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Postal News from November 2009

November 30, 2009

Press Release: "NetDespatch has supplied New Zealand Post with an innovative web-based system that automates and simplifies forms for international shipments. Called RedClick, the new service is revolutionising the production of complex documentation for New Zealand Post customers, saving them hours of paperwork each day. The easy to use web shipping facility automatically produces CN22 and CN23 Customs Declaration forms for international shipping, eliminating manual form filling. Using simple web forms, with built-in intelligence to ensure that information is entered correctly, the automated production of the Customs Declaration forms streamlines the whole process. The forms can be printed to either laser or thermal printers. For higher volumes a manual or automated bulk import process is used, with either local or remote printing."

Press Release: "BÖWE BELL + HOWELL (BBH) today announced the filing of a patent application for the BBH® MAILStream Inveloper™ system, an eco-friendly mailing system that dynamically creates personalized bills and statements at significant savings over traditional mailpieces. The system and its innovative design enables the creation of documents in all standard formats on a single machine, delivers significant improvements in efficiency, and dramatically reduces paper costs and usage by as much as 40 percent. For more information about BÖWE BELL + HOWELL, visit www.bowebellhowell.com.

Advertising Age has reported that "Whether the arrows on the chart indicating upward movement turn out to just be a slight bump off the bottom of the market or the start of a long and constant climb, marketers and agencies, according to Advertiser Perceptions' latest Advertiser Optimism Report for Fall 2009, are feeling more optimistic about increasing ad spending in all media. And yes, that even includes local newspapers and magazines."

[PostCom logo

PostCom welcomes its newest member: eBay, Inc. 2145 Hamilton Avenue San Jose, CA 95125 represented by Sharif Sleiman Director, Global Procurement

From Business Wire: "Pitney Bowes Inc. has announced the introduction of AddressRightNow™ online list management service for organizations with small-volume or infrequent mailings. The new online service helps to eliminate inaccurate addresses and updates mailing lists based on the latest change of address information from the U.S. Postal Service. The AddressRightNow service can help mailers reduce or eliminate undeliverable mail by updating addresses to incorporate change of address information."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
New Postal Product ,
62493–62496 [E9–28506]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

DM News has published a wonderful tribute to PostCom Director-Emeritus Lee Epstein. The Association for Postal Commerce dedicated its "Lee Epstein Award" in honor of his many years of extraordinary service to the direct mail marketing and advertising industry. It is granted to those who have evidenced exemplary service in the industry's behalf. A truly extraordinary individual who has given so much to all who use and support the use of mail as a medium for business communication and commerce.





The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has put up for sale a 2.3-acre property in downtown Redmond, one of a half dozen sites in the Puget Sound region it is attempting to sell."

Smart Planet has noted that "The US Postal Service is drowning in red ink to the tune of $3.8 billion, and now, there’s a proposal from Postmaster General John Potter to to cut Saturday deliveries. Is it in its long-term best interest to do so? The USPS already made $5 billion in cuts, and it needs to take drastic measures. Mail volume has declined from 202.7 billion in 2008 pieces to 176 billion in 2009. With the increasing growth of electronic communications, it seems this volume will only continue to slide. But in a 24×7 world, is this the right direction to go?"

The Tennessean has reported that "What should your advertising budget have in common with the Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society? The answer is the motto that the workers in Chinese cooperatives cried. It is "gung ho," which means "work together." Print advertising, direct mail, e-mail, catalogs and Web sites illustrate the gung-ho spirit. A U.S. Postal Service comScore survey found that Web sites supported by catalogs yielded 163 percent more revenue than Web sites not supported by catalogs."

The Florida Times-Union has reported that "Joseph McCann, dean of Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University, and Harvey Slentz, an attorney who also teaches at JU after spending a career with the Postal Service, spent much of the summer looking at what the future business models for the Postal Service might look like. Slentz worked 30 years for the service, moving up through several regional postmaster positions before retiring seven years ago as manager of strategic operations for the entire U.S. Postal Service. "The Postal Service has been creative and innovative," McCann said. "But it can't just keep doing what it has done. The changes and trends are just too fundamental and too strong." Slentz and McCann, who were invited to recommend changes, along with teams from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, recently presented their findings to the postmaster general and the executive committee of the U.S. Postal Service."

Marketing Daily has reported that "Americans shopped with a vengeance this Black Friday weekend, with an estimated 195 million piling into stores around the country -- a healthy increase from the 172 million who shopped last year. Trouble is, they didn't buy very much."

The Mirror has reported that "Shoppers are set to blow hundreds of millions of pounds today in the biggest online spending spree yet. The first or second Monday in December is usually the busiest day of the year for internet retailers. But experts at Which? said "Cyber Monday" will come a week early this year because of fears postal strikes could delay delivery."

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that "Australians may be able to send Christmas cards for free this year, with postal workers set to take industrial action including a ban on checking mail is stamped. About 18,000 postal workers have until 10am (AEDT) on Friday to vote on taking industrial action, calling on Australia Post to protect full-time jobs and penalty shifts, the Communications Electrical Plumbing Union (CEPU) says."

The New York Times has a feature on postal ("In Rain, in Snow, but Not on Saturdays?") in its "Room for Debate."

November 29, 2009

According to The Week, "The Postal Service will have to accelerate its painful downsizing, and complete privatization can’t be ruled out."

The Washington Post has reported that investor William H. Gross has sold two of his major stamp collections to benefit the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum, which plans to build a new street-level gallery. The stamps from Confederate postmasters in the Civil War and from British North America postal history sold last week for $3.2 million at auction in New York City. The proceeds help fulfill an $8 million donation to the museum that Gross announced in September. He also has given the museum some of the rarest known stamps from his personal collection. Gross is the founder of Pacific Investment Management Co., based in Newport Beach, Calif.

From PRWeb: "Argos has revealed today that the volume of customers using their online Check & Reserve service was up almost 100% Year-on-Year (YoY) for home entertainment electrical products during the last week of the postal strikes in October. Argos, the UK's leading multi-channel retailer, believes this indicates that today's UK consumer has the resources and technical knowledge to cope with postal delivery issues, that recent reports suggest have hindered pure play e-tailers. This insight follows IMRG's e-Retail Sales Index report which states that the postal strikes adversely affected the growth of online retailer's during the last week of October."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Shoppers returned to malls Saturday as observers began reviewing early reports showing just how much consumers spent during their Black Friday shopping trips. The weekend's first spending data for the day after Thanksgiving showed shoppers spent only slightly more in stores this Black Friday than they did last year. Fresh signs of much stronger online sales during the traditional holiday shopping kickoff mean more might have shopped from home."

The Jakarta Post has reported that "State postal service provider PT Pos Indonesia will allocate Rp 600 billion (US$ 63.6 million) to its capital expenditure next year, about six times more than in 2009."

The Chico Enterprise-Record has reported that:

  • A Yuba County supervisor and several U.S. Postal Service workers were in Chico this week to discuss a possible change in how local mail is handled. The Postal Service is considering closing its mail-processing center in Marysville. Mail that now goes to that center (such as letters from the north valley) would go to a center in West Sacramento instead. Rick Page, a union leader of postal workers, said if the change happens, it would cause major delays in mail delivery.
  • Those who seek to prevent the closure of a mail-processing center in Marysville hope to have an independent study of the proposal conducted. Postal union leader Ron Page said he and others asked Congressman Wally Herger, R-Chico, to request such a study. Herger told them to give him information that could justify a separate study, which would be paid for by the U.S. Postal Service. The Postal Service is making its own study of the matter, but Page said he felt that study would be biased."

November 28, 2009

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • Docket No. R2010-1: "Notice of Price Adjustment and Classification Changes Related to Move Update Assessments." In this decision, the PRC noted that it "approves the proposal, in part, and rejects it, in part. It approves the application of the 7-cent Move Update Assessment Charge to Presort First-Class Mail mailings that fail the Performance Based Verification (PBV) test and cannot demonstrate compliance with Move Update requirements. Similarly, it approves the Move Update Assessment Charge for Standard Mail. The Commission rejects the proposal to apply single-piece First-Class rates to Move Update noncompliant Standard Mail mailings. The Move Update Noncompliance Charge of 7 cents per piece remains the approved charge for Standard Mail noncompliance."

From Live-PR: "http://www.companiesandmarkets.com/Summary-Company-Profile/bulgarian-posts-ead-(bulgaria)-company-profile-148725.asp Bulgarian Posts EAD is a state-owned company, specialising in providing domestic and international postal services, money transfers, bill-paying services and distribution of publications and philatelic products. The company was awarded an ISO 9001:2000 Quality management systems certificate in 2007, valid until July 10, 2010. The company profile contains corporate history, company overview, contact details, key management, shareholders and investors, a description of products and services, financial analysis, sales analysis, leading competitors and investment plans."

Canada.com has reported that "Canada Post sends Ottawa book collector apology, cheque."

Cyprus Mail has reported that "the Postal Services Organisation has started offering an international money transfer service. According to the Central Bank, in 2008 approximately €280 million was transferred from Cyprus to eastern Europe, China and south-east Asia through cash transfer firms. “Cyprus post offices are focusing on trying to provide new services to satisfy the needs of the Cypriot public, including the large number of economic immigrants who live in our country.” said Andreas Grigoriou, Postal Director. The money transfer service is being offered as a result of the Cypriot postal service becoming the second agents representing Moneygram, the international money transfer company, in Cyprus. Moneygram has already been represented on the island since 2001 by the firm Ellinas Finance."

The Times has reported that "Christmas deliveries may be in jeopardy after the postal union threatened to resume their strike action. The Communication Workers Union has told postal workers to prepare for further strikes in December after reaching a deadlock with Royal Mail." See also Reuters.

Hellmail has reported that:

  • Royal Mail’s First Class quality of service performance dipped 2.3 percentage points below the 93.0 next-day delivery target in the second quarter of 2009-1010, a period when there was a series of localised strikes by the Communication Workers Union, focussed mainly in London. The second quarter report on quality of service showed 90.7% of First Class stamped letters arrived the next working day after posting while 98.0% of Second Class letters arrived on time within three working days after posting, half a percentage point below the 98.5% target for Second Class. During the quarter, however, Standard parcels and European international delivery mail exceeded their targets, as well as a significant proportion of bulk business mail.
  • The Communication Workers Union, which represents thousands of Royal Mail workers may yet call for more strikes before Christmas, despite an interim agreement established earlier this month to establish a period of calm. However, some postal workers are concerned that continued action will alienate them from the general public at the busiest time of year.

November 27, 2009

Postal Sanity has a two-part report on electronic postal services:

Hellmail has reported that "Czech Post reports that Czechoslovakia's new 'Data Box' service has now seen more than one million messages sent. The system, using a government-guaranteed electronic storage space initiative, is a paperless mail service which permits communication between public authorities, guaranteeing the successful delivery of documents from the sender’s data box to the addressee’s. According to Czech Interior Minister Jaroslav Chylek, the percentage of uncollected mail through the system is low at around 5 to 7 per cent - comparable with ordinary letter post. "These figures clearly demonstrate that the data boxes are working, and the system is less labour-intensive" he said."

Kyodo News has reported that "Japan Post Holdings Co. President Jiro Saito said Friday that the state-owned postal and financial group needs to review its fund management portfolio, which is currently overly concentrated in government bonds."

From PRFire: "Jersey Post is the first postal operator in Europe to introduce radically new self-service post and pay kiosks supported by YESpays payment processing service, throughout 3 of their sites November 2009 Jersey Post is the first postal operator in Europe to introduce radically new self-service post and pay kiosks supported by YESpays payment processing service, throughout 3 of their sites. The introduction of the kiosks in Jersey Posts Broad Street and Central Market post offices was provided in partnership with Fujitsu. Previously, the Channel Isle of Jerseys national postal operator was using bank-owned terminals to accept credit and debit card payments once customers had weighed their packages and parcels. With the introduction of the Fujitsu Postal kiosks and on-board self service application, integrated with YESpays payment processing service, customers are now able to weigh, stamp and pay for packages to be posted quickly and efficiently, all at one small space-saving kiosk. In addition to the postal capabilities, the Fujitsu postal application has an additional function of allowing customers to pay electricity and water bills, whilst reducing a huge amount of customer and staff time."

According to Steve Lawson, editor for Hellmail postal news, "postal operators around the world should be braced for a new wave of electronic postal services that will slash millions from profits and see even greater decline of mail services than first thought. "I think direct mail will survive as its a highly effective way to reach buyers, but increasingly government departments will see the attraction and cost savings of paperless mail, and in time that will roll out to domestic customers too, perhaps within the next ten years. "For postal employees already concerned about the future of their employment, this isn't good news, but I think its important to look ahead in this business and see where the real competition is. Decline in stamped mail has been going on for some years now and whilst there has been competition in the market, much of it is about displacement. Finding new business for regular mail isn't easy. The real competition is from the digital world and we're still only scratching the surface in terms of the possibilities."

According to the Newnan Times-Herald, "Washington leadership is all about hope, change and competition. We have heard we need more competition to ensure all American citizens' rights are met. I think that timely, daily delivery of the mail is a right long overlooked by my representatives. We need to urge them to create some competition there to improve the general welfare of all Americans. "

The Age has reported that "a controversial deal to allow ''over-the-counter TAB account services'' at Australia Post offices has been attacked by anti-gambling campaigners as inappropriate and dangerous. From next month people will be able to apply for a TAB betting account, make betting deposits and withdrawals and obtain balances of their betting accounts at Australia Post outlets." See also Gaming Intelligence.

FedEx Trade Networks, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and growing international ocean and air freight forwarder, today announced it has opened new freight forwarding offices in China and across Europe as part of an aggressive global expansion plan. The company has opened a total of 14 new freight forwarding locations in 2009.

According to AFP, "Iraq's postmen put their lives in God's hands."

November 26, 2009

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world's largest express transportation company, has demonstrated its commitment to Romania with a service enhancement that will enable customers in the growth area Timisoara and Arad to reach key markets in Europe by the next business day. At no extra cost to customers, the new service enhancement will integrate seamlessly into FedEx Express existing service, providing added value to all customers.

Deadtree Edition has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has some mailers in a panic because it is reportedly planning to issue complex, last-minute changes to the rules for Full-Service Intelligent Mail discounts." See also the Intelisent postal blog.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported that "Already facing billions of dollars in losses, the United States Postal Service was ordered earlier this year to pay $75 million in lost overtime to nearly 1,500 Pittsburgh-area union employees."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Austrian telecommunications provider Telekom Austria (TKA.VI), and postal service provider Oesterreichische Post AG, or Austrian Post, said Thursday they have reached an agreement with the government to transfer surplus civil servants to the Austrian police force."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Product ,
62357–62358 [E9–28377]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

Postal Service
NOTICES
Meetings; Sunshine Act ,
62358–62359 [E9–28587]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

At the U.S. Postal Service:

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: United States Postal Service Integrated Financial Plan, Fiscal Year 2010

November 25, 2009

In an open letter to the USPS on the matter reported below, Butler Mailing President Todd Butler wrote: "Your organization continues to advance the concept that change and complexity in the name of POSTAL cost savings will mask the massive defection of customers from the mail stream, when in fact it increases the speed of those defections. Many customers have been priced out of the direct mail market by postage rates. Based on your costs there may be little you can do to win back this volume, but in the near term, volume loss will be generated by your remaining customers’ inability to do business with you. Losses will be due to the massive confusion and unnecessary complexity injected into the system by a management unable to concentrate on the root cause of your current financial crisis, a lack of mail volume."

POSTCOM MEMBERS!! USPS CHANGES FULL-SERVICE IMb VERIFICATION POLICIES. The USPS held telecons today with MTAC workgroup 122 participants to share its revised policy for Full-Service IMb Verification procedures and error tolerances and postage consequences. The USPS has changed the policy since it was presented at MTAC last week. The attached files are the USPS' presentation slides, and PostCom's notes from the morning telecon. The USPS has identified five critical "disqualifier" errors for Full-Service IMb mailings which would result in loss of Full-Service IMb discount beginning on November 30, 2009. For any other Full-Service IMb errors, no additional postage will be assessed prior to March 2010, and mailers should be provided with a form 2866 detailing the errors found during the verification process. Full-Service IMb mailings are still subject to the normal presort and mail preparation verification procedures, however, and to postage adjustments as a result of those types of errors. See also Changes to Acceptance Processes in Support of Full Service Mailings

Yahoo! Tech has reported that "According to news reports, Time, Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith and others are planning an online newsstand that will provide their properties in various formats and be jointly run. As with the music and TV industry, the reported consortium is an attempt to use digital media to stem dwindling revenues. Printed periodicals such as magazines and newspapers have been battling sharp drops in circulation, and moving to a venue without the costs of paper production or distribution is, in theory, highly attractive."

Press Release: The U.S. Postal Service has just amped up its cyber presence. Today the agency unveiled a slick, new version of its green website, usps.com/green. First launched in 2008, the improved version is an attention-getter for people who care about the environment.

DC Velocity has reported that "UPS Inc.'s announcement Nov. 20 of rate increases for 2010 has understated the actual increases, which in many cases will be higher than the company has publicly disclosed, according to an analysis by a leading parcel consulting firm. The new rate structure, which takes effect Jan. 4, calls for an average increase of 4.9 percent over 2009 rates on UPS's ground parcel shipments, and an average increase of 6.9 percent on air-express and U.S. export shipments, minus a 2-percent reduction in the fuel surcharges for air and international export shipments, resulting in a net increase of 4.9 percent. The increases apply to UPS's "list" or retail rates. Shippers who use UPS through contracts will generally receive substantial discounts off list prices, depending on the product chosen."

