already performing the service, and no market failure is evident. The USPS grocery idea is a desperate attempt to save the agency's hide, rather than to solve any problems in the marketplace. For more efficiency and less lobbying, Congress should be encouraging the USPS to shrink, not expand.

usps logo DMM Advisory: Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date mailing standards. The Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) is fully searchable on Postal Explorer and features fly-out menus (menus that when moused over drop down to the side displaying subsections of the DMM), cross-reference links, and an extensive subject index. Effective October 6, 2014, we continued our initiative to reduce the size of the DMM without changes to content to make it quicker, easier, and more convenient to use. Section 604, Postage Payment Methods, was renamed Postage Payment Methods and Refunds; Sections 705.20.0, Postage Due Weight Averaging Program and 705.24.0, Scan Based Payment were relocated to Section 604 as Sections 604.11.0 and 604.12.0, respectively. Also, Section 705.25, Alaska Bypass Service, was relocated under Section 608.2.0, Domestic Mail, as sub-section 608.2.6.

Mobile Storm: There are reasons – very good reasons – why marketers are relying more heavily than ever on SMS, email, and a myriad of other mobile marketing and advertising tactics instead of decreasingly effective and increasingly annoying banner ads. You are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad.

Attention Program Registration®   Users: Program Registration Release 11.0.0.8 — will be deployed to Production on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 from 8:00 pm to 11:59 pm CDT. There will be an outage and the application will be unavailable during that time.

Arutz Sheva: The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Communications today (Tuesday) attained certain agreements with the Histadrut (national labor federation), Israel Post management, and the Workers Committee for achieving a recovery plan for Israel Post.

Taunton Daily Gazette: Online shoppers who live in Fall River, Somerset and Taunton: Prepare for special delivery. Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night — and soon, not even Sundays — will get between Amazon.com shoppers and the goods they order. By December, Sunday delivery is expected to be offered by the online retail giant through a pilot program being tested in our area. No, futuristic drones will not be delivering the packages to your door, as the company had proposed earlier this year — not yet anyway. Instead, the packages will be delivered the old-fashioned way, via U.S. Postal Service carriers. As the fiscally troubled postal service has lobbied Congress to drop mandated Saturday mail delivery, it may seem surprising that parcel delivery service would be expanded to Sundays. But it's a case of the post office having the networks Amazon needs to offer a service that consumers want, and the online retailer making it worth it for USPS and its workers to try it out. If it's a success, Sunday Amazon deliveries will become standard practice in 7,000 ZIP codes nationwide. In the wake of declining regular mail delivery with many people communicating and paying bills online, parcel delivery is a bright spot as more people shop on the Internet. The Sunday Amazon delivery is the result of new, innovative and cooperative solutions to help the post office meet today's needs. It seems the postal service may be turning the corner from the dark days it has been experiencing. Amazon.com Fresh, the online retailer's grocery wing, has been test-driving using postal service trucks and employees to deliver perishable groceries in the San Francisco area. That, too, could go nationwide if it's a success in the test market.

MobileMarketingWatch: What do you call a 5% conversion rate for digital advertising? Nearly impossible. That's the dilemma that advertisers face as conventional advertising continues to have declining return numbers even as the amount of spending in the space continues to increase. All 3 types of advertising vehicles currently available to marketers and brands, including search, display and social ads, are ineffective at best. Heck, 50% of clicks on banner ads are accidental, and the CTR for display ads is an abysmally low 0.11%!

October 6, 2014 

The Verge: Hewlett-Packard announced today that it was splitting its business in two, creating a printer and PC company alongside one dedicated to enterprise services. This may seem like the inevitable putting out to pasture of an aging technology that has been displaced in the mobile age. But it actually wasn't so long ago that HP's printer business was growing steadily. As The Guardian's technology editor Charles Arthur points out, between 2005 and 2008 sales in the printer division expanded at a healthy clip. Like many things, they fell of a cliff when the financial crisis hit, but unlike some other industries, the appetite for old-fashioned paper and ink never recovered, and has been slowly dwindling ever since, precipitating today's big breakup.

