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Postal News from October 2009

October 31, 2009

According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "The Postal Service's rate structure is complicated and the use of worksharing discounts further complicates thinking about pricing. The primary problem is the word "discount." It suggests that the customer is getting a deal when in fact they are buying a more basic product from the postal service for a lower price. The alternative way of thinking of postal rates is to start with the basic service as the basis for all pricing....Given the current economic and competitive landscape, any APWU proposal would have to offer postal customers a better value or preparing such a proposal would be a waste of time and energy."

The BBC has reported that "The biggest walkout of the postal strike is under way, with 77,000 delivery and collection staff taking industrial action across the country."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
New Postal Product ,
5654456547 [E926271]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

Today on Hellmail:

According to the Daily Mail, "Postal temps are delivering a 'better service' than the striking workers they replace."

The New Mexico Business Weekly has asked: "Is a driver for FedEx Express part of an airline that should be regulated by a federal law that governs railroads and airlines, or is he a trucking company driver who should fall under regulations that cover such companies?"

Government Executive has reported that "As another deadline looms, approximately 18,000 U.S. Postal Service employees so far have accepted a $15,000 buyout offer, officials have reported. The final tally of buyout acceptances from each job category isn't available yet, said Yvonne Yoerger, a Postal Service spokeswoman. It's also too soon to determine the agency's savings as a result of the buyout, she added."

October 30, 2009

 
The latest issue of the
PostCom Bulletin is available online.
 In this issue:

  • The U.S. Postal Service published its final rules on the New Move Update Assessment Procedures for January 2010 for Automation and Presort First-Class mail and All Standard Mail Items in the Federal Register this week. The final rule provides mailing standards and procedures for administering the Move Update standards. The effective date is January 4, 2010.
  • The Association of Postal Commerce has sent a letter to USPS Sr. Vice President for Customer Relations, Stephen Kearney, on the USPS' proposal to cease providing mailers Electronic Mailing Data information as a feature of its Confirm service. A reply has not yet been received. More on this in future issues of the Bulletin.
  • The USPS' senior vice president for customer relations has shared information with members of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee.
  • According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has noted that "In August, APWU President William Burrus was asked by Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill to identify "the substantial steps the APWU is willing to take to assist the Postal Service in weathering its severe financial crisis? Unfortunately for the APWU, President Burrus's response will not appear to be responsive to Congress."
  • According to Rag Content, "The Postmaster General of the U.S. Postal Service recently announced that it will not increase prices for market dominant products in calendar year 2010. This alleviates many fears of exigent price increases during this turbulent times. In addition, there will be no changes to the within-class prices (equal to a zero percent CPI change). So how, while facing a potential $5 billion loss, can the USPS not increase prices? "
  • According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "The Postal Service may be on the verge of having an irrational price structure. The irrationally of the Postal Service's price structure is driven by the regulatory constraints within which it must price its products. Until the Postal Service is free from those constraints, irrational pricing will have detrimental effects on the Postal Service, its customers and its competitors."
  • Such a deal! A labor union is offering to charge "only" 10.4 cents per letter to do work for which mailers are in essence only charging the U.S. Postal Service an average of 8.9 cents. The offer from the American Postal Workers Union would also require a substantial increase in postage rates that would drive profitable business away from the Postal Service and harm its customers.
  • USPS petitions for changes in reporting rules. USPS petitions PRC for changes in analytic principles. APWU president speaks out against worksharing discounts. Congress in no rush to cut mail delivery. PRC issues updated foia rules. House postal oversight committee to hold hearing. Mailbox service lets users view and manage paper mail online. Economic data indicates full six months for recovery. USPS co-sponsoring direct mail webinars. USPS to sell hallmark greeting cards. USPS reports on its first quarter collaborative logistics market test.
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • Updates on postal matters published in the Federal Register.
  • An update on DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • PostCom welcomes its newest member.
  • Postal previews
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The Guardian has reported that "Postal strikes union calls two more 24-hour walkouts." See also the Financial Times.

The Telegraph has reported that "An estimated 35 million items of post have been delayed as a result of the latest strikes, Royal Mail has disclosed."

PostalSanity has noted that "Zumbox and NoMorePost are providing paperless mail services and are starting to compete with conventional delivered paper mail. NoMorePost is based in the UK and zumbox is based in the US. We made a first short comparison between zumbox and NoMorePost and here are our impressions."

According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has noted that "In August, APWU President William Burrus was asked by Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill to identify "the substantial steps the APWU is willing to take to assist the Postal Service in weathering its severe financial crisis? Unfortunately for the APWU, President Burrus's response will not appear to be responsive to Congress."

Hellmail has reported that "Lithuanian Post, AB Lietuvos patas, is seeking to further minimise costs by reorganizing some 72 loss-making rural post offices by the end of this year."

   A Conference on The Future of the Postal Sector
  The Center for Research in Regulated Industries, Rutgers University

   LOCATION:  Venable LLP, 575 7th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
   DATE: November 20, 2009
   Registration Information

Presenters:

  • Michael Crew, Rutgers University, The Future of the Postal Sector
  • Alan Robinson, New Business Models for Tough Problems
  • William Miller, USPS in Good Times and Bad: An Aggregate Demand Model
  • John Caldwell, Lessons from the Great Recession for Electric Utilities
  • Larry Buc, The Future of the Postal Service: Mail and the Environment
  • Paul Vogel, Optimal Value-Added Discounts in the Future of Postal Service
  • David Williams, The History of Tomorrow
  • David Levy and Matthew Field, Managing Declining Demand: Lessons from the Railroads
  • Robert Curry, Worksharing and the Future of the Postal Sector
  • Mary Anne Gibbons and Linda Kingsley, A New Business Model for USPS

News on the U.K. postal strike:

Dead Tree Edition has noted that "Burrus muddied the waters by proposing an obvious money loser for the Postal Service remove First Class presort discounts that average 8.9 cents per letter and pay APWU members 10.4 cents instead to do the sorting. He tried to make his sloppy math more favorable to the Postal Service this week by throwing in a bonus free sorting of parcels along with his usual big-mailers-are-vermin bluster. But the proposal is still too vague to be taken seriously. Among many flaws with the Burrus plan is that it would decrease the demand for First Class mail by raising prices. So with APWU members getting their 10.4 cents on fewer letters but still having to sort parcels for free, would they end up having to take a pay cut? "

October 29, 2009

The London Evening Standard has reported that "Royal Mail managers use taxis to beat postal strike."

The BBC has reported that "Thousands of postmen and women have stopped working because they're unhappy about the way the Royal Mail is run. The strike means letters and parcels you may be waiting for could take much longer to get you. The strike is also delaying some important medical letters, which has led to Scouts delivering them instead. Scouts from a group in Bristol have offered to spend two weekends helping a medical centre deliver letters about swine flu vaccinations."

The following report has been posted recently on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/).  If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

The Smithsonians National Postal Museum has launched Bringing the World Home, another featured collection on its award-winning Web site Arago. It is the story of the development, implementation and growth of the Rural Free Delivery service and its impact on rural America; the collection is at http://www.arago.si.edu/flash/?eid=342|s1=6|.

USPS CFO Joe Corbett has announced that Joe Moeller has been hired as the USPS' new Manager, Regulatory Reporting and Cost Analysis (the job formerly held by Ashley Lyons).

Steve Lawson, editor of Hellmail, has had enough. Lawson told his readers that ""I see little if any hope of the CWU and Royal Mail finding agreement, not now or in a months time. The disparity between the two is so great, mediation alone will not be enough to put an end to this. Business is sick of it, the public is sick of it, and the only way this can be brought to an end is if a short, sharp shock is delivered - be that an unwinding of the plans for the future of the Royal Mail, including the Postal Services Bill as it stands, or kicking the union into touch on this. "This country badly needs a working and reliable service. If this continues, rivals will simply step up their own operations further to poach business and there won't be much left to argue about. The Royal Mail has done an incredible job in reducing the backlog with the help of managers and temporary workers and they should be commended for that. Without their efforts the situation would be a good deal worse for consumers, but this whole dispute has so many issues attached to it, I fail to see how locking Royal Mail and the CWU in one room will resolve this."

The BBC has reported that "The US economy grew at an annual pace of 3.5% between July and September, its first expansion in more than a year. The official figures indicate recession has ended, but some economists think there could be further setbacks."


The latest issue of Postal Technology International is now available online.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that "Time is running out for that long-haired, Fabio-looking guy who became a star of sorts for drawing on a whiteboard in a series of UPS ads. A spokesman for Sandy Springs-based United Parcel Service confirmed Tuesday that the companys new advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather, New York, will develop a new campaign, and that means change.

The Japan Times has reported that "the appointment of Saito, a former high-profile bureaucrat in the Finance Ministry, and the ouster of Nishikawa is as emblematic as anything that the DPJ-led administration wants to veer away from the policies of former governments....Bankers and insurers have criticized Japan Post as a behemoth hampering the private sector. More money is in postal savings than in any other Japanese bank's outstanding accounts, and postal insurance has more policies than any private insurer. Another reason why experts say the postal group needs to be reformed is because postal delivery services are not profitable."

According to Sky News, "The national postal service in the Netherlands, TNT Post, is facing similar problems to the Royal Mail, with the threat of strikes as the company attempts to restructure in a more competitive marketplace."

The Guardian has reported that:

  • Industrial action by postal workers could escalate into longer walkouts, a union leader has warned as postal workers take to picket lines across the country for a second round of strikes. Billy Hayes, the general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said there was "every prospect" that industrial action would be stepped up.
  • Postal strike experiment: Returning postcards slow to a trickle.We sent out 500 postcards first class last week. The postal strike means a fifth are yet to arrive.

Politics.co.uk has noted that "Nationwide postal strikes will go ahead tomorrow after negotiations between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union failed to reach agreement. Commenting on the continued strike action, David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "There was a moment of hope that this damaging dispute would be coming to an end when the unions and Royal Mail began formal negotiations this week. Disappointingly, it appears this madness is set to continue."

Business Times has reported that "Singapore Post said on Thursday that the new terminal dues starting January 1, 2010 will affect its underlying net profit by 5 per cent yearly. 'The annualised impact is estimated to be around 5% of underlying net profit,' the postal and logistic group said."

AdelaideNow has reported that "a new rural property address system being rolled out across the nation will help emergency service, postal and delivery workers find properties quickly and easily. By 2011, every rural South Australian home and business will have a new address, based on a simple location system, in line with all other states and territories, and New Zealand. Rural properties historically have used various numbering systems, including hundreds and sections references, lot numbers and roadside delivery numbers. The new system, which has attracted the support of emergency services, Australia Post and police, works on a distance-based numbering system."

The Gloucester County Times has reported that "U.S. Senator Robert Menendez wants some answers from the postmaster general regarding the decision to close a distribution center here. In a letter released Wednesday, Menendez asks for a sit-down to discuss the U.S. Postal Service's announcement earlier this month to shutter the facility. The move could lead to up to 575 layoffs."

The Financial Times has reported that "A new round of nationwide postal strikes will go ahead from today after three days of intensive negotiations failed to produce a breakthrough."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

October 28, 2009

Reuters has reported that "Talks between Britain's postal union and Royal Mail management have stalled, the union said on Wednesday, and a fresh wave of postal strikes will go ahead this week. The three-day strike will start from Thursday after talks between the executive of the Communication Workers Union and Royal Mail at the TUC failed to find a solution to a dispute that has already created a massive backlog of letters and parcels." See also AFP and The Telegraph.

Mother Nature Network wants you to "Lighten your carbon footprint when shipping a package."

According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "The Postal Service may be on the verge of having an irrational price structure. The irrationally of the Postal Service's price structure is driven by the regulatory constraints within which it must price its products. Until the Postal Service is free from those constraints, irrational pricing will have detrimental effects on the Postal Service, its customers and its competitors."


From USPS Senior VP Customer Relations:

"This past June the Postal Service, in collaboration with MTAC and several mailer associations, initiated a letter-size study to better define folded self-mailer mailpiece characteristics that have emerged in the marketplace, as well as to ensure automation compatibility.

"Mail owners, printers and preparers have joined to participate in the study by providing industry-supplied material for testing. Many of the test samples are current formats entering the mailstream, and some are new innovative designs. Due to overwhelming participation and late submission of some samples, testing extended well into October. Now that testing has concluded, the analytic phase of the study has begun. Given the amount of data and various self-mailer attributes, the analysis process will take considerable time to reconcile.

"While we don't have a hard and fast timeline, we plan to communicate an aggregate summary analysis by the end of this calendar year well in advance of any proposed rulemaking. After we receive informal comments and suggestions from participants in the study, we will determine whether we can make any revisions, and then begin the more formal notice and comment process. It's important to us and to you to share the aggregate analysis with those who have participated in the study and with various industry leaders, including a presentation and discussion at the general MTAC session in February 2010.

"Prior to posting a proposal on usps.com and in the Federal Register, we will listen to industry feedback and incorporate those comments in any proposal that we develop. As you know, the standard Federal Register process always gives mailers opportunities to comment on mailing standard revisions. Now, with the additional round of feedback built-in upfront, there will be two rounds of industry feedback--before and during the Federal register process. This collaborative process is likely to extend into calendar year 2010. Please remember that our moratorium on proposing new rules that might negatively affect mailers continues at least through November 29, the date that new Full Service Intelligent Mail pricing takes effect."

The Washington Post has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has started selling Hallmark greeting cards at some post offices, a one-year experiment that may lead the nation's 34,000 postal outlets to eventually sell other goods and services, including banking, insurance and cellphones. A Postal Service study confirmed that customers think selling greeting cards at post offices is appropriate and that they would buy them if offered. The goal is for the cards to help boost postal retail sales by 30 to 40 percent. Most European and Asian postal services sell financial or insurance services or prepaid cellphones, and American postal officials want Congress to give them permission to at least explore the possibility of doing something similar....So perhaps the best way for the Postal Service to get well soon is for you to buy a "get well soon" card from them."

The U.S. Postal Service is co-sponsoring a series of free customer webinars highlighting the benefits of Direct Mail with five online Direct Mail Service Providers. Delivered by industry experts, the webinar series is designed to provide customers with smart and imaginative solutions on how to plan, design, and launch an effective direct mail campaign. To participate in the webinars, customers must register using the reserve a seat link provided below. The topics to be covered are: 1. Mail Piece Design - November 4, 2009 @ 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST Learn how to create effective headlines, write effective copy and select graphics that get you the best response possible. To reserve: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/572697466 2. Mailing List, The Key To Better Response - November 18, 2009 @ 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST This webinar will cover the basics of choosing, using and managing mailing lists for direct mail campaigns. To reserve: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/858339994

Yahoo! Tech has reported that "Apple plans to release a tablet-sized version of the iPhone and is trying to lock up content deals with major publishers, according to media reports. Last week, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller as much as spilled the beans about the new device in a speech he gave to the paper's digital staff. Identifying seven major questions facing the Times brand, Keller let slip that the paper has been in negotiations with Apple. For 30-odd years the technology world has talked about a "paperless society" in which news and books are delivered digitally. Could a compelling Apple device be the tipping point that makes all-digital delivery a reality? "

According to Logistics Management, "Recent economic data indicates full recovery will take at least six months."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "The Web is shaping up to be one of retail's bright spots this holiday season, thanks in part to a new take on an old-fashioned retail idea: good service. At a time when traditional retailers are being ultra conservative, many Web sites have been spending to make shipping times faster, consumer-generated reviews better, and to offer new features such as online layaways. In contrast, many traditional retailers have cut way back on inventory levels and holiday staffing, hoping to avoid the massive profit-eroding discounts of last holiday season."

Press Release: "AddressDoctor Launches Version 5. Major New Release Improves AddressDoctor Data Quality; Minimizes Risk and Lowers Costs."

From PRWeb: "Mailbox Forwarding (http://www.MailboxForwarding.com) is bringing modern mobility to one of the nation's oldest methods of communication: postal mail. With their remote mailbox service, consumers are finally able to cut all locational ties and keep in contact with their paper mail from anywhere. "We give users a physical mailing address which is accessible online. They can receive and view all their mail over the internet: letters, documents, and packages, whether delivered by the USPS, FedEx, or UPS." Mailbox Forwarding provides each of their customers with a unique box number at their Grandville, MI address. When a piece of mail arrives, they will automatically scan the envelope and upload the image to the proper user's account. The user can then login to an online control panel and choose from a number of actions. If they need to view a document, they can request to have the envelope opened and its contents scanned. Mail that must be physically received can be bundled and forwarded anywhere in the world at affordable rates. And unnecessary mail can be shredded and recycled at the click of a button."

According to the President of the American Postal Workers Union, "The Postal Services financial difficulties are caused by three major factors, Burrus wrote [PDF] Oct 23: the requirement to pre-fund retiree healthcare costs; the nations economic crisis, and excessive workshare discounts. The American Postal Workers Union has challenged the postmaster general to discontinue the excessive discounts the USPS offers to large mailers, and instead to compensate postal employees for processing letters and flats at a cheaper per-piece rate, Burrus noted. This would reduce the Postal Services costs; improve efficiency, and make better use of underutilized equipment and employees. As an added incentive, we propose to process parcels at no charge. Burrus cautioned that any comprehensive review of the Postal Service should analyze the entire postal system, including private providers of mail services. All stakeholders including postal unions, management, major mailers, private mail consolidators and pre-sorters, transportation providers and suppliers have a role to play in ensuring the long-term viability of the institution.

The APWU has sent a letter to local presidents in regard to electrical hazards related to the Postal Service's failure to comply with OSHA Subpart S Electrical Standards. The letter explains the Union's efforts to force the Postal Service to comply with these standards, and includes a complaint package that contains everything locals need to file OSHA complaints regarding these hazards. The union is urging locals whose members are exposed to these hazards to file complaints with their local OSHA offices.

Postmaster General Jack Potter has announced the selection of Drew Aliperto as vice president, Area Operations, for the Pacific Area. He replaces Michael Daley, who will retire next month after a 37-year career with the Postal Service.

According to The Telegraph, "hopes fade that this week's strikes will be called off." See also the Evening Standard.

PersonnelToday has reported that "Royal Mail bosses are offering to transfer postal workers into depots and give them minders if they cross picket lines in a bid to convert would-be strikers."

Kyodo has reported that "Japan Post Holdings Co. announced a new management lineup headed by former bureaucrats Wednesday as the Democratic Party of Japan-led government seeks to change the previous government's postal privatization plan that was to be led by managers picked from the private sector."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
PROPOSED RULES
Periodic Reporting Rules ,
5550455505 [E925994]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

The Wheeling News-Register wrote: "We urge Postal Service officials to reconsider their proposals for both Steubenville and Wheeling. We doubt that they will save much, if any, money. On the other hand, we have no doubt that service - part of the federal agency's name - will suffer."

From BaystreetNewswire: "Registered Express Corporation has announced the start of its targeted marketing campaign to key Universal Postal Union (UPU) Member Countries' Postal Bureaus. Through relationships with the UPU and specific member countries, Registered Express has gained a tremendous understanding of what is needed and wanted and has designed a customizable solution for the global Postal model. Registered Express is well positioned to be a digital solution to traditional mail delivery and an enhanced replacement to standard email services that offer no comparable features to the Registered Express system."

October 27, 2009

Pat Donahoe and Joe Corbett will be hosting a webinar meeting on Thurs Nov 5 at 11:00 am Eastern Time on the topic of barcode readability.

According to Yahoo! News, "Iraqi refugees in Syria will receive UN food vouchers through text messages on mobile phones, the World Food Programme." [EdNote: Hmmmm. Could it be the UN doesn't trust the mail? Looks as if text messaging capable mobile phones are going to be the glue that "binds people and nations together.".]

The Financial Times has reported that "Britains postal union is preparing a potential High Court challenge to stop Royal Mail from using agency staff to clear the backlog of letters and parcels caused by strikes. Lawyers warned, however, that it may not be easy for the Communication Workers Union to demonstrate that the state-owned operators plan to hire 30,000 temporary staff to deal with the backlog and the Christmas rush breaks employment law. The CWU said it was taking legal advice on an injunction and assessing the evidence. A decision was expected later on Tuesday."

Go-Jamaica has reported that "The Government is reporting that it is reviewing the viability of its postal outlets without reducing the vital services that they provide for rural residents. The minister with responsibility for information Daryl Vaz said the government is considering joint ventures with the private sector to ensure that all postal outlets remain open."

B2B has reported that "American Business Media reports that recent developments affecting the U.S. Postal Service will contribute to an overall savings of about $25 million for ABM members. The association of business information providers, which represents more than 300 member companies, cited Congress decision to absolve the USPS from paying $5.4 billion to its retiree health care fund."

Press Release: "FedEx has launched a new global advertising campaign reflecting the companys commitment to helping its customers navigate the global marketplace."

Rag Content has asked the question: "Why doesn't the USPS want a price increase in 2010?"

From Business Wire: "Newgistics Inc. (www.newgistics.com), a leading provider of USPS-based small parcel delivery and returns management solutions, today announced that it is offering a new set of Undeliverable Services designed to help shippers lower costs and improve service. Undeliverable parcels are a huge expense for merchants, as they are typically returned at the full single-piece rate. This new service represents Newgistics latest offering and includes dynamic change of address, address correction, move update, undeliverable mail handling, and forwarding services for shippers utilizing the Postal Services Parcel Select1 ground delivery service."

The BBC has reported that "Strike action by postal workers is one of the most high profile pieces of industrial strife in recent years. The battle between postal workers and the Royal Mail has seen gloomy predictions about far-reaching consequences. The idea of people finding a 21st Century way to express season's greetings, for instance by an e-card, is on a lot of people's minds. Mr Crozier's wider point about the decline of the mail as a method of communication is more difficult to contest. His concern about the amount of business generated by people paying bills by cheque is still significant."

PostCom Members!! If you've never attended a meeting of the Universal Postal Union, here's your chance to do so in a virtually. The International Bureau has set up once again an audio streaming, which will allow you to follow the audio of the Consultative Committee (private sector members) meeting, in English, through the web (Real Player), and ask questions or make comments through e-mail, on 3 November from 9:30 12:30 / 15:00 -18:00 Central European Time. (That's 3:30 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time.) The Direct Mail Advisory Board will be doing the same, but for members only.

The Washington Post has reported that "U.S. newspaper circulation has hit its lowest level in seven decades, as papers across the country lost 10.6 percent of their paying readers from April through September, compared with a year earlier. The newest numbers on newspaper circulation, released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, paint a dismal picture for an industry already feeling the pressures of an advertising slump coupled with the worst business downturn since the Great Depression. Average daily circulation of all U.S. newspapers has been in decline since 1987 as papers have faced mounting competition for reader attention and advertising. Online, newspapers are still a success -- but only in readership, not in profit. Ads on newspaper Internet sites sell for pennies on the dollar compared with ads in their ink-on-paper cousins."

Dow Jones has reported that "TNT NV's struggling mail unit may be facing strikes after unions said Monday they haven't found an alternative for a new collective labor agreement with the Dutch postal and express group."

Trend has reported that "National postal operator Azerpoct LTD plans to put into operation new postal offices in Quba, Gusar and Imishli, Azerpoct said. Postal offices have been built in a new corporative style. They are well-equipped. They will be able to provide clients with necessary information."