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

In the Netherlands unionised employees of TNT declined the framework collective agreement offered by the employer.
Deutsche Post wants to support magazine publishers with the development of new payment systems via the internet.
China Post Group could again strongly increase its business in October.
Austria’s National Assembly passed the new postal law with the governing parties’ votes last Wednesday.
Deutsche Post needs a long forerun to apply the new VAT regulation.
DHL obviously intends to withdraw from domestic express services in France.
Yamato, Japan’s leading CEP- and logistics provider, plans to expand its business especially in Asia.
Private equity firm Arques Industries AG sold the Spanish parcel service ASM.
Financially ailing Malaysian Transmile Group (CEP-News 34/08) has managed to reduce its deficit during the third quarter.
Austrian transport and logistics provider GebrüderWeiss (GW) will take over more than 75% of Serbian based international forwarding company Eurocargo.
DHL is testing same-day deliveries for the online shop Amazon in Berlin and Frankfurt.
DPD, La Poste’s European parcel network, now officially cooperates with the new Posten Norden. Posten Norden was created by a merger between the Danish and Swedish postal services.
DHL focuses on road transports in South East Asia in the future. Amadou Diallo, CEO DHL Global Forwarding South Asia Pacific, announced last week that LCL shipments (less than a container load) between Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand will be forwarded by truck.
FedEx offers sensor monitored mail to customers in the healthcare and life sciences industries.
Palestine has its own postal code since last week. So far mail destined for the Gaza Strip or the West Bank had to be posted ’c/o’ or ’via’ Israel.
Swiss trade unions called for further - not less - regulations of the postal market.

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 Guernsey Press has reported that "bulk mailers have backed Derek Coates in his criticism of Guernsey Post."

NewsChannel5 and its sister station, ABC15, in Phoenix, did a shipping test to see which shipping company could churn out the best price and fastest route for our care packages. This year, the post office is really pushing flat rate as the smartest option. There are four sizes ranging from $4.95 to $13.95. If you can fit it into the box, you'll pay the flat rate according to the box size. Peggy Havanas from the U.S. Postal Service said, "that includes Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands." The flat rate priority mail box arrived right on time in Phoenix and remember that was the least expensive method. The other three boxes took four days. Our parcel post option was the most expensive, followed by UPS, and FedEx. FedEx offers free tracking, but the post office flat rate box was the cheapest and the fastest."

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Dan Maffei have called on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to consider local impacts, including pedestrian access and neighborhood benefits, when evaluating a consolidation plan that affects post offices in Central New York. The USPS is considering closing two post offices in the Syracuse area – the Elmwood Post Office on South Avenue in Syracuse, and the North Main Street Post Office in North Syracuse. Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Maffei raised concerns that the plan to close these branches could have potentially harmful economic and environmental consequences.

Transport Intelligence has reported that "The global express parcels market will contract by 13% in 2009 according to the latest figures revealed by Transport Intelligence in its just-published report, Global Express 2010."

The Press Association has reported that "The growth in online sales of goods has been "significantly" slowed by the wave of strikes by postal workers, leading to a £53 million fall in sales, according to a new study. Sales have improved all year, but were reported to have plunged by 5% in the last week of October, when members of the Communication Workers Union were taking action in a long running row over pay, jobs and modernisation. The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index showed British shoppers spent £4.2 billion online in October, an increase of almost 12% on the same month last year." See also Brand Republic.

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
New Postal Products ,
61531–61535 [E9–28205] [TEXT]  [PDF]
NOTICES
Post Office Closing ,
61718–61719 [E9–28243] [TEXT]  [PDF]


POSTCOM MEMBERS!!  The latest issue of PostCom's PostOps Update has been posted on this site.
In this issue:

  • IMb Discounts Take Effect Nov 29...but Not Without Issues
  • Changes in Postage Statement Submission at PostalOne! Sites
  • Another ACS Glitch
  • IMb Full-Service Verification Policies and Error Tolerances
  • USPS Reports on IMb Readability
  • Bulk Mail Acceptance a Key Issue in SOX Non-Compliance
  • Changes Likely in Drop Ship Mail Acceptance Process
  • USPS Update on FSS Deployment Plan
  • USPS to Continue Providing EMD Scans Until March 2010
  • Stay Tuned on Deflection Standards...
  • Workgroup Moves to Break Down Barriers to Mail Growth
  • Self-Mailer Testing Continues; No Changes Likely to be Proposed before Feb 2010

Here's some advice from Federal News Radio: "Want to cut your health insurance premiums big-time next year? Well, if you work for Defense, GSA, Interior or the IRS, or almost any other federal agency you have two options: Option One: Hang out at a singles bar that caters to postal workers or employees of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Strike up conversation with a likely prospect . Charm same and get married. Because... Because the USPS and the FDIC pay a larger share of their employees health premiums, you (as the spouse) will pay less next year than employees in the same plans who work for Agriculture, Justice, Homeland Security, the NIH or other agencies."

November 24, 2009

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: "Commissioner Dan G. Blair last week counseled Iraqi government leaders on ways to strengthen the civil service in Iraq to enhance government operations, support economic development and promote a strong democracy. Blair, who is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), presented his paper, “Civil Service Reform – International Successful Practices,” in Baghdad, during a three-day Civil Service Reform Conference jointly sponsored by the Government of Iraq and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)."

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

  • The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers (ANM) earlier this week filed comments with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) in response to the Postal Service’s October 15, 2009, notice of market dominant price adjustment and classification changes related to move update assessments [see PostCom Bulletins 43-09, 45-09, 46-09]. PostCom, DMA and ANM asked the Commission to “reject the Postal Service's notice as unsupported,” and “require the Postal Service to define, to this Commission's satisfaction, clearly defined standards that articulate both its Move Update requirements, and the rules the Postal Service intends to apply in the Move Update verification process.”
  • The Postal Regulatory Commission’s Public Representative also weighed in on the USPS’ Move Update Assessments notice, Docket No. R2010-1. In its comments, the Public Representative said that it “believes that overall the Move Update assessment policy is in the interest of the general public.” “Taken as a whole,” it said, “the proposed changes are commendable; however there are some issues which deserve further consideration.” The Public Representative’s comments focused on the price the USPS plans to charge for move update compliance, the error tolerance threshold and the USPS’ plans to increase it over time, and the quality and accuracy of move update databases used by customers to comply with the requirements.
  • Recently, the Center for Research in Regulatory Industries held a conference in Washington, DC that centered around the future of the postal sector. It was highly attended by major stakeholders within the industry, including the U.S. Postal Service, the Postal Regulatory Commission, USPS Office of Inspection General, major mailers and mail service providers, associations, and unions.
  • According to Deadtree Edition, "The U.S. Postal Service’s workforce reductions did not keep pace with declines in mail volume the past two years, but postal officials indicate that may change this fiscal year."
  • Dead Tree Edition has noted that "with less than a week to go before a new postage discount debuts, knowledgeable mailers want nothing to do with the new program. It's officially called the full-service Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb). But as the horror stories and unresolved problems rack up, Dead Tree Edition hereby dubs it the FUBAR (Failed Unbelievably Bureaucratic Addressing Regulations) code. Those of you with military experience know another meaning for FUBAR, and the IM program certainly fits that definition as well."
  • The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has noted that "currently the Postal Service operates under a unique labor law that is contained in the Postal Reorganization Act. This is in contrast to its competitors that operate under provisions of the Railway Labor Act (RLA) (e.g., Federal Express) and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) (e.g., UPS, printers, pre-sorters, etc.). There are numerous differences among the three laws."
  • Rag Content has told its readers that "in reading the Postmaster General's and Deputy Postmaster General's comments to MTAC, the strategic direction the Postal Service is following was made clear. The USPS intends to continue reducing costs and streamlining operations. Besides the short term fixes that have been mentioned, the Postal Service, while trying to get its costs under control, needs to consider what it will look like in the near future. What does the Postal Service want to be when it grows up?"
  • USPS shortens closure list to 241. Post office bailout on the table. FedEx Ground opens a new facility in Miami. Lexington DHL center could hire 700. FedEx receives top prize from international council. UPS sets rates for 2010.
  • 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
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Stars and Stripes has reported that "The U.S. Army is spending $500,000 to launch HooahMail, a service starting Dec. 1 in which family and friends can send letters electronically to anyone serving in Afghanistan, Bill Hilsher, the Army’s postal program manager, said. Participants can register immediately online to have some personal letters delivered in as little as 24 hours — a far cry from the roughly 14 days it now can take, Hilsher said. And it’s free. Here’s how it works: Family and friends set up an account via www.hooahmail.us and enter the recipient’s information and downrange mailing address. With the push of the “send” button, encrypted letters are sent to the servers of designated machines in one of 10 locations in Afghanistan. At least once a day, Army postal clerks switch on the machines, which print, fold and seal the letters in addressed envelopes for delivery through the in-country military postal system."

Reuters has reported that "Thousands of French postal workers and teachers went on strike on Tuesday in separate protests over the future of two of France's biggest public sector institutions. The protests are the latest in a series of strikes by public sector workers angered by reforms President Nicolas Sarkozy says are necessary to improve efficiency and reduce costs."

According to the Leader-Vindicator, "The Postal Service reported a loss of $3.8 billion last year, despite shedding 40,000 workers. That's $1 billion worse than the loss one year earlier. Yet Congress still has not approved the Postal Service's recommendation to reduce mail delivery from six days a week to five days a week. Why not? Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have the House and Senate tied up in hare-brained schemes, from health care "reform" to trillion-dollar bailouts, but they won't take what should be a half-hour to push through a no-brainer. We are in a recession. The Postal Service is feeling its effects. It doesn't matter what Americans want in this instance; what matters is what Americans need and can afford. Saturday mail delivery is no longer essential, given the huge drop in mail, 13 percent in last year alone."

Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has noted that "in order to understand the future of mail, one needs to first understand the future of the document. The word "document" immediately congers up an image of a written, printed format. That image is too narrow in today's multi-modal communications world that includes information that can be provided printed on paper but also in numerous forms on a computer display or in text-messages, or other format on a wireless smart phone."

Press Release: FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world’s largest express transportation company, has launched FedEx® International Next Flight, an expedited delivery service from the UK and Ireland to most worldwide locations. The service will be the fastest FedEx service for customs-cleared, door-to-door delivery of urgent international shipments.

International Freighting Weekly has reported that "DHL has opened its new 40,000 sq metre logistics centre in Parañaque City in the Philippines."

DM News has reported that "Goodmail Systems and Epostmarks have introduced “Postmarked Email,” a platform that places US Postal Service Electronic Postmarks on Web messages via Goodmail's CertifiedEmail platform. The platform's goal is to further secure e-mails so that messages that typically rely on the security of the mail, such as transactional statements from banks or credit card information, can now be sent via e-mail."

The Lower Hudson Journal News has reported that "Saying they feared “workplace violence” brought on by an oppressive management style, about 20 letter carriers picketed outside the Chappaqua post office Monday afternoon. The protest was sparked by Chappaqua Postmaster Pauline Iaconetti’s allegedly abusive treatment of postal workers."

Turkish Weekly has reported that "Director General of Turkish Postal Service (PTT) Osman Tural said that, as of 2010, all envelopes will be delivered in three days at maximum throughout Turkey. The PTT wishes to catch European and world standards in envelope delivery."

The Paypers has reported that "MoneyGram International and Poste Italiane, a postal services operator in Italy, have entered an agreement to enable Poste Italiane customers to make mobile and online money transfers to various markets worldwide. With these services, consumers will be able to send money to friends or family members without the need to visit a post office or retail location. In order to send money via the mobile phone, Poste Italiane customers must have a Poste Mobile SIM card associated with a BancoPosta account or PostePay debit card. Those who have home banking service can transfer money online at www.poste.it."

The Guernsey Press has reported that "Healthspan has threatened to pull its postal operations from the island if Guernsey Post does not become competitive. In a submission to the Office of Utility Regulation, founder and CEO Derek Coates said Guernsey’s postal firm was highly inefficient, mismanaged, over-managed and needed to change its business model."

From the Washington Post: "The Federal discusses the Postal Service's Letters to Santa program on MSNBC on Sunday morning."

The Spokesman-Review has reported that "A former Spokane postal supervisor is suing the U.S. Postal Service, saying it wrongly fired him after he refused to accept a late delivery of Netflix DVDs back in 2007. John A. Branda, a 58-year-old Spokane Valley resident, said the event happened in July 2007 when he was supervisor of the postal service’s inbound bulk mail receiving area at the processing plant near the Spokane Airport. Branda said he was responsible for accepting bulk mail and packages and making sure they left the dock and moved to the interior of the processing center by 6:30 p.m. In this instance a Netflix driver arrived several minutes after 6 p.m. with a truckload of more than 20,000 DVDs that had been handled at a nearby shipping center. Branda said two other late-arriving customers had arrived just ahead of the Netflix truck. All three were told they were late, Branda said in an interview. “If I took the Netflix (shipments) I would have also had to take the others, and would never had been done by 6:30,” he explained."


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

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
Meetings; Sunshine Act ,
61380 [E9–28229]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

Dutch News has reported that "Postal delivery workers at TNT do not want to take pay cuts in return for job guarantees, according to opinion polls carried out by the two main post office unions. Members of both the Abvakabo FNV and CNV Publieke Zaak unions say they are opposed to plans to worsen their working conditions, news agency ANP reports. Earlier this year, union members also rejected plans to cut pay in return for a three-year job guarantee."

Radio Netherlands has reported that "Thousands of national mail service TNT employees in the Netherlands stand to lose their jobs. The cuts come after 64 percent of union members voted in favour of a reorganisation plan guaranteeing jobs for the remaining workers. An alternative plan involved salary cuts in exchange for a three-year job guarantee for all, but that plan was rejected on Monday in polls organised by three unions. TNT has said it is necessary to reorganise because of increased competition and because traditional postal services are being replaced by e-mail and cellphone communication. The restructuring plan as adopted by the employees means that 11,000 people will have to go."

Hellmail has reported that "Earlier this year, Dutch operator TNT said it would have to cut 11,000 jobs to stave off further mail volume decline and competition from two other operators employing staff on a more casual basis. More recently, the company suggested employee pay cuts (maximum of 3.5 percent) as an alternative to large job losses but this too has now been rejected by AbvaKabo FNV and CNV Publieke Zaak. TNT announced this month that Group profits were down 10% for the same period last year, and underlying operating income € 77 million (down from € 99 million in Q3 2008) Addressed mail volume in the Netherlands has declined by 4.8%. The company said that its trading environment continued to be under pressure."

As Government Executive has noted, "U.S. Postal Service employees will see a wage boost when Dec. 11 pay checks are distributed, as the latest in a series of raises took effect on Nov. 21. The increase is part of a 2006 agreement with unions, which also includes cost-of-living adjustments subject to economic conditions. Employees represented by the American Postal Workers and National Postal Mail Handlers unions will receive a 1.2 percent pay raise. Members of the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association and the National Association of Letter Carriers will see 1.5 percent and 1.9 percent raises, respectively. Due to the recession, there will be no COLAs."

Press Release: Courier, Express & Parcel Services market is playing a pivotal role in addressing collection and delivery requirements of messages, mails and parcels for individuals and organizations. Sophisticated technologies such as Internet, fax machines, facsimiles and the like have been only partially successful in overriding the popularity of Courier, Express & Parcel (CEP) services. Inability of the modern technologies to establish in certain areas has strengthened the importance of age-old CEP services. Globalization of the world economy opened new avenues for the CEP Services market. Factors such as development of infrastructure, reduction of tariff rates, consumers demand for variety, launch of newer and bigger airlines, have spurred the demand for CEP services across the globe. For more information please click on: http://www.researchandmarkets.com/product/2c57b2/courier_express_parcel_services_a_worldw

The President of the National Association of Letter Carriers has told his members that "There is no way to sugarcoat it; it was a horrible year,” NALC President Fred Rolando said. “The housing collapse and meltdown on Wall Street hit the most mail‑intensive sectors of the economy, and the deep recession that followed may have accelerated the drive by many mailers to seek electronic substitutes for mail." Independent auditor Ernst & Young cautioned that “there is significant uncertainty” whether the Postal Service will have enough cash on hand to make all of its payments in the year ahead, including the $5.5 billion retiree health benefits payment due on the last day of FY 2010. That is the next installment due to pre‑fund future retiree health insurance costs."

Minnesota Daily has reported that "The city of Minneapolis announced last week that it will start sending mail to citizens over the Internet. Communications from the city are now available through e-mail accounts at Zumbox.com. The accounts are unique in that they are connected to citizens’ current street addresses."

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News has reported that "Scaling back mail delivery from six days a week to five may be the best bet to stem mounting U.S. Postal Service losses, but could still be a gamble, says a University of Illinois economist who has studied the agency's persistent financial decline. Seung-Hyun Hong says projected savings from weekday-only delivery could wither if the move chases away lucrative business customers who count on the mail to blanket homes with coupons, fliers and other advertisements." [EdNote: Yes, you read it right. The source really is Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.]

For those who may have missed it, here is a link to a C-SPAN interview with Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway.

The latest entry has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s 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/
 
  • 40 Years Ago.  What was the Post Office Department like 40 years ago?  Are prospects better or worse today? 
 
You can visit Office of Inspector General’s 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 following reports also have been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/).  If you have additional questions concerning a report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286. 

November 23, 2009

Postalnews.com has warned its readers that "Big Brother is watching?"

According to Rag Content, "Whether you are a kindergartener or a college student, this question has found its way into the minds of every person at some point in his or her life. Some are fortunate and know right away that they want to be a teacher or doctor, a firefighter or lawyer. I know when I was growing up, a postal commentator never came to mind, but here I am. With the recent announcement from the Postal Service's chief financial officer regarding the USPS' dire postal financials (i.e., an ever increasing debt, another $7 billion loss hanging over their heads for FY2010, and no postal price increase for all of 2010) it is a good time for the USPS to sit back and think long and hard about what it wants to be when it grows up."


PostCom Members!
 
A copy of the latest Postal Postal Issues Briefs has been posted on this site. This brief focuses on the issue of five-day mail delivery.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Docket No. R2010-1: The Association for Postal Commerce (“PostCom”), Direct Marketing Association (“DMA”) and Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers (“ANM”) have submitted supplemental comments in response to four items filed by the Postal Service. They said that "the fundamental thrust of the supplemental materials submitted by the Postal Service is that the volume of mail that will be subject to the surcharge is so small that the Commission should simply ignore the operational, policy and legal issues that fatally infect this proposal."