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

PostCom Members!! The latest issue of PostCom's Postal Executive Summary, October, 2014 Volume 3 Issue 5, has been posted on this site.

Fedweek: USPS management should revise and implement a plan to integrate highway contract route tracking and payment IT system for its transportation contracts and take into account industry best practices in doing so, the USPS inspector general has said. Annual HCT contracts generally have fixed prices and automatic prorated monthly recurring payments, and USPS spent about $4.3 billion on them from 2012 – 2014.

Fierce Government: The U.S. Postal Service needs to be more proactive outside of its core business of mail delivery and collaborate more with established brands to succeed in servicing customers of the future, a Sept. 29 USPS inspector general report says. In a partnership with consulting firm Monitor Deloitte, the IG used scenario planning to understand the needs and expectations of such customers, and how the Postal Service could effectively meet those changing needs. USPS is positioned to grow in core and adjacent products and services, including customer access, brand permission, core strengths, infrastructure and supplier and partner synergies, the report says. "Aligning these pivot points with the customer needs identified in the scenario exercise revealed dozens of new potential postal products and services that could facilitate communications and commerce," the report says.

Canada NewsWire: The union representing postal workers strongly condemns a move by the private company "You Have Mail," accusing it of exploiting the recent Canada Post decision to end door-to-door delivery for over five million Canadian households by offering to pick up mail and deliver it to the door – for a fee, of course. "The Harper government is trying to kill Canada's postal service and the vultures are circling," said Denis Lemelin, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

CBC: A new privately owned company called You Have Mail is preparing to fill the niche of home delivery once Canada Post stops delivering mail to individual homes. "Continue to receive your mail at home," promises the website of the Canadian upstart. "We know that with busy schedules, retrieving mail is the last thing you want to worry about, and we can help." The company will start its service on Oct. 20 — the same day several urban communities start losing door delivery, as per Canada Post's five-year transition plan. With You Have Mail, you can pay $20 to have mail delivered twice a week (Monday and Wednesday), or $30 for three deliveries per week. There's a corporate option of daily delivery for $60 dollars monthly.

Husch Blackwell: Every Postal Service contractor should know the answer to certain fundamental questions: What procurement rules apply to the Postal Service and how do they differ from other agencies? What contract provisions are most likely to cause problems during performance? How do I identify and respond to changes and changed conditions? What recourse do I have when disputes arise? That's why our firm is presenting a full-day seminar on "Postal Service Contracting: What Every Contractor Should Know," at the Westin Tysons Corner hotel on Thursday, November 6, 2014. Click here to register or for more information, or contact Seminar Coordinator Stephanie Dorssom at 314-345-6646.

CityLab: The industry leader at the moment may be a service called Postmates. After launching in San Francisco in 2012, Postmates expanded to Seattle, New York, Washington, D.C., and earlier this year, Chicago. By early 2014 it had reportedly raised $22 million in financing. Within the past month, it's announced a pending presence in Miami, Denver, and Las Vegas, and hired a former Google Wallet developer to head operations. By the end of the year, Postmates will be bringing people whatever they want, within an hour, in 16 U.S. cities. See also blog.uber.com/RUSH.

Fresh Thinking Business: Royal Mail has announced plans to cut some of its prices over the Christmas period in a bid to maintain its market share. Between 20 October and 18 January, all parcels weighing up to 2kg will cost £2.80 second class. Royal Mail has altered its pricing system which means 1kg and 2kg parcels will cost the same amount, meaning some parcels will be £1 cheaper to send. Royal Mail is also introducing a permanent change to the size dimensions of its "small" parcels. It means that some parcels that would've previously been classed as "medium" will pay cheaper prices. Customers could save as much as £5.20 on parcels which were previously classed as "medium" due to the permanent and Christmas-only changes.