Kyodo has reported that "State minister in charge of postal reform Shizuka Kamei said Tuesday he is pushing for about half of Japan Post Holdings Co.'s board members to resign from their posts as the government seeks to overhaul the privatization plan for the state-owned entity."

AllAfrica.com has reported that "pensioners of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) staged a peaceful protest at the premises of Ministry of Communications, Lafiaji, Lagos last Friday.The pensioners alleged that management had been mismanaging their pension by causing undue delay in the payment of their pension."

The Baltic Course has reported that "Smartpost, an investment project of the Estonian state-owned Development Fund, started providing its postal services in Milan, Italy. According to Oolup, if the pilot project in Milan is successful, Smartpost may earn hundreds of millions of kroons per year in Italy as then the red postal boxes would be erected in many places in Italy. Italian package services market is fifth-largest in Europe and the Italian post is implementing actively modern technologies to stay competitive. Smartpost is currently also negotiating with different enterprises and postal companies in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Russia, Egypt, Canada and in Latvia."

The BBC has reported that "The Communication Workers Union (CWU) plans to go to the High Court to stop Royal Mail using agency staff to clear the post backlog caused by the strikes."

He's at it again.... The President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has told his members that "The American Postal Workers Union has waged a continuing battle against the exorbitant rate reductions afforded large mailers and consolidators under the misguided premise that such worksharing practices are good for business. A label far more appropriate than worksharing would be a postal subsidy extended to big business at the expense of American citizens. Postmaster General John E. Potter repeatedly expresses his concern that individual mailers are abandoning the use of hard-copy mail for personal communication in favor of computer-driven transactions, yet his policies force them to subsidize commercial mailings every time they use a 44-cent stamp."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Service
RULES
New Move Update Assessment Procedures for January 2010 for Automation and Presort First-Class Mail, etc. ,
5514055142 [E925462] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Return Address Requirement; Outbound International Commercial Bulk Mailings ,
5513955140 [E925461] [TEXT]  [PDF]

According to Government Executive, "Despite the U.S. Postal Service's persistent financial distress, Congress appears unlikely this year to approve the postmaster general's cost-cutting proposal to eliminate Saturday mail delivery. But House and Senate lawmakers have not completely abandoned the idea of a shift to five-day delivery. Chairmen of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and House Homeland Security subcommittees that deal with postal issues -- Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., and Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass. -- have said lawmakers should keep the option on the table. Hurting prospects for a cutback in mail delivery is a continuing dispute over how much money the change could save."

Reuters has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is seeking permission to show lower retiree costs in upcoming annual financial results, after a delay in a law designed to relieve financial pressure on the mail agency. The Postal Regulatory Commission's decision will determine whether the Postal Service has to list its 2009 payment to the retiree health benefit fund as $5.4 billion, or $1.4 billion, as intended by the legislation."

Advertising Age has reported that "a team led by Ogilvy has been chosen after a global review to handle advertising duties for shipping giant UPS, executives familiar with the matter said. Havas' EuroRSCG, and Ogilvy's sister shop, WPP-owned Y&R, were the finalists remaining in the pitch to handle UPS more $200 million-plus global ad account, after JWT withdrew from contention late in the game."

October 26, 2009

TradingMarkets has reported that "German postal and logistics company Deutsche Post's DHL express unit is expected to lose 400 jobs as the company planned to close three locations that worked as the sole logistics provider for Quelle, a mail-order business that went burst recently."

NoMorePost.com is a company that provides businesses with a secure facility to send customers their post via an online postal system. When you are receiving a paperless postal item for the first time from a new sender you must enter what's called a Passkey and Account Code, this should be given to you by the sender. Remember, these codes are only entered once, from that point on any paperless postal item sent to you by that sender will now automatically appear in your Postbox. To view your received postal items you will need to log into the website.

Audience Development has reported that "A Winter Sale for standard mailers, similar to the Summer Sale incentive that was implemented earlier this year, is beginning to take shape, according to a letter recently sent to members of the American Catalog Mailers Association. Executive Director Hamilton Davison wrote that this latest incentive would have similar features to the Summer Sale, but also notable differences. The Winter Sale will offer the top 3,500 mailers an incentive to increase their mail volume from January to March 2010. The incremental volume will receive a 20-30 percent discount on mail volume over that sent in the same period last year."

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Mutual of Omaha, Mutual of Omaha Plaza, Omaha, NE 68175
Represented by: Jeff Rodis Manager, Marketing Operations

The Universal Postal Union (UPU), the worlds second-oldest international organization and one of the few United Nations agencies to pre-date the creation of the mother organization, moved a step closer today to becoming the first to have its own domain name on the Internet to be known as .post. The Berne-based UPU, established in 1874 as the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players, successfully concluded negotiations with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in what Agency Director General Edouard Dayan called an historic agreement, providing a platform for innovation in global postal services with opportunities to link their physical and electronic dimensions. The agreement must now go through a 30-day public comment process before ICANNs board of directors will consider it for final approval.

The most report has been posted recently on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/).  If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703.248. 2201, or Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286. Philadelphia District Post Office Financial Risk Audit (Report Number FF-AR-09-223)

The latest blog entry has been posted today on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector Generals Internet site Pushing the Envelope. The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/

 
  • Modes of Delivery.  The Postal Service delivers mail to the door, to mailboxes on the curb, and to centralized points that serve several addresses.  Centralized delivery is the cheapest mode.  However, the decision on mode of delivery is often left to the developer.  The OIG asks that you comment on the blog and vote on whether you think centralized delivery should be mandated for new developments.
 
You can visit Office of Inspector Generals public website at:  www.uspsoig.govYou can also follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/OIGUSPS.  If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

DM News has reported that "business-to-business marketers seeking hard-to-reach prospects and looking to address their pain points and know that direct mail provides key benefits as part of an integrated campaign.

The Press Association has reported that "talks aimed at heading off fresh postal strikes have been adjourned and will resume on Tuesday." See also the BBC and Parcel2Go.

The Telegraph has reported that striking postal workers may continue to disrupt the Royal Mail's operations until the Government underwrites the company's 7 billion pension fund deficit, union leaders have warned.

On Hellmail today:

Reuters has reported that "Dutch logistics firm TNT (TNT.AS) said it disagreed with the findings of a study commissioned by postal unions on the savings it had to implement but welcomed proposals to slim down employment packages. Plans by the country's largest postal firm to cut up to 11,000 jobs have strained relations with unions since they were announced more than two years ago. Unions on Monday announced the results of a study carried out by research agency Ecorys that they commissioned after they rejected a draft accord by TNT on April that included wage cuts." See also EasyBourse.

   A Conference on The Future of the Postal Sector
  The Center for Research in Regulated Industries, Rutgers University

   LOCATION:  Venable LLP, 575 7th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
   DATE: November 20, 2009

Presenters:

  • Michael Crew, Rutgers University, The Future of the Postal Sector
  • Alan Robinson, New Business Models for Tough Problems
  • William Miller, USPS in Good Times and Bad: An Aggregate Demand Model
  • John Caldwell, Lessons from the Great Recession for Electric Utilities
  • Larry Buc, The Future of the Postal Service: Mail and the Environment
  • Paul Vogel, Optimal Value-Added Discounts in the Future of Postal Service
  • David Williams, The History of Tomorrow
  • David Levy and Matthew Field, Managing Declining Demand: Lessons from the Railroads
  • Robert Curry, Worksharing and the Future of the Postal Sector
  • Mary Anne Gibbons and Linda Kingsley, A New Business Model for USPS

Here's an interesting take from the New York Times: "Newspaper sites are not holding on to ad dollars, even while overall Internet advertising is creeping back. Newspaper sites are the patent-leather stilettos of the online world: they get used for special occasions, but other shoes get much more daily wear." Patent-leather stilettos??

From PR-Inside: "Express Logistics in the United States - research report released."

The Federal Times has reported that "About 18,000 U.S. Postal Service employees are expected to take $15,000 buyouts to leave their jobs this year far fewer than the 30,000 originally hoped for by the agency. Postal officials say that figure could drop. Employees were required to sign up for the incentives by Oct. 16, but they can still opt out of the program over the next few weeks. Most employees have until Nov. 30 to opt out but those close to retirement age, called optionally eligible employees, must decide by Friday. When the Postal Service announced the buyout program in August, it projected up to $500 million in savings next year if 30,000 employees accepted the offer. Yvonne Yoerger, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service, said its too early to calculate how much money the Postal Service will save from the buyouts if only 18,000 employees accept. The final sum will vary depending on the salaries and seniority of the employees who accept the offer. Most of the employees who took the offer are close to retirement age, Yoerger said."

More news on the U.K. postal strike:

You can file this under "gimme a break" . . . .An article is New Scientist claims that Rover is a big enough part of our ecological challenge to warrant the claim that it might be "Time to Eat the Dog."

The Times has reported that

  • Royal Mails chief executive has painted a bleak picture of the industrys future and warned that the current strife could result in people deciding that this was the year they would stop sending Christmas cards.
  • The majority of postmen fail to meet the governments exercise guidelines, managing a sluggish average speed of 2mph on their delivery rounds. British postal workers lag far behind their international counterparts, with those in Singapore averaging 3.9mph, and those in Copenhagen close behind. Earlier this year, postmen claimed management asked them to walk at 4mph, which they felt was excessive.

October 25, 2009

The Guardian has reported that "Royal Mail head Adam Crozier tells union to 'shut up' on eve of peace talks." See also Reuters.

TheWorld has reported that "though e-mail has eroded postal mail since the Internet began, the decline of physical mail has been steeper in the past year. The economic crisis has cut into direct-mail advertising. Also, credit card and mortgage companies are sending out fewer offers and applications."

From The Telegraph: "Postal strike: Q&A Here we explain all you need to know about the Post Office dispute."

The Press Association has reported that "The head of Royal Mail has expressed hope that fresh talks will avoid further crippling postal strikes. Chief executive Adam Crozier said he hoped "common sense" would prevail when leaders of the Communication Workers Union resume talks with bosses at a meeting organised by the TUC. Up to 120,000 workers are set to stage a fresh round of strikes from Thursday in a long-running row over jobs, pay and modernisation. Mr Crozier admitted today there was a lot of "confusion" about the dispute, but he stressed the importance of pressing ahead with modernisation of the the postal service." Frazier told the BBC "he hopes "common sense prevails" and this week's UK-wide strikes are called off." See also The Mirror and an additional story by the BBC..

The Bowling Green Daily News has reported that "Elected officials passed resolutions against it. Workers picketed in opposition to it. And now theyre waiting for results of a study that might move Bowling Greens mail processing operations to Nashville. The U.S. Postal Service is trying to save money by consolidating mail processing facilities, but people in communities across the nation, including Bowling Green, are protesting those consolidations."

October 24, 2009

The Times has reported that "Fresh talks to prevent further postal strikes are to be held, following mediation by the TUC. Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union will return to the table on Monday in a bid to iron out a deal before the next strike. The talks have been arranged by the TUC union organisation after they were approached by both sides of the dispute."

According to the Financial Times, "Potential bidders are set to demand stiff conditions, including a government indemnity from strikes, in return for the future privatisation of Royal Mail. Their tough stance underlines the difficulty of bringing private capital into the state-owned postal operator while it remains beset by poor industrial relations and a soaring pension fund deficit."

Dow Jones has reported that "A woman who managed a Georgia UPS store has been arrested and accused of stealing a package of marijuana and selling the contents for profit."

The Times has reported that "Postal staff returned today to face a backlog of tens-of millions of letters, following the two-day Royal Mail strike. According to official Royal Mail figures there are about 30 million undelivered letters and parcels as a result of the industrial action, but the Communication Workers Union estimate the actual number could be more than double that." See also the BBC.

Dead Tree Edition has announced that it's "Such a deal! A labor union is offering to charge only 10.4 cents per letter to do work for which mailers are in essence only charging the U.S. Postal Service an average of 8.9 cents. The offer from the American Postal Workers Union would also require a substantial increase in postage rates that would drive profitable business away from the Postal Service and harm its customers."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported that "A mail facility in Cranberry used by the United States Postal Service will close early next year, laying off an estimated 86 employees of Serco Inc. Most employees are expected to be terminated during the two-week period following Dec. 18. The plant will close on Jan. 31, 2010, when the Postal Service's contract with Serco expires. The center manages mail distribution equipment and machinery, and is staffed and leased by Serco, a Reston, Va., information technology service company. The closing is part of the Postal Service's plans to consolidate the nation's Mail Transport Equipment Service Centers from 23 to 15." 

Today on Hellmail:

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
Postal Service Price Adjustments ,
5507555076 [E925750]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

October 23, 2009

The latest copy of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. electronic governmental affairs newsletter is available on the NAPUS web site.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  "The Postal Regulatory Commission today issued amended regulations for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that specify the presumption of openness policy for Federal agencies articulated earlier this year by President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. The new rules also incorporate changes in keeping with the OPEN Government Act of 2007. Order No. 322 is available on the Commissions web site, www.prc.gov, and will be published in the Federal Register."

AppScout has noted that "This is the day the US Postal Service has dreaded--the beginning of the end for Netflix mailers. Of course, the old DVD system still has some life her yet--the company's newly-announced streaming-only plan is targeted at non-US users (specific countries haven't actually been announced), scheduled for the second half of next year."

Press Release: "BCC Software, a BWE BELL + HOWELL company and the leading developer of high-performance solutions for professional mailers, has launched a new service that will provide United States Postal Service Move Update processing to anyone concerned with address quality, regardless of what mailing software they may be usingor even if they use no mailing software at all. BCC File Processing provides a secure FTP-based gateway where packaged lists can be submitted for NCOALink or DPV processing. Users requesting NCOALink, the leading proactive method of USPS approved address correction, may choose between having their lists updated using NCOALink LSP (the most recent 18 months of Change-Of-Address data) or NCOALink FSP (the full 48 months of COA information). BCC Software is a non-exclusive NCOALink Full and Limited Service Provider of the United States Postal Service. For more information about BCC File Processing, visit www.bccsoftware.com/fileprocessing."

Press Release: BCC Software, a BWE BELL + HOWELL company and the leading developer of high-performance solutions for professional mailers, has announced the 2010 Classroom Workshop Training Schedule for Mail Manager software. The schedule has been posted at www.bccsoftware.com/Support/ClassroomTraining.aspx, and in the customer-exclusive BCC Customer Portal. Among the changes for 2010 are increased frequency of Classroom Workshops held at BCCs Rochester, NY, headquartersat least one per monthto make it easier for mailers to get training at their convenience. Classes held in Rochester are offered at a reduced rate compared to other locations around the country: Additional 2010 locations include Orlando (Standard Training Feb. 16-18; Power Training Dec. 7-9), Las Vegas (Power Training March 23-25; Standard Training Oct. 12-14) and Chicago (Power Training March 23-25).

From Stephen Kearney: "Many of you have told us recently that your companies or organizations are burdened with expensive new software and hardware changes as a result of new reporting requirements. Your postage pricing also is influenced by the costs incurred by the Postal Service to meet new requirements. You should be interested in the Postal Regulatory Commission's (PRC) request for comments on its new proposed rules for Periodic Reporting of Service Performance Measurements and Customer Satisfaction (RM2009-11). The PRC really needs to hear from the entire mailing industry on this very important issue through formal comments on the proposed rules. Your comments on these proposed rules will be important because PRC reporting requirements add costs to the Postal Service which ultimately impact our prices. The deadline for comments is November 2, and you can read the proposed rules by going to http://www.prc.gov/prc-pages/library/dockets.aspx?activeview=DocketView&docketType=Single&docketid=RM2009-11&attrID=-1&attrName=


 The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:

  • This week, the Mailers Council released its White Paper: Bold Steps Needed To Prevent Postal Service Insolvency. the white paper highlights the necessary steps needed from Congress and the administration to secure the future of the Postal Service. The Mailers Council looks to the reduction of retiree health benefits payment this past fiscal year as only a "band-aid," and that structural reform of the Postal Service is needed.
  • The U.S. Postal Service's Office of Inspector General (IG) released the results of a request from the Acting Vice President, Delivery and Post Office Operations, to review the USPS' use of the Carrier Optimal Routing (COR) System. It estimated the Postal Service incurred unrecoverable supported questioned costs of almost $102 million in fiscal year (FY) 2008 by not using the COR system. By using the COR system, we estimate the Postal Service could save more than $221 million in funds put to better use over the next 2 years.
  • The U.S. Postal Service's Office of Inspector General (IG) recently released its audit on issues concerning inbound international mail volumes at Los Angeles International Service Center. The audit, according to the IG, addresses the financial risk associated with not accurately recording revenue. It estimated that the USPS underbilled foreign countries by $163,000 for international mail service.
  • According to Ursa Major's John Callan, "We are unlikely ever to have a truly level playing field since mail and express teams are simply playing in different arenas."
  • According to Rag Content, "there is an interesting debate going on within the postal arena that has me thinking about the cost and benefits of worksharing as a whole. People have advanced arguments as to why worksharing helps and others who maintain it actually hurts the welfare of mail. Maybe it's time to see what the fuss is all about."
  • The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer writes that "FedEx Ground has now received a new challenge to its practice of using contractors to delivery parcels at FedEx Ground. The challenge comes from a threat by the attorney generals of New York, New Jersey and Montana to sue FedEx Ground for violation of state employment laws by classifying its delivery drivers as contractors and not employees. FedEx Ground has until October 27th to respond and explain why no suit should be filed. A similar letter was sent to FedEx Ground by eight attorney generals in June including New Jersey and Montana which are part of this effort."
  • The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has noted that "the parcel market is at the cusp of change. Long established distribution patterns are changing as e-commerce competes more aggressively against brick-and-mortar retailers. The latest example is provided by Amazon which just introduced same-day delivery in seven cities - New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Las Vegas and Seattle. This will soon expand to Chicago, Indianapolis and Phoenix.
  • The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has noted that "the combination of the recession and electronic conversion has created a new market environment that requires new ways of thinking about the postal workforce. Naturally, postal employees fear that the new market environment will mean changes to decades-old compact between national postal operators and their employees. The fear is driving actions by unions and postal employees to strike national postal operators refuse to cooperate in annual assessments of employee satisfaction, and lash out at customer unwillingness to pay higher prices that would support the old employment compact.
  • PostCom on Facebook. PRC Chairman urges international cooperation. Tony Hammond is elected PRC Vice Chairman. USPS asks for extension of comments. PRC issues order in move update docket. Bank of America NSA gets cancelled. USPS IG awarded for hard work. Kessler renominated by Obama for USPS Board. 18,000 sign up for USPS buyouts. UPS profits down 43.3%; still beats wall street estimates. Postal Service goes mobile. APWU workers get 1.2 percent increase in pay. USPS pick up larger share of employee health care costs.
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • Updates on postal matters published in the Federal Register.
  • An update on DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • PostCom welcomes its newest member.
  • Postal previews
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.

The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram

Press Release: "AddressVision Inc., a Bull Group Company, La Crosse, WI and Mail Automation, Inc., Circleville, OH are partnering to assist United States Postal Service (USPS) clients in complying with the November 2009 Intelligent Mail requirements for Full Service mail. The USPS requires mailers to provide accurate electronic postal documentation to take advantage of postage cost savings. The Intelligent Mail program offers postage savings for Full Service mailers and provides greater end-to-end visibility into the mailstream. Mail Automations TrayTraker reads and stores data from the bar-coded tray label for updating to Mail.Dat and Mail.XML by AddressVision software. The AddressVision software also provides capability to print Tray tags and Pallet placards."

The House postal oversight subcommittee will hold a hearing on November 5 on the issue of postal revenue. Witnesses will include USPS President of Shipping and Mailing Services Robert Bernstock and a representative from GAO.

Air Cargo World has reported that "Deutsche Post DHL and Calif.-based software company Oracle Corp. have formed a partnership that could pave the way for new logistics services and notification systems, the companies said this week. The alliance will center on the use of data from AutoID systems such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and sensors, according to a DHL statement. Using Oracle capabilities, such data will be integrated into DHLs logistics management and information systems. Any new services will target the automotive, entertainment electronics and trade industries, the companies said."

DMM Advisory: Intelligent Mail Services Special Update

  • PostalOne! Production Outage:  Sunday, October 25, 4:00am - 8:00am CT - PostalOne! Release 21.0.3, will deploy on Sunday, October 25, 2009 to the PostalOne! production environment. This release is in support of the new Postal district realignments. The outage for PostalOne! production will be within the normal scheduled maintenance window (4:00am - 7:00am CT). The PostalOne! application will experience intermittent outages during the 3 hour deployment. Note: The PostalOne! and FAST applications will be available for mailers to submit electronic files and make appointments during this outage.
  • PostalOne! TEM Outage:  Sunday, October 25, 7:00am - 10:00am CT - PostalOne! Release 21.0.3 will deploy to the PostalOne! TEM on Sunday, October 25. The outage for PostalOne! TEM will be approximately 3 hours. The outage will occur on Sunday, October 25 from 7:00am CT - 10:00am CT. During this time, users will have intermittent access to the PostalOne! TEM environment.

The Saudi Gazette has reported that "The Saudi Standards Commission has approved the procedures followed by the Saudi Post and has made them the mandatory standards for the numbering of buildings and establishments in the Kingdom. These standards will now be applied in all provinces, cities and villages in the Kingdom and are the first of their kind in Gulf and Arab countries. The approval was made after the commission formed a committee which prepared the technical regulations for these standards. The main reason behind developing a united national numbering system for postal addressing is to help achieve sustainable development and to contribute to the development of e-government, said Majed Aal Ismail, head of the Technical Committee for standardization. He said that postal addresses are one of the main elements in the development of the governments electronic transactions and national infrastructure. The national united numbering system for addresses which has been developed by the Saudi Post is entirely dependent on geographical information."

The Telegraph has asked: "Why is Royal Mail apparently losing the PR battle? Can it because the companys chief executive Adam Crozier and its chairman Donald Brydon have been completely anonymous from our TV screens?"

According to Hellmail, the participants in the U.K.'s postal strike are "in an apparent stalemate with the union refusing to call off strikes as a precondition for assistance from Acas, and Royal Mail refusing to entertain the prospect of abritration unless the CWU actually cancels strike action, progress seems to have reached a dead end. The government has said it will not intervene in the row other than recommending that both sides seek help from Acas. In the meantime both sides seem determined to stare each other out. A compromise of sorts, but with British Gas and Barclays both pushing hard to get customers to move to e-billing and many of Royal Mail's customers now switching to other firms, some of whom will not come back, time and money is running out."

Bloomberg has reported that "The strike by workers at Royal Mail Group Plc highlights the need for an alternative U.K. postal carrier, said the chief of TNT NVs British unit, which is planning to roll out a competing service."

From PR Web: "Over 5,500 couriers and transport companies, many of whom are small family-run businesses, are using the internet and Shiply.com to help public left stranded without a postal service. Royal Mail strikes which started on Thursday have been seen as an opportunity by thousands of small delivery firms who are harnessing the power of the Internet and the UK's online transport marketplace - Shiply.com to help meet demand."

According to Dow Jones, "FedEx Corp. said its express parcel delivery business in China continues to gain market share, but competition with local rivals remains very tough."