TTKN News has reported that "Parcel2Go.com's new parcel delivery partner is Home Delivery Network (HDNL) which delivers to homes in every postcode, every day, thoughout the UK. Parcel2Go.com revealed its link up with HDNL just days before the national strike action by postal workers began.

Trading Markets has reported that "CSC has announced that Britain's Royal Mail Group, a supplier of postal services, has signed an agreement extending its relationship with CSC, for the provision of cloud computing information technology (IT) services."

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE “The U.S. Postal Service announced this week that they have lost $3.8 billion this year. Here’s the worst part. You know how they lost it? In the mail.” -- Jay Leno

From Market Wire: "Writing holiday wishes on someone's Facebook wall, Tweeting "Merry Christmas" to followers, or emailing "tis the season" digital cards will happen frequently this holiday season, but not as frequently as using the old fashion postal service to mail holiday cards. A recent survey conducted by WhitePages and Market Decisions found that, despite the growing popularity of electronic correspondence, 78 percent of Internet users will use traditional mail to send out holiday cards this season.:

OneNewsNow has reported that "A Postal Service spokesman tells CBS News that the agency currently owes the U.S. Treasury $10.2 billion. Now comes word that Congressman Danny Davis (D-Illinios) is calling for a federal bailout of the Postal Service and elimination of Saturday service. Tad DeHaven (Cato Institute)Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute, says Davis' comments reflect a mentality in Washington that prefers taking other people's money and throwing it at a problem rather than finding practical solutions. "You can get rid of Saturday service, or they've talked about removing a day from the week. You can give the Postal Service more money through general funds, but that's not going to fix the underlying problems at the Postal Service," the budget analyst notes. "With technology changing, people use e-mail; they use text messages [and] cell phones. That's completely undermined the demand for the Postal Service's business." DeHaven predicts that because it is burdened by excessive labor costs through a largely unionized work force, and because the current Congress has no interest in undermining union power, the Postal Service will continue to "plod along and lose money."

The Deccan Herald has reported that "The Bangalore Urban Principal Forum has come to the aid of a dismayed consumer who lost vital documents due to severely deficient service rendered by the post office."

WMBB has reported that "Investigators with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office have arrested one man and uncovered an elaborate scam using the internet and postal system. On November 18 a package was delivered to an incorrect address on Panama City Beach. The recipient of the package opened it and called the BCSO. Inside the package were Russian magazines and 46 checks hidden within the pages—each for about 500 dollars. Investigators were able to determine the names on the checks were legitimate, as were the routing numbers. The people whose names appeared on the checks were contacted and each person reported having trouble with their online bank accounts. The victims also denied having written the checks. However, all reported receiving and responding to an email claiming to be from their banking institution requesting account information."

The Press-Enterprise has warned that "While the year-ending holidays are expected to engender some merriness in the hearts of most people, for others it's a season to be larcenous. The U.S. Postal Service reports that mail theft increases during the holidays, due to many an envelope containing a check or money order meant as a gift or to packages containing merchandise that could be fenced."

The Washington Times has reported that "USPS redesigns to aid Mac users." See also the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer.

"Russia's national postal service plans to slash 33,000 managerial jobs in the coming year as part of rationalization measures, the state news agency Ria Novosti reported Monday. State-run Russian Post, which currently has 415,000 employees, has already cut nearly a third of its management positions in the first nine months of this year, according the report."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Deutsche Post AG Chief Executive Frank Appel has said the company is well prepared for the year to come and doesn't require any large acquisitions or big improvement measures."

As Transport Intelligence has noted, "FedEx Ground, the small-package ground delivery unit of FedEx Corp., has opened a new distribution facility in Medley, Fla. The 217,015 square-foot operation is double the size of the facility that it replaces, which also was located in Medley. The $59 million facility is part of an ongoing national expansion plan and will provide processing rates of up to 15,000 packages per hour, additional load and unload doors as well as more scan tunnels and sorters. The facility supports a workforce of more than 340 employees and independent contractors and expects to add approximately 50 temporary positions for the holiday season."

Trade Arabia has reported that "The GCC postal corporations’ meeting held recently in Muscat, Oman, discussed several critical issues facing the postal sector and underlined the need for greater co-operation among GCC postal organisations."

Deadtree Edition has reported that "With less than a week to go before a new postage discount debuts, knowledgeable mailers want nothing to do with the new program. It’s officially called the full-service Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb). But as the horror stories and unresolved problems rack up, Dead Tree Edition hereby dubs it the FUBAR (Failed Unbelievably Bureaucratic Addressing Regulations) code. Those of you with military experience know another meaning for FUBAR, and the IM program certainly fits that definition as well. Many Periodicals mailers are also spooked about the Intelligent Mail program after hearing how it cost Time Inc. more than $90,000 in duplicate address-change charges in a period of just two months. Newsweek, often a leader on postal issues in the magazine industry, spread the word among publishers a few months ago that it was not putting any more resources into Intelligent Mail."

MWC News has reported that "As recently as 1992, the government in Rome issued a decree reserving a fifth of all the openings in the Italian postal service for relatives of employees and ex-employees."

November 22, 2009

The State has reported that "DHL, one of the world's largest shipping companies, is opening a processing center in Lexington County that will employ 200 jobs initially, a number that could rise to 700, Lexington County officials said. The center will be located on Platt Springs Road, across the street from the Midlands Technical College's Airport Campus. It will be housed in the building that once housed the Teradata firm. Officials for DHL confirmed Friday the center will open early next year."

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

According to Financial Advice, "Despite hopes that the Royal Mail and unions had buried the hatchet and were looking to the future with regards to a long-term agreement, sources close to the Communication Workers Union have let it be known that talks are stalling and concern is growing. It seems as though, in private, the Communication Workers Union is looking to threaten further industrial action in the run-up to Christmas, something which all parties had been looking to avoid. So what has gone wrong?"

November 21, 2009

Hellmail has reported that "Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people, has appointed CFH Total Document Management to implement Corporate Docmail, the integral document management and hybrid mail system, into its head office and network of 212 branch offices. The appointment is based on a three year contract (plus two year option), and with upwards of 9 million envelopes being mailed by Hays each year, is worth over £12million."

Reuters has reported that "Japan's government and ruling parties are considering using money from state-owned Japan Post's [JP.UL] massive savings and insurance units to make loans to regional businesses."

According to Marketing Week, "Against all odds - postal strikes, technological advancements, environmental concerns and economic recession - direct mail retains its appeal to executives and marketers alike. Or so say the several hundred marketers who told Marketing Week that direct mail continues to have the ear of the board (56% of those polled attested to this), and the significant minority (7%) who say the recession has had no effect, or the small number (5%) that said that the economic downturn has had a “very bad” effect. Explanations for the channel’s stoic resilience offered by those participating included: “It still provides one of the highest returns on investment when carried out in a targeted and controlled way”, and “….in terms of offering measurability of campaign and marketing spend effectiveness, to my mind it is second to none as a channel for customer acquisition.”

CBS News has reported that "An Alaska senator says the U.S. Postal Service is resuming a program allowing volunteers to respond to letters sent to Santa Claus in care of the North Pole, Alaska, post office. Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Friday that Deputy Postmaster General Pat Donahoe told her in a phone call the agency has reconsidered its decision to not allow volunteers to answer the letters."

UPS has released new list rates for 2010, including an average increase of 4.9 percent for UPS Ground packages and an average net increase of 4.9 percent on all air express and U.S. origin international shipments. The rate increase for air express and international shipments is based on a 6.9 percent increase in the base rate, less a 2 percent reduction in the air and international fuel surcharge index. Updated rate and service information will be posted on ups.com/rates beginning Nov. 20. On Dec. 18, customers can download the 2010 Rate and Service Guide. The new rates take effect on Jan. 4, 2010. Also effective Jan. 4, fuel surcharge tables for air express and ground services will be adjusted. The changes will better align Air and Ground Fuel Surcharges and will substantially reduce the volatility of air surcharges when fuel prices fluctuate. An explanation of the fuel surcharge calculation methodology along with the new rate tables will be available on ups.com/rates.

In recognition of being leading service providers globally, organizations and individuals were awarded with an International Service Excellence Award.  FedEx Customer Information Services was named “Best Customer Service Division of a Large Business.” 

The Guardian has reported that "The postal dispute could reignite next week if Royal Mail continues to stall over peace talks, sources close to the Communication Workers Union have warned. The two sides began negotiations under the auspices of mediation service Acas this week but it is understood that little headway has been made. "So far, it's been a case of talks about talks," one source said. "If no progress is being made you can't rule out the union going back to strike action."

Bloomberg has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service, which has said it may lose $7.8 billion this year, pared the list of facilities it’s considering closing by 35 percent. The agency cut the number of stations and branches under evaluation for closure to 241, the Postal Service said today in a statement. The original list of potential closures included about 3,600 locations. The Postal Service, which has almost 37,000 post offices, branches and stations, said last month that 371 locations remained on the list." See also the Postal Service's press release, WNYC and the PRC web site.

MLive has reported that "A U.S. Postal Service study recommends moving some mail operations from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids, cutting 40 area jobs and $2.5 million."

November 20, 2009

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

  • Despite aggressive cost cutting of $6 billion and a $4 billion reduction in required retiree health benefits payments, the U.S. Postal Service has reported a $3.8 billion loss for Fiscal Year 2009. The Postal Service experienced a 12.7% volume decline from FY 2008, which is more than double any decline in USPS history. At the same time, it cut 115 million workhours, which is equal to 65,000 Full-Time Equivalents.
  • This week during the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee and a media briefing, Pat Donahoe, USPS Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Operating Officer discussed the progress made since the enactment of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. He focused on three key areas: service, SOX, and cost.
  • This week at the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee, Robert Bernstock, USPS President of Mailing and Shipping Services, along with Tom Foti, USPS Manager Marketing Mail and Steve Monteith, USPS Manager Transactions and Correspondence spoke about the growth opportunities the Postal Service is pursuing in the new year.
  • In its 10-k, the Postal Service honestly reported that 2009 was a terrible year. Its forecast for 2010 is not much better.
  • Postmaster General Jack Potter earlier this week marked the 176th quarterly meeting of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) by reminding industry representatives not to lose focus on the “big picture.” The Postal Service’s senior executive talked about the USPS’ decision to keep market-dominant product prices stable in 2010, the need for legislative change that includes more pricing and product flexibility, SOX compliance and mail acceptance deficiencies, and the need for both the Postal Service and the industry to live up to their obligations.
  • Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Operating Officer Pat Donahoe earlier this week at the quarterly meeting of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) reported the USPS’ FY 2009 service performance, as well as announcing the Postal Service’s FY 2010 service performance goals for market-dominant products.
  • USPS senior vice president of Intelligent Mail and Address Quality Tom Day earlier this week announced at the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meeting that the USPS will increase the IMb/POSTNET barcode readability threshold to 80 percent effective November 30, 2009, and to 90 percent effective March 15, 2010.
  • The USPS earlier this week at the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meeting presented for the first time its Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) Full-Service verification policies, including the identification of errors that will result in loss of IMb Full-Service discounts. Despite the Postal Service’s repeated assurances that it would not establish error tolerances and consequences for IMb Full-Service mailings until both the USPS and industry have more experience with the complexities of Full-Service and data can be collected and analyzed, the USPS said its verification procedures and consequences will take effect on November 29, 2009 – the date the IMb Full-Service price differential takes effect.
  • USPS offers a new pricing deal for efficient packaging. PRC accepts all periodic reporting rule changes as USPS proposed. Follow-up related to Move Update technical conference on PRC website. 5-day delivery: depends on your perspective. Potter recognized by Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers. APWU president speaks out against major mailers. PostCom congratulates new MTAC focus area chairs.
  • 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.

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Media Daily News has reported that:

  • The economy may have rallied in the third quarter but the newspaper industry did not, as total advertising revenues -- including print and online -- tumbled 28%, from roughly $10.1 billion in the third quarter of 2008 to about $6.4 billion this year.
  • The first glimmers of a print turnaround may be evident. One of the prominent success stories is the Publishing Group of America, which reported that total ad pages for its newspaper-distributed monthly magazines jumped 19% in the fourth quarter of 2009.

KeysNews has reported that "The Florida Keys' congresswoman has protested staffing reductions at Key West post offices, which have resulted in long lines and waits of 30 to 60 minutes for service. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and her staff have met with U.S. Postal Service (USPS) representatives and asked them to end the mandatory staffing reductions. Key West post offices have lost 10 postal clerk positions in the past year, said Kathryn dePoo, vice president of the local chapter of the American Postal Workers Union. Required staffing reductions eliminated four positions, while another six recently retired, and Postal Service policies and reductions prohibit their replacement, dePoo said."

The San Jose Mercury News has told its readers that "It's a sure sign that Christmas is coming. A chill in the air. Bing Crosby music at the mall. And the first blizzard. Not snow, but mail order catalogs — their glossy pages imploring Americans to buy everything from flannel shirts to expensive chocolates to the latest in must-have electronics. Last year, an estimated 17 billion catalogs were sent to U.S. households. That's about 56, for every man, woman and child. Now, a growing chorus of environmental groups is sounding the alarm that the Yuletide avalanche may not be good, for goodness sake, for the planet. Some are seeking a national "Do Not Mail'' registry, modeled on the "Do Not Call'' list that Congress set up in 2003 to control telemarketers. They say the public should also have an enforceable, easy way to block junk mail."

According to Market Scan, "Royal Mail's direct mail services will still be exempt from VAT despite the recent removal of exempt status for most of its services. A ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) stipulates that Royal Mail must charge VAT on many of its services to maintain market competition, but this will not apply to direct mail because its delivery is price-controlled and subject to regulation, reports Marketing Direct. The decision means B2B offline marketers will still be able to benefit from VAT-free direct mail services. Mailsorts one, two and three are price-controlled and therefore will not be subject to the ECJ ruling."

According to the Watertown Daily Times, "U.S. Postal Service officials and Central New York Area postal union representatives have differing views on how the relocation of the Watertown post office's mail processing operations has gone. Postal officials contend that the move to the Syracuse Processing and Distribution Center mostly has been a smooth process, while union representatives counter that the mail processing relocation "has not gone well."

The Washington Post has reported that "Santa's "elves" at the North Pole have been given their walking papers - but they're not going quietly. The volunteer "elves" are trying to counter a decision by the U.S. Postal Service to discontinue a program begun in 1954 in the small Alaskan town of North Pole, where they open and respond to thousands of letters addressed to "Santa Claus, North Pole" each year."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Product ,
60301–60302 [E9–27936]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • Docket Nos. MC2010-12; R2010-2: Market Dominant Product Prices Canada Post – United States Postal Service Contractual Bilateral Agreement For Inbound Market Dominant Services (Mc2010-12) Negotiated Service Agreement

The Stylelist has reported that "It's the end of an era. JCPenney is discontinuing its biannual "Big Book" catalog and instead will concentrate its efforts on creating smaller, more targeted catalogs, online selling and social media exposure. Case in point: the retailer's recent foray onto Facebook. With the discontinuation of this catalog, JCPenney anticipates a year-over-year reduction of 25 to 30 percent in paper used for catalogs in 2010. "Big book catalogs have become less relevant as customers have embraced shopping online, where they have ready access to our entire assortment at any time on jcp.com," Mike Boylson, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a release."

Deadtree Edition has noted that "The U.S. Postal Service’s workforce reductions did not keep pace with declines in mail volume the past two years, but postal officials indicate that may change this fiscal year. Mail volume was down 13% and revenue was down 9%, but the number of career employees declined only 6% in the fiscal year that ended September 30, postal officials revealed this week. The previous year, volume declined 4% while career employees decreased 3%."

Government Security News has a story about "the MailDefender, a device that is intended to kill anthrax, small pox, ricin, avian flu and a host of other dangerous bio-agents by subjecting stacks of mail, placed inside its tumbling drum, to a combination of dry heat, short injections of moist heat and doses of ultraviolet irradiation, for a total cycle time of 80 minutes, followed by a 10-minute cool-down period. Any organization that placed all of its incoming mail through such a decontamination protocol could be highly confident that any worrisome bio-agents would be totally neutralized."

November 19, 2009

iStockAnalyst has reported that "Consumers can now buy ICICI Prudential products from any one of the 16,159 post offices in the State, while the existing policyholders can pay their premiums at any one of the 529 e-payment enabled post offices. The State has a post office for every 5,000 population. “We have partnered with India Post to provide our customers one stop solution for their long-term saving needs. This will also help us increase our rural reach, considering the fact that about 90 per cent of the 1,50,000 post offices across the country is located in the rural areas,” Mr Anup Rau, Senior Vice-President, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, told presspersons. He said ICICI Prudential was also providing training to around 1,160 postal staff in the State for marketing of its products."

Hellmail has reported that "Postal Strikes See Rise In Postal Operator Licences."

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.

The CBS Evening News has reported that "Can the Postal Service be Saved? With Losses Mounting, Postal Service Seeks Autonomy, Pushes to Cut Saturday Service; Rep. Danny Davis Calls for a Bailout"

The Washington Post has reported that "American Express on Wednesday said it had agreed to buy the online person-to-person payment provider Revolution Money for $300 million, the latest move by one of the credit card giants to add a service that has been increasingly in demand by consumers, especially younger ones."

The Ma'an News Agency has reported that "Palestine was allocated a postal code by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) following successful talks with the International Bureau in Berne, Switzerland, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced Wednesday."

The Financial Times has reported that "UK Mail, the postal and parcel delivery company that was until earlier this month was known as Business Post, boosted its interim profits in spite of a fall in revenues as the recession dragged on demand."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Dutch postal and express groupt TNT NV said Thursday that it has launced Direct Express, a new road distribution service in Europe to ship high parcel volumes."