The following resolutions were approved by the Board of Directors of the Association for Postal Commerce at its October meeting:

  • That the Association for Postal Commerce communicate its continued support of the Postal Service's efforts to expand the availability and cost efficiency of retail postal services.
     
  • That the Association for Postal Commerce communicate its continued support for the Postal Service's efforts to reorganize and right-size its physical infrastructure. This support, however, is contingent on the Postal Service's ability to maintain quality, predictable, and timely mail services in a manner that does not diminish the value and utility of mail as a means for business communication and commerce.

    (For those who may have forgotten, in June 2013, the Association for Postal Commerce published a white paper setting out nine principles that should be considered as the basis for postal legislative reform. That white paper is available on this site.)

    Also, the following persons were elected as directors of the association for a term of three years: Kevin Garvey (Disabled Amerian Veterans); Richard Kropski (Arandell Corporation); Randy Roberts  (JPMorgan Chase); JP Thorpe (Engineering Innovations); Robert Arnish (Bank of America); Michael Baranofsky (Christian Book Distributors); Cameron Bellamy (Grayhair Software); Kelly Browning (American Institute for Cancel Research); Robert B. Buhler (Accenture); Hamilton Davison (American Catalog Mailers Association); Vincent DeAngelis (Neopost USA); Richard Domagala (Mystic Logistics); Sam Edelston (Boardroom Inc.); Donna Hanbery (Saturation Mailers Coalition); Sharon Harrison(AT&T Mailing Solutions); Joe Hillyer (Scholastic); Lucie Jameson (The Hartford; Carol Kliewer (Harland Clarke); Joe Mizrahi (Direct Brands); John Reindl (Harlequin Distribution Center); Howard Schwartz (Conde Nast); James West (Williams-Sonoma) ; Bob Zendarski (Lockheed Martin Distribution Technologies).

PublicServiceNews: Letter carriers from around the state are converging in Duluth this week for their annual convention, and it comes as they face what can at best be described as a changing and uncertain future. With mounting financial struggles, the U.S. Postal Service has already consolidated 141 mail-processing facilities nationwide and another 82 are on the chopping block. [EdNote: Excess postal capacity adds unnecessarily to excess postal costs. Excess postal costs exacerbates the fiscal pressure on the Postal Service.]

Transport Intelligence: UPS announced that it has expanded its coverage area for US early morning deliveries. The company has added another 766 UPS Worldwide Express Plus postal codes over the third quarter, after adding more than 400 earlier in 2014.

Delta News Web: Because of declining use, the U.S. Postal Service is removing many of the blue boxes. A known fact that in 1985, nearly 400,000 blue mailboxes were on American streets. Now only 160,000 remain and more are vanishing each day.

Washington Post: With breaches of personal data being a top concern for federal agencies, the U.S. Postal Service faces a huge security risk of its own: It has jeopardized 13 million addresses of customers who are forwarding mail to their new homes.

Reuters: Israel plans to issue minority stakes of up to 49 percent in state-owned companies on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange over the next three years, a move the Finance Ministry said would bring in revenue of 15 billion shekels ($4.1 billion). The socioeconomic cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday approved the proposal, which aims to sell off stakes in Israel's electric company, water provider, railway, post office and defence contractors and pay down the national debt.

Washington Post: Camber of Fairfax won a contract worth up to $30 million from the U.S. Postal Service for professional, administrative and management support services.

October 5, 2014 

eCommerceBytes: The lowly cardboard box: it's more than something you hurry out the door and give to a shipping clerk. It's a way to boost your brand, market yourself, and boost your profits. This article focuses on that last item - improving your profits by making your boxes as cost-effective as possible. Choosing the right box and, optionally, cutting boxes down so they fit around an item as snugly as possible can reduce postage costs. That will become even more important early next year, say shipping experts, when UPS and FedEx apply their new dimensional weight shipping rates to ground and freight shipments.

Globes: Israel Postal Co sanctions halt overseas mail. Customs also won't handle international parcels in solidarity with the postal company. The Histadrut General Federation of Labor is also escalating its measures to oppose the Postal Company reform.