From PRLog: "The Royal Mails loss could be the courier industrys gain as a number of delivery companies are set to gain from the recent industrial action. Daniel Parry, founder of delivery quote comparison service Deliveryquotecompare commented that ; Since publicity of the strikes began, we have experienced a 30% surge in customers using our courier cost comparison service.

According to Transport Intelligence, "Scott Davis, CEO of UPS might be "encouraged by the signs of economic recovery" but his company continues to suffer heavily depressed volumes and profits. "

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
Modification of Complaint Rules
5475454755 [E925343]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

All Headline News has reported that "Officials and residents of Lantana have mailed 2,000 coconuts to the Postmaster General to convince the official to not close the Florida town's post office. A plane delivered Wednesday the coconut to the U.S. Postal Service headquarters in L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. Each nut have $4 stamp written notes telling Postmaster General John E. Potter the sentiments of Lantana residents, according to Palm Beach County Commissioner Steve Abrams."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • Docket No. RM2010-3. Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking On Analytic Principles Used In Periodic Reporting (Proposal Twenty-One). "Because of the need for expedition described above, the Commission will require that public comments be submitted by November 2, 2009. The Commission anticipates that it may set an effective date for any proposed change to its periodic reporting rules resulting from this proceeding that is less than the 30-day period normally required for substantive rules considered under 5 U.S.C. 553."

The Japan Times has reported that "The Cabinet this week decided to revamp the two-year-old privatization process for Japan Post group. The decision, which responds to fears among some people that Japan Post group may curtail services in the countryside, emphasizes the public role of Japan Post group. The privatization begun on Oct. 1, 2007, was aimed at making Japan's postal services, including banking and insurance services, more efficient; ending the practice of using funds deposited in postal savings accounts for wasteful government projects; and, instead, increasing the flow of those funds to the private sector. Under the government decision this week, Japan Post will be required to make not only postal services but also banking and insurance services available nationwide on an equitable basis. The government also plans to use the network of some 24,000 post offices as bases to help narrow economic gaps and protect the rights of weaker members of society. Post offices would thus serve as outlets for administrative services such as nursing care."

Reuters has reported that "Britain's postal union on Thursday called a fresh wave of national strikes for next week, threatening to paralyse a mail system already hit by stoppages and dealing a blow to Prime Minister Gordon Brown." See also the Financial Times.

Tribune has reported that "Royal Mail is clashing with the Unite union over attempts to make managers provide cover during the national postal strike, in a move which could plunge the company into a dispute with two unions at once. Unite, which represents several thousand Royal Mail managers, says this goes beyond their members contractual obligations and puts them in an intolerable position between their fellow trade unionists and senior managers."

The Mail has reported that the "public has been advised to carry out personal business online - even if millions can't."

October 22, 2009

DMM Advisory: Intelligent Mail Services Update 

  • New Presentation Available:  CRIDS and MIDs - Obtain and Manage Customer Registration Identifiers and Mailer Identifiers :  Working jointly with the industry through the Mailer's Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) Group 124, we have developed this presentation to explain the use of Customer Registration Identifiers (CRIDs) and Mailer Identifiers (MIDS).  The presentation explains how to obtain a CRID or MID and what the role each plays in a Full-Service mailing.

  • Full-Service Changes in November, October 30:  The November PostalOne! Release 22.0 software upgrade for Full-Service will address functionality to support the discounts for Full-Service and enhanced Mail.XML capabilities.  This webinar will explain the new functionality and enhanced Mail.XML capabilities. The links, phone numbers, and meeting IDs for these two webinars are posted on RIBBS under Intelligent Mail Latest News.   

  • Guides and Specifications:  The Postal Service Mail.dat Technical Specifications, Version 7.2 has been updated and is posted on RIBBS.   Section 2.2.6.1 of this version includes an additional By/For verification and Appendix D has a more comprehensive list of error messages.  The specification's Change History enumerates the revisions.

  • PostalOne! Release 22, November 15:  On November 15, we will implement PostalOne! Release 22.  Among other things, this release will prepare the PostalOne! system to process discounts claimed by Intelligent Mail Full-Service option mailers and allow mailers to submit Mail.XML files for electronic documentation.  Full details are available at RIBBS>Intelligent Mail Services>Latest News>PostalOne! Release Notes>PostalOne! Pre-release Notes 22.0 Implementation Date: 11-15-2009.

  • The PostalOne! system be down on November 15 from 1:00 AM to 10:00 AM CST to incorporate Release 22.  This timeframe is based on our current timing estimate.  We will provide you with an update if we believe the time will change.

  • Full-Service Intelligent Answers:  We conduct weekly telecons entitled Full-Service Intelligent Answers.  The calls continue this Friday from 1:00-2:00 PM EDT.  These calls are for customers who are testing file submission in the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) or for customers who have migrated to using Full-Service in production and have questions or are experiencing issues.  Mailers can exchange information among themselves and postal experts are available to answer questions.  If you are currently testing in TEM or have successfully completed the TEM process, but have not received an invitation to the calls, please contact the PostalOne! Help Desk at 1-800-522-9085.

  • Assistance:  Please call the PostalOne! Help Desk at 1-800-522-9085 if you have any questions or problems accessing the Business Customer Gateway, your accounts, or submitting electronic documentation.  The PostalOne! Help Desk is accessible from Canada at no charge.

According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "the combination of the recession and electronic conversion has created a new market environment that requires new ways of thinking about the postal workforce. Naturally, postal employees fear that the new market environment will mean changes to decades-old compact between national postal operators and their employees. The fear is driving actions by unions and postal employees to strike national postal operators refuse to cooperate in annual assessments of employee satisfaction, and lash out at customer unwillingness to pay higher prices that would support the old employment compact."

According to Deutsche Welle, "Tens of thousands of postal workers in Britain have walked out in what could become the biggest industrial action in the country since the 1980's. More strikes in the state-owned Royal Mail are planned next week."

Press Release: "Superior Mailing Services has been selected for the 2009 Best of Chicago Award in the Direct Mail Advertising Services category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA). The USCA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community. "

The Financial Times has noted that "Where postal services once delivered handsome profits to their state owners, now they often bring problems. In recent years, many governments have tried to have it both ways: they want an incumbent that will preserve a universal delivery service at a price electorates will accept, but they also want the benefits of competition. Postal operators can to some extent compensate by winning more lucrative packets and parcels business particularly delivering books, DVDs, clothes and the like that consumers order from internet retailers. But that is where competition is most intense. Private rivals cherry-pick the most profitable segments, such as bulk mail, express delivery and packages. If this goes on, the question will be: for how much longer will universal delivery services survive? The business is investing 2bn ($3.3bn, 2.2bn) in technology and demanding greater flexibility from its workforce. Short-sighted politicians in both main UK parties, as well as industrial strife, have played their part in holding it back." [EdNote: Substitute the words "union lobbying" for "industrial strife" and you'll have a pretty good picture of postal in the U.S.]

Reuters has reported that "The Mailers Council [of which PostCom is a member], the nation`s largest coalition of mailers and mailing associations, has published a new white paper that warns of United States Postal Service insolvency without significant new legislative reform. The paper suggests other non-legislative steps to avoid collapse of the nation`s postal system. The white paper is available on the Mailers Council`s website: http://www.mailers.org/News_Releases/news_releases.html. According to Mailers Council Board of Directors President James R. O`Brien, "The mailing industry, and the nearly nine million jobs it represents, and every American who depends on a reliable, affordable postal system, need Congress` help now. Our research shows that recent legislation offers only temporary relief of the agency`s financial problems. Without more significant measures, such as those outlined in our white paper, the Postal Service will soon be unable to meet its financial obligations." 

Hellmail has reported that "Preliminary results from a Sky News survey suggest that 62% of people did not support the postal workers and 70% did not support the decision to strike. The findings have been mirrored across online business forums and in comments made by the public in national newspapers as mail collection and deliveries is disrupted. More strike action is planned for next week. Confusion over what the dispute is about has also infuriated customers with many convinced it is wholly about pay whilst others are unsure what it is that the CWU is striking for. Rival mail firms have said that this Christmas could be their most profitable ever as businesses switch operators to ensure goods reach customers in time for Christmas."

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast on Issues Plaguing ACS and Move Update
 
Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito, Experian Vice President Steve Lopez, and PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance in a discussion of the many issues mailers are having with the Postal Service's Move Update program, particularly ACS.
Notes that accompany this podcast have been posted on this site. Refer to these during the podcast.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "The U.K's Communication Workers' Union is to announce that workers at Royal Mail, the state-owned postal service, will stage a further three days of strike action next week, in addition to this week's industrial action."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that "UPS, the world's largest package carrier, beat Wall Street earnings estimates by three cents in the third quarter, with profits of $549 million, or 55 cents per share. However, the results represented a 43.4 percent drop in profits from the same period a year ago. Revenues dropped about 15 percent to $11.2 billion. The company said Wednesday its customers have "widely different views" on how the peak season -- the holidays will play out, casting more uncertainty on the recession's outcome. UPS's total package volumes were down, reflecting "weakness in the U.S. economy."

UPS is delivering 70 tons of food and relief supplies to communities affected by the earthquake and tsunami in American Samoa, as a UPS relief flight has delivered the first payload to assist the ongoing recovery efforts, with additional supplies scheduled to arrive in November by ocean freight.

Multichannel Merchant has reported that "The stop-gap legislation signed by President Obama on Sept. 30 reduced the U.S. Postal Services $5.4 billion health-care retiree payment for fiscal 2009 to $1.4 billion. Thats a big help, but the USPS needs permanent change, says Joseph Corbett, its executive vice president and chief financial officer."

  The International Finance Centre has reported that "The Office of Utility Regulations actions are damaging Guernsey Post and will have a lasting and destructive effect on the Bailiwicks postal service, according to Gordon Steele, Guernsey Posts Chief Executive."

Pak Watan has reported that "The Cabinet on Wednesday formally cleared the much-debated Kerry-Lugar Bill (KLB), along with an explanatory note, and allowed 100 percent increase in inland postal tariff from November 1, 2009."

Marketing Direct has noted that "WPP-owned OgilvyOne Worldwide has launched a mobile-accessed video of its iconic founder David Ogilvy extolling the virtues of direct marketing. The video campaign was timed to coincide with this week's DMA US annual convention in San Diego, California. It is part of what OgilvyOne calls 'a movement' entitled 're:direct' that aims to reinvent direct marketing in the digital age and "reassert creativity at its core".

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Product ,
5459854599 [E925473] [TEXT]  [PDF]
5459954600 [E925474] [TEXT]  [PDF]
54600 [E925477] [TEXT]  [PDF]
 
Postal Service
RULES
Nonmailable Items Prohibited in All Outbound International Mail; Update ,
54485 [E925363]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

The BBC has reported that Postal workers have begun two days of national strike action following the collapse of talks between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers' Union. See also the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. Other stories on the U.K. postal strike:

Today on Hellmail:

A new report has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/).  If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286. Use of the Carrier Optimal Routing System (Report Number DR-AR-10-001)

Reuters has reported that "German postal services company Deutsche Post has not yet benefited from the recent economic upswing, its chief executive said on Wednesday, after rivals made upbeat noises about market improvement."

Press Release: "BWE BELL + HOWELL (BBH), a leading provider of document management solutions and services, has introduced the next generation of management tools for production mailers who are looking to increase their message relevancy and the integrity, quality and productivity of their production operations. A powerful and scalable solution, BWE One 2009 features many new capabilities, including the ability to easily manage operations across one or multiple locations from a single interface, ensure maximum uptime and reliability by minimizing the impact of server failures, simplify job startup and control by centrally managing and controlling job templates for JETVision users, track item details across multiple production operations such as print, inserting and manual operations, and many more. For more information on BWE One or BWE BELL + HOWELL, call 1-800-220-3030, e-mail marketing@bowebellhowell.com, or visit www.bowebellhowell.com.

Postal Service Goes Mobile. Its a Post Office on your phone. Customer convenience and product access are the focus of expanding the most popular online services onto web-enabled mobile devices. Some of the most popular functions currently available on usps.com are now available on cell phones and other mobile devices. The new features include Track & Confirm, Post Office locator, and the most popular application, ZIP Code lookup. With more than 232 million mobile communications devices in the United States a growing number of which can access the web the promise of Internet access from virtually anywhere in the country is fast becoming a reality. Our new mobile capability makes USPS services even more convenient for our customers, said Robert Bernstock, president, Mailing and Shipping Services. Any mobile user with web access will be able to log on to the Postal Service mobile site no matter where they are, without having to use a personal computer, Bernstock said.

Advertising Age has noted that according to "agency buzz...we're all masters of measurement and analytics. Every agency worth its salt claims to not only solve its client's business problems but has the data and case studies to back it up. By the same token, CMOs cite producing measurable results as their No. 1 priority. That's all great. CMOs want results and agencies deliver. Shouldn't everybody be happy? Not so fast. The other buzz out there is that agencies are getting killed on price and are frequently viewed as a commodity service. That's no way to treat someone who helps drive your business success. Maybe agencies are not measuring enough, or measuring the right variables? Maybe the measurement is fine, but the results just aren't good enough? In any case, there's a gap between what agencies are saying about the ROI of their programs and how they're valued in the market. Direct agencies can argue that they have solved this problem, and digital agencies get high marks for raising the bar on analytics. But right now everybody suffers from the same price erosion and competitive pressure. While we debate the merits of one approach over another, billions of dollars are gushing straight to Google and contextual advertising."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "The union representing workers at U.K. state-owned postal service Royal Mail said Wednesday it will go ahead with a planned nationwide strike Thursday and Friday."

October 21, 2009

The New York Times has reported that "In August, news that the United States Postal Service was planning to close 14 of New York Citys roughly 250 post offices elicited an outcry from residents and politicians alike, who clamored to protect their local branches. On Tuesday morning, the City Councils Committee on Governmental Operations held an hour-long hearing on a resolution urging Congress to pass two bills that could help prevent the shuttering of hundreds of post offices nationwide."

The Baltic Course has reported that "The Transport Ministry's State Secretary Nils Freivalds made the decision because management at Latvijas Pasts have been unable to reach agreement on the company's further operations and were inconsistent in their decisions, writes LETA. Before the shareholders meeting was announced, Latvijas Pasts board member Dita Danosa handed in her resignation to the Transport Ministry.

The Bermuda Daily Sun has reported that "Controversial changes to the mail system are here to stay, insists Postmaster General George Outerbridge. He is urging the public to comply with the new regulations to help create a faster, more efficient service. He said: "My job is to make the postal system as effective as possible. "If we have people using the correct addresses, if we have houses properly numbered and if we have mailboxes as close to the perimeter of the property as possible, we can guarantee the timely delivery of mail. "That is what our goal is - not to upset people, but to have a system everyone can be proud of. I feel committed to that."

The Telegraph has reported that "Thousands of people could miss appointments for their swine flu vaccine due to the postal strikes, Sir Liam Donaldson, chief medical officer has warned." See also Postal strike Q&A: How will it affect me?

The Times has reported that "Gordon Brown clashed fiercely with David Cameron over the handling of the postal dispute at Prime Minister's Questions today, as hopes faded that union leaders would call off tomorrow's national strike. The Conservative leader accused Mr Brown of dithering and weakness for shelving legislation to part-privatise the Royal Mail after failing to convince his own backbenchers. In rowdy exchanges, Mr Cameron said it required leadership, some backbone and some courage to prevent union militancy - traits, he said, which Gordon Brown did not have to offer. Instead, he claimed, union leaders had scented weakness and were taking advantage of it. Mr Cameron recalled that Business Secretary Lord Mandelson had said that abandoning part privatisation of the Royal Mail would be irresponsible, an abdication of an important commitment and would threaten the sustainability of the network. Yet five months after the Bill left the House of Lords, it still hasnt come to the House of Commons. Why have you allowed this appalling display of weakness? he demanded. Mr Brown said there was no commercial buyer for the Royal Mail." [EdNote: Wow!]

The Association for Postal Commerce has launched its own Facebook page.  This site will provide up-to-date information as well as major postal events.  We will also be highlighting one Board member company per week on our Notes page. In order to view this page, you need to have a Facebook account. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer has reported that "President Obama has renominated Philadelphia lawyer Alan C. Kessler to one of the toughest federal jobs around: member of the U.S. Postal Service board of governors." Kessler is a partner at Duane Morris LLP and a top national Democratic fundraiser. He was nominated to the Board in 2000 by President Clinton, and his term is set to expire in December. The article explains that "If Kessler is confirmed by the Senate, his new term will run through 2016. Obama submitted Kessler's renomination on Oct. 14, after he underwent the administration's famously rigorous vetting process."

According to the Courier, Express, and Market Observer, "The parcel market is at the cusp of change. Long established distribution patterns are changing as e-comerce competes more aggressively against brick-and-mortar retailers. On-line retailers are looking for ways to cut the time from order to delivery and find that the FedEx, UPS, and the Postal Service all are too inflexible to allow for later pick-ups and early-morning deliveries that on-line customers want. They are turning to not only same day couriers but to regional parcel carriers that operate out of one or more distribution hubs to cover most of the United States."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Big companies that sell to corporate customers are growing more bullish about their prospects for 2010, a sign that a revival of business investment could buoy the sluggish U.S. economy in coming quarters."

AllAfrica.com has reported that "African workers send home more than US$40 billion to the region each year but restrictive laws and costly fees hamper the power of remittances to lift people out of poverty, according to a new report by the UN's rural poverty agency, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Two major money transfer companies - Western Union and Money Gram - control nearly 65 per cent of the locations where remittances can be picked up. Most African countries restrict the kind of institutions that can offer remittance services, penalizing microfinance institutions, which have a greater geographical reach than banks."

The Budapest Business Journal has reported that "Wing, the property development unit of Hungarian-owned holding company Wallis, is willing to sell the Budapest headquarters of state-owned postal services company Magyar Posta back to Hungary's national asset management company MNV at the price for which the company paid for the building in 2008, Wing informed MTI. The state audit office Sz reported on September 2 that the sale of Magyar Posta's 19,000-square-meter headquarters derived 23% less revenue than expected and questioned the cost-efficiency of the sale."

DMNews has reported that "Direct marketing's share of total US advertising spending will reach 54.3% for 2009, increasing by 1.6% over last year's total, according to statistics released by the Direct Marketing Association for its DMA09 conference. Direct marketing ad spend will increase 2.7% next year, reaching $153.3 billion in total, according to the group's predictions. The DMA also forecasted that the percentage of total ad spend occupied by direct marketing will remain above 53% for the next five years."

ICANN and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) have reached an agreement in principle for the UPU sponsorship of the .POST Top-Level Domain. Final approval of the agreement is subject to ICANN's public comment process (which will commence after ICANN concludes its meeting in Seoul on 30 October 2009), and consideration by the Board of Directors.

Federal News Radio has reported that "About 18,000 U.S. Postal Service employees are likely to take a buyout to leave their jobs. But the post office was planning on 30,000 people to leave. The buyouts pay up to $15,000. The FederalTimes reports the deadline for signing on to the buyout plan was last week, but most employees have to the end of November to make a final decision. The Postal Service is hoping the employee buyouts will save it $500 million."

The BBC has reported that "There are "no credible alternatives" to the Royal Mail for delivering post to all addresses in the UK, Jersey Post's general manager has said. The company looked for alternative ways to get mail to and from the UK if postal workers there go on strike." [EdNote: Yes, all us "Jersey boys" are used to getting short shrift from the larger governments that are our neighbors. :)]

Internet Retailing has reported that "Parcel2Go, the online parcel delivery service that uses carriers including UPS, DHL, City Link and Home Delivery Network, has launched a Light offering to suit smaller businesses that send out up to 500 parcels a week. Parcel2Go Light, launched to coincide with the national postal strike due later this week, enables businesses to send packets of up to 3kg for 3.99 each. A 5 charge for collection of the items applies, regardless of volumes sent, with the flat 3.99 per item fee covering delivery to any address in the UK."

Personnel Today has reported that "Royal Mail has stopped the pay of hundreds of postal worker who refuse to pick up the extra work created by 63,000 job cuts, the Daily Mirror has reported. According to the report, union leaders have said that Royal Mail told staff to take on the extra work even if it means working longer hours to deliver all the mail."

IBTimes has reported that "The Communication Workers Union has hit back at Business Secretary Lord Mandelson after he condemned an imminent Royal Mail postal strike as totally self defeating.

The Guardian has reported that "The looming national postal strike could lead to advertisers writing off direct mail campaigns worth at least 10m and force 40% of companies to rethink their Christmas advertising plans if industrial action continues."

According to SecurityPark, "The impending postal strike is causing headaches in companies large and small across the UK, but the strike could actually do firms a favour by accelerating their move away from the paper trail that binds our businesses to the Royal Mail."

Contractor UK has reported that "in a rare display of leniency, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said it was gearing up to waive fines for self-assessment tax forms filed late due to the postal strike."

STV.tv has reported that "The Scottish Government has delivered a blow to the Royal Mail just hours before workers prepare to walk out on strike. A multi-million pound public contract has been awarded to private delivery firm TNT. The Government says using the company to deliver mail for dozens of public sector groups will save the taxpayer millions." See also the Aberdeen Press and Journal.

Infozine has reported that "Matt J. Whitworth, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., mother and son were indicted by a federal grand jury for assaulting a federal postal inspector."

CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:

Australia Post suffered a profit collapse on an almost stagnant turnover during the financial year 2008/2009.
In a surprise move late on Monday evening, the liquidator announced that the sale of mail order group Primondo, which includes the flagship brand Quelle, had fallen through. It remains unclear what the consequences of the failed sale will be for Deutsche Post.
The circulation of free newspapers in Europe has dropped by 20%.
India Post customers will be able to retrieve the status of mail consignments via SMS in future.
Poste Italiane again finds itself in the firing line of the Italian cartel office. An announcement, stating that the cartel office was conducting an investigation into the post regarding possible malpractice, was published at the beginning of the week.
Aramex, express market leader in the Middle East, is now using Dubais new underground transit system for inner city deliveries. Last Thursday Aramex announced that more than 5 couriers were regularly using the first Dubai Metro line - the so-called Red Line - which opened at the beginning of September.
Declining turnover in the courier and express segments is leading Schweizerische Post to cut jobs.
Around six months after largely pulling out of the Austrian market (CEP News 15/09), Hermes has announced the opening of new parcel shops.
Indias express market leader Blue Dart intends to grow further in the roadbased transport segment. The DHL subsidiary claims to hold a 43% share in the airbased express services market.
The second round of negotiations between Deutsche Post and trade union ver.di ended inconclusively again.
Pakistan Post enjoyed a 25% increase in turnover during the financial year 2008/2009.
In Germany, DHL has again been the target of arson attacks.

The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)

The Washington Post has reported that:

"There was no red carpet or pregame show. No musical acts or (good) jokes. No celebrity appearances, and perhaps best of all, the ceremony didn't drag on for hours (just 58 minutes).

But the awards distributed Tuesday at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium honored achievements much more noble than "best supporting actor" or "best on-screen kiss." They heralded the federal watchdogs who last year investigated and audited their way to taxpayer savings.

In fiscal 2008, inspectors general identified $18.6 billion in potential savings, and their work resulted in more than 6,800 successful criminal prosecutions, according to a report by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) , which hosted the awards. Watchdogs issued more than 6,900 audit, inspection or evaluation reports, handled about 5,000 suspensions, and processed nearly 338,000 complaints to telephone or online hot lines.