Trading Markets has reported that "Hungary's state-owned postal services Magyar Posta plans to enter the local mobile market, local newspaper Portfolio reports. Magyar Posta will launch MVNO services using Vodafone's network. Magyar Posta plans to sell handsets and mobile services with pre-paid cards in regions of the country where domestic operators have no sales points."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
Inquiry into Suspended Post Offices ,
59997–59998 [E9–27778]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service will no longer forward “Dear Santa” letters to Kris Kringle’s elves in North Pole, citing security concerns and putting in doubt the future of a volunteer letter-answering effort that dates back 55 years. North Pole Mayor Doug Isaacson has called on Alaska’s congressional delegation to intervene, saying the Postal Service is “running roughshod” over the city of North Pole, whose very identity is tied to Christmas. “What grinch would conceive of something so sinister?” Isaacson said. “We are known worldwide for being special because of our association with Christmas. Businesses and civic organizations gear up for this. That’s when we’re able to really demonstrate the spirit of Christmas.” U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski wrote a letter to the postmaster general asking him to preserve the tradition." See also KTUU, USA Today, and Fox News.

Hellmail has reported that "Ceska Posta, the Czech Republic postal service, has just launched a new international parcel service. International Commercial Parcel (EPG) is a new express service offering a fast, safe and favourably priced solution to Czech customers that need to mail parcels abroad. The postal operator said yesterday that EPG will meet the needs of both individuals and businesses mailing current messages and private correspondence, gifts, documents or goods abroad."

American Postal Workers Union President William Burrus has told his members that "As the Postal Service struggles with severe financial losses, postal commentators pontificate on the steps that must be taken to ensure its return to solvency. The standard line espoused by spokesmen for the major mailers is that the postal workers must lower their expectations for wages, benefits and working conditions. In addition, these pundits suggest that management must be provided greater flexibility in the assignment of employees."

The Daily Times has reported that "The Senate Standing Committee on Postal Services on Wednesday called on Pakistan Post to improve its service standards, especially in the rural areas, by making it more efficient and reliable."

According to Advertising Age, "Ad-industry employment has increased for the first time in a year, a hopeful sign of recovery following a deep recession. But there is reason to be cautious as there could be more job cuts ahead."

At the MTAC WG 122 meeting today, the USPS shared its policies for verification and sampling procedures for Full-Service IMb.  USPS said it plans to publish the information through a DMM Advisory, perhaps later this week.  This information will include scenarios at acceptance that could result in the mailer losing their Full Service discount, and/or their ACS information.  An example of this policy is that in the sampling of scanning container labels, if there were only one label missing or without an IM barcode, no issue, but if there are two or more, the whole mailing will lose its Full Service discount.  There are also unresolved issues with what happens when the mailing loses Full Service and goes at Basic IMb but then all the Service Type ID codes on the pieces are wrong because they were Full Service, not Basic. These policies go into effect when the IMb price discount takes effect on Nov 29.

As the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has noted, "In its 10-k, the Postal Service honestly reported that 2009 was a terrible year. Its forecast for 2010 is not much better ."

November 18, 2009

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

The Telegraph has a report on: "Post Office closures: How the Government ignored the public outcry." A scathing report from the Public Accounts Committee has said the Government ignored complaints over its plans to close 2,500 Post Offices. But the findings came as no surprise to one man whose own branch was forced to close last December. See also the Daily Mail. (See also item below.)

Okay, postal wonks. If you're not yet bored to death, get and read this: "Oversight of the Post Office Network Change Programme HC 832, Fifty-third Report of Session 2008-09 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence"


At today's MTAC meeting: 
  • Bob Bernstock, USPS President of Mailing and Shipping Services stated that there will be no winter sale and that the USPS is focusing on a spring sale.
  • Bernstock also stated that the summer sale earned close to two to three times the anticipated amount for the USPS.
  • USPS FCM growth initiatives for 2010 include: Pricing stimulus (fall sale); Bills and Statements (second ounce price break and a rebate on courtesy reply returns); Business class mail (sits between FCM and Standard); Vote-by-mail; and Technology (scanning platform).
  • USPS Marketing Mail growth initiatvies for 2010 include: Incentive (spring sale and NSAs); Market Segment (catalogs, saturation mail, periodicals, samples); Small Business Initiatives
  • The USPS explained that its upcoming spring sale will be in the form of a "rewards" program, where customers earn points over the three spring months. Customers can then redeem those points up to six months after-the-fact on certain products. This is being designed to ensure that customers will reinvest into mail and not take the postal rebate/discount off their bottom line. Discount levels have yet to be determined.
  • USPS announced that it will extend the EMD usage through March 14, 2010, while it looks to see what service can/will replace those using EMD.
  • Financial Update by Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett
  • Presentation by Deputy Postmaster General Pat Donahoe on "Progress with the Postal Act of 2006."

    From the presentation by Donahoe:
     
  • Service Measurement and Reporting
  • Focus on Passive Service Measurement
  • System using Intelligent Mail and existing equipment
  • Further Service Reporting Implementation for March 2010
  • For Measurement systems beyond passive collection, the expense will need to be covered through an exigent rate case

According to John Lenser, "On the one hand, there are those who predict the wholesale demise of cataloging:. However, others maintain that catalogs continue to play a unique role that will ensure a strong and vibrant industry. I personally believe that catalogs will remain an important component of multichannel marketing. Catalogs and other forms of direct mail will continue to be the most effective form of “push” marketing because they are targeted and accountable. By push, I mean that it is proactive, intrusive, educates the consumer about products and creates desire. In contrast, retail stores and websites are “pull” marketing and passive. The consumer must travel to the store or log on to the website already knowing what they want to purchase."

According to Marketing Direct, "Traditionally, ad agencies brand-build while direct specialists acquire and retain customers. However, as more marketers assign direct agencies to multi-faceted briefs, the tide may be turning."

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

China Post Group’s postal segment recorded a slower growth in September.
The German Government won’t abolish Deutsche Post’s privileged status on turnover tax in the beginning of 2010.
A decline in mail volume caused a decrease in turnover by 6.6% in the first three quarters of 2009 for Post Danmark.
After three quarters the Österreichische Post hast to cope with a decrease in turnover and earnings.
Bad news for Royal Mail again. Only days after the expensive conflict with the trade union CWU, the tax authorities showed up. According to HM Revenue & Customs Royal Mail hast to charge VAT on most of its services. HMRC’s thereby draw the conclusions from a lawsuit initiated by TNT. With the legal proceedings TNT successfully tackled the exemption of Royal Mail from charging VAT; in the future Royal Mail has to charge VAT on a lot of services for business customers.
Switzerland’s new postal law won’t be beneficial for customers.
Austria’s parliamentary commitee on transport passed the draft of the new postal law with the votes of the ruling parties last week.
Deutsche Post wants to increase the competition in the german market for logistic services related to the press.
The first ’personal daily newspaper’ njiu was delivered this Monday in Berlin. After almost three years of development this idea, which was developed by two students of business studies at Berlin’s university of Applied Sciences, started (CEP-NEWS 08/09). Customers may compile their personal newspaper from regional, supraregional and international papers.
Civil servants made redundant by Österreichische Post during the next years may become support workers for the police force.
Due to a data glitch it was possible to access thousands of billing and address data of Post Office shop’s customers. Deutsche Post acknowledged this last week.
Deutsch Post’s so called’Online-Brief’ will be released under a different product name next year. Deutsche Post regards the new project as an ’extension of the postal supply space into the internet.’ The next stages of development will be print and scan services, similar to Swiss Post’s one."
Deutsche Post now competes with the German Yellow Pages on the Internet.
Deutsche Post CEO Appel canceled former plans of Deutsche Post to develop a free newspaper.
In the light of ’serious issues in the letter business’ Deutsche Post calls for the renunciation of the nationwide provison of postal services. ’Do we need exactly 12,000 stores nationwide? This regulation isn’t seasonable any more’, Deutsche Post CEO Appel said in an interview with news magazine »Focus« (15.11).

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.)

Graphic Arts has reported that "Consumers are taking control of in-bound communication channels, unsubscribing to irrelevant email, and defecting from brands that continue to deliver irrelevant content and random mass mailings, according to a new poll from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and InfoPrint Solutions Company. While 64 percent of consumers say promotional offers dominate both the email and traditional mail they receive, only 41 percent view these as must-read communications. Of the 91 percent of consumers who opt out or unsubscribe to emails, 46 percent are driven to brand defection because the messages are simply not relevant. The threat of customer churn and disconnection intensifies as 41 percent of consumers say they would consider ending a brand relationship due to irrelevant promotions, and an additional 22 percent say they would definitely defect from the brand. Yet, while marketers continue to weigh the pros and cons of email versus printed postal mail, consumers are much more concerned about the level of individualization and understanding of their needs and relationship with the brand."

Indian Express has reported that "In an attempt to further streamline the process of issuing driving licences in the city, the Transport department of the Delhi government has now decided to switch to the good old Indian postal service instead of relying on private courier services for delivery of the smart-card based licences.

Θ Environmental Leader has reported that "In its first-ever sustainability report, the U.S. Postal Service showed a decrease in total energy use of 9 percent from 2005 to 2008. In 2008 the agency used 123 million gigajoules, compared to 131 million GJ in 2007, 134 million GJ in 2006 and 136 million GJ in 2005. The USPS reduced energy use at its facilities by 18 percent from 2005 to 2008, or about 14 percent per piece of mail delivered, according to the 2008 Sustainability Report: “Delivering a Greener Tomorrow.”

Marketing Week has reported that "Direct mail has stood up well to the challenges posed by the recession and the channel carries weight in the boardroom, according to Marketing Week’s Direct Mail Attitudes survey. The survey found that 56% of marketers believe that direct mail has influence with the top executives or board members at their companies. Just 5% report that the recession has had a “very bad” effect on the channel, while 7% claim the downturn has had no effect at all."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Service
PROPOSED RULES
Unpaid and Shortpaid Information Based Indicia Postage Meters and PC Postage Products ,
59494–59496 [E9–27628] [TEXT]  [PDF]

KMOX has reported that "Despite cost cutting in the postal service it still went 3.8 billion dollars into the red last year. That could mean more cost cutting measures in the future including the possibility of eliminating Saturday mail delivery."

National Public Radio has noted that "The volume of mail handled by the U.S. Postal Service fell by 13 percent in fiscal 2009, a drop of 25 billion pieces of mail. Anthony Conway, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, says e-mail and the current recession have been a double-whammy for the Postal Service."

Parcel2Go has reported that "European Court of Justice has told Royal Mail it must incorporate VAT in its private deals. Businesses may start using alternative parcel delivery services to those offered by Royal Mail after a court ruled it cannot be exempt from VAT on private contracts. European law currently states that publicly-owned postal service organisations do not have to pay the charge, as they provide a universal service. However, the European Court of Justice ruled that the exemption cannot be applied to private contracts Royal Mail has with various firms, in a case brought forward by rival parcel delivery provider TNT."

As the Federal Times has noted, "Daniel Indiviglio, writing on The Atlantic’s business blog, looks at the Postal Service’s gloomy FY09 financial results and declares 5-day mail delivery a “reasonable idea.” Then he looks a little further ahead — and predicts 5-day could eventually give way to even less frequent delivery. Indiviglio casts that as a positive — the Postal Service responding to the changing way Americans use mail (and, increasingly, don’t use mail). Interestingly, though, I often hear the same argument presented by union leaders and many postal employees as a criticism of 5-day. They view the end of Saturday delivery as a stalking horse for 4-day, 3-day, etc. And they see it as a negative, both because of its impact on postal workers and because they see it as selling off the agency’s competitive advantage."

According to Advertising Age, "As if the U.S. Postal Service's rate hikes weren't bad enough. Now traditional delivery is getting in the way of technological innovation meant to bring print into the 24th (and a half) century....Subscribers' mailing labels cover up the symbol that triggers the whole thing in the first place."

According to the News Leader, "Postal Service workers and officials are at odds whether a proposal to consolidate operations at a Charlottesville distribution center to Richmond would slow mail service in Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "FedEx Corp. (FDX) Chief Executive Frederick Smith said he expects holiday season volume to rise 8% over a year ago, partly helped by market share gains. "Christmas won't be a disaster," Smith said during The Wall Street Journal CEO Council conference Monday. The shipping company is often seen as an indicator for how well the broader economy fares. He said he expects fourth-quarter gross domestic product growth to exceed 4%, and GDP growth to exceed 3% in the following few quarters."

November 17, 2009

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast . . . More on Move Update

Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito and The Bennett Group President Mary Ann Bennett in a discussion of the trials and travails of complying with Move Update.

According to DC Velocity, "Businesses ship a lot of air, driving up costs in a number of ways. Companies typically select packaging based on marketing or other considerations without giving much thought to the supply chain implications, he says. As a result, they end up using more packaging than they need, creating enormous waste and unnecessary expense. He advocates with some passion that logistics professionals should become more involved in decisions about the packages their companies use to ship freight."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: "Live audio broadcast will air at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 18. This hearing – in Docket No. N2009-1 – provides witnesses the opportunity to enter rebuttal testimony into the record. Links to the audio will be posted here approximately 10 minutes prior to the broadcast."

dBusiness News has reported that "Lone Star Overnight (LSO), a Texas-based regional overnight package delivery company, is introducing a competitive multiple-package shipment rating option. Effective today, shippers may choose LSO's new Multi-PakSM pricing for multi-package shipments destined for the same address. The Multi-Pak option is available on all qualifying ground domestic shipments throughout the LSO delivery area, which includes the entire state of Texas; Oklahoma; western Louisiana; eastern New Mexico; and Texarkana, Ark. While most national small-package ground carriers require a 200-pound minimum for their multi-package pricing, LSO's Multi-Pak option will be available for shipments weighing just 100 pounds or more. Additionally, the assessorial fees associated with Multi-Pak, including residential fee maximums, are priced lower than those of national competitors."

ABC.az has reported that "The two-day meeting of the expert groups of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states and the 8th meeting of CIS states’ Section on interlibrary loan system kicks off in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, to finalize the draft agreement on preferential postal rates in the interlibrary loan system of CIS member states. The Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies of Azerbaijan informs that at the event Azerbaijan is represented by Subhan Kazimov the director general of Azerpocht LLC."

According to The Atlantic, "Late yesterday, the U.S. Postal Service reported that it lost $3.8 billion in the 2009 fiscal year. As you might guess, people just aren't using "snail mail" like they used to. The suggestion to shave some more off their costs? Cut Saturday service. That would save an estimated $3.5 billion per year. I think this is a pretty reasonable idea. These days, few people sending letters or packages through USPS care too much about timely delivery. If they did, they could still use UPS or FedEx. Instead, postal service could just act as a cheaper alternative -- with no Saturday service. I think, personally, I could live with that. And I suspect businesses could too. After all, Saturday isn't a business day anyway. The biggest problem I could see would be for those who pay their bills via USPS. An extra day for payments in-transit could translate to more late fees. Of course, this problem should take care of itself before too long -- once people realize that Saturday service has ended, and they need to mail their checks a day earlier. It's consumers' responsibility to understand how to get their bills in on-time, even if the mail service changes its policies. Besides, with each day that passes more and more Americans are choosing online or phone-based payment options, rather than rely on the mail."

From PR-Inside: "Melissa Data ( www.melissadata.com), a provider of data quality and data enrichment solutions, announced today a new solution that allows users to identify where Internet visitors are coming from to help increase click-through and sales. The new IP Locator Object, which is available as either an API or as a Web service, helps companies identify an Internet user’s geographical location, including country, region, city, lat/long, ZIP Code™, ISP and domain name, all without invading, or being perceived as invading, the visitor’s privacy."

CNN Money has reported that "FedEx Corp. is announcing a sensor-enabled device that can wirelessly feed real-time data about a package's whereabouts, condition and other metrics to the Internet. The service, called SenseAware, will launch this spring. Its initial target markets are the health-care and life-sciences businesses, industries that often need to know the precise location of the products (drugs, test results, samples) they ship. The new device, when attached to a parcel, contains senors that can provide temperature readings, data on whether a shipment has been opened or exposed to light, and precise data about a package's location."

The BBC has reported that "A debate is to be held in the Scottish Parliament to examine the future of the nation's sub-postmasters."

November 16, 2009

Press Release: "The Bermuda Post Office, under the Ministry of Energy, Telecommunications and E-Commerce, launched its offering of Registered Email services in partnership with RPost, as an official Bermuda Postal Service to Bermuda’s domestic and international businesses."

"The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) today filed its 2009 fiscal year-end financial results, showing a net loss of $3.8 billion for the year — despite cost-cutting efforts resulting in $6 billion in cost savings and a $4 billion reduction in required payments for retiree health benefits. Cost savings reflect a reduction of 40,000 career USPS employees as well as reductions in overtime hours, transportation and other costs. The $4 billion reduction in required retiree health benefit payments was passed into law for fiscal 2009 to allow USPS to maintain fiscal solvency while continuing to provide universal, affordable service to the nation."  You can find the USPS' 10-K at:
http://www.usps.com/financials/_pdf/FY_2009_10K_Report_Final.pdf

CNN Money has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) said it expects to ship about 400 million packages worldwide between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a figure it described as "up slightly" from 2008. The package-delivery giant forecast 22 million shipments on what it expects to be its peak day, Dec. 21."

The latest blog entry has been posted today on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s 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/
 
  • Betting on the Postal Service? How can companies harness hidden knowledge located throughout the enterprise?  Supporters of prediction markets claim they offer a way.  Should the Postal Service introduce prediction markets?
 
You can visit Office of Inspector General’s 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 Fleet Owners Blog, "when shippers ask for overnight, next day, second day, next business day, etc., all they REALLY care about is that the package is delivered when it has been contracted to be delivered – however it happens. “Carrier pigeons are okay if that works also,” Berger said. “That means trucking is not necessarily a competing type of transportation in many cases but a part of a transportation network that helps to make commerce work successfully where and when working together." [EdNote: Amen, brother.]

Marketing Direct has reported that "Royal Mail has been told that it will soon be forced to begin charging valued added tax (VAT) for many of its services, but not on direct mail because its delivery is price-controlled and subject to regulation."