News.com.au: For more than 150 years anyone in Australia could send a letter to anywhere else in the country, whether they lived in the bush, at the beach, or in the middle of Adelaide, for the same price. But today Australia's magnificent postal traditions are under threat. Australia Post returned a six-month loss between January and July for the first time in its history. And in the past month both Australia Post and the network of mail-carrying small businesses have cried out to the government for help. As e-mail use grows and letter volumes decline, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull may be forced to end more than 150 years of uniform letter pricing and introduce two classes of mail.

October 4, 2014 

Office of the Inspector General:

What The OIG Found. The Postal Service has not effectively implemented and managed fuel pooling for HCR suppliers under the HCR Voyager Card Program. It intentionally allowed all HCR suppliers with multiple HCRs to pool their authorized fuel gallons (called aggregate pooling) without regard for supplier operational needs (such as the use of the same equipment on multiple routes) or cost benefits for the Postal Service. This widespread pooling occurred because the policy was relaxed over time and is now inadequate. Also, aggregate pooling became common practice because agreements that would not have allowed it were either missing or lacked consistency. Consequently, the Postal Service may be paying more in fuel costs than necessary. We estimate the risk of unrecoverable fuel overpayments at $42.5 million annually. Without corrective actions, financial assets of about $42.5 million are also at risk for the July 1, 2014–June 30, 2015, fuel year.
What The OIG Recommended. We recommended management ensure that pooling agreements clearly demonstrate an operational need and that pooling is consistently applied. We also recommended that management eliminate the practice of aggregate pooling. Finally, management should ensure timely identification and recovery of overpayments for the July 1, 2014– June 30, 2015, fuel year and any subsequent periods.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products ,
60199–60200 [2014–23668] [TEXT]  [PDF]
60199 [2014–23669] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Postal Products; Amendments ,
60200 [2014–23678] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
NOTICES
Product Changes:
  Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement ,
  60201 [2014–23683] [TEXT]  [PDF]
  60200 [2014–23685] [TEXT]  [PDF]

Opptrends: Package delivery companies are pleading with giant e-commerce companies to hold their big sales in mid-December to avoid the fiasco that was experienced last year in terms of delayed delivery on the eve of Christmas. Amazon.com, Inc. and Macy's, Inc. were among the retailers who were accused of failing to deliver products as agreed on the eve of Christmas.

Law360: The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that drivers in the Connecticut terminal of a FedEx Ground Package Systems Inc. unit are employees and not independent contractors, saying that a wide range of factors favor employee status. Over one dissent, a four-member panel ruled Tuesday that FedEx Home Delivery violated the National Labor Relations Act when it refused to recognize and collectively bargain with a union that sought to represent the drivers.

Forbes: A major labor class action lawsuit targeting FedEx Ground just cleared a major hurdle. The Kansas Supreme Court just ruled that Kansas drivers for the service had been employees, not independent contractors as FedEx claimed, as the published decision says. The result will have a major impact on a set of class action suits alleging FedEx Ground had misclassified its workers.

Wall Street Journal: Retailers have been working to avoid a repeat of last year's holiday debacle that left millions of customers fuming after their gifts didn't arrive in time for Christmas. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. began coordinating with shipping carriers in February. Groupon Inc. has doubled the size of its fulfillment center. And Ebay Inc. eBay Enterprise, which manages e-commerce operations for 75 retailers including Toys ‘R' Us Inc. and Dick's Sporting Goods Inc., has expanded its use of regional shipping partners to reduce its dependence on United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. Even though many of last year's problems were blamed on bad weather and a rush of last-minute orders that overwhelmed UPS and FedEx, retailers shouldered much of blame and paid disappointed shoppers with gift cards and other promotions. With online shopping growing by more than 15% a year, companies are trying to get their systems primed for the annual holiday onslaught.