"You have a different kind of job. . . . You're the guardians of the public. Your job is to protect the people from the excesses of government," said David C. Williams, inspector general of the U.S. Postal Service and co-chairman of the awards program. Put another way, Williams joked: "In many places and in many times, presenting the kinds of reports that you did would not receive an award. It would be punishable by death."

Bloomberg has reported that "Japan appointed former finance ministry official Jiro Saito to head the nations postal service after the month-old government scrapped plans to privatize the company and forced out his predecessor."

Today on Hellmail:

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Product ,
5410854109 [E925346]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Reuters has reported that "Three U.S. states said on Tuesday they plan to sue FedEx Corp., accusing the second-largest U.S. package delivery company of violating labor laws by illegally classifying drivers as independent contractors rather than employees to save money. The attorneys general of New York, New Jersey and Montana intend to begin litigation against FedEx Ground Package System Inc after Oct. 27, saying the unit of Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx has caused a "serious injustice" to more than 1,000 drivers in the three states."

SocalTech has reported that "Westlake Village-based Zumbox, which is developing a system to deliver postal mail electronically using street addresses, said today that it has hired Peter O. Price as head of its media division. Price has served at Time Inc., Publisher of the New York Post, and as President at Media Networks, Liberty Cable, National Sports Daily, and Television USA. He's also chairman and CEO of Premiere Previews, a role he will continue to maintain. Zumbox said Price will develop partnerships with major print and electronic media companies for the firm."

October 20, 2009

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, "We would welcome enhanced convenience of postal services, but it would not be right if the new government policy reversed the ongoing efforts that started following the postal privatization drive to make Japan Post group firms efficient and transparent. It is particularly questionable that the government plans to oblige postal offices across the country to offer universal services of not only postal delivery but also of postal savings and insurance under the envisaged law."

DMM Advisory: Double Post Cards Information Sealed Against Inspection. A double post card, as described in Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 201.1.2.8, consists of two attached post cards, one of which is for the transmission of information from the addressee back to the sender. Each card is subject to the card rate; however, postage need not be paid for the reply portion until it is detached and mailed as a reply piece. DMM 201.1.2.4c provides that a card may bear an attachment that is a small reusable seal or decal prepared with pressure-sensitive and nonremovable adhesive that is intended to be removed from the first half of a double card and applied to the reply half. An example that is often seen is a solicitation to subscribe to, or renew a subscription to a Periodicals publication. Often, in addition to the solicitation itself, will be a small reusable decal or sticker, with instructions on the card to remove it from the top half of a double post card and place it in the appropriate place on the reply half in order to receive an additional gift.  However, such removable attachments may not be used to conceal personal information, such as a PIN number, or to prevent the Postal Service from examining the visible message without defacing the double post card. See also DMM 201.1.2.8c that prohibits any sealing on the left and right sides of double post cards.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • Docket No. MC2007-1 -- The Postal Service hereby advises that it and Bank of America have mutually agreed to terminate the Bank of America Negotiated Service Agreement in its entirety, effective September 30, 2009.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "U.K. Business Secretary Peter Mandelson Tuesday urged the union representing workers at Royal Mail, the state-owned postal service, to call off this week's planned two-day national strike for the sake of the company."

According to Rag Content, "many mailers want to know why the Postal Service does not allow for 100% passthroughs on all cost avoided. In some cases the passthrough are less than 50%. How does this promote efficient behavior within postal operations? It is hard to understand how the Postal Service makes these decisions and why. Under the new law, the Postal Service can use its pricing flexibility to retain earnings and make these types of decisions without really explaining why as a real business would. Whether or not you agree with worksharing discounts or how they are currently being employed by the Postal Service, it is hard to deny that worksharing discounts have helped grow volume throughout USPS history."

United States Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Y. Goldway today urged continued international cooperation to create modern postal and express delivery networks as a key to economic growth. Chairman Goldways remarks came at the 3rd annual U.S.-China Symposium on Postal Reform and Express Delivery held October 20-21 in Nanjing, China. Chairman Goldway headed a U.S. delegation that included Joel Secundy, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services at the U.S. Department of Commerce and Pranab Shah, Vice President and Managing Director, Global Business, United States Postal Service. The Chinese delegation was headed by Mr. Ma Junsheng, Director General of Chinas State Post Bureau, which regulates public and private delivery operators in China." See also http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/102009p2.html

MediaDailyNews has reported that:

  • In case the latest ZenithOptimedia ad-spending forecast wasn't depressing enough, the outlook for newspapers and magazines is especially bad -- even relative to the grim state of advertising in general. Among the gloomy predictions: while overall ad spending is expected to rebound somewhat in 2011, newspapers and magazines will continue to decline due to secular factors, including Internet competition.
  • The hope for a last-quarter recovery for monthly magazines is growing fainter with the release of November ad page figures from Media Industry Newsletter showing an overall 19.2% drop compared to November 2008.This decline is consistent with previous months -- for the year-to-date, monthlies' ad pages are down 21.6%, according to MIN. But even more worrisome is the suggestion that monthly magazines will be slow to feel the effects of an economic recovery, whenever that should occur. 

Happy Birthday, Dead Tree Edition.

The Financial Times has reported that "The threatened Royal Mail strike this week could have a "very serious impact" on the value of the company, damaging the amount a Conservative government could raise for taxpayers by privatising the postal operator, the opposition party warned yesterday. Jonathan Djanogly, the shadow business minister, told the Financial Times the strikes were "a potential disaster for the company, in so far as it could lose revenues". The industrial action in 2007 had lost Royal Mail a reported 300m of business and the company "can't afford to lose that sort of revenue again."

According to Communications Workers Union President Billy Hayes writing in The Mirror, "Postal workers across the UK just want to get back to delivering a first-class postal service. But right now we can't avoid a dispute about the heart and soul of the future of mail delivery. It's important that the public know that Royal Mail are running down the public services and we are determined that this will not happen. Running down those services has meant running down jobs and terms and conditions of the workforce. It also means you will pay more for a worse service and be expected to pay for one you currently get for free."

NewMediaAge has reported that "More than three-quarters of online retailers (77%) believe strikes by Royal Mail workers will discourage consumers from shopping online in the run-up to Christmas, according to etail body the IMRG."


In the News this week
from Postal Technology:

Hellmail has reported that "Larry Whitty, Chair, Consumer Focus, has written to both sides of the postal dispute, and to Peter Mandelson, urging them all to take urgent action to avert an unnecessarily protracted and damaging national strike."

eWeek Europe has reported that "The Postal strike and the recession will leave small businesses in a completely different situation, according to former government minister, Lord Digby Jones of Birmingham. "It's a huge opportunity," said Lord Digby Jones, at the start of the BT-sponsored Small Business Week, based around research into small business attitudes. "After this recesssion and the postal strike, there will be a different way of managing the last mile."

The Telegraph has reported that "HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is in talks with the Post Office about the feasibility of providing the services from Crown Post Offices, the biggest and most suitable for providing the privacy needed for consultations, appointments with advisers or access to helplines and contact centres."

From WebNewsWire: "Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said: A national postal strike defies logic. It would be a suicidal act turning more hard pressed consumers and businesses away from using mail. The Government has backed Royal Mail financially with billions of pounds so that the company can modernise, but these strikes will impede that essential process. We remain in close contact with the Union and Royal Mail management and our message is clear strikes are not the way to resolve differences or safeguard the future of our postal services."

WebCPA has reported that "UBS, the embattled Swiss bank that is being forced to divulge the names of about 4,450 account holders to the IRS, may have inadvertently tipped its hand on their identities by sending them registered letters through the U.S. Postal Service."

The Financial Times has reported that "The threatened Royal Mail strike this week could have a very serious impact on the value of the company, damaging the amount a Conservative government could raise for taxpayers by privatising the postal operator, the opposition party warned on Monday. Jonathan Djanogly, the shadow business minister, told the Financial Times the strikes were a potential disaster for the company, in so far as it could lose revenues. The industrial action in 2007 had lost Royal Mail a reported 300m of business and the company cant afford to lose that sort of revenue again.We have huge concerns that the dispute . . . is going to have a very serious impact on the value of the company, he said."

The News International has reported that:

  • The yearly earning of Pakistan Postal Service (PPS) has shown an unprecedented rise of around 25 % in its yearly revenue earning for 2008-09, swelling total income to Rs7.7 billion, Director General Pakistan Post Muhammad Ahmed Ahmed Mian said.
  • Pakistan Post has failed to equip a large majority of its postmen and field postal staff with motorcycles, despite the fact that the initiative to provide them with bikes had been taken six years ago. Consequently, this has hampered the swift delivery of posts.

Reuters has reported that "The president of state-owned Japan Post [JP.UL], Yoshifumi Nishikawa, will resign, Japanese media said on Tuesday, as the government prepares to revise a privatisation scheme once applauded as a symbol of bold, pro-market reforms. Under the previous government's plan, Japan Post was supposed to float its savings and insurance units on the stock exchange as early as 2010 and sell out of them by 2017."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

October 19, 2009

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast on Issues Plaguing ACS and Move Update
 
Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito, Experian Vice President Steve Lopez, and PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance in a discussion of the many issues mailers are having with the Postal Service's Move Update program, particularly ACS.
Notes that accompany this podcast have been posted on this site. Refer to these during the podcast.

Postal Podcast on A Review of the October PostCom Board of Directors Meeting
 
Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito, PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance, and PostCom Consultant Kathleen Siviter in a discussion of  some of the issues discussed at the October 6-7 Board of Directors meeting.

The Universal Postal Union Direct Mail Advisory Board has announced that its "Direct Mail Guide for Developing and Least Developed Countries In the Digital Age" is now available for purchase.

Alan Kessler has been nominated to continue his service on the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors. His confirmation is expected.

The latest entry has been posted on the blog on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector Generals Internet site Pushing the Envelope. The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/
 
  • Year 2:  Celebrating a year of blogging.  Pushing the Envelope officially launched on October 14 last year.  Since that time, the blog has posted 49 topics, including this one, and received more than 1,700 comments.  To kick off the blogs second year, the OIGs blog team wants to hear more from readers on what they want from the OIGs blog.  Also, check out the list of the most popular topics.
 
You can visit Office of Inspector Generals public website at:  www.uspsoig.govYou can also follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/OIGUSPS.  If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

The Wall Street Journal has reported:

  • The deep recession appears to be drawing to a close, but not its effect on the workplace. Since the downturn began, thousands of employers have cut pay, increased workers' share of health-care costs or reduced the employer contribution to retirement plans. Two-thirds of big companies that cut health-care benefits don't plan to restore them to pre-recession levels, they recently told consulting firm Watson Wyatt. When the firm asked companies that have trimmed retirement benefits when they expect to restore them, fewer than half said they would do so within a year, and 8% said they didn't expect to ever. Changes like these are reshaping employment in America.
  • For Matthew Wright, a little Christmas-tree grower in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada, the biggest headache these days isn't the coming harvest or the 40-foot fir he's shipping to Japan -- it's the growing weakness of the U.S. dollar. Not everyone is distraught: The rising loonie is a boon for U.S. firms that sell goods in Canada or compete with Canadian companies. [EdNote: Thar's gold up where they use Loonies! Develop the marketing opportunities. Go international.]
  • The dollar's drubbing will resume this week as yield-chasing investors focus on interest-rate differentials and abandon the low-yielding buck for its higher-paying counterparts. After hitting a series of 14-month highs last week against the dollar, the euro took a breather from its run on Friday, but there isn't much in the way of the euro hitting $1.50 this week. [EdNote: Thar's gold over where they use Euros! Develop the marketing opportunities. Go international.]

The Washington Post has noted the "Frugality [may be] falling out of fashion? A returning hunger for retail therapy thaws out the credit card."

The Express and Star has noted that "Surely the postal workers are just shooting themselves in foot by going out on strike this week? It just doesnt make any sense to me at all. This strike will cost the Royal Mail millions in lost revenue, many business users will go elsewhere and may never return. Why would you want to do that to the company you work for, the company that pays your wages and keeps food on your table? The pension pot already has a deficit of however-many billion, the company is already on its knees and making people redundant. This will just make everything worse."

The Financial Times has reported that:

  • Royal Mail's biggest competitor called for the removal of barriers that prevent it from rolling out its own network of postmen and women, ahead of strikes that threaten to paralyse the postal service this week. Postal operators such as Business Post, which runs UK Mail, and TNT Post have won a third of the market for collecting and sorting mail. But they still rely on Royal Mail for the final delivery of letters, meaning they are unable to prevent large disruption. TNT Post has been trailing a "final mile" delivery service in Liverpool for the past 18 months but like other operators, such as Deutsche Post, has found it financially unviable. Royal Mail is exempt from paying value added tax - an advantage its competitors see as unfair and which many believe has blocked the emergence of the type of competition in delivery services seen in some other European countries.
  • For the Communication Workers Union to pursue a national Royal Mail strike is like turkeys not only voting for Christmas but coming up with the idea of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner as well. The disruption from the strike that is due to begin on Thursday will cause long-term harm to the already struggling organisation on which the jobs and pensions of many thousands of CWU members depend. Yet that does not mean Royal Mail executives should seek to avert the strike at any cost. This is a battle they must fight and win. Their readiness to employ extra staff to minimise the impact of the strike sends the right signal.

AMEInfo has reported that "GAC has signed a strategic partnership agreement with leading integrated document management specialist Swiss Post Solutions to bring its core document services and solutions to the Middle East."

As the Washington Times put it: "Even within the federal family, there are sibling jealousies of the Mom-always-liked-you-best variety. In this case, some workers say that Uncle Sam favors folks in his largest operation by paying a much larger share of their ever-growing health premiums. So, if you are tired of paying high health-insurance premiums and sick about increases coming next year, here's a tip: Join the service. The U.S. Postal Service, that is. Although the USPS is losing money, handling fewer letters (can you say e-mail and Twitter?) and trying to get thousands of workers to take early retirement, it continues to pay a much larger chunk of its employee health premiums than does the Justice Department, General Services Administration or most other federal agencies."

The London Evening Standard wants to know: "Would it be the stupidest thing in the world to wonder whether - rather than hoping to commit mass suicide by destroying the company that employs them, or making war on customers for the fun of it - the thousands of postal workers going out on strike have a legitimate grievance?"

And The Mirror asks: "Are the posties the new miners?"

The Financial Mail has reported that "Snail mail - the postal system operated by disaster-prone Royal Mail - is about to get slower than ever, thanks to the looming national postal strike. As a result, people are being urged to lessen their reliance on monthly statements, cheques, postal orders and other forms of paper-based payments. Insurance-related documents, including tax discs for thousands of vehicles, and crucial medical information, such as test results and appointment notifications, are among a range of modern communications still reliant on the post. But many financial transactions can be conducted entirely independently of Royal Mail, and firms are taking advantage of the strike to encourage customers to ditch snail mail altogether and use the web or phone instead."

The BBC has reported that "Royal Mail has offered to approach the conciliation service Acas to discuss modernisation, but only if union members call off planned strikes."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Japan's minister for financial and postal affairs said Monday he met with the president of Japan Post Holdings Co. last week to explain his plan to get Cabinet approval for a reform of postal operations."

The Telegraph has reported that "Royal Mail denies it is trying to 'break' Communication Workers Union."

According to Farming UK, "The forthcoming postal strike will cause chaos across the country, but the CLA believes that the damage done to rural businesses and communities will be greater."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "A senior FedEx executive has claimed that the market for air express and air freight in Europe and Asia Pacific is showing "some life". The comments were made to journalists by Robert Elliott, Chairman of FedEx's European, Middle East and African Operations, during the opening of the company's new facilities last week at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport."

The Daily Mail has reported that "Police chiefs tonight warned of outbreaks of violence sparked by the postal strikes. The Association of Chief Police Officers has issued guidance to every police force telling them to be ready for possible clashes during the industrial action."

The Guardian has reported that "TNT, Britain's largest private mail operator, is pressing ministers to allow it to put its own orange-clad postmen on the streets in a door-to-door service that would further undermine a threatened postal strike, which is due to start this week."

The Times has reported that "A union warned yesterday that it might take legal action against Royal Mail for hiring 30,000 temporary workers to clear the backlog of undelivered post from this weeks nationwide strikes."

According to The National, "The UK postal service is in disarray: that much, at least, everyone agrees on. The descent of this national institution to comic cuts is generally agreed to have originated in the 1990s, when the Royal Mail was repackaged and rebranded Consignia. No matter that nobody knew what the word meant; it was sexy, up to date and thoroughly in keeping with the new image of cool Britannia. By the time anyone realised the absurdity of this makeover and changed it back again, the postal system was chronically underinvested and dispirited. But 10 years on and the current debacle involves far more than a lick of paint or a fancy logo. It revolves around that oldest of industrial problems, that of modernisation. On the one hand the management need to cut staff, introduce new technology and rearrange delivery rosters to improve efficiency. The unions, on the other hand, are desperate to retain jobs, preserve hard-won working practices and protect their members from having to train as marathon runners to keep up with proposed working patterns."

October 18, 2009

The Waterbury Republican-American wants to know: "Can you detect the pattern? About 15,000 postal workers, including (so far) more than a dozen in Waterbury, will spend at least part of some or all of their shifts this year in "standby rooms," where they will collect their paychecks but will be prohibited from earning them. The cost to the Postal Service of paying 7 percent of its work force to do nothing will exceed $50 million this year. Facing a $7 billion deficit this year and having lost money in 11 out of the last 12 quarters, the Postal Service can't contain labor costs effectively."

Sky News has reported that "Thousands of small companies across the UK are taking steps to avoid serious problems arising from the planned postal strikes on Thursday and Friday this week. Many mail order retailers have put costly contingency plans in place so that customers don't have a bad experience buying from their websites and catalogues."

The Herald Scotland has reported that "Senior union sources told the Press Association they believed the recruitment of temporary staff during a strike was illegal. We will be looking at the legal side of this and we are calling on recruitment agencies to be aware of the law if they are asked to supply temporary workers to the Royal Mail, said one official."

According to the Tewkesbury ADMAG, "THE postal strike could spell disaster for small businesses and charities, Bidfords county councillor has warned. It has been reported that charities would stand to lose 50million as a result with a single example being the Countryfile calendar which raises money for Children in Need. Due to the calendar not being delivered its likely that they will miss out on 400,000 of charitable donations."

STV has reported that "Scottish postal union officials say Royal Mail is only inflaming their long running dispute with plans to recruit up to 30,000 staff to cope with strikes by postal workers."

According to the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, "Theres a connection between the dramatic decline in junk mail and the possible closure of the Waynedale and Diplomat Plaza branches. People and business are mailing less 28 billion fewer pieces this year than last and the Postal Service is looking at a $5 billion deficit. There are more reasons for the red ink than the fact that many of us now send Facebook birthday greetings instead of a Hallmark card with a stamp. But the trend is away from posted mail and toward electronic bill paying, e-mailed notes, online banking, E-vites. Yet when Postmaster General John Potter says those trends have to be reflected in the agencys business plan fewer retail outlets, fewer mail carriers, fewer blue boxes on the street corner, fewer delivery days people go ape poopie. The financial decisions the Postal Service is facing and our collective reaction to the possible ways of coping (we dont want fewer branches, higher stamp prices or mail-less Saturdays) is a good example of why the federal deficit is heartbreaking."

The BBC has reported that "As a postal strike looms, the positions of the two sides appear more and more entrenched, the papers believe. It is still not too late, says the Sunday Express, for the government to show a little courage, stand up for the people and save our Christmas post. The Observer, too, feels the fate of the postal service should be taken out of the hands of unions and managers. It says ministers must either devise a system that works, or tell voters they cannot have the service they want."

Today on Hellmail:

The Press Association has reported that "Royal Mail is to recruit up to 30,000 temporary staff to cope with strikes by postal workers and deal with the Christmas rush." See also Bloomberg, The Telegraph, and the BBC.

October 17, 2009

The Times has reported that "In an interview with The Times, Billy Hayes signalled that he was willing to order further industrial action in the run-up to Christmas if Royal Mail and the Government fail to accede to demands for independent arbitration."

The Times of India has reported that "Pulling up the postal department for its lackadaisical attitude while dealing with an undelivered money order complaint, UT state consumer commission held that officials should not take advantage of a blanket immunity provided to them under the Indian Post Offices Act."

Sky News has reported that "The leader of the postal workers' union has raised the prospect of more strikes if its bitter dispute with Royal Mail is not resolved soon."

WBZ has reported that "Managers at three southern New Hampshire post offices manipulated employees' time sheets, causing some people to be underpaid, the inspector general of the U.S. Postal Service said."

Octobetr 16, 2009

According to Media Daily News, "A total of 383 magazines have closed in the first nine months of 2009, compared with just 259 new titles launching. This continues the trend of the last couple of years, when more magazines closed than launched, according to MediaFinder.com, a property of Oxbridge Communications. Conversely, the number of closures in 2009 was smaller than 2008, when 525 titles closed and 335 titles launched."

 
The latest issue of the
PostCom Bulletin is available online.
 In this issue:

  • In an open letter to all postal customers, Postmaster General John Potter said that he would not seek an exigent rate increase anytime in FY 2010. PostCom Chairman Jim O'Brien said that "PostCom is very happy to report that the PMG and BOG heard the industry's message....Now the burden falls upon mailers to do our absolute best in 2010 to generate mail volume and help get the Postal Service back on a solid footing. However, our challenge doesn't end there. We must also work with Congress to give the Postal Service the tools that it needs to survive in the future."
  • According to Rag Content, "The postal industry is coming up on three years since the passage of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. The Postal Service needs to put together a real strategic plan for the next three years to get itself out of this fiscal mess and back into the black. There is merit in asking Congress to restructure the retiree health benefits payment and to stop interfering in closures and union contracts, but there no place in the market for the Postal Service to directly compete with other segments of the economy or its customer base. If the Postal Service cannot survive on stamps alone, then it needs to enlist its customers' help in divining what its future should hold.
  • According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "operators in this business have a choice as they try to provide service across a broad geographic area or across the range of transportation and communications needs of their customers within a firm rather than through contractual arrangements between regional or modal partners. With few exceptions, when faced with the choice of providing service with a partner through a contract or within the constructs of a corporate structure, operators in this business have chosen corporate structures. The expansions of Deutsche Post, FedEx, TNT, and United Parcel Service all followed this path."
  • A USPS study establishes the baseline for future, annual evaluations to help determine if the Postal Service is meeting its stated GHG reduction goals. The Postal Service's direct GHG emissions total 5.3 million tons, only 1 twentieth of 1 percent of the total GHG emissions in America.
  • Dead Tree Edition has reported that "ads in magazines have more impact on consumers, with less cost, than ads on either the Web or television, an extensive new study indicates.
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, "more than 17 billion catalogs were mailed in the U.S. last year -- about 56 for every American. While "much of what used to be done through the mail, including bill payments and personal correspondence, is now handled electronically," catalogs still rock as a medium for doing business, largely because "glossy catalog pages still entice buyers in a way that computer images don't. Catalogs, marketers say, drive sales at Web sites, making them more important than ever."
  • Customer support ruling on computer readable-media eligibility for media mail prices. USPS sponsoring workshops on direct mail. USPS shortens closure list to 371. Chairman Goldway featured in Federal Faces. Pitney Bowes accuses Zumbox of patent infringement.
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • Updates on postal matters published in the Federal Register.
  • An update on DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews
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.