The Daily Progress has reported that "More than 50 postal workers from the Charlottesville region rallied alongside U.S. 29 on Sunday to protest the possible closure of the Albemarle County Airport Road mail processing center."

PhillyBurbs has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is getting into the greeting-card business and using a local branch as a test site. More than half of the 7 billion greeting cards sold in the United States are sent through the mail, according to the Postal Service. The government agency is offering onsite greeting-card sales as a way to help meet customers' shipping and mailing needs as well as grow revenue."

From OfficialWire: "This Industry Market Research report provides a detailed analysis of the Global Logistics - Air Freight industry, including key growth trends, statistics, forecasts, the competitive environment including market shares and the key issues facing the industry. Industry Definition The industry includes businesses which provide air transport of commercial and private cargo, on either scheduled or non-scheduled routes. It includes air transportation that is part of a national postal system but excludes door-to-door courier services."


News-Antique has reported that "Rare postage stamps and covers from the collection of PIMCO Founder William H. Gross will be offered in a public auction in New York, Nov., 19, 2009, to benefit the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

The Daily Times has reported that "Pakistan Post will open 100 express centres, including six centers in Lahore, to facilitate traders and industrialists across the country, Deputy Post Master General Nasir Hassan said in a press statement on Sunday. The first centre would open in Lahore next month, the statement said. The express centres would offer all the postal facilities to customers including urgent mail service (UMS), fax money order (FMO), international speed post (ISP), registry and parcel. The centres would also provide money transfer facilities. According to the statement, the Pakistan Post would establish 45 express centres in Punjab and six would be established in Lahore alone. He said the first centers in the city would open during next month. staff report."

NBC29 has reported that "Postal workers are protesting plans to shut down the mail sorting center that serves all of central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. More than 60 union members from across the Commonwealth picketed in front of Charlottesville’s main post office on Route 29. They say consolidation plans that would close the processing center on Airport Road would slow down local service, because all mail would go through Richmond. The U.S. Postal Service says it will transfer most of the workers, but 68 jobs would be lost."

From the Grand Forks Herald: "Viewpoint: Don't shut the door of FedEx."

Deadtree Edition has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service's recent Summer Sale on Standard Class mail boosted catalog volume, according to a major paper company executive. Richard D. Willett Jr., President and CEO of NewPage, cited the program as a significant factor in the recently improved outlook for coated paper. “Several of our catalog customers took advantage of discounted rates on incremental volumes and increased their Third Quarter mailing volumes by more than 20 percent over prior budgets,” he said in a presentation to analysts on Tuesday. He also applauded USPS's recent decision to freeze postage rates in 2010, saying that would help demand improve."

November 15, 2009

From the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer:

  • The choice of labor law (Postal Reorganization Act (PRA) vs. National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) vs. Railway Labor Act (RLA)) going forward for the USPS may not be clear, FedEx has a clear preference for keeping the FedEx Express Service under the provisions of the RLA. FedEx Express's current position under the action has been under attack by United Parcel Service and the Teamsters who would prefer that that FedEx Express status be changed so that it would be covered under the NLRA.
  • In a recent post (Does Labor Law Matter for the USPS), this blog raised the point that the Postal Service, its labor unions, and other policymakers and stakeholders should think carefully about the potential impact of changing the Postal Service's labor law. One of the options that is available would have the Postal Service operate under the Railway Labor Act (RLA). The Airline Pilot's Association provides a detailed overview in question and answer format of bargaining under the RLA. It is presented below in its entirety. Readers interested in seeing all the questions in a list should follow the link the Airline Pilot's Association website.
  • FedEx won a major victory last week in its efforts to retain its current operating model at FedEx Ground. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) dropped its tax assessments related to FedEx Grounds use of contract delivery drivers for the years 2004-2006. This follows a similar IRS decision for 2002. FedEx expects that the remaining assessments that it contests or 2007 and 2008 will be dropped as well. The action by the IRS should remove any immediate threat at the federal level to FedEx Ground's use of 15,000 contract drivers. The IRS's actions do not affect suits brought by a number of state attorney generals that FedEx Ground's use of contractors violates state labor laws.

Boy Genius has reported that "The Galileo navigation satellite project has been in the works for some time now in Europe, spearheaded mainly by the drive to mitigate reliance on U.S. satellite guidance systems. Galileo will, in theory, “offer greater accuracy — down to a meter and less; and greater penetration — in urban centers, inside buildings, and under trees; and a faster fix” when compared to the U.S. run GPS satellites. The new system is set to be offered with a tiered service model, five tiers to be exact, and will also come with an integrity check of sorts, warning users if and when their reported location may not be exactly bang on. Any good news for those of us stateside? Sure is. The U.S. and EU have agreed to make both the GPS and Galileo systems interoperable; newer navigation hardware will be able to position you using either constellation as well as benefit from any future improvements to the United States’ system. Europe started launching Galileo ’sputniks’ into orbit in December of 2005 and the main constellation is set to go live sometime in 2010."

Warehouse & Logistics News has reported that "DHL Supply Chain has taken significant steps forward in reducing its carbon footprint and boosted customer service levels with the introduction of integrated planning and satellite vehicle tracking for its Triumph office furniture contract. DHL uses the real-time Fleet Controller solution from Paragon Software Systems which enables more efficient deliveries of thousands of items to numerous sales outlets and sites throughout the UK. In addition, the system provides enhanced levels of vehicle security and improves health and safety for DHL’s drivers."

A report on UPS' financials can be found on Yahoo! Finance.

According to Barron's, "Although the global economy remains shaky, FedEx (ticker: FDX) has upside for the long haul. It has a growing footprint in big overseas markets like China, enough operating leverage to boost earnings when volumes ramp up, and solid growth at its very profitable FedEx Ground unit. In fact, FedEx and its main rival, United Parcel Service (UPS), "are likely to become a global duopoly, and both companies have nearly insurmountable barriers to entry," says Keith Schoonmaker, a senior stock analyst at Morningstar."

November 14, 2009

The Times has reported that "Royal Mail is a disgrace. Critics say that the company needs to be dragged into the 21st century, but that’s far too optimistic — the 20th century would be a good start. Even that is probably an insult to the Victorian postal service."

The Isle of Wight County Press has reported that "an enterprising former IT trainer is poised to start his own postal service on the Island."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Product ,
59015–59016 [E9–27377]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

According to DM News, "John Potter, postmaster general and CEO of the US Postal Service, used the open session of the November 13 USPS Board of Governors meeting to press again for structural reform of the agency, insisting that real reform must reduce the number of delivery days from six to five per week. Reform legislation also must address the “impossible demands” of the current prefunding schedule for retiree health benefits and it must give the USPS freedom to use its extensive retail network to pursue new sources of revenue, Potter said. "

The Rocky Mount Telegram has reported that "Local mail carriers are being misinformed by their supervisors that the post office is trimming a day from weekly delivery starting next October, the head of the local postal worker’s union said. Postal officials deny the allegation. Carriers continue to be inaccurately informed that the service will be cut from six to five days next year, said Dave Bellware, president of Branch 1321 of the National Association of Letter Carriers representing those working Rocky Mount."

November 13, 2009

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast On Move Update

Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito, Grayhair Software postal affairs vice president Angelo Anagnostopoulos, and Grayhair Software product development and management vice president Raymond Chin in a discussion of  Move Update.

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

  • Legislative relief, service performance, and continuing financial losses were the major themes of the USPS Board of Governors open session held this week. The annual financials will be released on Monday of next week and were not discussed during the open session. The Postal Service did exceed its promised 100 million workhour reduction goal, by achieving 115 million workhour reduction, the equivalent of 65,000 full-time employees.
  • This week, the U.S. Postal Service revealed that it will be streamlining its hard copy postage statements to improve efficiencies of its Business Mail Acceptance processes. Starting March 15, 2010, at acceptance facilities using PostalOne!, the USPS will no longer fill out the USPS only section of the form nor round-stamp the document.
  • The U.S. Postal Service is trying to provide greater clarification regarding the difference between Mailer IDs (MIDs) and Customer Registration IDs (CRIDs). It has provided information to PostCom to share with its members.
  • Mary Ann Bennett, President of The Bennett Group, Inc., speaks out about her recent interaction with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
  • According to Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, "The Postal Service has many problems not of its own making. What it doesn't need are postal employees creating new ones that could drive its largest customers away."
  • The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers (ANM) earlier this week filed comments with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) in response to the Postal Service’s October 15, 2009, notice of market dominant price adjustment and classification changes related to move update assessments [see PostCom Bulletins 43-09, 45-09, 46-09]. PostCom, DMA and ANM asked the Commission to “reject the Postal Service's notice as unsupported,” and “require the Postal Service to define, to this Commission's satisfaction, clearly defined standards that articulate both its Move Update requirements, and the rules the Postal Service intends to apply in the Move Update verification process.”
  • The Postal Regulatory Commission’s Public Representative also weighed in on the USPS’ Move Update Assessments notice, Docket No. R2010-1. In its comments, the Public Representative said that it “believes that overall the Move Update assessment policy is in the interest of the general public.” “Taken as a whole,” it said, “the proposed changes are commendable; however there are some issues which deserve further consideration.” The Public Representative’s comments focused on the price the USPS plans to charge for move update compliance, the error tolerance threshold and the USPS’ plans to increase it over time, and the quality and accuracy of move update databases used by customers to comply with the requirements.
  • The Postal Regulatory Commission’s Public Representative also weighed in on the USPS’ Move Update Assessments notice, Docket No. R2010-1. In its comments, the Public Representative said that it “believes that overall the Move Update assessment policy is in the interest of the general public.” “Taken as a whole,” it said, “the proposed changes are commendable; however there are some issues which deserve further consideration.” The Public Representative’s comments focused on the price the USPS plans to charge for move update compliance, the error tolerance threshold and the USPS’ plans to increase it over time, and the quality and accuracy of move update databases used by customers to comply with the requirements.
  • The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer links the recent TNT dealings with its unions to the upcoming USPS contract negotiations.
  • The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer discusses how the November 5th hearings on potential sources of new revenue suggests that revenue generating options suggested by the panel will not generate the $3-5 billion in additional revenue that the Postal Service will need to be truly a viable enterprise, and that the Postal Service's current approach to cutting costs, while more effective than they have been in the past does not do enough to shrink the operating network down to either current levels of demand or even lower levels that are expected in the years to come.
  • Postal One! release 2 CAT testing goes well. USPS releases first ever sustainability report. PRC holds technical conference in Move Update docket. Connolley is skeptic about reduction in mail delivery. More Americans pay bills online. Elmira to reduce postal jobs. More Congressional blah-blah. And this is a joke? FedEx Goes Green.
  • 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.

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Press Release: "Despite continuing economic challenges, the Postal Service (USPS) continues to deliver high levels of service, with 94 percent of customers surveyed rating USPS as “excellent, very good or good” in the period July 1 to Sept. 30, 2009."

From today's U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors meeting:

  • Vice Chairman Louis Giuliano was named the USPS Board Chairman for 2010. Governor Thurgood Marshall, Jr. was named the new Vice Chairman.
  • USPS will get its audit sign-off on Monday of next week and will submit its 10K with the PRC. It will also release 2010 integrated fin plan.
  • The USPS Board audit/finance committee said today that managment's projections of liquidity challenges will continue into next year.

MediaDailyNews has reported that "in contrast to stereotypes or misconceptions, readership of newspapers, while declining, is still relatively strong and part of our routine and culture." [EdNote: So also, one might add, is checking the mailbox to see if there's any new mail.]

Air Cargo World has reported that "The Messenger Courier Association of America (MCAA) is launching an on-line college on Dec. 7. Its first offering will be a webinar on the topic of 62 (c) employee driver reimbursement accountable plans. The new site http://www.mcaa.com will feature webinars and a resource center featuring best business practices, operational issues, merging trends in same-day delivery and tools for entering new markets. The "Courier College" will include a members-only library of documents, forms and an archive previous webinars, as well as access to live webinars. MCAA president Michael Gualtieri said, “MCAA developed Courier College as a way to educate our membership and increase the professional profile of messenger couriers."

MediaDailyNews has reported that "in contrast to stereotypes or misconceptions, readership of newspapers, while declining, is still relatively strong and part of our routine and culture." [EdNote: So also, one might add, is checking the mailbox to see if there's any new mail.]

Air Cargo World has reported that "The Messenger Courier Association of America (MCAA) is launching an on-line college on Dec. 7. Its first offering will be a webinar on the topic of 62 (c) employee driver reimbursement accountable plans. The new site http://www.mcaa.com will feature webinars and a resource center featuring best business practices, operational issues, merging trends in same-day delivery and tools for entering new markets. The "Courier College" will include a members-only library of documents, forms and an archive previous webinars, as well as access to live webinars. MCAA president Michael Gualtieri said, “MCAA developed Courier College as a way to educate our membership and increase the professional profile of messenger couriers."

Seeking Alpha has reported that "Bullish comments out of UPS this morning. Although we’ve been seeing some very weak data out (and commentary) of the transport sector, UPS (UPS) is bucking the trend. They think the recovery is real and could continue throughout 2010 as volumes surge."

NBC LA has asked: "Is Your Mail Actually Safe in Your Mailbox? Your mailbox could turn you into a victim of identity theft."

The Telegraph has reported that "Greene County Board members are debating whether to use the county's geographic information system for mapping new address information for the village of Hillview. Hillview resident Duane Bugg expressed willingness Wednesday to help with the problem out of a concern over past experiences when local ambulances could not find homes quickly during medical emergencies. Bugg said he has had experience working with GIS software and was willing to assist the county's supervisor of assessments in entering data now that the village has, through the U.S. Postal Service, changed post office box numbers to a house and street address system."

The China Post has reported that "lawmakers yesterday blasted the Chunghwa Post Co., Ltd. for poor management of the postal savings fund, citing an aggregate investment loss of up to NT$20.5 billion in 2008."

The Connecticut Post has reported that "East End residents are convinced the fate of their Noble Station Post Office is already signed, sealed and delivered and say the decision is based on socio-economic factors, both of which U.S. Postal Service officials denied at a public hearing Thursday."

Macauhub has reported that "Portuguese postal company Correios de Portugal Thursday in Maputo signed a contract with its Mozambican counterpart to set up Mozambican express mail company, Correios Expresso de Moçambique."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "ustrian postal service provider Oesterreichische Post AG, or Austrian Post, Friday said its third-quarter net profit fell 36%, coming in below analysts' average forecast, as the economic slump reduced the volume of parcels and letters handled and cut into sales. For the full year, it now expects earnings before interest and tax, or EBIT, to come in 10% to 15% below the previous year's level, it said."

Capital Business has reported that "The Government has entered into an agreement with the United Nations to host a global postal meeting in Nairobi next year. Information and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio and the Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), Edouard Dayan, on Wednesday signed a formal agreement on the hosting of the UPU Strategy Conference in Nairobi in September 2010."

Got a law degree/ Looking for a job? Then check this out at the PRC. Position Available: Attorney-Advisor, Associate Grade: Prc - 5 Salary Range: $84,375 - $135,002 Location: Postal Regulatory Commission Office Of The General Counsel 901 New York Avenue, Nw, Suite 200 Washington, Dc 20268-0001/

Transport Intelligence has reported that "DHL Express has announced that it has expanded its partnership with Retail Shipping Associates (RSA). RSA will now act as a preferred retail partner for the DHL Authorized Shipping Center network, supporting DHL international express services at thousands of independently owned or franchised retail shipping centre outlets in the United States."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
Competitive Products Price and Classification Changes ,
58661–58663 [E9–27268]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

Hellmail has reported that "Post Danmark reported an operating profit after tax of DKK 235 million in the first nine months of the year compared with DKK 726 million in the same period last year. Profit from operating activities decreased due to heavy volume declines mainly for letters and parcels. The profit performance has led Post Danmark to maintain the downward adjustment announced in connection with the presentation of Interim Financial Statements for the First Half of 2009. Against this background, the operating profit for the full year is expected to show a marked decline relative to 2008."

The Star Gazette has reported that "U.S. Rep. Eric Massa wants to meet with U.S. Postmaster General John Potter to discuss unanswered questions about moving mail-processing equipment and jobs from Elmira to Rochester."

The Gerson Lehman Group wants to know: "Is the Web Going to Save These Two Freight Behemoths [Fedex & UPS]?"


The agenda for the Nov 17 – 19, 2009 MTAC meeting has been posted on this site.

U.S. Postal Service Streamlines Hard Copy Postage Statement Process What: Media briefing to discuss new streamlined hard copy postage statement process Also: Update on Intelligent Mail Services Customer Acceptance Testing and ACS Who: Tom Day, Senior Vice President, Intelligent Mail and Address Quality Pritha Mehra, Vice President, Business Mail Acceptance and Payment Technologies When: 10:30 a.m. to Noon Friday, November 13, 2009 Where: U.S. Postal Service Headquarters 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW Room 2105 Washington DC 20260-9998

In our ongoing efforts to improve customer service, the Postal Service will continue to improve efficiencies of Business Mail Acceptance processes. Starting March 15, 2010, the Postal Service will streamline the processing of hard copy postage statements. 
 
What Will Change and When?
Starting March 15, 2010, when a customer brings in a hard copy postage statement to accompany a mailing, the Postal Service will no longer fill out the USPS® section of the form nor round-stamp the document. To obtain a receipt, mailers are encouraged to visit the Business Customer Gateway to access PostalOne!, the system of record. This procedural change will speed and improve service and reduce the amount of paper generated.
 
Upon request, a customer may obtain a hard copy receipt of the postage statement or Statement of Mailing/ Weighing and Dispatch Certificate, PS Form 3607, after acceptance and verification are completed. In the upcoming March 15 release of PostalOne!, the Weighing and Dispatch Certificate, PS Form 3607, currently used as a mailing transaction receipt, will be revised and renamed “Mailing Transaction Receipt, PS Form 3607-R.
 