The Queensland Times: You've got mail…but it's not yours. Yours is in someone else's mail box. Unfortunately, that is becoming a far too frequent occurrence for the residents of Ipswich. Cr Paul Tully said Australia Post's customer service was "almost non-existent". Responses to both Cr Tully's and the QT's Facebook page are littered with examples of mail regularly either going astray or not being delivered at all. An Australia Post spokesperson said complaints from Ipswich were no higher than anywhere else. "Our records indicate that the volume of complaints received in relation to the Ipswich delivery area are no higher than the average received for surrounding areas," the spokesperson said. "However, despite the utmost care and diligence in our mail processing arrangements, we recognise that there are isolated instances of lost or delayed mail. We recently experienced a staff shortage in the area which, may have resulted in a one-day delay for delivery of a small number of items.

Cape Business News: In an internal memo sent to Post Office staff today, South African Post Office (SAPO) Acting Chairperson HN Manzini informed staff that the parastatal has "today accepted a request from the GCEO [Chris Hlekane] for extended leave." The memo then stated that COO Mlu Mathonsi will be acting in the capacity of Group Chief Executive Officer. This just hours after the Communications Workers Union (CWU) called on Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele to fire the entire SAPO board for "incompetence and looting" of the entity's funds.

Washington Post: "Bonidy v. United States: The Second Amendment at the post office"

The Hindu: The department of posts has recently tied up with various online shopping portals to offer delivery services. With e-commerce growing by leaps and bounds, the postal department, which has a widespread reach, particularly in rural areas, will bridge the gap in logistics. The department has tied up with major e-commerce players, including Amazon, Flipkart, Shopping Zone India and Naaptol, to help ramp up their delivery system.

The Desert Sun: NALC President Frederic Rolando -- "Through the first three quarters of fiscal year 2014, the U.S. Postal Service has an operating profit of more than $1 billion. USPS, which earns its money by selling stamps and doesn't get a dime of taxpayer money, has earned $1 billion more in revenue than it spent to deliver the mail. Last year, the Postal Service had an operating profit of $300 million. Why is it doing so well? Three major factors are responsible. First, as the economy gradually improves, letter revenue has followed suit, after predictably falling during the worst recession in 80 years. Second, while more people are paying bills online, the flip side is that rising online shopping has sharply boosted package deliveries, making the Internet a net positive. Finally, worker productivity is at record highs."

October 3, 2014 

Postal Technology International:

Post & Parcel: La Poste is set to bring in an inflation-busting 7% increase to its postage rates in January, to sustain the universal service. But, protecting the important e-commerce market the French national postal service said this week that it will raise parcel prices by only 1% on average. The company said the hike in letter prices come as the decline in mail volumes prompted by the digital revolution accelerates, with last year's 6% drop being the largest decline in company history. The starting price for the basic letter (Lettre verte/green letter) will rise by 7 cents to EUR 0.68, while the rate for a priority letter will rise by 10 cents to EUR 0.76.

The Orcadian: Orkney MSP Liam McArthur used a debate in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday to highlight the importance of universal postal services to people and businesses in the islands.

From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission New Postal Products , 59867–59868 [2014–23615] [TEXT]

Romania-Insider: The Romanian postal services market registered an increase of 7.8% in 2013, mainly due to more active alternative providers, reads a statement of the National Communication Authority ANCOM. Although the Romanian Post continues to process most of the postal items, namely 68% of the total, the alternative providers registered a 33% increase in total traffic.

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

Practical Ecommerce: Amazon is rapidly adding new fulfillment centers, sorting packages for carriers, and even delivering some orders directly to customers. Could these initiatives hint at a revolution in ecommerce shipping? The answer is probably, "yes." Amazon is clearly trying to improve its ability to deliver orders to customers rapidly, while shoring up, if you will, known weaknesses, including its dependency on package carriers. If successful, Amazon may soon be able to offer services like free next day (or even same day) delivery and have much more control over order fulfillment during peak sales periods, like the Christmas shopping season. If Amazon were able to implement these sorts of programs successfully, small and mid-sized retailers might need to find ways to improve delivery speed and reliability too, if they hope to meet potentially rising customer expectations.