The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram

The most recent  report has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/). If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703.248. 2201, or Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.
  • Volume data used to bill foreign postal administrations (FPA) for inbound international letter post, Parcel Post, and Express Mail service was not always accurate and properly supported. These errors resulted from both manual and system issues. As a result, the Postal Service either understated or overstated its billings to foreign countries. We estimate the Postal Service underbilled foreign countries nearly $163,000 for the errors related to letter post Registered Mail and missing Parcel Post dispatches for the 4 month period from October 1, 2008, through January 31, 2009. We did not determine monetary impact for other errors found primarily due to limited source documentation available to make the calculation.
    Los Angeles International Service Center Inbound International Mail (Report Number FT-AR-10-001

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • Docket No. R2010-1: Notice Of Price Adjustment And Classification Changes Related To Move Update Assessments
  • Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) Chairman Ruth Y. Goldway today announced the election of Tony Hammond as Vice Chairman of the Commission, succeeding Nanci Langley. PRC regulations provide that the Commissioners elect a member to serve as Vice Chairman for a term of one year.
  • A transcript from the PRC's field hearing at Bronx. NY conducted on September 23, 2009 has been posted on the Commission's web site.

DMM Advisory: Move Update 

The Move Update standard requires periodic matching of a mailers address records with customer-filed change-of-address (COA) orders. Its goal is to reduce the number of mailpieces in a mailing that require additional handling for forwarding or return.

Yesterday we filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to describe the new method our Business Mail Entry Units (BMEU) will use to determine whether or not to assess the $0.07 Move Update charge to First-Class Mail and Standard Mail pieces evaluated during acceptance.

Originally intended for a Standard Mail implementation date of May 2009, we deferred the effective date of the new standard until January 4, 2010. For consistency with the treatment of Standard mail, we also apply the same effective date to First-Class Mail. Both classes will be assessed the additional postage charge on pieces determined at acceptance to have an error rate above a 30% tolerance level.

Sample testing will be done for each mailing accepted at MERLIN locations, and the BMEUs will provide feedback to the mailer on the effectiveness of their Move Update process. The assessment applies only to those pieces in the mailing that are found to exceed the tolerance level, based on the sampling.

Example: if a mailing is found to have an error level of 50%, then 50% minus 30% (tolerance level) = 20% of the mailing that will is assessed $0.07 per piece.

Any mailing that has five or fewer update errors is not assessed the fee, regardless of the percentage that is not updated.    

Complete details of the assessment process are available at: http://ribbs.usps.gov/move_update/documents/tech_guides/Move_Update_Advisement_Policy.pdfh
The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) is available on Postal Explorer ( pe.usps.com). To subscribe to the DMM Advisory, send an e-mail to dmmadvisory@usps.com. Simply indicate "subscribe" in the subject line.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Much of what used to be done through the mail, including bill payments and personal correspondence, is now handled electronically. So why does the catalog, which helped Richard Sears launch his eponymous retail empire more than a century ago, continue to thrive in the electronic age? Because glossy catalog pages still entice buyers in a way that computer images don't. Catalogs, marketers say, drive sales at Web sites, making them more important than ever. Virtually no one expects the mail-order catalog to go away -- even though only 1.3% of those catalogs generated a sale, the survey found. The average U.S. catalog retailer reported mailing about 21 million catalogs in 2007, sending out a new edition every 26 days.

The Azerbaijan Business Center has reported that "Within Financial Sector Development Project (FSDP) being implemented by the Azerbaijani government jointly with World Bank Group (WBG) Azerpoct (national postal operator) has announced a tender procedure for purchase of computer equipment facilities for connection in postal offices. The project executive group says that the tender was announced for purchase of desktop ((UPS, operating system and antivirus); multitask machine (copy templet, fax machine, scanner, printer); matrix printer. Tender participation cost is AZN 300 or $375. Each bid should be guaranteed for $8,000. The bids must be submitted till 3:30 pm 1 December 2009 at the address: 36, Uzeir Hajibeyov Str."

From PR Web: "Companies often reward customers who choose to pay their bills or unsecured loans by direct debit, in several cases reducing the total payment amount due. But a number of those who have decided to pay by other means have now found that the postal strike has cost them a little extra, possibly giving them credit problems. "Many people are concerned that paying by direct debit takes away the control they have over their finances, which could lead to poor credit or even defaults and CCJ's" explains a spokesperson for http://www.creditproblemsnoproblem.co.uk. "However, those paying by direct debit are relatively unaffected by the postal strike, with their loan & credit card payments still being made through their bank on the due date".

According to Marketing Direct, "Direct mail users advised to switch to Royal Mail rivals - but questions remain on whether rivals can cope."

Today from Hellmail:

Brand Republic has reported that "Royal Mail denies plans to bypass postal workers union to reshape business."

The Boston Globe has a very nice piece on Bob Hoobing, who recently died. Many will remember Bob when he served on the Communications Department staff at the Postal Service.

According to Dead Tree Edition, "Potter's statement did not clarify whether he was referring to all market-dominant rates or to the average rates for each class. For example, could new discounts be introduced and some rates in a class increased in a way that caused no change in the average cost of the class's mail? But Potter's statement made clear that he understands the two dangers of an exigent rate increase. In the short run, higher rates would suppress mail volume. An exigent rate increase would signal to mailers that the Postal Service is unreliable and that they can no longer count on rate increases being capped by inflation. Continued downsizing is clearly in the cards. Just last week, USPS announced possible consolidation of nine more processing and distribution centers. Nearly 40 such Area Mail Processing studies are in the works, along with the possible closing of hundreds of post offices. Postal officials are looking into new revenue streams, and Potter's statement today mentioned that they want "to grow the mail through innovative incentives like the Summer Sale and contract pricing." And, inevitably, the issue of the retiree-benefits shell game will be on the table."

From Capital.gr: "A top United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) executive called for lower global trade barriers during a speech in Colombia Thursday, saying nations that reject protectionism will flourish over those that don't. Bob Lekites, president of UPS Airlines, also said reduced trade barriers hold the key to a global economic recovery. He made his comments during a keynote address at the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association's Airline Leaders Forum in Cartagena, Colombia."

As part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability and environmental leadership, the U.S. Postal Service voluntarily conducted an inventory of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The study establishes the baseline for future, annual evaluations to help determine if the Postal Service is meeting its stated GHG reduction goals. The Postal Service's direct GHG emissions total 5.3 million tons, only 1 twentieth of 1 percent of the total GHG emissions in America. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this is roughly the equivalent of 1 million gasoline cars driving an average of 12,000 miles on the road each year. Contracted transportation represents the source of 52 percent of the Postal Service carbon emissions. Emissions from facilities represent 36 percent. Given that the Postal Service has 43,000 alternative-capable fuels delivering mail across the country, only 12 percent of the carbon footprint is attributed to vehicles. The Postal Service has stated goals to reduce energy use 30 percent by 2015, reduce petroleum fuel use 20 percent by 2015, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020. Achieving electric and fuel reduction goals will be included in pay-for-performance goals for postal managers.

The Guardian has reported that:

  • Last night documents appeared to outline an alleged Royal Mail battle plan for dealing with the strikes and forcing through new working practices "with or without union engagement". The 10-page PowerPoint presentation, seen by the Guardian entitled Dispute: Strategic Overview. Where we are and next steps suggests Royal Mail is allegedly ready to downgrade its relationship with the CWU, stopping short of de-recognition, but reducing the union's rights to the "legal minimum". It calls the process "actively down-dialling the role of the union". Royal Mail said the papers were not an official document. A spokesman said: "We absolutely do not accept this presentation as a genuine Royal Mail document". See also the story by AFP.
  • Never mind cheap talk of 'little old ladies' and their Christmas cards. It is Royal Mail workers who face a really punishing winter. Most of the tabloid media is talking about militant trade union leaders, uncaring, lazy postal workers, and little old ladies made to suffer by strike action. In the case of the postal workers...There's ever-increasing pressure to work faster and harder,belligerent managers demanding more work in less hours. There are worries over job security 40,000 Royal Mail jobs have been lost in the last two years. There's creeping privatisation, with private companies creaming off the profitable sections of the mail delivery system yet relying on Royal Mail postal workers to do the final stages of the deliveries."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Section 3030.11 of the Commissions rules, 39 CFR 3030.11, specifies that complainants must serve their complaints on the Postal Service via email at a specified email address. This order changes the email address referenced in 39 CFR 3030.11. To accurately reflect the current status, the email address listed in that section is, by this order, changed from Sandra.t.broadus@usps.gov to PRCCOMPLAINTS@usps.gov.

October 15, 2009

From the Postmaster General to Postal Service Customers:

Many of you have expressed concerns regarding mailing costs for 2010. The tough economic climate has presented significant challenges to all of us and pessimistic speculation has suggested that postal prices could increase by as much as 10 percent. As we begin a new fiscal year and as many of you, our business clients, are preparing your 2010 operating budgets, we want to end all speculation.

The Postal Service will not increase prices for market dominant products in calendar year 2010. Simply stated, there will not be a price increase for market dominant products including First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, periodicals, and single-piece Parcel Post. There will be no exigent price increase for these products.

This is the right decision at the right time for the right reason. Promoting the value of mail and encouraging its continued use is essential for jobs, the economy, and the future of both the Postal Service and the mailing industry. While increasing prices might have generated revenue for the Postal Service in the short term, the long term effect could drive additional mail out of the system. We want mailers to continue to invest in mail to grow their business, communicate with valued customers, and maintain a strong presence in the marketplace.

Changes in pricing for our competitive productsPriority Mail, Express Mail, Parcel Select, and most international productsare under consideration. We expect to announce a decision in November. We are committed to working with customers to find ways to grow the mail through innovative incentives like the Summer Sale and contract pricing. Mail is the most effective means of communication and advertising and we will continue to work together to increase the value of the mail. Mail is a smart investment for the future.

The Postal Regulatory Commission has posted its September 2009 update on cumulative change to CPI-U over the past 12 months. Calculated through September, inflation has amounted to -0.3%. [EdNote: Reductions in postal rates anyone?]

The Telegraph has reported that "Householders are unlikely to see a return to a normal postal service until November, as union leaders refused to rule out further strikes after next week's stoppages."

Reuters has reported that "Thousands of postal workers will strike for two days next week, their trade union said on Thursday, in a dispute over pay, jobs and modernisation at Britain's state-owned Royal Mail. The CWU said 42,000 mail centre staff and network drivers would strike on Oct. 22 and 78,000 delivery and collection staff would walk out on Oct. 23." See also the BBC.

CNET News has reported that "The search giant announced Thursday at the Frankfurt Book Fair that in the first half of next year it will launch Google Editions, a new service that will deliver e-books to anyone with a Web browser."

According to the Panama City News Herald, "At a time when many American businesses and industries are being forced to cut back, reorganize and rethink their operations, theres no reason why the United States Postal Service should be immune to similar changes, painful as it might be for some. The mail carrier is hemorrhaging red ink like the Exxon Valdez and must adapt to rapidly evolving technological and social environments....When facing such daunting challenges in the marketplace, savvy private businesses will take drastic measures, from innovating (incorporating new technologies into revamped processes) to restructuring management and operations hierarchies. This often involves closing offices and cutting staff. When forced to, they often find they can perform better with less. The full range of those options, though, are not available to the USPS because it is a quasi-federal agency. When the service has proposed cutting post offices and consolidating service areas, it has been met with congressional resistance lawmakers block the moves to curry political favor with constituents. It also has a large and heavily unionized workforce, which has hamstrung reform. The best solution would be to get government out of the mail business. Privatize mail delivery, just as many European nations and New Zealand have done successfully, and end its legal monopoly on first-class mail delivery, opening it up to competition."

The Omaha World-Herald has reported that "When the president for the Association of Postal Commerce speaks in Omaha next Thursday, he will tell the business people in the audience that its time they tell Congress what they need and what theyll pay for from the Postal Service. Like roads, the postal system is part of the nations infrastructure, but the country needs to decide how it should be organized and paid for, in light of todays economy and increasingly popular electronic communication, Gene Del Polito said by phone from Washington, D.C."

American Postal Workers Union William Burrus has launched an attack on the Association for Postal Commerce. As for his solution for the Postal Service's woes, Burrus recommends: "Discontinue the exorbitant postage discounts that are offered to large mailers which are currently as high as 10.5 cents per letter and allow members of the APWU to perform all mail-processing functions at the rate of 10.4 cents for every letter and flat." According to Burrus, "the union offer would save the Postal Service one tenth of one cent on each letter and flat, the challenge is a win-win proposition, Burrus said. I hope that the postmaster general gives it serious consideration. [EdNote: Why attack PostCom? Because it's the one association with the brass to say "mailers have had enough" of postal rate increases, cost-shifting to mailers' shoulders through an ever-increasing variety of postal regulations and operational rules, postal inspectors pressuring mailers to pay penalties for violations where none exist, and a whole laundry list of issues that stem from the Postal Service's being ham-strung by a cost structure that's still--after all these years--80% labor-related. Labor contracts and outmoded work rules that fail to comport with today's economic reality have condemned the Postal Service on the road to perdition.]

The Wrap has reported that "Im your worst fear. That's what Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix, told a group of magazine executives in New York on Wednesday, when he was asked which magazines he has subscriptions to. I read them online. I love the content. And I dont pay for it.

DM News has reported that "Magna, an agency in the Interpublic Group division Mediabrands, predicted this week that revenue for owners of direct media a diverse group comprising search engines, the US Postal Service and phone directories, among others will rise 3.3% next year. That rise occurs when national and local brand-based advertisers are included and revenue is evaluated as a whole."

Glamsham has noted that "October 9 is celebrated all over the world as World Postal Day, and this year to kindle interest in the young generation about the charm of the written words a special campaign is being organized by the Postal Departments to underline the virtues of letter writing. Indeed, letter writing has indeed gone out of vogue and it has been replaced by Tweets, SMS and electronic mail, which cannot come in the public realm after the users are gone as it would be password protected. Vital period of history and social development is in the danger of getting lost, as the individual views would not find any mention, as they are lost in the electronic maze."

Marketing Direct has reported that "The Prime Minister said yesterday that Royal Mail could lose major contracts if the "unnecessary" national strike is not averted." See also Parcel2Go.

Supply Management has reported that "Of the buyers surveyed by Supply Management, 37 per cent are looking to switch to another postal supplier, fearing disrupted services. A number of purchasers had already abandoned Royal Mail, citing poor service and uncompetitive pricing."

Federal News Radio has reported that "For the first time ever, a federal agency is releasing a report of its greenhouse gas emissions. The United States Postal Service measured emissions from its buildings, vehicles, and contracted air, rail and ship transportation. Sam Pulcrano is the Vice President of Sustainability for USPS."

The Telegraph has reported that:

  • Union workers at the Royal Mail have been accused of taking advantage of the impending national postal strike to demand an inflation-busting pay increase.
  • Postal strike: dates of crippling action to be set by union leaders

Today on Hellmail:

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
PROPOSED RULES
Periodic Reporting Rules ,
52942 [E924860]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

October 14, 2009

According to BloggingStocks, "Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been the leader in DVD sales in the U.S. for years now. It's estimated that 40% of all U.S. DVD sales originate within the doors of the world's largest retailer. But, could those days be coming to an end? With Blu-ray DVD players coming with built-in internet video streaming, cable and satellite having video-on-demand choices of all recent movies, and more people buying content from Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iTunes every day, what is the future of the physical DVD?"

According to Rag Content, "the Postal Service needs to put together a real strategic plan for the next three years to get itself out of this fiscal mess and back into the black.  There is merit in asking Congress to restructure the retiree health benefits payment and to stop interfering in closures and union contracts, but there no place in the market for the Postal Service to directly compete with other segments of the economy or its customer base.  If the Postal Service cannot survive on stamps alone, then it needs to enlist its customers' help in divining what its future should hold."

Customer Support Ruling on "Computer Readable-Media Eligibility for Media Mail Prices." According to the USPS, "video games, whether on CD-ROM, diskettes, or similar software, regardless of form, or playable systems including computers, do not meet the standards for Media Mail. In addition, storage devices such as portable hard drives, "thumb drives," "flash drives," "jump-drives," and "USB drives for use with computers are also not eligible for Media Mail prices. Qualifying computer-readable media may contain no advertising except when provided for by standard, e.g. incidental announcements of other books with books in a computer-readable format."

Tech Blorge has reported that "If Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is to be believed, DVD is preparing to go the way of the VHS cassette. According to Yahoos Today in Tech, Mr. Hastings said that DVD will remain the primary delivery format for movies for the next two years at his company which currently boasts 11 million customers. He did not, however, say if it would be Blu-ray or streaming movies that would replace the aging format. This isnt to say that DVD will just disappear overnight as he sees the format holding on in some way for another decade or so past 2012. This is a reversal of previous statements Mr. Hastings has given where he saw DVD remaining Netflixs primary focus through as late as 2018."

The BBC has reported that "Royal Mail will suffer long term damage if the planned national postal strike goes ahead, Gordon Brown has warned. The Prime Minister said the firm could lose major contracts if the "unnecessary" walk-out was not averted."

Reuters has reported that "Target Stores has begun offering a magazine newsstand on its Web site. The retailer has signed on Zinio, which offers electronic versions of magazines and books from more than 350 publishers. The electronic magazines are designed to look much like the print versions of the titles. On Target's site Zinio will sell magazines as single editions of current and older issues, or as annual subscriptions -- usually at a discount. People can read them in a Web browser version or through an application that Zinio offers for download." [EdNote: Postage? We don't need no stinking postage!]

According to Dead Tree Edition, "Ads in magazines have more impact on consumers, with less cost, than ads on either the Web or television, an extensive new study indicates. "Overall, magazines drove consumer behavior more effectively and efficiently than television or online among consumers who were reached by each medium," according to a summary of the Dynamic Logic study prepared by the Magazine Publishers of America. Though it didn't commission the study, MPA has good reason to publicize the research company's findings, which are based on an aggregation of 39 different client-commissioned studies. Magazines kick butt especially when it comes to influencing whether "consumers have a favorable opinion of the brand" and whether they are likely to purchase a brand, the study found. In both categories, they have more influence than TV or the Web combined. Magazines have a slight lead in aiding brand awareness and are virtually tied with TV for ad awareness."

The Financial Times has reported that "As President Barack Obama reconsiders his strategy for the war in Afghanistan, the US military is closely watching the Pakistani city of Quetta from where Taliban commanders are believed to be overseeing the stubborn insurgency across the border. According to western officials in Islamabad, US officials have focused on Pashtunabad, a dusty suburb of Quetta, which they believe is a vital link between the Taliban's 12-15 member top leadership council, known as the "Quetta shura ", and the Taliban in Afghanistan. "This place is like the Taliban's post office in Baluchistan," says one western official, referring to the western Pakistani region that borders the southern Afghan province of Helmand. "The people who travel across this border with Taliban connections include those carrying out assignments for the Quetta shura . They carry messages to and from the shura to people on the ground, and work as eyes and ears for the shura ".

The U.S. Postal Service is co-sponsoring a series of free customer webinars highlighting the benefits of Direct Mail with five online Direct Mail Service Providers. Delivered by industry experts, the webinar series is designed to provide customers with smart and imaginative solutions on how to plan, design, and launch an effective direct mail campaign.

To participate in the webinars, customers must register using the reserve a seat link provided below.

The topics to be covered are:

  • Customizing Your Mail Pieces - October 21, 2009 @ 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST
    Get information about personalized marketing strategies and how timely, relevant and personalized marketing can increase response rates.
    To reserve: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/801056931
  • Mail Piece Design - November 4, 2009 @ 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST
    Learn how to create effective headlines, write effective copy and select graphics that get you the best response possible.
    To reserve: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/572697466
  • Mailing List, The Key To Better Response - November 18, 2009 @ 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST
    This webinar will cover the basics of choosing, using and managing mailing lists for direct mail campaigns.
    To reserve: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/858339994

ePolitix has reported that "A group of Labour MPs has backed the Communication Workers Union's efforts to find a resolution to the current postal dispute."

The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has noted that "This blog has noted earlier the efforts of Deutsche Post and Post Denmark to automate their acceptance process and solve the problem of delivering parcels to people who are not at home. Hellmail has just reported that Post Denmark will install an additional 60 of these Dgnposten bringing the total number to 108. To put this in perspective, this Postal Service would need to install nearly 25,000 to have the same level of customer access as will exist in Denmark."

The Postalnewsblog has reported that "In a letter posted on the web site of the National Association of Postal Supervisors, USPS Human Resources VP Anthony Vegliante has admitted that the USPS Pay for Performance program will not accurately reflect the contributions of supervisors, postmasters and managers for the fiscal year just ended. Citing the economic downturn, Vegliante warns that the USPS may end the year with a corporate NPA score for which the adjective rating would be non-contributor. Employees who worked diligently and contributed to the organizations performance may receive an end of year rating of 3 or less and a personal adjective rating of non-contributor.

  The Business Standard has reported that "the Department of Posts today launched a new service that would enable customers to trace their mails through Short Messaging Service (SMS). Also Read Related Stories News Now - B-school chalks out DoP revamp - DoP to launch Retail Post in 5,000 post offices - Now, postman to collect data for consumer price index Also Read Related Stories News Now - Bulls Day Out: Markets at 17-month highs - State Bank of Indore Q2 profit rises 25% to Rs 78 cr - Exide Industries surges on Q2 net jump - Property sale boosts Unitech - Can Fin Homes net up 22% in Q2 More "This new service will enable public to locate their mails, especially speed post, by sending an SMS and they will receive the location of their mail," T Murthy, post master general, Tamil Nadu circle (business development and marketing) told reporters here."

CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:

Almost 81,000 Royal Mail employees took part in last weeks ballot over a possible nationwide strike. The trade union CWU said that over 76% had voted for industrial action.
So far, the liberalisation has been a disaster, quite honestly. Effectively, there is no liberalisation to speak of. In a candid statement made during an interview with German daily Rheinische Post (12.10), the chairman of the governments monopoly commission Justus Haucap spoke of the current situation regarding the market opening in Germany, adding that politicians had killed off competition through the exaggerated minimum wage and the VAT exemption for Deutsche Post only.
Belgium is currently the scene of massive rumours concerning the possibility of La Poste going public.
Pos Malaysia has announced some internal transformation measures. Without mentioning any details, CEO Datuk Syed Faisal Albar told The Business Times (09.10) that the board of directors had approved the corresponding plans. In the last two years the Malaysian post suffered deficits that were almost exclusively attributable to the posts stake in cargo airline Transmile Group.
The race for the future of the Internet-based letter is on, and last Thursday the German government gave the go-ahead for the De-Mail pilot project. Deutsche Post intends to launch its own Online Letter in the first half of 2010.
Hackers have yet again succeeded in getting into Poste Italianes web site. For several years, Poste Italianes web site has been a popular target for hackers.
Spains post Correos is expecting mail volumes to shrink noticeably this year.
In Germany, private postal service providers are planning a renewed assault on Deutsche Posts dominating market position with the help of a joint delivery network.
Magyar Posta will be able to increase its profit this year despite a decline in turnover.
The first service provider to fall victim to the remonopolisation of the Chinese express market has been registered. Last week Pony Express, a CEP operator based in Beijing, announced that it would cease trading after only one year in the market.
The recession has clearly had an impact on TNT Express in Germany. We have indeed cut 400 jobs in this country.
The circulation of free papers has dropped globally by 10% and has gone down 20% in Europe.
The closure of post offices in Austria will have no repercussions on the post bank PSKs private customer business.
The Finnish post Itella has announced the axing of 360 jobs. The jobs will have gone by the end of 2010 as part of a streamlining process.
The Tunisian post is turning increasingly toward the provision of financial services.
Deutsche Post is facing strong criticism over the unconventional design of the front page of the posts own advertiser. With a weekly circulation of more than 17.6 million, the advertiser sported a photograph of German Chancellor Angela Merkel just ahead of the general election. Mrs Merkel was also given the opportunity to put about her partys election slogan We have the power in what appeared to be an interview in the advertiser.
 