What Will Not Change?
The verification and resolution process will not change; mailers will be notified of any issues, as they are today.
 
 
Call In Information:
Phone Number(s):       800-932-9280
Meeting ID:                  2875226
 
For MeetingPlace problems or issues, please contact the MeetingPlace Help Desk at
1-800-343-1796 or by email at mailto:usps@meetingplace.net
 
To receive the policy statement document prior to the call, please RSVP to patricia.licata@usps.gov or at 202-268-2783. Thank you.
 

FedEx Corp. is collaborating with the Commerce Department's U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) on a trade mission to Turkey starting Nov. 8 for U.S.-based businesses interested in expanding into the Turkish marketplace.

The U.S. Postal Service has had the pleasure of 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 has been designed to provide customers with smart and imaginative solutions on how to plan, design, and launch an effective direct mail campaign. To participate in our final webinar, customers must register using the “reserve a seat” link provided below. The topic to be covered is: 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

November 12, 2009

Graphic Arts Online has reported that "The Bennett Group, Inc. is announcing the 2010 schedule for the nationally acclaimed Mailing Industry Executive Business Administration program (MIEBA). The six day, in-depth MIEBA program is targeted for the mailing company that is looking to enhance existing capabilities, reduce current expenses and increase future profits, and printers who currently mail, or printers who are expanding into mailing. The program, which often qualifies for state and county education/training grants, includes hands-on learning instruction as well as exercises in classrooms and computer labs at The Bennett Group's Mailing Training Institute in Rochester, NY."

CBS Marketing Research News has reported that "China's Online Retail Market grew to USD 18.80 billion (RMB 128.2 billion) with a robust growth of 128.5% in 2008. Online shopping can be a lucrative alternative for companies with competitive advantages in product uniqueness, service or branding. The number of 87.9 million online customers is expected to rise as a result of growing availability of internet access, increasing understanding of online applications, improved online shopping complementary services and expanding investments by companies. The online B2C annual growth is expected to exceed 100% over next two years."

From PR.com: "Certified Business Brokers (CBB) acted as intermediary in the sale of US Global Mail, an internet-based subscription shipping service headquartered in Houston. The company provides mail forwarding and product fulfillment solutions to American expatriates, individuals living in other countries who purchase American goods, and companies both domestic and abroad that are involved in international commerce."

DM News has reported that "Norman Black, director of global media services at UPS, said via e-mail to DMNews that the shipping company does “foresee some general increases,” and “adjustments to both air and ground rates,” but it was not prepared to disclose details."

From PRMinds: "La Poste - SWOT Analysis - Aarkstore Enterprise."

The Washington Post has reported that Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) has said that he is "a little skeptical about [the need to reduce days of mail delivery]. What often happens to large organizations that find themselves in a downward spiral financially is that they end up cutting service and raising prices. I think we need a new business model for the U.S. Postal Service. We're not going to get by by tinkering at the edges. For Congress to agree to [five-day delivery,] we'd have to be convinced that it is in the context of a very high probability of this new business model, whatever it is, being successful and this is part of it. The Postal Service is going to have to persuade members of Congress that this is essential."

The Telegraph has reported that "Ministers showed a “real lack of concern” for people affected by the post office closures programme and ignored the “distress” and “upheaval” it would cause local communities, a Parliamentary report has found."

Hellmail has reported that "Despite an agreement between the Communication Workers Union and Royal Mail to suspend strike action ahead of Christmas, there are already concerns by postal workers that Royal Mail is continuing to push through changes to working practices and that strikes should not have been called off so early by union leaders. Some CWU representatives are claiming that Royal Mail is already breaking the spirit of the agreement, leading to speculation that strikes could resume in the coming weeks unless further talks are arranged to restore what was hoped would be "a period of calm"."

MyBankTracker has reported that "over the past two years banks have tried to successfully integrate their online bill payment service into the mindset of each one of their members. Institutions such as Bank of America have seen great success, so much so that they decided to close 6% of their branches a few months ago. A survey study has been released by Experian Simmons, an organization that monitors the market’s pulse and consumer information, which found that online bill payment has grown by 40% in the past two years. The study also found that as of mid-September, 14% of Americans said that they “always” pay their bills online, up from the 10% who said the same in mid-September 2007. As this mindset continues to grow, it may be interesting this holiday season for the Postal Service when it comes time to pay bills. Don’t be surprised when consumers reach for their mouse, instead of their checkbook and a book of stamps."

November 11, 2009

We've received word from our members that "It’s Veteran’s Day and the Postal Service's appointment system allowed us to make appointments for facilities that aren’t receiving drop ship mail." Nice goin' guys.

The BBC has reported that "The Isle of Man Post Office is warning of a costly postal scam operating on the island."

One writer for the News Leader complains that "The economy is still hurting, and people remain reluctant to spend their hard-earned cash on non-essentials. But alas, the first blizzard of the season has hit my mailbox, and it's only fall."

The Connexion has reported that "The unions, which represent 95% of La Poste workers, are planning the 24-hour walkout on November 24 in protest at a new law that would turn the post office into a company with shareholders."

The Street has reported that "United Parcel Service said Wednesday the U.S. holiday season is likely to be better than expected and it plans to raise rates in 201o."

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

Despite a decrease in turnover and earnings in the third quarter, Deutsche Post is targeting an increased profit for the full year 2009.
After a deficit of 60m euros the Norwegian Posten will shut down its subsidiary Bring Citymail Denmark after three years.
TNT Post made a new proposal to the labour unions to dissolve the conflict about the collective wage agreement. If the employees agree to a salary cut between 2 and 3,5 percent TNT will renounce its planned redundancies of 11,000 employees (CEPNews 14/07). According to the proposal a salary cut by 3.5 percent would only result in the cut of 1,000 jobs until 2012.
The Bill to incorporate French La Poste has passed the Senate on Monday evening.
The Austrian Trade Association has made serious accusations against the Government in anticipation of the new Postal Law.
The Bulgarian Government intends to create basis for the deregulation of the postal market, by a new postal law.
Sandd BV (Sort and Deliver), Netherlands biggest private mailing service gained market shares from the post.
Deutsche Post’s international mail will become more expensive in 2010.
The Austrian Post signed a co-operation treaty with Francotyp-Postalia. The agreement was signed last thursday between the austrian subsidiary of world wide active FP-Group and the Österreichische Post.
UPS plans growth by aquisitions next year.
The Austrian Post is getting into trouble with consecutive temporary employment contracts.
GLS, Royal Mail’s european parcel network, offers a new service to Belgian mail order customers. Private customers may turn in their return consignments in one of the 150 GLS parcel shops. To use this service the mail order companies have to add a return label to the packet.
British B2C-Parcel specialist Home Delivery Network (HDNL) has announced a co-operation with TNT. Since the beginning of November customers of HDNL have access to TNT’s worldwide parcel delivery network. The cooperation will be especially beneficial to retailers, who supply customers abroad.

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.)

Transport Intelligence has reported that "Two major airports and one of Asia's leading cargo handling groups have reported their latest volumes, showing signs that a recovery in the global air freight market is weak but, nevertheless, encouraging."

Hellmail has reported that "TNT Post UK said today it was committed to reducing the environmental impact of its business operations, particularly door drop media, or leafleting, as it is sometimes referred to. A recent report commissioned by TNT highlights some of the myths surrounding doordrop activity, which has led to a negative perception of the industry in some quarters in comparison to other media. The report covers the entire supply line from paper production and printing right through to delivery and recycling. On the TNT UK web site, the company lists selection of myths."

The National Legal and Policy Center has reported that "On September 2, the current president and two former officers of Local 189 of the American Postal Workers Union were indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas on a combined 200 counts, almost all of them wire fraud."

According to the Wall Street Journal, "the holiday shopping season appears to be showing some signs of life, at least for package-delivery giant FedEx Corp."

Inc. magazine has told its readers that "With bankruptcy looming, the U.S. post office needs a major fix. We asked Inc. 500 CEOs how they would approach the problem."

November 10, 2009

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast on e-Docs

Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito and Grayhair Software postal affairs vice president Angelo Anagnostopoulos in a discussion of e-Docs and PostalOne!/IMb.

From FedEx: "We are gratified with the IRS audit team’s decision not to assess any tax or penalty with respect to any of FedEx Ground’s independent contractors, including our FedEx Home Delivery independent contractors for the years 2004 to 2006. This follows the Oct. 30th IRS audit team decision that said they would not assess any tax or penalty with respect to any of FedEx Ground’s independent contractors, including our FedEx Home Delivery independent contractors for the year 2002. While similar issues may be audited for calendar years 2007 and 2008, we believe the Audit Team should reach the same conclusion on these issues for each of those years, as well."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • Live audio broadcast will air at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 12. This technical conference – in Docket No. R2010-1 – provides the Postal Service an opportunity to clarify questions concerning the implementation of a proposal to establish a specific Move Update assessment charge for First-Class Mail and to revise the manner in which the assessment charge will be applied to Standard Mail. Links will be posted here approximately 10 minutes prior to the broadcast. Those interested in listening in should go to www.prc.com by 1:30 p.m. on the 12th and click the appropriate link highlighted there. To facilitate a dialogue, parties are urged to submit specific questions prior to the conference. Questions should be sent to the Postal Service’s designated contact person, Don O’Hara, Manager, Product Redesign, DOHARA@email.usps.gov; and to John D. Waller, John.Waller@PRC.gov.

Chip Design has a story on: "The USPS uses Opal Kelly's FPGA USB 2.0 Modules in a Real-Time Process Control Application Refurbishing old equipment with new ideas and FPGA modules saves the USPS almost $70M."

From PRMinds: "United States Postal Service - SWOT Analysis - Aarkstore Enterprise"

From the Federal Register:

Postal Service
RULES
International Product and Price Changes ,
57890–57899 [E9–26987] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Pricing and Mailing Standards Changes for Shipping Services ,
57899–57904 [E9–26986] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has noted that "The Postal Service has many problems not of its own making. What it doesn't need are postal employees creating new ones that could drive its largest customers away. Mary Ann Bennett provides a detailed illustration of how that is happening today."

Law.com has reported that "E-discovery is a huge expense, even for big companies with lots of resources. United Parcel Service, Inc. is no exception, and its legal department had enough. So the Atlanta-based shipping company managed to save millions of dollars by outsourcing document reviews to companies both here in the United States and overseas. But the mounting scrutiny of document production by opposing counsel and courts, as well as new federal rules relating to e-discovery, convinced UPS that it needed to do more to get costs under control. The company decided to hire a national e-discovery counsel, and it had to be a firm willing to abandon the billable hour."

The Times-Journal has reported that "Fort Payne Postmaster Mary Jo Crabtree said Monday a former postal worker is under investigation for allegedly taking mail. Crabtree would not release the name of the worker, but she said the employee no longer works at the Fort Payne Post Office. “We had quite a few customers call to report missing mail in the area,” Crabtree said. “The target appeared to be birthday cards, but there were also get-well cards and anniversary cards.”

Novinite has reported that "Transport Minister, Alexander Tsvetkov, has submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office the audit report for the state-owned company Bulgarian Posts Jsc for the period January 2007 – June 2009. The auditors have uncovered several violations the gravest of which is related with the purchase of new company cars."

Global Pensions has reported that "TNT Post plans to ask staff to pay pension contributions for the first time as part of a cost cutting measure meant to avoid significant layoffs."

Triangle Business Journal has reported that "FedEx Express will purchase 51 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles from Azure Dynamics Corp. (TSX: AZD). The vehicles will be delivered in November and December; most of those will be put into service at a Bronx, N.Y., station. That station will have an all-hybrid fleet of about 100 trucks."

November 9, 2009

The Postal Service has distributed its first-ever Sustainability Report. A copy has been posted on this site.

The latest blog entry has been posted today on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s 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/
 
  • Disappearing Collection Boxes.  Is removing collection boxes a reasonable cost-cutting move or a strategic mistake that the Postal Service will later regret?  What do you think?
 
You can visit Office of Inspector General’s 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 Chicago Tribune has reported that "There's a little joke that Sen. Orrin Hatch likes to tell about the so-called ''public option'' in the health-care legislation that passed the House by a vote of 220-215 over the weekend. "One big joke in Washington is, if the government ends up running health care, it'll be just like the U.S. Postal Service,'' the Utah Republican told Don Imus this morning in his new saddle at FOX Business Network. "There will be long waiting periods, care would be expensive, and no babies would be delivered without adequate postage."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "TNT Group is still facing falling demand in its key markets with its just released third quarter figures showing modest but significant falls in profits and sales. As compared with the third quarter in 2008, Group Revenue fell by 5.9% to €2.483bn whilst operating profits (Earnings Before Interest and Tax-EBIT) fell by 9.6% to €179m. The Express business, which is the driver of the Group's profits, saw heavy falls in business as compared to last year. The third quarter often sees lower volumes in the Express sector but this year revenue fell by 9% to €1.467bn and EBIT fell by 27.3% to €63m on a year-on-year basis. TNT Group stated that "trading conditions have shown a further stabilisation" but that "Customers continue to trade down to more cost-effective delivery solutions and they continue, on a year-on-year basis, to ship lower weights per consignment and lower consignment volumes". Yet the rate of decline has become "sequentially less negative compared to Q2 2009." The only real growth was seen in emerging markets with China seeing a 19% growth in revenue."

According to Mary Ann Bennett, President & CEO of the Bennett Group, major First-Class Mailers "have a vested interest in making sure they have the absolute most current address data on file for their customers. For decades, they have had in place extraordinarily detailed and extensive processes to assure they have the most current move/address information for their customers. For all these years they have assumed they have been move update compliant by anyone’s standards simply because of the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars they have spent in making sure they have call centers place; processing departments to handle any mail that is returned to them as part of mailing at First class rates. They hear from their local Post Offices about what a great customer they are of the United States Postal Service---what a great partner they are! And then they get a phone call from a Postal Inspector who says "“Technically you have not been in compliance and listen Mr. Mailer, if I go back a period of years, since this regulation has been in place since 1997, technically I could go back and take away every postage discount you have claimed over the last twelve years. I could recover around $80 million but we will settle for just $2.5 million. We are going to settle for this reduced amount and unless you pay this amount, we are going to rescind your mailing privileges.” 

The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has noted that:

  • Given the difficulty of selling eliminating long-standing contract provisions to their members, postal unions and the Postal Service are likely heading toward an arbitrated contract agreement where an arbitrator will be asked to make the choice between jobs and compensation.
  • On November 5th, former Deputy Postmaster General Michael Caughlin suggested that the Postal Service in order to survive must have a much smaller footprint with possibly 150 plants and 400,000 employees....His response raises an important question that opponents of shrinking the network will raise. Can the Postal Service maintain service levels if the network of processing plants shrinks to less than half of its current size?

According to DutchNews, "Postal firm TNT Post has made a new pay proposal to staff which will remove the threat of 11,000 redundancies, the Telegraaf reported at the weekend. The new proposal calls for company-wide pay cuts of between 2% and 3.5%. This would partly come from less generous Sunday work bonuses and increased pension premiums, the paper says. If all members of staff agree to a 3.5% pay cut, the number of compulsory sackings can be reduced to not more than 1,000, a TNT spokesman told the paper."

According to the Heartland Connection, "over 1300 Missouri checks were returned to the IRS due to mailing address errors. To avoid this problem in the future, the IRS recommends using the direct deposit option." See also the Washington Examiner.

The Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service will meet at Postal Service headquarters, 475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, Nov. 12-13. The public is welcome to observe the Board’s open session, scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m., Nov. 13, in the Ben Franklin Room on the 11th floor. The Board is expected to discuss the following items: Friday, Nov. 13 at 8:30 a.m. 1. Call to order and approval of minutes of previous meetings. 2. Remarks of the Chairman of the Board. 3. Remarks of the Postmaster General and CEO. 4. Committee reports. 5. Consideration of fiscal year 2009 10-K, financial statements and Postal Service annual report. 6. Consideration of fiscal year 2010 Integrated Financial Plan. 7. Consideration of fiscal year 2009 comprehensive statement and annual performance plan. 8. Quarterly report on service performance. 9. Tentative agenda for the Dec. 8, 2009, teleconference meeting. 10. Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors. 11. Adjourn.

November 8, 2009

The Washington Post has reported that "House Democrats might use a swig of "black liquor" to help health-care reform go down. Democratic leaders, who have been searching high and low for ways to pay for health-care reform, have fixed their sights on a cellulosic biofuel tax subsidy that could benefit the paper industry, which has been burning a pulp byproduct known as black liquor as fuel since the 1930s."

The Manila Bulletin has reported that "the prevalence of cellular phones and the Internet, among other instant messaging tools, along with the recent financial crisis has affected operations of the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost). Jocelyn Agravante, Philpost 7 1st District Manager said that as the economic crisis badly hit the business sector especially exports, the agency has also seen a decrease in international mail."

Hellmail has a piece on "Royal Mail - Insurrection, Strikes, Strategy and Missed Opportunity."

November 7, 2009

As the Wall Street Journal has reported, "The jobless rate jumped to 10.2% in October, the first time above 10% since the early 1980s. A total of 15.7 million Americans are out of work." [EdNote: Not exactly the harbinger commercial mailers were hoping for on the way into the holiday mailing season.]

The Financial Times has reported that "Royal Mail and the postal union offered starkly different interpretations yesterday of the interim agreement that has allowed strikes to be called off until the new year. As details of the agreement were published, the state-owned company said the deal was "on all key issues the same" as that discussed last month, before members of the Communication Workers Union began five days of national strikes. But the CWU said the agreement contained "significant concessions" by Royal Mail that had mainly emerged in the past few days. Most of the movement appears to concern the negotiating process, disciplinary issues, overtime and a few more specifics on the scope of the final deal, including all aspects of delivery."

KYW has reported that 'A South Jersey congressman is repeating his call for answers regarding plans to close a regional US Postal Service distribution facility early next year, eliminating hundreds jobs. And, if he doesn’t get them soon, the fate of the facility could wind up in court. Congressman Rob Andrews has heard nothing on the planned shutdown of the Philadelphia Logistics and Distribution Center just outside Swedesboro in February."