Roll Call: The sudden resignation Wednesday of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was about more than a single fence-jumping incident at the White House or Tuesday's troubling hearing on Capitol Hill, Rep. Jason Chaffetz told CQ Roll Call. The Utah Republican, who earned notice — especially in GOP circles — for his forceful questioning of Pierson at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, said the turn of events over the past 24 hours really is the culmination of months of a painstaking bipartisan probe of a troubled federal agency. Chaffetz said he hoped his work on the subcommittee shows he can do things in a bipartisan way, he's serious about the subject matter, and he can produce results.

Wall Street Journal: In terms of package deliveries, last Christmas was a perfect storm of shopper procrastination, bad weather, a compressed calendar and retailers that overpromised, resulting in millions of gifts that were too late for Santa. This year, United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. are working hard to avoid a repeat of the fiasco. Their challenge is convincing retailers to get real. UPS is trying to persuade e-commerce companies to hold their big sales in mid-December instead of in the countdown to Dec. 25. It also wants them to stagger special offers geographically—so a GoPro camera might be on sale one day in Texas and a different day in Florida. Perhaps most of all, UPS is lobbying retailers to banish any and all free overnight-shipping offers on Dec. 23, as well as promotional emails going out that day. If all else fails, UPS executives say they can't guarantee they will ship anything that exceeds what retailers projected.

The Times: The chief executive of Ofcom is standing down after more than a decade at the centre of broadcasting, telecoms and postal regulation. Ed Richards, a former policy adviser to Tony Blair and the BBC, was one of the architects of the existing regulatory system. He joined as a senior partner ahead of its launch in 2003 and has run Ofcom for the past eight years, a period of significant change in the media and communications industries. He will leave in December.

October 2, 2014 

IMpb Compliance Webinar October 14 at 10 a.m. (EDT) In January 2014 the USPS required all commercial packages to be IMpb Compliant. This requires a unique IMpb barcode on each piece, submission of a Shipping Services File version 1.6 or higher including the complete destination delivery address and/or 11-digit delivery point validated (DPV) ZIP Code or ZIP +4 Code for each package in the mailing. Join us on this informational webinar providing all the requirements for IMpb Compliance as well as new requirements for January 2015. Attendee Information: Event number: 991 225 460 Event address for attendees: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?d=991225460&t=a  U.S./Canada Attendee Dial-in: (888) 890-1547 Conference ID: 7017993

[PostCom logo

    PostCom welcomes its newest members:

  • Abol Software 413 Creekstone Ridge Woodstock, GA 30188 represented by Jennifer Williams, Senior Sales Associate
  • Wells Fargo 12301 Vance Davis Drive Charlotte, NC 28269 represented by Seth Haynes Vice President Postal Affairs

Global Address Data Association: The Internet of Things will force us to make profound and far-reaching choices about personal data collection and use. The addresses of "things", as well as people, will be vital knowledge. But the era of a world where things "know" everything will have to be confronted, and hard choices made about what happens to the data collected by the "Internet of Things". That conversation needs to happen, and soon.

Sky News: South Australian Attorney-General John Rau has called on the federal government to tighten border security measures following almost 50 arrests of people trafficking drugs via the post since the beginning of the year. Authorities in South Australia have made 49 arrests and seized 29.5kg of illicit drugs since January related to people using the internet and mail system to traffic drugs. More than 16,000 tablets have also been seized under Operation Post, as well as 74 litres of the party drug, Fantasy, and 31 litres of precursor chemicals.

Fosters: During a recent editorial board with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, questioning turned to the financial straits of the U.S. Postal Service, which lost $2 billion for the third quarter, the 21st losing quarter of the last 23. There is, however, some good news. "Revenue continues to improve as a result of the Postal Service's January mail price increase, successful sales and marketing initiatives, and continued success in growing the package business," according to USPS.com. "Total operating revenue of $16.5 billion increased by $327 million, or 2.0 percent, compared to the same period last year." In addition, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the USPS has been given permission to cut prices and go head to head with some of the services offered by FedEx and United Parcel Service. The U.S. Postal Service has targeted large e-commerce companies as the holidays approach. Last month, regulators signed off on cuts of as much as 58 percent for priority mail by shippers moving at least 50,000 parcels a year. Based on the grousing by FedEx and United Parcel Service officials, the USPS is onto something that will help its bottom line.