The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and one of the worlds largest express transportation company, has further enhanced its overnight services between Asia and Europe with the introduction of a new next-business-day service connecting mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore with France and Germany.

The Mirror has reported that "Postal union leaders last night unveiled a last-ditch plan to avert a national strike. But Royal Mail bosses seemed to condemn it out of hand, saying it amounted to a fresh set of demands."

Bloomberg has reported that "Japan Post Holdings Co. could expand into the aged care business, Financial Services Minister Shizuka Kamei said in a speech to the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo today. Kamei, who also oversees the postal service, said branches in rural areas could also be used for aged care."

The Telegraph has reported that "Householders are to be hit with a three-day postal strike next week after it emerged that unions are planning a co-ordinated series of 24 hour stoppages to cause maximum chaos."

Stories today on Hellmail:

The Globe and Mail has reported that "With a free postcard you can send from your keyboard, Hippopost puts its own stamp on direct-mail marketing."

MediaDailyNews has reported that "Bloomberg LP has purchased the 80-year-old BusinessWeek from McGraw-Hill Cos. The acquisition includes the print magazine and the BusinessWeek.com Web site."

According to Adweek, "the findings of a survey released today by The NPD Group, based on fieldwork last month has revealed that eleven percent of the NPD respondents said they plan to spend more for the holidays this year, vs. 30 percent planning to spend less. Based on its research, NPD anticipates year-to-year growth of 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent in consumers' holiday spending."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Pitney Bowes Inc. (PBI) has filed a lawsuit accusing privately held Zumbox Inc. of patent infringement. The suit filed in California Central District Court claims Zumbox, which is developing a paperless postal system, is infringing upon three of Pitney Bowes' U.S. patents. Traditionally known for its expertise in physical mail, Pitney Bowes recently has expanded its capabilities to include online communications products that link to and run in parallel with physical communications. Pitney Bowes invested more than $200 million in research and development in 2008, with much of that total dedicated to software products, said Bernie Gracy, vice president of strategy and new business development at Pitney Bowes. Zumbox has built a postal system that combines features of email and the U.S. Postal Service. The company has created digital mailboxes that correspond to every street address in the country, through which customers may receive digital mail. "We want to prevent [Zumbox] from using our intellectual property in the commercialization of their service," Gracy said. "We have an obligation to our shareholders to protect those patents."

1up.com has reported that "Gamefly's legal struggles with the United States Postal Service are getting heated as the company seeks to prove preferential treatment for competing services, reports GamePolitics (via Hacking Netflix). The legal complaint, filed in April, accused the USPS of giving preferential manual sorting to Netflix and Blockbuster, which Gamefly contends could help prevent costly broken discs. The company claimed about 1% of discs are broken in transit, but the post office contends that their sorting is done like any other company, and Gamefly's packaging is to blame."

According to the BBC, "The union representing Royal Mail workers has said national postal strikes could begin on Thursday 22 October. A number of localised walkouts have already been taking place across the country for several months. Some of those braced for further disruption tell their stories."

The following report has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/).  If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703.248. 2201, or Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286. Fiscal Year 2009 Connecticut District Financial Risk Audit (Report Number FF-AR-09-225)

October 13, 2009

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

The latest blog entry has been posted today on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector Generals Internet site Pushing the Envelope. The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/
 
  • Competition.  When Postal Service competitors are discussed in casual conversation, they usually involve FedEx or UPS.  However, packages are a relatively small part of the Postal Services business.  Give your thoughts on the biggest competitive threat to the Postal Service and which product line offers the best future business opportunities?
 
You can visit Office of Inspector Generals public website at:  www.uspsoig.govYou can also follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/OIGUSPS.  If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "The research that Oliver Williams completed that brought him the Nobel Prize in Economics highlight key issues in the transformation of the courier, express and postal (CEP) business over the past two decades. In its press release, the Nobel Committee stated that "Oliver Williamson has argued that markets and hierarchical organizations, such as firms, represent alternative governance structures which differ in their approaches to resolving conflicts of interest. The drawback of markets is that they often entail haggling and disagreement. The drawback of firms is that authority, which mitigates contention, can be abused. Competitive markets work relatively well because buyers and sellers can turn to other trading partners in case of dissent. But when market competition is limited, firms are better suited for conflict resolution than markets. A key prediction of Williamson's theory, which has also been supported empirically, is therefore that the propensity of economic agents to conduct their transactions inside the boundaries of a firm increases along with the relationship-specific features of their assets."

The Hollywood Reporter has claimed that "Better-than-expected retail sales growth in September is further boosting UBS' growing optimism in the U.S. advertising market outlook. Analyst Michael Morris said in a report Monday that the "modestly better retail environment may embolden ad buyers."

Media Daily News has reported that:

  • Online media may be generating all the buzz on Madison Avenue these days, but the traditional medium of consumer magazines are both more effective, and more cost efficient in influencing key aspects of consumer behavior, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis being released today by the Magazine Publishers of America.
  • The third quarter delivered little good news for the magazine business, with the Publishers Information Bureau reporting that total ad pages in consumer magazines declined 26.6% compared to the same period in 2008, to 38,626. For the year-to-date through September, total ad pages are down 27.2% to 119,575. The weakness in September -- traditionally a strong month buoyed by fashion advertising -- is especially troubling as magazines move into the fourth quarter with its critical holiday season.

From Marketwire: "In one of the world's most high-profile and relevant RFID postal applications, AIDA Centre and Alien team up to provide a complete solution for the Universal Postal Union's (UPU) 21 member country quality efficiency program."

Voxy has reported that "New Zealand Post Group companies are getting behind relief efforts for tsunami victims with a combined $50,000 cash donation, a special bank account for New Zealanders to make donations and large shipping containers for staff to send essential goods to family and friends. Acting Group Chief Executive Sam Knowles said the tragedy that devastated Samoa and hit other Islands has had a profound impact across the Pacific Island community."

RoadTransport has noted that "In the face of continuing industrial action, Royal Mail has won a 19.5m contract with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). The three-year contract will see the postal service collect 960,000 packages of unmarked scripts from 5,500 examination centres and deliver them to approximately 50,000 examiners and six scanning bureaus throughout England."

Politics.co.uk has noted that "Commenting on the Communications Workers Unions (CWU) decision to widen postal strikes, and on-going disruption to mail services, David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: The announcement today will be a serious knock to business confidence. The run up to Christmas is a vital trading period for firms and if this strike goes ahead orders will be lost and the fragile recovery will be undermined. It is about time those involved in the industry showed some much needed leadership and brought an end to this disruption.

According to PrintWeek, "A national postal strike action could begin as early as next Thursday (22 October) if an agreement with Royal Mail cannot be reached, the deputy general secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has said."

The Azerbaijan Business Center has reported that "Azerbaijani postal operator Azerpoct Ltd forecasts that more than half of its earnings will be received due to bank services. Rovshan Rystamov, technical manager of project System of postal & financial services and system of computerization of postal operations for Azerpoct, says that Azerpoct is just coming in the market of bank services and it is difficult to define the share of this market to be held by Azerpoct."

The IBTimes has reported that "Royal Mail postal strike dates could be announced today if CWU demands not met."

Marketing Direct has reported that "The Communication Workers Union has written to Royal Mail offering a deal to avoid strike action, but warns that strikes could still proceed starting on 22 October. The offer comes a week after members of the CWU voted by three-to-one to support strike action as part of an increasingly bitter dispute over pay, modernisation and working conditions. The vote has forced e-commerce firms and direct mail users to develop contingency plans for mail and parcel delivery." See also SkyNews and ITN.

The European Commission has published its report on "The Role of Regulators in a More Competitive Postal Market."

Hellmail has reported that:

The Finnish postal service (part of the Itella group) is the first company in Finland to provide fully carbon-neutral services Itella is to provide companies with carbon-neutral delivery services where the carbon dioxide emissions caused by the deliveries have been neutralized in full. By using Itella Green labeled services, companies can cut the carbon dioxide emissions caused by their delivery chains, and thus actively contribute to the climate effort.
Regio and Estonian Post signed a framework agreement to develop joint services - to ensure that companies can increase their value to existing databases and to optimize the logistics organization."

The Telegraph has reported that "The national postal strike, expected to start next week, will cost retailers 840 a week, according to a forecast which predicts the economy will be hit to tune of 1.5 billion."

The Belfast Telegraph has reported that "A seven-day national postal strike could lose the Northern Ireland economy 34m, experts have warned. According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) one week of strike action by 120,000 workers could particularly hit retailers across the province by an estimated 6.2m."

"China has experienced amazing changes since the historic meetings between Chairman Mao and U.S. President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s," said Scott David, Chairman and CEO of UPS, U.S. package and shipping giant United Parcel Service. "Over the last four decades, the world has watched in awe as China has risen from a state of relative isolation to become a major player on the global stage," said Davis in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.

The Daily Mail has reported that "A national postal strike would cost the economy 1.5billion in terms of lost orders, extra administration and higher delivery costs, a survey claims. At the same time, it would have a massive impact on the troubled Royal Mail, which would lose tens of millions of pounds in income as its business customers switch to rivals. Consumers who rely on the post to pay utility bills and manage their credit card bills also face enormous disruption and a risk of penalty charges."

According to Business Week, "Mobile commerce is gaining momentum as consumers get comfortable with ordering all sorts of products by cell phone and companies such as Papa John's watch sales climb."

Logistics Management has reported that "Effective April 19, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will offer its Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) service from seven USPS locations in the Honolulu, Hawaii area. USPS officials said this roll-out will provide expanded international shipping options for businesses and consumers."

According to the Financial Times, "Industrial militancy tends to be suppressed by recessions: in the first half of this year, days lost through strikes ran close to record lows. But there are startling exceptions. The 1984-85 miners strike took place at the peak of postwar unemployment. Now postal workers threaten strikes as joblessness heads towards 3m."

According to Joseph Lazzaro for Blogging Stocks, "What's one change the federal government should implement quickly to increase revenue and also end a needless subsidy? Increase mail rates for business. Investors know it's the fall season - a time when students return to school and Americans get back to work. But it's also catalogue season catalogues that consumers often have a hard time convincing companies to remove them from their lists, despite not having considered a purchase from them in eons. And the reason the catalogues keep coming is obvious enough: commercial U.S. Postal Service mail rates are low: that 44-cent U.S. postage stamp you buy for a private, first-class letter subsidizes commercial mail delivery, which pays a dramatically lower rate on a per once basis."

October 12, 2009

LiveMint has reported that "Global IT and consultancy firm Accenture on Monday said it won an order from the Postal Department to modernize the post offices across the country. The financial details of the deal were not known."

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Email has had a good run as king of communications. But its reign is over. In its place, a new generation of services is starting to take holdservices like Twitter and Facebook and countless others vying for a piece of the new world. And just as email did more than a decade ago, this shift promises to profoundly rewrite the way we communicatein ways we can only begin to imagine. We all still use email, of course. But email was better suited to the way we used to use the Internetlogging off and on, checking our messages in bursts. Now, we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone. The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun. Why wait for a response to an email when you get a quicker answer over instant messaging? "

ABS-CBN News has reported that "A lawmaker on Monday challenged the state-owned Philippine Postal Corp. (Philpost) to aggressively engage in the remittance trade and install Internet cafs in order to stay competitive and viable. "The advent of modern and instant communication technologies such as mobile telephone text-messaging and electronic mail threatens to make the post office irrelevant," said Catanduanes Rep. Joseph Santiago, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Information and Communications Technology. He added: "Advanced communication technologies have already killed the telegraph business. If Philpost wants to keep on making money and stay fully functional, it should play a part in new emerging markets."

Daily News and Analysis has reported that "Private sector bank HDFC is looking to increase its reach in the microfinance segment by tying-up with the postal service department and is in talks with it for the same."

The Financial Times has reported that "postal workers are planning a series of rolling nationwide strikes aimed at causing maximum disruption to families and businesses in the run-up to Christmas. A 24-hour all-out stoppage - probably on Monday or Tuesday next week - followed by a succession of three-day rolling strikes will be high on the list of options when leaders of the Communication Workers' Union meet today to plan their campaign. Royal Mail says it has reduced the backlog of letters and parcels delayed by recent regional strikes from 9m to 4m, but it is feared that national stoppages could send that soaring to 100m or 200m items."

According to Parcel2Go, "Leaders at the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are considering calling on all postal workers to launch ten days of rolling strikes which could leave a backlog of up to 100 million undelivered letters and parcels."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Monday that the U.K. government plans to cut 16 billion ($25.35 billion) from its huge debt pile by selling off a portfolio of state-owned assets and real estate, ranging from a betting service to a book of student loans. Speaking to an audience of economists, Mr. Brown said that this "marks the beginning of a radical program" in which his Labour government will examine what other state assets can be sold. Still, the government has typically faced opposition from unions and its core working-class supporters when selling state assets. This led to postponing the partial sale of the Royal Mail postal service earlier this year."

Deutsche Welle has reported that "A number of German postal companies are joining forces to take on market leader Deutsche Post. The companies want to build up a nationwide delivery network under the name of Mail Alliance. Regional postal companies, such as Berlin-based Pin Mail, Citipost in Hannover, and Arriva in southwest Germany will join the consortium."

According to Advertising Age, "The 2010 Census is expected to find that 309 million people live in the United States. But one person will be missing: the average American. "The concept of an 'average American' is gone, probably forever," demographics expert Peter Francese writes in 2010 America, a new Ad Age white paper. "The average American has been replaced by a complex, multidimensional society that defies simplistic labeling. The message to marketers is clear: No single demographic, or even handful of demographics, neatly defines the nation. There is no such thing as "the American consumer."

Marketing Direct has reported that:

  • Spend on direct marketing has fallen in the third quarter of this year, according to the latest IPA Bellwether survey, with spend on internet and search rising.
  • The Direct Marketing Association (UK) is advertising the new post of executive director, a part-time position designed to link the DMA Board and senior managers within the association.

Transport Intelligence has reported that:

The European postal sector remains in turmoil years after the countries of the European Union agreed to liberalise their markets. It might be tempting to write-off postal services as a 'sunset business' in decline, however not only are the German and Dutch post offices lucrative parts of Deutsche Post DHL and TNT Group respectively but postal services are positioned at the centre of the booming 'home delivery' market. The British Royal Mail is presently one of the national postal systems undergoing acute problems. The British government had been hoping to part-privatise the Royal Mail, but the present administration is too politically weak to push it through. Now the postal system is confronted with a national strike which will both compound Royal Mail's continuing falling market share and its growing losses. The solution that just a few months ago was floated by the UK government was a sale of around one third of Royal Mail to a private sector mail company, with TNT being the most likely suitor. TNT was clearly keen for a deal. This solution now looks politically impossible, at least for the moment.

Deutsche Post DHL has deployed a Disaster Response Team (DRT) to Padang Airport in Indonesia at the invitation of the United Nations. The team has already started handling first incoming aircrafts, bringing in medical supplies and generators. The DRT will temporarily help manage the expected surge in air cargo operations at the Padang Airport, thereby reducing bottlenecks and keeping the airport open for additional relief flights. The DRT team consists of 10 trained DHL volunteers, coming from the DRT Asia Pacific in Singapore and the DRT Middle East in Dubai. Their deployment is a pro-bono activity and they are working closely with UNOCHA, the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team and national authorities to coordinate relief logistics activities.

Environmental Protection has reported that "Zumbox, the nation's first paperless postal system, launched in New York City this month, after Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a pilot project that will send municipal paperless mail to all five boroughs of the city and explore further opportunities to cut down on the cost and environmental impact of printing and delivering "snail mail." Bloomberg launched the program as part of a comprehensive set of initiatives to employ new technologies to make city government more accessible. The Zumbox Web-based platform powers the world's first paperless postal system. For every U.S. street address, there is a corresponding Zumbox a digital mailbox which enables postal mail to be sent as digital files and received online with no paper and no scanning. This new category paperless mail represents the first practical alternative to traditional postal systems. When using Zumbox, municipal governments will save on printing, paper, and postage costs, reduce their environmental impact, and connect with residents through an entirely new and interactive communications channel."

Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway is a featured "Federal Face" in today's Washington Post.

The Daily Mail has reported that "Royal Mail bosses have shared more than 10million in bonuses for implementing cost-cutting measures that union leaders blame for pushing the organisation to the brink of a national strike. Thirteen current and former executives at the state-owned company have pocketed large rewards since 2002-3 for hitting targets aimed at modernising the business. But a spokesman for the Communication Workers Union said Royal Mail directors have been getting 'unwarranted bonuses' for cost cutting and axing jobs."

October 11, 2009

As The Mirror put it: "Unless the CWU goes back to the table to find a compromise, there wont just be a cut in jobs at the Royal Mail, there will be no jobs at all."

As one writer for The Scotsman put it: "short of a grassroots campaign among the turkey community calling for all our Christmases to come early it's hard to think of a more wilfully self-destructive act than the decision by postal workers to go on strike and thus ensure that all our presents actually come sometime in February. I wonder if the guys at the Royal Mail even begin to realise just how fragile their position is. Because if they did they'd no more go on strike than a pensioner diagnosed with pneumonia would think the answer was 40 Capstan Full Strength before bed."

KFBB has reported that "Post offices in Choteau, Conrad, Cut Bank, Fort Benton, Belt, and Black Eagle will all be seeing changes to their retail desk hours. The changes are all part of an effort to save money by cutting hours at 50 postal facilities statewide."

As The Telegraph has noted, "National postal strike misery to start next week."

October 10, 2009

KYIVPost has reported that:

  • The upgrade of Ukrposhta in 2010 will be back by state guarantees, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said during the 3rd All-Ukrainian Postal Workers Forum. The technical upgrade next year will be backed by state guarantees included in this years and next years budgets for long-term purchases up to 15-20 years, Tymoshenko said.
  • The cabinet has passed a decision increasing official salaries for letter carriers by 50% as of Oct. 1. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko announced this during the 3rd All-Ukrainian Postal Workers Forum. Tymoshenko wants Ukrposhta to stop shortening work days for letter carriers. I think this practice should come to an end, she said. The prime minister also remarked that the Cabinet has expanded the list of workers with the right to service housing to include Ukrposhta employees.

People's Daily has reported that "China has basically formed a modern postal service network which comprehensively utilizes a variety of transportation modes including aviation, rail and highways to connect urban and rural areas, cover the whole country and reach every corner of the globe, said Liu Andong, general manager of China Post Group, on October 9."

The Cebu Daily News has reported that "the volume of letters mailed through the Philippine Postal Corp. in Eastern Visayas continued to decline over the first nine months of the year due to faster and Internet-based form of communications provided by private companies."

The Star-Ledger has reported that "Waving cardboard signs and wearing matching orange T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Keep Our Mail in West Jersey," more than 100 employees of the West Jersey Processing and Distribution Center packed the Hanover Recreation Center Friday tonight to protest the possible closure of the 20-year-old processing center. Shuttering the mail facility, in the Whippany section of Hanover, could result in the loss of 187 jobs."

According to the Adam Smith Institute, "One of the merits of competition is that it limits the power of producers. Most people focus on how firms have to compete with each other if consumers have a choice, but competition also limits the power of organized labour. The degree to which it can impose uneconomic terms on employers is severely limited if customers can move elsewhere and cause their employer to go under. Where competition is introduced into a state monopoly, it also limits the power of the unions to put political pressure on government by interrupting the service. When the UK featured many state-owned monopolies, strikes were a common feature as unions exploited the power which monopoly gave them. But it was not only privatization and the competition which usually accompanied it which undermined their power; technology played an important role. The Post Office provides a classic example."

The Derby Evening Telegraph has reported that "DHL Express says it will deliver if Royal Mail staff walk out."

The Telegraph has reported that "Royal Mail is braced for a wave of compensation claims from customers who are set to lose out in the national post strike."

As DM News has noted, "Postmaster General John Potter took on proponents of do-not-mail legislation last week, saying that mailed advertisements help to fund the US Postal Service during a time of financial instability for the agency."

The Waterbury Republican-American has reported that "Beyond the cavernous hallways on the second floor of the Post Office building downtown, 14 employees sit in a room where they watch movies, read books and magazines, play board games anything to stay busy during their eight-hour overnight shift. The only rule of the standby room: They can't do any work. "We're on dead time," said Donna Briglia, a mail processing clerk for 22 years. As the Post Office moves mail processing from Waterbury to Wallingford, employees whose jobs involve operating and maintaining machines have nothing to do. By the end of October, when the move is complete, most mail processing clerks, mail handlers and maintenance workers will be on standby. Because of a "no layoff" clause in the employees' union contract, the Post Office can't simply hand out pink slips. Instead, the employees are placed in the standby room while the federal agency tries to place them into new jobs."

Tunisia Online has reported that "Mr. El Hadj Gley, the Minister of communication technologies has confirmed on Friday the new orientation of postal services towards financial activities, which currently account for 65% of the revenues of the Tunisian Post Service, against only 40% in 1999."

The Guardian has reported that "Online retailers and small businesses are calling on the government to intervene in the ongoing postal dispute, amid fears of a "disastrous" Christmas if mail strikes continue."

Fox28 has reported that "A postal carrier has pleaded guilty to charges that he stockpiled hundreds of pieces of undelivered mail in vacant mailboxes and parcel lockers along his Elkhart County route."

According to the Daily Mail, "harities fear losing more than 50million as a result of a Royal Mail strike that would hit fundraising and sales of their Christmas cards. The voluntary groups have already seen a disastrous drop in individual and corporate giving because of the recession."

The Financial Times has reported that "Royal Mail is recruiting hundreds of temporary staff at special sorting centres in an effort to keep services going in the face of national strikes threatened by 121,000 postal workers."

The Star has reported that "the Royal Mail last night edged closer to disaster as leading firms hinted they were deserting it ahead of strike action. Customers including retailers Amazon and Argos are planning to jump ship to rivals to ensure that Christmas gifts are delivered on time. Other firms such as banks and utility companies are encouraging customers to use online billing systems."

The International News has reported that "Pakistan Postal Services Additional Director General (Operations) Fazli Sattar Khan has said that Pakistan Post is committed to make secure and timely delivery of mail, money and material at the doorsteps of the customers at affordable cost."