Reuters has reported that "Dutch mail company TNT NV said on Saturday it had sent a new proposal to unions, which included a maximum pay cut of 3.5 percent, but would prevent massive job cuts. "Keeping jobs comes first," the company said in a letter to its workers, adding the proposal would give more time to help workers to find other jobs."

According to the Star Gazette, "Postal employees on Thursday received their 60-day notice that their jobs in Elmira are being excessed, John Dahl, president of Elmira Local 2255 of the American Postal Workers Union, said Friday. So far, only one mail-processing machine of six was removed from the U.S. Postal Service’s facility at Sullivan Street in Elmira. Workers have not been given any choices yet about where they are going to be excessed to, he said. “They’ve gotten their notices, but there are no jobs that they’re being told they can go into." Also, maintenance workers have not yet received notification, he said."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • Docket No. R2010-1: "Notice of Price Adjustment and Classification Changes Related to Move Update Assessments." The Postal Service proposes to establish a specific Move Update assessment charge for First-Class Mail and to revise the manner in which the assessment charge will be applied to Standard Mail.1 The Commission has received comments on the Postal Service’s proposal from several parties. These comments raise technical questions concerning the implementation of the proposed Move Update assessments. To develop more fully the record in this proceeding, the Commission will convene a technical conference to give the Postal Service an opportunity to clarify these issues in an informal atmosphere. The technical conference will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 12, 2009, in the Commission’s hearing room. [EdNote: For reference, see the comments filed by PostCom, DMA, and the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers.]
  • Docket No. CP2010-8: "Notice And Order Concerning Changes In Rates Of General Applicability For Competitive Products."

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

November 6, 2009

 
The latest issue of the
PostCom Bulletin is available online.
 In this issue: (Competitive Services Price Charts Are Attached.)
REVISED WITH MORE POSTAL NOTES

  • The House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and District of Columbia held a hearing on "More than Stamps: Adapting the Postal Service to a Changing World." The purpose of the hearing is to examine revenue-generation initiatives recently undertaken by the Postal Service in order to further address the agency’s ongoing financial challenges. In addition, the hearing is also expected to discuss existing barriers to the Postal Service’s ability to innovate its operations through the introduction of new products and services.
  • USPS Mailing and Package Services President Robert Bernstock told a House postal oversight panel that PAEA's "pricing freedoms fall short of the freedoms our competitors enjoy in the private sector and matching the private sector freedoms would be appropriate." "In the private sector," he said, "contracts are...not scrutinized by a regulator, which is what is required for each postal contract before it can be signed. For the Postal Service, every contract Is considered a new product and must be approved by our regulator in advance of implementation."
  • In her testimony to the House postal oversight panel, Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway noted that "although the PAEA allows the Postal Service to make a profit, it imposes clear obligations." "The Postal Service," she stressed, "must provide universal service to bind the Nation together, compete fairly and legally, afford preferential price treatment to some mailers, operate with transparency and accountability, and refrain from abusing its monopoly power." In addition, it was "expected to pay its own way."
  • USPS's financial condition for fiscal year 2009 and its financial outlook continue to be challenging. In fiscal year 2009, mail volume declined about 28 billion pieces, or about 14 percent, from the prior fiscal year, when volume was about 203 billion pieces; revenue declined from about $75 billion to about $68 billion.
  • Former Deputy Postmaster General and former Accenture postal consulting vice president Michael Coughlin told the House postal oversight panel that "most Posts in the industrialized, developed world have made significant efforts over the last 20 years to expand their revenue bases beyond traditional mail services." Within the U.S., Coughlin said, things are considerably different than they are overseas. In the U.S., he said, "there is a very strong philosophical aversion in this country to a government entity competing in private markets, with goods and services that are already available from private sources."
  • Robert A.F. Reisner, President of Transformation Strategy (and former vice president in charge of the Postal Service's strategic planning office) told the House postal subcommittee that "there is broad consensus that bold action must be taken to reinvigorate the postal system. And fortunately there are real and tangible opportunities to create new value for postal customers." Three such areas for potential, future growth could come from “enabling the last mile”, “extending democracy’s reach” and “promoting green routes.”
  • The Board of Governors voted and approved increases to USPS prices for all of its shipping services. The prices will increase on January 4 by an average of 3.3 percent for Express Mail, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service, and some international shipping products.
  • The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) and the Direct Marketing Association earlier this week filed comments with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) in response to its proposed rule concerning the Postal Service’s reporting of service performance measurement for market-dominant products.
  • The U. S. Postal Service earlier this week submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) its comments on the PRC’s proposed changes in the way it reports service performance for market-dominant products. The USPS opposed the PRC’s proposal for reporting service performance at the market-dominant product level on a quarterly basis, although it outlined its capabilities for such reporting for some First-Class Mail and Package Services products beginning in FY 2010.
  • This week, the U.S. Postal Service responded on time to the Postal Regulatory Commission Presiding Officer's Information Request (POIR). There were six questions asked concerning different aspects of the USPS Move Update proposal that was filed last month.
  • 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."
  • PostCom has made available to its members two key support tools to help interpret the Postal Service’s new flats deflection standards, currently scheduled for implementation on January 4, 2010. A new PostCom webcast (mms://205.178.146.41/637842/droop.test.wmv) features PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance, and USPS Mail Classification Specialist Bill Chatfield in a demonstration of the flats deflection test used to determine the acceptability of flats mail pieces for machinability.
  • 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.

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Publishing Executive has reported that:

  • Developments in the e-reader market are happening faster than anyone can keep track of. It seems that new products are being released on a daily basis. And each of these products feature new, interesting and advantageous technologies.
  • A recent report issued by research and advisory firm mediaIDEAS projects sales of e-readers to grow from nearly 6 million units in 2010 to 115 million units in 2013, largely due to falling prices and rapidly advancing technology. "The E-Paper E-Reader Phenomenon" outlines the dramatic growth of these display devices over the next 10 years into a $25 billion market. Nick Hampshire, who authored the report, told Publishing Executive Inbox that magazine publishers must recognize the looming shift in the way consumers read content and realize that the "e-reader threat" has arrived and actually presents publishers with a real opportunity. The full report is available at www.mediaideas.net.

The UPS Board of Directors today declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.45 per share on all outstanding Class A and Class B shares. The dividend is payable Dec. 3, 2009, to shareholders of record on Nov. 16, 2009. UPS has either increased or maintained its dividend every year for four decades. [EdNote: As for the Postal Service . . . .Well, yesterday it declared that it was in a state of hurt.]

Government Executive has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service must look for new ways to generate revenue beyond simply reducing its workforce, said lawmakers and witnesses during a House hearing on Thursday. Employee layoffs are not the only solution to digging the agency out of debt, said Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform's federal workforce subcommittee. "It would be a mistargeting of our problems to look at the backs of our employees." But Lynch expressed disappointment over the agency's consolidation and cost-savings efforts thus far, particularly because recent buyout offers have not generated enough employee interest to reduce the Postal Service workforce."

The Philadelphia Inquirer has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has violated federal regulations by failing to provide financial details that justify the planned closing of a mail-processing facility in Gloucester County, according to U.S. Rep. Robert E. Andrews. The Postal Service has said it would save $3.3 million, plus a "significant" amount in labor costs, by shuttering the Philadelphia Logistics and Distribution Center in Logan Township, the South Jersey Democrat said. The facility employs about 600 people. Andrews said yesterday that he had been denied an accounting of how the savings would be achieved. He said he sent Postmaster General John E. Potter a letter yesterday demanding information."

Пари has reported that "Bulgarian Posts will be restructured and stabilised financially, minister of transport and ICT Alexandar Tsvetkov said. The changes will help Bulgaria meet its commitments to the European Union for liberalisation of the sector and giving all citizens access to the universal postal service at reasonable prices. The amendments made to the Postal Services Act were aimed at opening the market to private companies and modernising services, Tsvetkov pointed out. About 70% of the post offices make losses, so staff reduction will be initiated to optimise labour costs. Bulgarian Posts will be split into five subsidiaries in which the state will keep 51%. That will secure fresh capital without the future investors having to own assets, as they will get dividends from the subsidiaries. The scheme will become effective within a month, the transport minister forecast."

InTheNews has reported that "The Communication Worker's Union (CWU) has released the interim agreement with Royal Mail which called off strikes yesterday. The union said the interim agreement contained significant developments and concessions which had emerged in the last few days. The nationwide postal strikes which were due to take place today and Monday were called off last night. The third round of the industrial action was set to involve 121,000 Royal Mail workers and was due to be the most disruptive of the strike actions yet. The interim agreement released by the CWU shows postal workers will work normally during the Christmas period, "ensuring they get the chance to earn extra money". The union said, most importantly, the interim agreement is "very specific on how a full and final agreement will be shaped. It guarantees that Royal Mail will agree change and that workers will get real benefits from the modernisation of the business".

PersonnelToday has reported that "he postal workers union has climbed down over its decision to mount a legal challenge against Royal Mail's policy to employ 30,000 agency workers to clear the backlog of post. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) had been due to go to the High Court today, to seek an injunction to stop Royal Mail using the temporary staff to conduct the work of striking postal staff – something Royal Mail strongly denied. It is not clear whether the union will press ahead with the injunction in the New Year, or what the reasons were behind the change of heart."

The Telegraph has reported that "A pensioner has complained that a postal worker refused to hand over a parcel to him unless his nine-day-old baby granddaughter signed for it."

From PRLog: "World Marketing Inc. (WMI), a direct marketing company specializing in end-to-end quality services for literature fulfillment, lettershop and statement processing, is pleased to announce that Brown Printing Company has selected WM’s Inside Track product as their mail tracking tool branded as Smart Mail Management."

Advertising Age has reported that "WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell not only thinks the contraction of the newspaper and magazine industry will continue, but that it needs to continue. In keynote remarks that opened this week's Ad-Tech in New York, Mr. Sorrell cited the over-capacity of supply and inventory as a major problem holding back the re-stabilization of the media business. He also predicted that ad agencies would be getting "very much more involved" in the development of content and that the lines between advertising and editorial are going to get "much more blurred" than they already are today."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Product ,
57536–57537 [E9–26806] [TEXT]  [PDF]
57537 [E9–26809] [TEXT]  [PDF]
57538 [E9–26811] [TEXT]  [PDF]

The Washington Post has reported that "A congressional hearing on the future of the U.S. Postal Service can be one depressing experience. The sky outside the Rayburn House Office Building was bright Thursday morning, but it was all gloom and doom in Room 2154. Members of a Committee on Oversight and Government Reform panel explored novel ways the Postal Service might pull itself from deep debt -- selling birthday cards, for instance -- but what they heard was apprehension about the future and dismal reports about the past." If you missed yesterday's hearing, go here:
http://c-span.org/Watch/Media/2009/11/05/HP/A/25549/House+Oversight+Subcmte+ Hearing+on+Adapting+the+US+Postal+Service.aspx

Press Release: "The global outlook series on Postal Services provides a collection of statistical anecdotes, market briefs, and concise summaries of research findings. The report offers a bird’s eye view of the industry, highlights latest trends in the postal services market, and demand drivers, in addition to providing statistical insights. Regional markets elaborated upon include United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, UK, Bulgaria, Finland, Bangladesh and India. Also included is an indexed, easy-to-refer, fact-finder directory listing the addresses, and contact details of 196 companies worldwide."

November 5, 2009

Press Release: "BCC Software, a BÖWE BELL + HOWELL company and a leading developer of high-performance mailing technology solutions, announces that Arandell Corporation, one of North America’s largest privately held web offset printing companies, has joined the BCC family thanks to the comprehensive capabilities of Mail Manager Full Service™, BCC’s top-tier postal software product."

From PRLog: "Harvey Software announced the introduction of Smart RateBots™ for its flagship Computerized Parcel System (CPS™) shipping software. Smart RateBots go beyond automatic rate shopping in the already popular CPS RateBots by finding the best price for delivery within a specific number of days."

Reuters has reported that "British postal workers said on Thursday they would suspend strike action until at least after Christmas under an interim agreement reached between unions and state-owned Royal Mail. Brendan Barber, head of union umbrella group the TUC, told reporters that no definitive agreement had been reached to resolve a long-running row over jobs, pay and modernisation. However, he said strike action had been suspended pending further efforts to settle the dispute and to prevent disruption of deliveries at the busiest time of the year." See also InTheNews and the BBC.

Testimony from today's House hearing on the U.S. Postal Service:

  • Testimony of Robert Bernstock, President, Mailing and Package Services, U.S. Postal Service
  • Testimony of The Honorable Ruth Goldway, Chairman, Postal Regulatory Commission
  • Testimony of Phillip Herr, Director Physical Infrastructure Issues, Government Accountability Office
  • Testimony of Michael Coughlin, Former Deputy Postmaster General and former Vice President, Postal Consulting Services, Accenture
  • Testimony of Robert A.F. Reisner, President Transformation Strategy Inc. and former U.S. Postal Service vice president of strategic planning.

The CBC has reported that "Toronto's in-store postal outlets seem to be disappearing and storeowners say the reason is Canada Post wants the small shops to buy expensive new computers and make other changes, with no guarantee of a long-term commitment from the post office."

The BBC has reported that "A third round of postal strikes may be avoided, union sources have told the BBC. The sources said a possible deal was on the table." See also The Guardian, the Associated Press, and Sky News.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Mail and logistics company Deutsche Post AG (DPW.XE) Thursday said it swung to a net loss in the third quarter, but raised its 2009 earnings outlook thanks to successful cost cutting amid the first signs of market recovery. The company now expects 2009 adjusted earnings before interest and taxes to reach at least EUR1.35 billion from a previous forecast of EUR1.2 billion. The former monopoly still expects a net profit for 2009 based on the valuation of put options on Deutsche Postbank AG (DPB.XE) shares, substantially above the EUR1.69 billion net loss in 2008. A put is an option to sell a security at a specified price, usually within a limited period. Deutsche Post also said it will reach its cost cutting goal of EUR1 billion sooner than expected. It will now reach its target by the end of 2009, compared to a previous forecast of the second quarter of 2010. Since the start of the cost cutting program in 2007, the company has saved around EUR859 million." See also the Financial Times.

Forbes has reported that "Bulgaria's new government will seek investors for five subsidiaries of the state postal monopoly as part of plans to liberalise the mail market."

Welcome to PostCom TV
Join PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance, and USPS Mail Classification Specialist Bill Chatfield in a demonstration of the mail piece "deflection" test used to determine the acceptability of flats mail pieces for machinability.
For further information, PostCom members should consult the October PostCom Postal Operations Update

Marketing Direct has reported that "Royal Mail took full-page ads in national newspapers yesterday urging its staff to turn up for work tomorrow in defiance of the Communications Workers Union's national strike call."

The Norway Post has reported that "The Norwegian company Bring Citymail Danmark has started a process to terminate its mail distribution operations in the Copenhagen area, after it has lost a total of NOK 500 in three years. Negotiations are now being started to terminate the mail distribution operations and dismiss 440 employees."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
 
RULES
Freedom of Information Act Regulations ,
57252–57260 [E9–26144]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

PROPOSED RULES
Periodic Reporting Rules ,
57280–57281 [E9–26726]

[TEXT]  [PDF

The Telegraph has reported that "More than a quarter of postal workers are expected to break the strike later this week as Royal Mail launched an advertising campaign to encourage its staff to go to work."

The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation has reported that "Zain Kenya has signed a partnership agreement with Postal Corporation that will enable its customers to register for the company's ZAP services through postal outlets. Speaking at the launch the postmaster, retired major general Hussein Ali said that the partnership agreement designate postal corporation as an agent for the ZAP branch where they will accept cash deposits and make payments on behalf of ZAIN Kenya money transfer service customers."

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has announced the expansion of its international shipping portfolio with a suite of economy services. This expansion provides customers in Brazil with more choices for their less urgent shipments, to more destinations around the world, at lower costs. Effective October 31, 2009, FedEx Express offers Brazilian exporters FedEx International Economy® to 203 destination countries and territories, and FedEx International Economy® Freight to 83 destination countries and territories. These services provide door-to-door, customs-cleared, time-definite delivery, and are an economical alternative for less urgent shipments, characterized by the same quality, service and reliability expected from FedEx.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • Docket No. CP2010-8:  Notice Of The United States Postal Service Of Changes In Rates Of General Applicability For Competitive Products Established In Governors’ Decision No. 09-13

November 4, 2009

On Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 10:00am in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia will hold a hearing entitled, “More than Stamps: Adapting the Postal Service to a Changing World.” The purpose of the hearing is to examine revenue-generation initiatives recently undertaken by the Postal Service in order to further address the agency’s ongoing financial challenges. In addition, the hearing is also expected to discuss existing barriers to the Postal Service’s ability to innovate its operations through the introduction of new products and services. Witnesses’ testimonies, the Chairman’s opening statement, and a 10:00 a.m. live broadcast of the hearing can be found on the Subcommittee’s website: http://oversight.house.gov/index.php?option=com_jcalpro&Itemid=19&extmode=view&extid=13

The U.S. Postal Service has announced that "Prices for Priority Mail, a product familiar across America through popular television and online advertisements featuring Al the Letter Carrier, will change on Jan. 4, 2010. The Postal Service is introducing cubic volume-based pricing for large volume commercial Priority Mail shippers. Customers who ship small dense, space-efficient packages will receive a financial incentive through a new, tiered pricing option. A Priority Mail half-pound price, based on distance, will be added only in the Commercial Plus pricing category. And, a new Priority Mail Flat Rate padded envelope measuring 9.5 x 12.5 inches will be available exclusively for Commercial Plus shippers. This envelope is specially designed for jewelry, electronics and other delicate goods." For more information, check the Federal Register notice on these and other price changes.