The Week: Walmart is the world's largest retailer, a status it earned by putting every product a shopper could conceivably need under one roof. For years, though, one major area of consumer activity had proven elusive for the Bentonville giant: financial services. That's set to change in late October, when Walmart will begin offering basic transactional accounts under the brand name GoBank, through a partnership with Green Dot Bank. To some, Walmart's focus on the financial needs of low-income customers could prove an effective strategy to reduce the number of "unbanked" or "underbanked" Americans. Those are the nearly 10 million U.S. households that rely largely on "alternative financial services" — predatory institutions like check cashers and payday lenders that charge exorbitant rates for their services.

Post & Parcel: Dutch postal service PostNL says it has reached a deal with the trade unions over a new contract for mail delivery staff, subject to ratification. The collective labour agreement with BVPP, Abvakabo FNV and CNV Publieke Zaak will include increased salaries and an allowance to help with living costs. The contract takes effect retroactively from the start of this year, and runs until the end of September 2015. From the start of next year, a new salary grade will be introduced for delivery staff above the age of 23 who have been working at least five consecutive years at PostNL.

Daily Finance: The rise of email, the recession, and a massive mandate from Congress to pre-fund 75 years of retirement benefits in ten years -- a burden not legally required of any other business or government agency -- has led to difficult times for the United States Postal Service. The agency, which operates without taxpayer funding, has weathered a drop in letter volume, and has pioneered new programs which may ultimately hold the keys to its future. Now USPS officials have asked federal regulators for permission to expand a deal with Amazon which has postal carriers and vehicles delivering groceries and other prepackaged goods in big cities. The current arrangement is a test, operating just in San Francisco where the USPS makes early morning deliveries to customers of Amazon's grocery delivery service. The potential expanded arrangement would be a two year test which would expand the current setup into more cities. The Post Office requires approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission to enter an arrangement such as this one. Deals like this are sort of the silver lining to the dark cloud the Internet has brought to the business of mail.


Dead Tree Edition: The Postal Service Giveth, and the Paper Market Taketh Away

Office of the Inspector General: National Change of Address Program Audit Report Report Number IT-AR-14-010 September 24, 2014

What The OIG Found. Security controls over the COA manual processes and NCOALink data are not sufficient to protect the confidentiality and integrity of customer information. We visited one of the 22 Computerized Forwarding System sites and found personnel did not adhere to controls related to processing and retaining hard copy COA orders. We also determined the Postal Service is using outdated software to data. In addition, NCOALink license agreements did not always have sufficient contract provisions to protect customer data, and management did not always monitor these agreements for licensee compliance. As a result, there is a risk that unauthorized users could access COA data and NCOALink data could be breached, which could lead to fines and a negative impact on the Postal Service brand. We estimated 13,554,542 NCOALink customer records with a potential value of $228 million are at risk. In addition, management does not have an enterprise solution in place or plan to automate the acknowledgement form process.

What The OIG Recommended.We recommended management centralize user account management in eAccess for the COA Forms Processing System, and store hard copy COA orders in accordance with policy. We also recommended management re-initiate the National Change of Address certification and accreditation process, upgrade outdated security software, identify all cooperative database mailers and their activities, and implement a process to ensure current Postal Service requirements are in all license agreements to protect customer information. Finally, we recommended management implement a plan of action for conducting random site security reviews of licensees and evaluate potential solutions and benefits of automating the acknowledgement form process.