Indian Express has reported that "On the occasion of the World Post Day celebrated on Friday by the Universal Postal Union, of which India is a governing council member, India Post is celebrating a postal week in which senior officials would meet important clients across the nation, said senior postal officials in Vadodara. The schemes offered by India Post are safer and tax-healthy as compared to ones in the share market. Although we do record the previous business engagements of our clients, majority of shifts to postal schemes happened after December 2008. While other companies were losing out on business because of recession, we grew by 50 per cent in Vadodara and about 32 per cent in the last six months, said Postmaster General Arvind Joshi."

The Times has reported that "Postal union leaders will decide in a critical meeting on Monday whether to announce the required seven-day notice period that they intend to call a national strike."

According to Forbes, "FedEx Is A Fragile Package."

October 9, 2009

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "The recovery may be sharper and quicker than expected, but FedExs chief economist believes consumer wariness could blunt it within a few quarters. Gene Huang believes the economy is firmly recovering, and that real GDP will grow 3 percent in 2010, Morgan Stanley analyst William Greene said today in a note to investors. The consensus for U.S. GDP growth next year 2.4 percent could prove far too conservative, Huang told Morgan Stanley analysts. The average GDP growth rate in the year following the 10 recessions since World War II was 5.4 percent, Huang told Morgan Stanley. Industrial production has historically jumped by 10 percent or more in the year after a recession."

The latest copy of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. electronic governmental affairs newsletter is available on the NAPUS web site.

The U.S. Postal Service announced today that 371 retail stations and branches remain under consideration for possible consolidation. Today's announcement updates a review process begun earlier this summer that examined approximately 3,600 stations and branches in urban and suburban areas across the country, focusing on facilities in relatively close proximity to one another, to determine where consolidations might be feasible, while maintaining customer access to postal services.

 
The latest issue of the
PostCom Bulletin is available online.
 In this issue:

  • PMG Jack Potter told a National Press Club audience that "we must take a fresh look at the future of the Postal Service and its role in serving America. I am not talking about the short-term future of our mail system. Rather, I believe we have to examine what the Postal Service will look like 7, 10, and 15 years from now. If we don't take advantage of the opportunity in front of us today, we will do America a disservice. The status quo simply won't do. That's why I want to establish a public dialogue about the future of the Postal Service not as it existed yesterday, nor as it exists today, but as it evolves and changes for tomorrow.
  • After the USPS' Postmaster General's remarks at the National Press Club, there was a question and answer session that allowed members of the audience to ask candid questions of the PMG. There were seven groups of questions ranging from a potential bailout to the Station and Branch Optimization Initiative to five-day delivery.
  • The USPS Office of Inspector General has released its audit results on the effects of the Flats Sequencing System (FSS) on selected delivery operations in the Northern Virginia District. The audit was conducted from October 2008 through September 2009.
  • According to the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "Since its inception, the Postal Service and its supporters have touted its existence as a self supporting entity. In practice, self-supporting has not meant independence. "
  • Dead Tree Edition has reported that inquiring minds want to know: "Periodicals mailers have, in unprecedented numbers, migrated to co-mailing, co-binding, co-palletization, drop shipping, sack reductions, and increases in carrier route copies. How could this significantly more efficient mail lead to greater mail processing costs?"
  • For the past few years analysts have warned about the increasing threat of modern market trends to traditional postal services and questioned their viability in the new economic environment. The postal industry has been affected by forces such as globalization, liberalization, deregulation, the opening-up of competition and technological advances. These forces influence the structure of the industry, altering the position of national posts as the sole providers of postal services and depriving them of a monopoly over postal operations. Moreover, these changes challenge the role of the postal industry in supporting commerce and economic development.
  • For the past few years analysts have warned about the increasing threat of modern market trends to traditional postal services and questioned their viability in the new economic environment. The postal industry has been affected by forces such as globalization, liberalization, deregulation, the opening-up of competition and technological advances. These forces influence the structure of the industry, altering the position of national posts as the sole providers of postal services and depriving them of a monopoly over postal operations. Moreover, these changes challenge the role of the postal industry in supporting commerce and economic development.
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • Updates on postal matters published in the Federal Register.
  • An update on DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews
  • From the Mailbag
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.

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The Universal Postal Union has noted that "delivering some 430 billion letters and 6 billion parcels worldwide each year, the vast network of post offices employing nearly 6 million people must urgently rethink the way it does business to reduce its carbon footprint and change its patterns of energy consumption, the head of the United Nations postal agency said today. Operating over 600,000 postal establishments and as many vehicles makes it is a significant producer of greenhouse gas, said Universal Postal Union (UPU) Director General Edouard Dayan in a message for World Post Day, celebrated annually on 9 October, the day the UPU was founded in 1874. The world postal sector cannot stand aside and do nothing, stressed Mr. Dayan. Like other organizations, we must look seriously at ways of becoming climate neutral. The UPU has launched an initiative to measure the industry's carbon footprint to be presented at the high-level UN climate change conference at the end of the year in Copenhagen aimed at finalizing a deal on global greenhouse gas emissions to take effect when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

The Postal Service has alerted all who subscribe to its Address Change Service that "ACS fulfillment for Wednesday October 7, 2009 and October 8, 2009 did not contain all of the records available for fulfillment. ACS customers who were expecting ACS fulfillments on Wednesday October 7, 2009 and Thursday October 8, 2009 may not receive all of the records available for fulfillment. This may have caused a reduction in your normal ACS fulfillment volume for the dates indicated. We are working to correct this issue. We are anticipating having the issue corrected for the Friday October 9, 2009 fulfillment. If you are not scheduled for a fulfillment on Friday October 9, 2009 then they will appear on your next scheduled fulfillment."

The minutes of the meeting of the State Department's Federal Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services of June 4, 2009 have been posted on the State Department website.

According to Dead Tree Edition, "Postmaster General Jack Potter has been telling mailers groups in recent days that he does not plan to raise postal rates next year, a reliable source tells Dead Tree Edition. Worried that price increases would backfire and cause mail volumes to drop further, Potter is telling mailers that any increase in 2010 would be very small, the source says. Mailers are interpreting that as at most 2% to 3%, which would mean a one-cent increase in the price of the First Class stamp." [EdNote: Two-Three Percent at a time of ZERO inflation is far from being "small." Mailers should oppose ANY postal rate increase at all.]

The Budapest Business Journal has reported that "state-owned postal services company Magyar Posta expects to close 2009 with pre-tax profit of HUF 6.2 billion, well over the HUF 4.87 billion target in the business plan, CEO Ildik Szűts said at a press conference."

Thomson Local has reported that "A leading direct marketing industry body has condemned plans for a national postal strike to be held in the UK. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has claimed that "no party" will gain from the Communication Workers Union's industrial action, although businesses could prove to be "the ultimate loser".

The Register has reported that "Online UK retailers are outlining plans to flee Royal Mails service following yesterdays Communication Workers Union vote, which came out massively in favour of a national strike." See also New Media Age.

Transport Intelligence has reported that "DHL has sponsored research on state of global trade that asserts that, "when world trade rebounds, the value of trade will increase faster than volumes". This interesting, if controversial, statement comes out of the London School of Economics, which produced the work for DHL. Specifically the report, called 'International trade, express logistics and globalization', asserts that the Air Express sector will grow more rapidly than the global economy generally due to its ability to promote global trade in fast growing sectors such as healthcare, spare parts and the movement of documents."

This Day in Postal History:

Montgomery Ward Company is founded by Chicago mail-order pioneer (Aaron) Montgomery Ward, 29, whose savings were nearly consumed by last year's fire. He scrapes together $1,600 and goes into business with George R. Thorne, who puts up $800. Setting up shop in a 12- by 14-foot loft over a livery stable at 825 North Clark Street, Ward and Thorne call themselves "The Original Grange Supply House" and prepare a one-sheet "catalogue" to test Ward's idea that farmers hurt by low commodity prices will respond to bargain offerings that can be shipped by rail. The catalog issued October 9 is the world's first mail-order catalog; it lists some 50 dry goods items, all priced at $1 or less, with savings of 40 percent. Ward will offer 10 days' grace on orders from Grange officials or countersigned with the National Grange seal (see 1884; Sears, 1886; agriculture [Grange], 1868).

The BBC has reported that "Postal workers are continuing regional walkouts, a day after a strike ballot saw strong support for national action. Staff in Bristol, Carlisle, Coventry, Kilmarnock, Leeds, London and Nottingham are among those taking part in regional strikes."

Hellmail has reported that:

  • As postal workers argue with Royal Mail over the path of modernisation for the business, both might just care to keep one eye open on the predators waiting in the wings. I'm not talking about private courier firms or even foreign postal operators, but a very different and some would argue, more reliable postal service that is set to revolutionise the business of mail delivery. Email, once seen as so far removed from the real world of house numbers and streets, is edging closer to becoming a direct replacement for items under 50grams - and using house numbers at that. Already proving popular in the States, the Zumbox as it is known, could just transform the way we all access our mail and allow far more people to read their mail at breakfast than at any time in Royal Mail's entire history. Zumbox is the worlds very first paperless postal system, a web-based platform for paperless mail that is purely online, mirrors the way that traditional post works, and uses street-addresses as the point of delivery.
  • With more large online retailers already said to be talking to other delivery firms, and smaller companies seriously concerned about their ability to survive a postal 'winter of discontent', confidence in the Royal Mail has fallen to an all time low. Companies such as DHL, Fastway Couriers and Parcel2go, which operate independently of the Royal Mail, look set to gain new business if Royal Mail fails to deliver in the run up to Christmas.
  • Robert Hammond, post expert at Consumer Focus, said: "Its hugely disappointing to watch a great UK institution tear itself apart. We call on Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union to urgently ask for ACAS intervention to resolve this dispute. A prolonged strike over Christmas could cripple the service and will lead to a miserable time for consumers and businesses alike."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Service
RULES
Customer Deposit of International Mailpieces ,
5214452147 [E924331]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

Stamped Mail Over 13 Ounces Must be Presented at a Retail Service Counter,
5214752148 [E924332]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

The National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) has reported that "Canada Post launched two important initiatives this summer with the Canadian mailing industry to encourage mail usage and volume growth. Simply put, Canada Post is offering the VAM and print community, opportunities, tools and insight to develop new and increased business including access to referrals through the Canada Post online directory. The second initiative is the Win Back program for Addressed/Unaddressed Admail. Canada Post is offering a special time limited Admail discount promotion for new and lapsed customers. A promotional discount of 10% will be made available to customers who meet the outlined criteria. Duration of Program August 2009 to March 31, 2010 ."

As the Star Gazette has noted, "Two Chemung County legislators on Thursday announced their opposition to employee cuts proposed by the U.S. Postal Service at the Sullivan Street mail processing facility in Elmira.:

As the Washington Post has noted, "The U.S. Postal Service lost billions of dollars in revenue during the last fiscal year as the volume of mail plunged. Lawmakers may one day soon consider cutting mail delivery to five days a week. They also may need to sort out how the Postal Service pays for the benefits of current and future retirees. But most customers only care about one thing: The fate of their neighborhood post office."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

According to Dr. Tatiana Vazulina, "for the past few years analysts have warned about the increasing threat of modern market trends to traditional postal services and questioned their viability in the new economic environment. The postal industry has been affected by forces such as globalization, liberalization, deregulation, the opening-up of competition and technological advances. These forces influence the structure of the industry, altering the position of national posts as the sole providers of postal services and depriving them of a monopoly over postal operations. Moreover, these changes challenge the role of the postal industry in supporting commerce and economic development."

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Digitaltoprint 708 Third Avenue, 29th Floor New York, NY 10017-4201. Represented by Glenn A. Lombino, Founder.

  The Wall Street Journal has reported that "debate has been delayed over a proposed labor provision that has pitted FedEx Corp. (FDX) against United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), but the two package-delivery heavyweights remain girded for an inevitable fight. The U.S. Congress last month put off consideration of a bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration by opting to continue funding the agency through Dec. 31 under its current authorization. The existing FAA bill had been set to expire Sept. 30. "We're in a marathon," FedEx spokesman Maury Lane said. "This isn't a sprint."

October 8, 2009

The U.S. Postal Service of the future will remain relevant, meet the changing needs of the people it serves and reflect the demands of the marketplace, Postmaster General John Potter said in a speech at The National Press Club today. I want to establish a public dialogue about the future of the Postal Service, not as it existed yesterday, nor as it exists today, but as it evolves and changes for tomorrow, said Potter. The Postmaster General said he is looking at the long-term future, seven, 10, and 15 years from now.

Forbes has reported that "In the midst of a downturn in global trade, chief executive Frank Appel hopes to steer the logistics giant back to profit."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Philly.com has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service says it plans to shut down a southern New Jersey distribution center in February, possibly putting 650 people out of work."

Ghanaweb has reported that "Ghana Post Company has been on the blind side of any public scrutiny for over a decade, until recently its old management practices were not questioned. The recent allegation of embezzlement of GHc20,000 (September 2009) by the manager at the Kumasi office is only one of the few tangibles that government has been able to identify and put into the public domain. But to the millions of customers of Ghana Post throughout the country and around the world there is no respite because they can only count their losses running into billions of cedis as intangibles. This came about essentially because incoming mails were not received and outgoing ones abroad sometimes did not reach the intended destination."

Kyodo News has reported that "Japan Post Insurance Co. said Thursday that 13,574 cases of leaked customer information have occurred via a personal computer used by an employee of a computer systems developer working for the insurer."

Reuters has reported that "German postal services company Deutsche Post (DPWGn.DE) expects its "e-letter" project, which it hopes will rival email, to hit the market by mid-2010, the manager leading the company's most important strategic project said. The Bonn-based company is developing a format for an electronically sent letter, which is more secure and reliable than email, to make up for lower profits from the conventional letters -- one of its main products -- due to the use of email."

Accofrding to The Messenger, "he Russian Transport Ministry is drawing up agreements which will allow Moscow to control the air transportation system in the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia. Earlier the Russian and separatist Abkhaz authorities had signed an agreement introducing Russian telephone codes into Abkhazia. Moscow has also taken over the postal service in the breakaway region, sending international letters and parcels through the Russian state post."

The Irish Examiner has reported that "Communications Workers Union general secretary Steve Fitzpatrick has challenged the Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan to publish two consultant reports on the introduction of postcodes....He added that postal workers view the introduction of postcodes as a very real threat to their pay and conditions, and to the quality of postal services to the public." [EdNote: Wha*^&$%???]

IBTimes has reported that "Workers at Royal Mail have decided to strike after a national ballot of all 121,000 postal workers at the Communication Workers Union voted three to one in favour of a strike. In total 61,623 out of 80,830 members who voted decided to support a national strike." [EdNote: Great....I'm sure that will do a lot to instill confidence in the British mail system as a viable and reliable means for communicating and doing business....Folly knows no national boundaries.] See also The Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the BBC.

U.TV has posted a Q&A on the UK postal strike on its web site.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
PROPOSED RULES
Subpoena Procedures ,
5181551823 [E924222]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

The BBC has reported that:

  • The result of a strike ballot among 120,000 Royal Mail postal workers will be announced later. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has urged its members to vote in favour of industrial action in its dispute with Royal Mail over pay and job cuts. The CWU privately says that it is confident of a yes vote, according to the BBC's employment correspondent Martin Shankleman.
  • After unpopular changes to deliveries, a summer of disruptions and with a national strike looming, is the British love affair with the postman faltering?

At the fall meeting of the Board of Directors of the
Association for Postal Commerce

The following individuals were elected as officers of the association for the 2010-2011 period: Jody Berenblatt (Bank of America) as Chairman; Steven Lopez (Experian) as Executive Vice Chairman; Donna Hanbery (Alliance of Independent Store Owners and Professionals) as Secretary; Michael Winn (R.R. Donnelley) as Treasurer.

Re-elected to an additional three year term as directors of the association were: James Bowler (MailExpress), James Giencke (Arandell Corporation), Peter Jacobson (Netgram), Joline Johannes (Boardroom Inc.), Mark Mandell (Data-Mail), Jim OBrien (Time Inc.), Wolfgang Pordzik (DHL-Deutsche Post), Wanda Senne (World Marketing), Wendy Smith (Publishers Clearing House), Michael Winn (R.R. Donnelley), Lisa Wurman (Vertis Communications). Newly elected as a directors were: Jim Kane (Lockheed Martin) and Tim Record, (L.L. Bean).

The Board also expressed its appreciation to outgoing board chairman Jim O'Brien and retiring director (and former board chairman) Cary Baer for their years of service to the association.

Outgoing Chairman Jim O'Brien receives "Man of the Year" Award from PostCom President Gene Del Polito




















The Guardian has reported that "Royal Mail has lost a crucial contract with its second largest customer, the online retailer Amazon, as a wave of strikes threaten parcel deliveries in the busy pre-Christmas sales period. The news comes on the eve of a national strike announcement by the Communication Workers Union that is likely to bring the simmering industrial dispute to the boil and further disrupt deliveries across the country." See also Financial Advice.

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Nicor Gas Company 1844 W. Ferry Road Naperville, IL 60563-9662 Contact: Brian Maruyama Vendor Manager - Customer Care.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

October 7, 2009

As National Geographic noted, "The now inescapable bar code celebrates its 57th anniversary Wednesdaya milestone unmissed by Google, which replaced its home page logo with a bar code "doodle" that translates to "Google."

Staines News said that "we value the proud heritage of the Royal Mail, but preserving and enhancing the organisation requires a long overdue shake-up. This issue has been made more important by years of ducking the challenges faced by the postal service, which has led to a patchwork of interim measures with a continuation of Victorian practices and inefficiency. It is of concern that those opposing re-structuring do not acknowledge that the strength of Royal Mail is being sapped, not just by competition or the loss of frustrated major customers, but by the arrival of the digital age. Indeed, many of the pleas urging me to resist the plans have come via email."

Hellmail has reported that "If modernization of Royal Mail is to be successful, then the core recommendations and proposals contained in the Hooper Report (Report) must be correct and logical, as the Hooper Report has become the basis for Royal Mail modernization efforts. This segment will first examine the Hooper Reports actual process for modernization of Royal Mail, followed by, an analysis of several of the major actual modernization recommendations."

From Business Wire: "ecoEnvelopes (www.ecoEnvelopes.com), the worlds leader in innovative, eco-friendly mailing solutions is pleased to announce that it has appointed Mike Cibulka as its new CEO, after serving as acting CEO since earlier this year."

Internet Retailer has reported that "FedEx announced yesterday it is opening up its SmartPost delivery deal with the U.S. Postal Service to smaller retailers. Previously, the program was only open to high-volume retailers that shipped several hundred packages a day. Now there is no minimum order requirement, and any retailer can request SmartPost service when they schedule a FedEx Ground pickup."

The Gloucester County Times has reported that "Gloucester County Freeholder Director confirms USPS distribution center in Logan Township closing doors in 650-job cut."

Dead Tree Edition has told its readers that "Jim OBrien and David Straus have been arguing about Periodicals postage rates for years, but they definitely agree on one point: The Postal Service has goofed when it comes to measuring the costs of handling periodicals. No one to date has been able to explain the incomprehensible rise in Periodicals costs during a period of substantial increases in mailer worksharing, OBrien wrote recently at the Pushing the Envelope blog run by the Postal Services Office of Inspector General. Periodicals mailers have, in unprecedented numbers, migrated to co-mailing, co-binding, co-palletization, drop shipping, sack reductions, and increases in carrier route copies. How could this significantly more efficient mail lead to greater mail processing costs? asked O'Brien, who is Time Inc.s Director of Distribution and Postal Affairs."

IBTimes has reported that "The nation wide postal strike looms as the Communication Workers Union is set to announce the result of its nationwide ballot this week, but a mass walk-out may yet be avoided as both the CWU and Royal Mail are locked in last minute talks."

The Telegraph has reported that "The Royal Mail has been accused of misleading customers by allowing postmen to deliver Sorry, you were out cards when householders were actually at home."

CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:

Royal Mail has asked the regulatory authority for permission to increase postage rates for letters. Last week it emerged that the British post wants to increase the price for a standard first class letter by 3 pence to around 45 euro cent in April 2010. Second class letters will go up by 2 pence (35 euro cent). Postcomm has apparently given a preliminary go-ahead.
Before the backdrop of the forming of a new German government, the question of Deutsche Posts exemption from value-added tax is back on the political agenda.
This Tuesday sees the start of wage negotiations concerning around 130,000 Deutsche Post employees in Germany.
In France, more than 2 million people have said no to planned new legislation involving the restructuring of the post.
An increase in turnover and declining profits marked the financial year 2008/2009 (31 March) for the South African Post Office (SAPO).
A different service provider from Deutsche Post could be printing the official postage stamps in Germany from 2011. On Monday the federal ministry of finance initiated a selection procedure for the granting of a seven-year licence to produce, use and sell stamps marked "Deutschland". The licence may be extended by three years.
The EU Commission has approved TNT shareholdings in German publishing group Holtzbrincks mail subsidiaries.
The Infrastructure Programme 2007 - 2012 announced by the Mexican post around two years ago appears to have failed. The post is miles away from its original aim of becoming one of the worlds best postal service providers. Market observers like Professor Gabriel Sosa Plata even fear that the post could vanish completely at some stage.
US trade union Teamsters has again failed in its attempt to separate the positions of CEO and chairman at FedEx.
Despite the general economic downturn, the TNT Hightech division is enjoying double-digit growth rates in Asia.
Private Chinese express services have again publicly protested against the effect of the countrys new Postal Act, which came into force last Thursday, saying it has remonopolised most of their business.
The government-owned Paraguayan post has a market share of only 4% today.
The Austrian postal workers union has again rigidly rejected plans for moving redundant civil servants into a job creation company.

The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)

WCNC has reported that "The message to the Postal Service from the city council here Tuesday night: Find a way to make cuts that doesnt cost Hickory. The council is reacting to the possibility that the USPS will close the Hickory Processing and Distribution Plant, just over the city border in Conover."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
New Postal Product ,
5146751470 [E924237]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

October 6, 2009

The latest issue of PostCom's PostOps Update has been posted on this site--a Special Issue on the New Flats Deflection Requirements that take effect on January 4, 2010.

Press Release: "Syslore Ltd. has signed a contract with Norway Post to deliver an address recognition system for mail sorting systems. By using Syslore's mCorrection address matching and recognition system Norway Post will increase the automation level of its mail sorting process and improve the level and quality of the address and recipient recognition."

The Press Association has reported that "Postal workers in London are set to join a fresh wave of strikes. The Communication Workers Union is expected to announce on Thursday that 120,000 of its members at the Royal Mail have backed a national strike."

Supply & Demand Chain Executive has reported that "In time for the busy holiday shopping and shipping season, FedEx SmartPost is extending its service offering to small and medium-sized shippers."

According to Advertising Age, "Internet-advertising revenue in the U.S. plunged 5.3% to $10.9 billion in the first half of the year compared to the same six-month period a year ago, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers, which compile online-ad spending totals every quarter."

From PR Newswire: "Avery Dennison Office Products Company, a business unit of Avery Dennison Corporation, (http://www.avery.com), debuts an online universal package tracker service that allows small businesses and individuals to track up to 50 packages at a time from multiple carriers - all in one place."

From CSRWire: "UPS has become the first small package carrier to offer its customers the ability to offset the carbon dioxide emissions generated by the transport of their packages within the United States."

The Daily Sun has reported that "Activities at the nations post offices across the country were on Monday brought to a halt as members of the National Union of NIPOST Retirees (NUNR), embarked on a one-day protest to demand payment of pension arrears due to its members."