From Business Wire: "NoMorePost.com is an Online Paperless Postal System that has been under development since the last national postal strike of 2007. The Twickenham based company has developed an Online Paperless Postal System that any business can use to communicate with their customers. Businesses no longer have to print, pack and post a bill, invoice, statement or general correspondence, now they can simply send a paperless postal item to their customers via NoMorePost.com's online postal system. Anyone creating a NoMorePost.com account will eventually be able to receive all their bills, statements and correspondence in one single secure account and they can be sure that what they are receiving is genuine postal information and not spam, junk or phishing correspondence."

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

Despite a continued drop in turnover and profits, TNT is seeing signs of a recovery.
Schweizerische Post enjoyed a renewed increase in profit during the third quarter 2009. Without publishing quarterly figures, the post announced last week that there had been an increase during the nine-month period.
The first three quarters of the current financial year brought Posten Norge a decline in turnover and an increase in profit.
In future, the administrative board of Schweizerische Post will be leading the way when it comes to defining the group’s strategy. [EdNote: Gee....A board actually doing what a board is supposed to do. What a concept!]
Deutsche Post and trade union ver.di have reached an agreement following wage negotiations for approx. 130,000 postal workers. The package includes a wage freeze until 1 January 2012 after the planned wage increase on 1 December 2009. Agreements concerning fewer paid breaks and a ban on operational redundancies were extended by 6 months until 31 December 2011. The post also undertakes not to outsource mail delivery in the next two years.
Austria’s Constitutional Court last week confirmed a decree issued by the minister for infrastructure Bures early in July (CEP News 27/09), which puts a ban on the closure of loss-making post offices unless they are substituted.
The insolvency of German mail order firm Quelle (CEP News 42/09) appears to be threatening its foreign subsidiaries. Georg Pölzl, the new CEO of Österreichische Post, told journalists that the post itself would not move into mail order operations.
The last hurdle standing in the way of the merger between the post companies of Sweden and Denmark seems to have been overcome.
Hermes appears to be one of the winners from the British postal strikes at Royal Mail. Carole Woodhead, CEO of Hermes UK, said that new registrations at the myHermes.co.uk portal had increased by 10% every week. The strikes had caused consignment volumes to grow by 25%, said Ms Woodhead.
Hermes is determined to overtake Deutsche Post as market leader for private parcels by 2012 at the latest.
SDA Express Courier, a Poste Italiane subsidiary, will be using parcel terminals in the future. A first terminal has been installed as part of a trial at a shopping centre in Milan. Estonian manufacturer SmartPost said a successful trial would lead to terminals being "installed in numerous Italian cities".
TNT expects to triple its turnover in Malaysia within the next three years.
The Future of the Postal Markets: experts from the postal services industry will be discussing it as part of the ’Zukunftsdialog 2009’ event in Bonn. Organised by the German Federation of Postal Service Providers, industry representatives are congregating for the seventh time on 12 November.
Brian Roche has been appointed new chief executive officer of New Zealand Post Group.

 

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 PostalNewsBlog has reported that "The resident officers met with Deputy Postmaster General Pat Donahoe on Wednesday, October 28, 2009, along with representatives from NAPUS and the LEAGUE of Postmasters concerning several issues that had been raised in prior meetings with the Postal Service. DPMG Donahoe briefed us on some of the current issues; The USPS projects that the plan for volume for 2010 is 166 billion pieces. The first month of the fiscal year the volume did not meet the projections. Nearly 20,000 employees took advantage of the incentive to leave with the cash award, approximately 17,500 clerks and 2,500 mailhandlers. Most of the clerks worked in Automation and 500 clerks were BMEU employees. 90% of the employees who took the offer were eligible to retire....DPMG Donahoe stated that the focus for the year will be on NDC operations, office consolidations, Article 12 implementation for relocating craft employees."

MyEyeWitnessNews has reported that "A private child support agency that collects money from Memphis parents has landed itself in Federal Court. Child Support Services of Atlanta was sued by the U.S. Postal Service. The USPS says the company is using the mail in a scheme to illegally collect money. The suit claims the company sent letters to the employers of parents who were divorced and living apart from their children. According to the court document, the paperwork sent to the businesses looked like it came from official state agencies."

According to The Telegraph, "Thousands of people have started to use telegrams – one of the earliest forms of long distance communication - for their urgent messages as the national postal strike deepens."

From PR.com: "With a fun and up beat feel, this site has everything an educator needs to teach their students about the use of mail in the American West. Some of the notable features include lesson plans for teachers and a Pony Express online game which help students raise their skill level of analyzing and drawing conclusions from primary and secondary sources. “Students will increase their knowledge of 19th century transportation and communication history in America. This is an important part of students’ understanding of American History because it helps to connect disparate themes of democracy, technology, and individual accomplishment,” says Allison Wickens, Director of Education for the National Postal Museum. “Teachers will also change their attitude towards the relevance of postal-themed history as a framework for teaching American History.”

From Business Wire: "Shipwire, the e-commerce order fulfillment company, is today advising small businesses to learn a valuable lesson from the Royal Mail strikes. As reports of Christmas disruptions and weeks of backlogs continue to populate the UK media and the threat of additional strikes looming, the crisis is by no means over. Shipwire believes that this will not be the last strike that small businesses will encounter and that they should heed the warning to avoid impact in the future."

The Berrows Journal has reported that "Royal Mail has refused to say how much post sent to people in Worcestershire has been delayed because of strikes. The company said 25 million items had been delayed nationally but refused to release any local figures."

November 3, 2009

Rag Content has noted that "There has been much discussion within the industry about calendar year 2010 and how the Postal Service will face its many woes, from a $5 billion retiree health benefits payment to continuing volume loss to union contract negotiations, etc. The list goes on and on. It has been made quite clear by the Board of Governors Chairman Carolyn Gallagher that Postmaster General Jack Potter will not be leaving anytime soon. The question is still exists - who could replace Potter?"

From PR Newswire: "Making the holiday connection with family and friends in faraway destinations around the globe is as easy as taking a trip to your home computer with usps.com. Whether you're sending holiday packages to Sydney, Stockholm or Singapore, the Postal Service makes international shipping a snap."

FedEx Corp. has announced the appointment of William J. Logue as president of FedEx Freight Corp., a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and leading provider of regional and long-haul less-than-truckload (LTL) services in North America.

USA Today has reported that "For nine years, Texans in Congress have been steering federal money to a Fort Worth airport with no passenger flights. The funds — $26 million since 2001 — are going to lengthen two runways at Fort Worth Alliance Airport to 11,000 feet from their current spans of 9,600 feet and 8,220 feet. The improvements will enable fully loaded cargo planes to take off during the hottest days, when more runway length is needed, airport spokesman David Pelletier said. That will be a big help to the airport's principal cargo carrier, FedEx, which has a major hub at Alliance. "FedEx is the only carrier that uses the runways on a regular basis," Pelletier said. FedEx and competitor United Parcel Service (UPS) have benefited on numerous occasions from "earmarks," which are specific projects that lawmakers add to spending bills, a USA TODAY review shows of the annual transportation spending bills for the past nine years."

International Freighting Weekly has reported that "DHL Supply Chain has won a multimillion pound five-year contract with the UK’s largest newspaper publishing group."

According to the Financial Times, "Royal Mail is more than a commercial brand. It is a relic of imperial glory, a UK institution that, even under assault from e-mail and private competition, connects every home by means of six-day delivery of letters at a standard price. Yet in spite of the residual affection for it, attitudes to Royal Mail and its future seem confused. According to one poll, two-thirds of people oppose the current strikes. Yet in another, twice as many sympathised with the workers as with the management. Sixty-eight per cent were against privatisation. The poll did not ask them what price in taxes they were prepared to pay to keep it in public hands."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Docket No. RM2009-11

Other Issues

According to the Green News Journal, "With consumers largely avoiding electric cars due to their shortcomings (range, charging infrastructure) the United States Postal Service is already undertaking the electrification of their current Long Life Vehicle (LLV) model to contribute to the green movement. AM General and Smith Electric Vehicles (SEV) will be teaming up to complete this project in converting all 178,000 LLVs currently in use. AM General will be responsible for designing and constructing the chassis, or the “engine” of a traditional car, while SEV will build the electric powertrain."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Service
NOTICES
Meetings; Sunshine Act ,  (Board of Governors Meeting)
56896 [E9–26545]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

Today on Hellmail:

myHermes Slashes Ebay Parcel Delivery Costs
Royal Mail Loses Legal Challenge But Unswayed
TNT - Sharp Focus On Cost To Ease Reduced Profits 

The Telegraph has reported that:

November 2, 2009

The latest blog entry has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s 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/
 
  • Are There Other Viable Alternatives for 6-Day Delivery Operations?  The Postal Service is currently studying the reduction of mail delivery from 6 days to 5 days.  What do you think?
 
You can visit Office of Inspector General’s 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 Telegraph has reported that "TNT, the Dutch-based postal business and biggest private mail operator in Britain, is experiencing mixed fortunes in the Royal Mail strikes as it wrestles with labour troubles in its home market."

The Journal of Commerce has reported that "An Internal Revenue Service decision to reverse a previous assessment that FedEx had misclassified some package delivery drivers marks a strong victory for the carrier and its use of independent contractors at its parcel division. FedEx announced Oct. 30 in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the IRS had reversed the 2007 decision that FedEx owed $319 million in back taxes for wrongly classifying the drivers in 2002. The carrier said the decision supports the company’s point that the drivers at its FedEx Ground division are not company employees but independent contractors, which is central to the operation’s business model as it competes with UPS and its unionized company drivers."

Press Release: "BÖWE BELL + HOWELL Services is pleased to announce an exclusive service/support agreement with inTelmail USA and inTelmail exploreneT, an Australia-based manufacturer and distributor of intelligent mail-inserting systems, software and feeders. Under the terms of the agreement, BBH Services will be the authorized service provider for inTelmail customers throughout the United States and Canada with exclusive rights to furnish service and spare parts."

According to The Economist, "The root cause of the [U.K. postal] strike is the impact of new communications technology on the postal business. With technology undermining the old monopolies that postal services used to enjoy, the obvious answer is to privatise them and let them sink or swim. Opponents of privatisation say that state ownership is essential to protecting postal services. Experience suggests otherwise. Private postal operators are, by and large, better positioned to cope with falling demand than state-owned operators are. Politicians think that post offices need to be protected from change; but they need more of it, not less. When their business model is collapsing, they need the freedom to invent a new one. Government ownership will restrict their liberty, and lead to deepening losses and, in the end, taxpayer bail-outs. Pressure from private shareholders, in contrast, could push postal bosses to drop expensive services that carry comparatively little benefit for customers, such as next-day delivery for business. If voters want services such as delivery to remote regions, then governments can pay for them."

Advertising Age has a piece that encapsulates very well the dilemma facing print publishers. As one put it: "Digital's very important, but I don't think it replaces the print product in that you're never going to make enough money on digital to support the kind of editorial investment you need to have a good print product," said one veteran of the business magazines. "You're going to have to make some money on the print product as well." [EdNote: Stable postal rates would help. And no more postal regulatory "surprises" wouldn't be bad either.]

Press Release: "3Com Corporation has announced that DISIT, the operator for various parts of La Poste group, selected 3Com and its H3C enterprise networking solutions as part of the DSL rollout in its Post Offices. DISIT will deploy H3C® MSR 20-13 and 20-15 multi-service routers in 7000 of La Poste’s post offices. DISIT’s objective was to improve the security as well as the performance and communications of the wireless network. 3Com therefore proposed a high-performance routing solution that was capable of integrating new functionality for La Poste in a very short time."

MediaPost has reported that "Two of America's biggest magazine publishers have suffered new setbacks, as Time Inc. announced plans to cut about $100 million in expenses -- in large part through layoffs -- and Meredith Corp. announced more revenue declines in the third quarter of 2009."

Business Matters has noted that "Royal Mail is not the only postal system available in the UK and as a result of the strike smaller independent couriers are seeing their profits rocket. Boxby, the UK’s most successful online courier business, have seen orders almost doubled with an 87% rise.

The Birmingham Post has reported that "As crisis talks start up again today to try to prevent further strikes at Royal Mail, it has emerged one of Birmingham’s largest public bodies has dropped the organisation. Transport body Centro, which sends out more than 200,000 letters and parcels a year from its headquarters in the city centre, has broken its ties with Royal Mail and is now looking for a private delivery firm to take up the work. It has put a tender out asking firms to bid for a two-year contract."

The Wheeling News-Register has reported that "Wheeling City Councilwoman Gloria Delbrugge wants to stop the U.S. Postal Service from moving about 30 mail processing jobs to Pittsburgh - so she plans to support a resolution opposing the plan."

From PRMinds:

Capital.gr has reported that "State-run Hellenic Post (ELTA) is to go through major restructuring ahead of the liberalization of the postal services market in 2013. It is noted that on a European level, the liberalization is set to be implemented on 2010. Greece was granted a two year extension on the grounds of its geographical particularities, that is its numerous islands. The government is set to gear ELTA towards new, innovative services and products with new technologies on the spotlight. The company is bleeding on costly payrolls due to the numerous staff (11,000 employees) of the national network, that counts 800 post offices. The big bet for the postal services provider is the differentiation from the traditional postal services, that currently account for more than 85% of the company΄s turnover."

According to the Berrows Journal, "another week, another series of postal strikes. The walk-outs planned for Friday and next Monday, following on from the most recent strike on Saturday, will achieve nothing for postal workers. The only possible outcome of this dispute, as we have said before, is fewer jobs for members of the Communications Workers Union.

Information Week has reported that "In a tough business environment, the U.S. Postal Service is delivering new capabilities for home PCs and smartphones and new services for high-volume mailers, says its top IT executive. CIO and senior VP Ross Philo oversees the Postal Services' IT operations and reports to Postmaster General and CEO Jack Potter. Philo is included among InformationWeek's Government CIO 50, a group of the most influential technology executives in government."

Transport Intelligence has reported that "TNT Group is still facing falling demand in its key markets with its just released third quarter figures showing modest but significant falls in profits and sales." See also the Wall Street Journal.

Market Daily has reported that "Consumers are seeing far fewer credit card offers in their mailboxes, and the offers are far less attractive than they've been in recent years, according to Mintel Comperemedia. Credit card issuers sent out just 391 million pieces of direct mail to consumers in this year's third quarter -- a 71% drop from last year's 1.3 billion, the direct marketing competitive intelligence service reports."

Hellmail has reported that "Norway Post said last week that its revenues are declining as a result of the economic slump and electronic substitution, but extensive efficiency measures are leading to greater profitability at the end of the first three quarters of 2009."

As The Economist has noted, "Letter volumes are plummeting around the world, highlighting stark differences among national postal services. Until the recession hit, the business of delivering printed material looked old-fashioned, but it was at least still thriving in rich countries. The recession, however, has tipped the industry into full-scale crisis. Companies, which account for 80% or more of revenue from letters at postal firms, have slashed direct-mail advertising budgets and embraced substitution as a way to reduce costs. They are increasingly offering customers incentives to do business online, such as discounts from utilities for customers who opt to receive bills electronically. Many also worry that printed material is bad for the environment."

The Telegraph has reported that "Hopes of an imminent breakthrough in the postal crisis could be under threat from a union legal bid to force Royal Mail to send home 30,000 “strike breaking” temporary workers. Lawyers for the CWU are expected to go before a judge on Monday or Tuesday seeking a temporary injunction declaring the use of casual staff illegal. They will argue that the use of agency workers to replace staff taking part in legitimate industrial action breaches employment law. If the attempt succeeds, it would mean the Royal Mail would be forced to send the temporary staff home, scuppering efforts to clear the mounting backlog."

The Daily Mail has reported that "The head of the Royal Mail has been paid almost £1million over the past year, it emerged yesterday. Adam Crozier's bumper pay packet comes in spite of a shambolic postal service which has been crippled by strike action and huge delays in deliveries. In the financial year 2008/09, Mr Crozier was paid £633,000 in salary, £139,000 in bonuses, £17,000 in further benefits and £206,000 as a cash supplement in place of a pension payment. He has banked £2.4million in performance bonuses and £ 3.6million in pay since taking over as chief executive in 2003. Royal Mail defended the pay package, saying it was lower than last year's and was justified by a doubling in profits."

November 1, 2009

According to the Edinburgh Evening News, "the Royal Mail strike action could have started several years ago when Tony Blair appointed Adam Crozier and Allan Leighton, who were simply under-qualified and too inexperienced to take charge of the company. In actual fact they resemble the ineptitude of the current Edinburgh Tram management and all the political ghosts who accompany them, but at a higher level."

From PR-AU.com: "OneBill Telecom - the UK business telecoms service provider - is pleased to announce the expansion of its online services for customers. Customers will now be able to take advantage of its new and improved 'My Account' features, allowing for easier and more efficient management of their accounts online."

UKPRwire has reported that "The postal strikes seem to be happening almost every week somewhere across the UK at the moment so large companies using Royal Mail are now beginning to look into other delivery services in order to get items to their customers on time. Amazon is one of the Royal Mail’s largest customers and by looking elsewhere, they will be taking away a large proportion of their business. Companies like UPS, Fedex and Porcelforce are now able to push their business further and obtain more customers by grabbing business during these tough times. Although these delivery services are thought to be more expensive at first, you will now find that prices are very similar to those of Royal Mail and the reliability factor is proving more essential."

The Press Association has reported that "Peace talks will resume after the latest series of postal strikes saw millions of items of mail caught up in a huge backlog. The Royal Mail said 25% of its delivery staff turned up for work on Saturday despite the action but the figure was disputed by the Communication Workers Union."

The Manila Bulletin has reported that "Warning that the country’s post office is slowly sliding into oblivion, a lawmaker has urged the state-owned Philippine Postal Corp. (Philpost) to go into the remittance trade and install Internet cafés in order to stay competitive and relevant."

The Mirror has reported that "Union leaders last night told Royal Mail they were pressing for an early agreement in the postal dispute and declared: "We don't want to disrupt Christmas deliveries." The peace plea came as nearly 80,000 posties stopped work yesterday, crippling mail deliveries across the UK."