October 1, 2014 

 At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Postal Regulatory Commission Vice Chairman Mark Acton has announced that Robert Sidman has been selected as the Deputy General Counsel for the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) at the Postal Regulatory Commission (Commission). Rob started at the Commission in June 2005 and has performed in progressively responsible and complex roles since that time. Most recently, he was selected by the former Acting General Counsel to serve as one of two Acting Deputies for OGC after the departure of the former General Counsel. In his concurrent role as a Senior Attorney, Rob has handled some of the Commission's most difficult and precedent-setting cases, including the exigent rate case currently on appeal before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. As Acting Deputy General Counsel, Rob has shouldered the responsibility of the management and oversight of all attorney administrative issues, management of OGC case tracking and responsibilities and handling many of the substantive legal issues confronted by the Commission. During his term at the Commission, Rob sought out and performed a detail to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, which provides him a unique perspective on Congressional oversight into the Commission. Prior to his service at the Commission, Rob worked as an attorney at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and also was a law clerk to United States Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber in the Southern District of New York. He was graduated from the University of Tulane School of Law and served as Editor of the Law Review, and received his Bachelors of Art, Magna Cum Laude, from Boston University.

The Newcastle Herald: Australian MP Bob Baldwin has backed calls from Australia Post licensees for a better deal, saying the country needs a "sustainable postal industry". Mr Baldwin said several licensees had spoken to him about their situation because the rising cost of running a business had left them struggling to survive – especially when postal charges had not kept pace. He said many were propping up their businesses with their life savings and watching their profitability diminish to the extent "they were racking up debt at a greater rate than they were making profits". "One of the major issues is the amount of parcel deliveries they do now, and they say they don't get adequate compensation for it," Mr Baldwin said. "They also aren't being compensated for the increase in email and the decline in the volume of letters."

The Postmaster General's latest message on YouTube regarding the "State of the Business."

CTV News: Door-to-door mail delivery for some residents in Lakeshore, Tecumseh and Windsor will cease in roughly one year, according to Canada Post. The postal service informed local employees that door-to-door delivery will stop in fall of 2015 for residents living in three area postal codes. These addresses will transfer to community mailboxes as part of Canada Post's five-point action plan.

Lexington Institute International: Election mail is becoming a major source of income for postal operators around the world and appears to be improving voter participation rates. Voting by mail is gaining popularity in the United States. In California, for example, half of the ballots in the 2012 general election were cast by mail, compared to only 18 percent in 1990. Oregon and Washington conduct elections entirely by mail, forgoing traditional polling places altogether. Average turnout was 10 percent higher in these two states than elsewhere in the 2012 general election.

ABC News: The U.S. Postal Service and a rural Colorado man will argue in court Wednesday over where on postal property people can legally carry guns. A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear the case involving Tab Bonidy, a licensed gun owner who, along with the National Association for Gun Rights, sued the Postal Service in 2010 over its ban on guns in post offices.

ATTENTION MAILERS!! The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service have decided not to seek a price change for mail and shipping products and services in January in part because of the uncertainty regarding the exigent price increase. This means that the current pricing of postal products and services will remain in effect through the holiday season and early part of 2015. The Board will continue to evaluate pricing strategies and will communicate about any potential price change filings in early 2015. As always, the Postal Service will provide customers advance notice of any price changes.

The Missoulian: hings are not looking good for the U.S. Postal Service. It posted a $2 billion loss for the quarter that ended June 30 – even after increasing its prices, and revenue, significantly. The independent agency has been struggling for years, and it's only getting worse. During the same quarter last year, for instance, it lost "only" $740 million. A postal reform bill is desperately needed. Unfortunately, the bills proposed in Congress so far would have gutted the agency's essential services, and thus have died well-deserved deaths.

Zambia Daily Mail: This week, Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) looks at the operations of the postal services in Zambia and how it remains relevant for everyday life as well as the business environment. It is of no surprise that the increase in technology development and the use of the internet as a mode of communication has led to an alternative reduction in the need for the basic postal services such as posting letters through mail boxes. Subsequently, the tremendous reduction in the mail volumes had begun to take its toll on the financial viability of the postal operator.

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