YLE has reported that "Finland's postal service, now known as Itella, has announced plans to cut 360 jobs by the end of next year. Itella hopes that the majority of the jobs can be reduced through normal staff attrition. The cuts are a result of new efficient machines and the fact that the company is concentrating mail sorting operations in Helsinki, Tampere, Kuopio, and Oulu. This will create redundancies that will reduce the need for personnel."

WETM has reported that "The union president says you can expect to see a slow down in your mail service starting December 17th. That's when he says all of the automated mail sorting machines at the Elmira facility on Sullivan Street will be brought to Rochester. Along with those machines are 55 workers who are being asked to transfer to other postal facilities within 500 miles."

The Derbyshire Evening Telegraph has reported that "couriers and delivery companies in Derbyshire are waiting to take on extra work if city postal workers go on strike."

The Connexion has reported that "the government has dismissed the results of an unofficial consultation on the future of La Poste in which it is claimed more than two million people voted. Government spokesman Luc Chatel said the ballot, which was organised by postal unions and opponents from left-wing parties, was misleading, lacked transparency and has no legal value at all."

Direct magazine has reported that "Mailer groups doubt that last weeks decision to give the U.S. Postal Service $4 billion worth of temporary fiscal relief was enough to solve its massive financial problems. They also fear Congress may be compelled to take up postal reform again despite the 11 years it took to pass the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act in 2006."

According to the Courier, Express and Postal Observer, "Since its inception, the Postal Service and its supporters have touted its existence as a self supporting entity. In practice, self-supporting has not meant independence."

Dow Jones has reported that "India's federal postal department Tuesday signed pacts with two fund managers to help manage cash that it will collect daily as premiums from its life insurance customers. The funds to be managed will be equally split between state-run UTI Asset Management Company and SBI Fund Management, a government statement said."

Marketing Direct magazine has reported that "Representatives from the Direct Marketing Association have met with the special adviser to business secretary Lord Mandelson, to repeat its call for government intervention in the Royal Mail postal strike. At the meeting with Mandelson aide Geoffrey Norris, the DMA told of the damage that the continuing Royal Mail strikes are having on the direct marketing industry and DMA members in particular."

The Postmaster General will be interviewed on the Diane Rehm show on NPR this morning at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. The subject is The Future of the Mail.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
NOTICES
New Postal Product ,
5134151342 [E924002]

[TEXT]  [PDF

The Elmira Star Gazette has reported that "Local postal workers are seeking help to fight a plan by the U.S. Postal Service to move mail sorting equipment and jobs out of Elmira. U.S. Rep. Eric Massa, D-Corning, said Monday he met with union members in Elmira for several hours over the weekend and was immediately skeptical of the plan."

October 5, 1009

"NEWSWEEK asked a variety of management consultants and business futurists how to turn the old pony express into a sleek, 21st-century moneymakeror, at the very least, a breaker-even. Listen up, Postal Service (and Congress): for this advice, we'll let you cut in line."

As Federal Times has noted, "Theres definitely a generational gap here: People of Rooneys age have a sentimental attachment to the mail that just doesnt exist in younger generations."

The latest blog entry has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector Generals Internet site Pushing the Envelope. The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/
 
  • A Penny for Your Thoughts?  Stamp prices are in whole cent increments.  This can make it difficult to raise rates in line with inflation while meeting other pricing objectives.  Comment and vote on how important is it that the stamps price is in whole-cent increments.
 
You can visit Office of Inspector Generals public website at:  www.uspsoig.govYou can also follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/OIGUSPS.  If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

Advertising Age has reported that "The nation's top 100 media companies eked out 0.8% revenue growth in 2008 -- and the reported revenue for top media firms in the first half of this year fell 4.3% from a year ago, according to Ad Age's analysis. The biggest losers are no surprise: newspapers, where revenue plunged 13.5% in 2008. Magazines did better, with revenue falling 6.9%. Revenue for broadcast TV (including networks and local stations) dropped 4.6%."

Materials Handling World has reported that "NetDespatch proof of delivery innovation wins Postal Technology International top award 05 October 2009 NetDespatch SecureScan has won the Postal Technology International Awards 2009 category for "Delivery Innovation of the Year", presented at the Post-Expo 2009 conference and exhibition, Hannover, beating off stiff competition from Motorola and Intermec. The groundbreaking secure parcel delivery solution - developed jointly with NetDespatch technology partner First Ondemand - uses cryptographically paired encoded barcodes to ensure that goods can only be released to the intended recipient. Using the latest Internet, auto ID and wireless communications technology, the NetDespatch SecureScan system provides fully authenticated proof of delivery by creating a matched pair of unique digital barcode tokens. One of these barcode tokens is provided to the recipient by email or text, and the other is printed on the package label. Both barcodes can be matched at the point of delivery without needing to connect to a central server, ensuring that parcel and recipient are matched, and only then are the goods released."

Radio France Internationale has reported that "More than 90 per cent of the two million people who took part in an unofficial citizens' poll this week in France voted against privatising the postal service, according to the group of unions, left-wing parties and community groups that organised the vote. The government has said it will not scrap the plan but the opposition Socialists want an official referendum."

According to Reuters, "Deutsche Post DHL shot itself in the foot by defending its near-monopoly in the German mail market, and the looming end of its tax advantage will open the door wide to rivals like TNT. Deutsche Post is the only postal service provider in Germany that is exempt from paying value-added tax, which German media have said gives the company a cost advantage of up to 500 million euros ($728.5 million) over rivals. Now one of the parties that will be part of a new government is making noises about ending the tax exemption sooner than expected to create a level playing field in the German mail market, opening the door for rivals to snap up market share and potentially forcing deep cost cuts at Post. TNT, a Dutch group, stands to benefit the most from a more competitive environment in Germany as it already has some business in Germany that it could build on."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
New Postal Product ,
5107851082 [E923895]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

Cargonews Asia has reported that "Sweeping new mainland express letter and parcel delivery rules, which came into effect on October 1, will give state organ China Post a near monopoly and wipe out many small and medium-sized domestic operators. China has assured foreign integrators their international operations will not be effected by the new rules but it effectively bars them from the domestic letter and small parcel delivery market."

According to CBS' Andy Rooney, "The postal service is a government agency but it's supposed to operate like a business. Most people don't realize that - I know I didn't realize it - but the post office doesn't get tax money. It has to pay for itself. In 1900, there were 77,000 post offices around the country. Today with four times as many people, there are only 37,000 post offices - 40,000 fewer post offices for 230 million more Americans. No wonder it wasn't in the mail. We have a lot of things that need cutting, but post offices are not among them."

According to CityWire: "Elderly people dependent on dividends for income are having a tough time with the postal strike delaying the arrival of their cheques. Businesses are struggling with unpaid bills as cheques get stuck in the post. Consumers face penalty charges on their credit card bills for non-payment and the possibility of a black mark on their credit file, and late payment of utility bills could lead to some being threatened with disconnection. Motorists face incurring extra costs to parking fines and, possibly, legal action. But there is a bright side to this. Those who have refused to convert to internet banking, paperless bills and direct transfers for payments might decide that enough is enough and opt for online transactions. This will save utilities companies and credit card issuers a fortune. They have been trying to persuade us all to go paperless for years, offering discounts and incentives for those who do and penalties for those who dont."

Hellmail has reported that "in an internal message addressed to employees, Johnny Thijs, Chief Executive Officer of Belgian postal operator La Poste, attempted to diffuse potential industrial action relating to the transformation of the Belgian mail distribution network. In a letter to labour unions, he suggested a period of calm and invited them to take stock of the situation in the course of the week and to highlight points for ongoing debate. He said he recognised there were concerns about job security for personnel."

October 4, 2009

3news.co.nz has reported that "If you're hoping to exchange Christmas cards and gifts with friends and family in the UK you had better move quickly. Britain's Royal Mail Service is being held to ransom by the demands of its 170,000 staff. Strikes have caused delays, which are exasperating businesses and even threatening Christmas. After 14 weeks of rolling strikes the postal union claims there are 25 million items of post backlogged in London alone."

AMEInfo has reported that "Acxiom Corporation announced a strategic expansion into the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) market with the acquisition of DMS (Direct Marketing Services) in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates."

According to Hellmail, "Harsh words but the simple fact is, if the Royal Mail cannot provide a consistent service, (and further strike action will only add to concerns), a permanent exodus to email and electronic mail boxes can only accelerate and leave a massive dent in Royal Mail's plans that it may never recover from. Negotiations between the CWU and Royal Mail are entirely pointless if both sides fail to get a grip on the bigger problem of decline in letters and return to delivering a service to customers who expect far more than they once did."

October 3, 2009

Yahoo! Tech has asked: "How do we save the magazine industry? Time Inc. is reportedly hoping that a "Hulu for magazines" will do the trick. According to All Things D, Time is shopping around a plan that would create a "digital storefront" for magazines where shoppers could buy subscriptions and have them delivered to any device. The company would operate independently from the magazine's publishers and investors. Publishers Hearst and Conde Nast are reportedly interested in the venture, which is expected to debut in 2010."

Bloomberg has reported that "Japans Financial Services Minister Shizuka Kamei targets a complete change in the management of Japan Post Holding Co., he said today in a television program."

According to Kiplinger, "There will be no more Saturday delivery of mail, come 2011 or so. The U.S. Postal Service is serious about cutting back to a Monday to Friday schedule -- a plan that the strapped agency figures will save it at least $3 billion a year. Congress will grudgingly go along, though not until after the 2010 elections. Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle are reluctantly coming to the conclusion that USPS cost cutting and much higher postal rates can't bail the service out of the deepening hole it's in. They know that rate hikes will only accelerate the inexorable erosion of mail volume."


Two new reports have been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/). If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

October 2, 2009

 
The latest issue of the
PostCom Bulletin is available online.
 In this issue:

  • Both the House and the Senate has approved a continuing resolution to keep the government running through October 30, 2009. The resolution also grants the Postal Service a $4 billion reduction in its retiree health benefits payment for FY2009.
  • The USPS' Office of Inspector General (IG) released a report this week on the its self-initiated nationwide audit of the management of Delivery Point Sequencing (DPS) percentage increases for city delivery. It found that the Postal Service areas' national DPS percentage increased on average.
  • The Postal Service published its unaudited August results with the Postal Regulatory Commission. USPS lost over $721 million dollars in August 2009. This year-to-date loss is $6.2 billion for the first eleven months of 2009.
  • The U. S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) this week released the results of its audit of USPS annual service performance goals for market-dominant products. The OIG concluded that while the approach the USPS is taking to establishing service performance goals for First-Class Mail is "reasonable," the process for establishing the FY 2009 performance goals for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and package services "needs improvement."
  • The Postal Regulatory Chairman Ruth Goldway has issued an invitation to various postal stakeholders to begin a conversation on the future of mail. In an open letter to various stakeholders, the Chairman is attempting to reach out to a broad cross-section of organizations who have not typically participated in Commission proceedings.
  • The U.S. Postal Service, in an effort to increase its efficiency, has begun to conduct Area Mail Processing (AMP) studies to determine if efficiency and productivity could be improved by transferring operations to other facilities. The USPS has recently updated its activities.
  • The Postal Service is facing trying times, as most businesses are throughout the world. Its main focus has been cost cutting and matching resources to revenue in an attempt to right-size the sinking ship. Over the last week, both the House and the Senate passed a continuing resolution that will give the Postal Service $4 billion in retiree health care payment relief. This payment relief is for fiscal year 2009 only and will bring the USPS loss from $7 billion to $3 billion, which is right in line with its annual borrowing authority. The Postal Service will (most likely) borrow the $3 billion and try to avoid political suicide by not having an exigency rate case filed in February 2010. So what lies ahead for the Postal Service?
  • In most countries, universal postal service is considered a right, not a privilege. When customers see erosion of that service, their ire is directed first at their political representatives at least in the democratic countries. The situation is somewhat analogous to the gun debate in the US. Every time gun owners think their rights are being challenged they bring pressure to bear on Congress through their lobbyists to cut any threats off at the knees.
  • Comments due Oct 26 on PRC service performance reporting proposal. Online services let cities bypass mailbox. USPS awarded for environmental achievement. UPS and Fedex face off in Congress. Xerox and the future of mail. Earth Class Mail gaining momentum. Competition heats up for business credit cards. USPS approves new design for small letter-sized booklets.
  • Updates on dockets at the Postal Regulatory Commission.
  • An update on DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews
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.

The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram

The most recent issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors Legislative Update has been posted on the NAPS web site.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Mother Nature Network has reported that "Municipal mail accounts for a staggering amount of postal transactions. In New York City alone, 15 million pieces of mail from the City are sent out on a typical day. So Zumbox targeted the mayors of some of the biggest cities in the U.S. -- San Francisco, New York and Newark -- and invited them to become the premiere partners of the paperless service. Now all 3 cities have signed on and are sending correspondence to city residents via Zumbox."

The following reports have been posted today on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/). If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

  • The Postal Service has taken positive steps to implement a strategy to reduce fuel consumption within surface network operations mainly by eliminating excess transportation capacity. Additionally, the Postal Service undertook a significant initiative to reduce capacity further by realigning its network2 and added to its strategy by exploring the expanded use of alternative fuel vehicles. However, the Postal Service could implement a more effective fuel strategy by adopting some key industry best practices to increase fuel efficiency and reduce overall fuel use. These best practices include the following: adding aerodynamic equipment; ensuring proper tire pressure, and limiting truck speeds. If these practices are implemented, we estimate the Postal Service could reduce fuel use by more than 25 million gallons annually, saving about $364.2 million in fuel costs. Fuel Management Consumption Strategies for Surface Network Operations (Report Number NL-AR-09-010)

  • Our audit of lease processes and procedures found that the Postal Service could enhance their procedures to ensure leases are more economically beneficial to the Postal Service. We found that responsible Facilities personnel were adhering to established policies and procedures; however, the Facilities Service Offices could improve internal controls with regard to the following: o Termination Language. o Cost and Income Analyses. o Negotiating with National Lessors. o Review and approval of leases under $25,000. Postal Service Lease Process (Report Number SA-AR-09-006)

  • Controls Over the Bulk Mail Revenue, Pieces, and Weight System (Report Number CRR-AR-09-007)

Advertising Age has reported that "Traditional publishers -- concerned that Apple's anticipated tablet computer could affect their business the way the iPod disempowered music publishers -- are discussing possible strategies, including an industry-wide digital storefront where tablet users could buy digital issues or subscriptions without going through iTunes or the App Store. If the Apple tablet that many expect early next year proves popular for flipping through tailored editions of magazines and newspapers, Apple's iTunes or App Store could become chokepoints between readers and publishers."

The Washington Post has reported that "Approximately 5,000 full-time Postal Service employees eligible for retirement ended their Postal careers this week, accepting $15,000 buyout offers as part of a cost-cutting move. Another 18,0000 full-time workers have also accepted the offer, but have until Oct. 31 to complete the paperwork or opt out. Officials stress the current figures are preliminary and are likely to change as workers make their final decisions. In addition to the full-time staff, part-timers have until Oct. 16 to initially accept the buyout and until Nov. 30 to make a final decision."

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: Nicor Gas Company 1844 W. Ferry Road Naperville, IL 60563-9662 represented by Brian Maruyama Vendor Manager - Customer Care

RPost has filed suit in US Federal Court against Goodmail Systems, Inc and has asked for an injunction to prevent further patent infringement by Goodmails Certified E-mail Paper Suppression service. Basically Goodmail started up as a way for marketers to buy their way past the spam filters of cooperating ISPs says Zafar Khan, RPost CEO. Like many people in the industry, we didnt like that because it essentially creates a two-tiered e-mail system: one for paying spammers and another for everybody else. But if e-mail providers want to let corporate spammers into their users mailboxes, that is between them and their users. However, with the introduction of their Paper Suppression service, Goodmail crossed a line. Goodmails Paper Suppression service claims to allow bulk emailers to prove the delivery and content of their messages if (a) the recipient is accessing either email through a Goodmail participating ISP, and (b) the sender is using a Goodmail participating email provider.

In her ruling concerning a USPS motion "to accept partial response to Commission information request no. 1, question 15," the Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission said that: "The Postal Service asserts it would be burdensome at this stage in the proceeding to require it to provide the street addresses and ZIP Codes for its approximately 3,600 facilities originally under consideration. The argument that because a facility is dropped from consideration makes its exact location (street address) less relevant is not overly persuasive. This information is basic to understanding the demographics of an area and can be used to evaluate how the Postal Services prescreening process is working. It is questionable how a federal entity that prides itself in delivering mail to over 100 million addresses 6 days a week does not have at its fingertips basic business information such as the physical addresses of all its brick and mortar facilities....Several facts have become clear as this proceeding progresses. The needs of society and how society perceives the role of the Postal Service are important. Many communities care deeply about the existence of their local post offices. This indicates that identifying a facility as a candidate to be closed should not be taken lightly."

The latest copy of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. electronic governmental affairs newsletter is available on the NAPUS web site.

October 1, 2009

The Daily Mail has reported that "A lazy postman who hid almost 6,000 letters and parcels because he could not be bothered to get up to deliver them has been jailed."

According to Rag Content, "The Postal Service is facing trying times, as most businesses are throughout the world. Its main focus has been cost cutting and matching resources to revenue in an attempt to right-size the sinking ship. Congress has passed a continuing resolution that will give the Postal Service $4 billion in retiree health care payment relief. This payment relief is for fiscal year 2009 only and will bring the USPS loss from $7 billion to $3 billion, which is right in line with its annual borrowing authority. The Postal Service will (most likely) borrow the $3 billion and try to avoid political suicide by not having an exigency rate case filed in February 2010. So what lies ahead for the Postal Service?"

FedEx Express, subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has launched a new business portal on the internet, the FedEx Access Forum, where independent and renowned experts will give presentations about relevant global trends.  Texts of these exclusive and informative webcasts will be available as downloads only to registered visitors to the web page. The series of presentations will begin with Professor Norbert Walter, chief economist at the Deutsche Bank Group, who will discuss The current world recession does not mean the end of globalization one of his theses on the topic,  Developments in world trade and the perspectives of logistics.

The following reports have been posted today on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/).  If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Wally Olihovik at 703.248. 2201, or Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

Call for Papers The Center for Research in Regulated Industries is now accepting abstracts for next years conferences.  Advanced Workshop on Regulation and Competition's Eastern and Western Conferences, More information about the Call for Papers is available at http://crri.rutgers.edu/call/ CRRI now has a dedicated email account solely for submission of abstracts: crripapers@business.rutgers.edu.  To submit an abstract, see Call for Papers for the conference concerned. You will receive an automated receipt of your email, followed by a personal response.  If both of these are not received within 48 hours please contact crri@business.rutgers.edu or call 973 353 5761.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
New Postal Product,
5070850712 [E923687]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

The Senate has approved legislation that will allow the Postal Service to forgo making an additional $4 billion payment toward postal retiree health benefits costs. So, as far as Fiscal Year 2009 is concerned, the Postal Service has dodged a potentially fatal fiscal bullet. See story below. See also the Federal Times and the Washington Post.

Politico has reported that:

In the case of the Postal Service, the relief promised to the cash-strapped agency had been previously endorsed by the House but never truly debated in the Senate this year until it was dropped into the stopgap spending bill last week.

In interviews with POLITICO, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, protested the procedures used. And even advocates, such as Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.), said the relief is only a short-term solution.

 This is a Band-Aid we will accept, Carper said. Its not the solution we need.

At issue is a $5.4 billion payment owed this week to the postal retirees health benefits fund. As adopted, the bill will require the agency to pay only $1.4 billion now and effectively amortize the remainder beginning in 2017. Carper said the level prepayments required of the Postal Service are unrealistic and exceed what many private companies provide. And with $32 billion already in the fund, the agency insists that no taxpayer money is involved.

Nonetheless, under Senate rules, the $4 billion triggered a spending point of order, and New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, the Budget Committees ranking Republican, said, It is a $4 billion bill that is being sent to the taxpayers of America.

This wasnt a surprise, ... and everybody knew it was coming, Gregg said, given the agencys mounting revenue problems. This train has been coming down the track, and the track was straight.

This is the third time in five years that weve tried to put a patch on the Postal Service, said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). We duck the hard problems; we dont want to offend anyone. ... We are setting an example with this bill that we dont care."

Postalreporter.com has noted that APWU "President Burrus announced he will retire at the end of his term in 2010. The delegates at the All- Craft Conference in Las Vegas, NV gave him a standing ovation which brought tears to his eyes. He also asked for a per capita national dues increase of $1 next year to help offset decreases in membership. He would continue making cuts in expenses as needed."

APWU President William Burrus has told his members that "We also see declining mail volume, he noted, adding that he and Postmaster General John Potter have debated the causes and solutions for the problem, which poses a serious threat to postal jobs. While the Postal Service blames much of the decline on the increased use of email and the Internet for personal and business communication, Burrus said, most of the decline is due to the severe economic downturn. I reject the premise that the Internet and email are the cause of the loss of volume, he said. Ninety-three percent of postal revenues now come from advertising mail, he said, adding that is time for the USPS to acknowledge the fact, adapt, and increase its business. If we lost every electric bill, he noted, it would be less than one percent of our total volume. But with a downturn in the economy we lose 30 percent, because companies are not advertising. The USPS must change its mindset, Burrus said. Its not about waiting for someone to drop a letter in the box Weve got to generate the volume.

Yahoo! Finance has reported that "UPS became the latest sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics on Wednesday, and the delivery company will manage the local organizing committee's transportation and logistics over the next three years in a part-cash, part-services partnership."

AllAfrica.com has reported that "Former Postal Corporation boss Fred Odhiambo has sued Information minister Samuel Poghisio over alleged wrongful dismissal. Mr Odhiambo said his termination was illegal and was therefore seeking compensation. He was sent packing in May following alleged mismanagement at the State corporation."

Easy Reader has reported that "Hermosa officials have enlisted the aid of Congresswoman Jane Harman to keep the doors open at the citys 52-year-old post office, which has been slated for possible closure."

The Omaha Postal Customer Council will be holding its annual conference on October 22. Registration information has been posted on this site. Dr. Gene Del Polito President, Association for Postal Commerce is serving as the conference's keynote speaker.

Conflicting Technological and Competitive Forces in Regulated Industries

The Workshop brings together typically over 50 practicing economists from industry, regulatory commissions, and academia.  Presentations at the Workshop and Conferences are geared toward practicing economists and are made both by industry researchers and by academics.  About a month prior to the conferences and a week prior to the workshops each participant is forwarded the papers that will be presented.  At the events presentation is followed with discussion time among the participants and speakers.  The conferences papers will be available online for the participants.   

November 20, 2009

The Future of the Postal Sector

Michael Crew, Rutgers University, The Future of the Postal Sector
Alan Robinson, "New Business Models for Tough Problems"
William Miller, "USPS in Good Times and Bad: An Aggregate Demand Model"
John Caldwell, "Lessons from the Great Recession for Electric Utilities"
Larry Buc, "The Future of the Postal Service:  Mail and the Environment"
Paul Vogel, "Optimal Value-Added Discounts in the Future of Postal Service"
Additional Speakers to be confirmed (Please continue to check Website)