Usps report   alina j johnson 4-2010
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Usps report alina j johnson 4-2010

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  • 1. 29 April 2010 HIGHLIGHTS UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE Highlights of this report Suggestions and Recommendations include a review of Needed to Address Financial Viability, findings from the Congressional Research Sustainability, and Stability Service (CRS) report; a review of findings from What I Found the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) As early as 2005 the CBO addressed the report; and finally, a challenges that would be faced by USPS in the review of recent coming decades by performing cost expenditure Government projections. With increasing frequency, GAO Accountability Office (GAO) reports on the released a series of reports and testimonies as to fiscal sustainability, the efficacy of financial stability of the stability, and viability of IAFKJDFLJAFLJAF USPS by utilizing broad restructuring, taking the United States Postal aggressive actions, and implementing major cost Service (USPS), along reductions to progress towards financial viability, with the challenges the limit losses, and reduce costs. And finally, the Congress faces in light of CRS proposes alterations to the Congressional several key factors process, suggests observations and possible affecting and negatively issues for Congress to adopt to alleviate further impacting USPS in the deterioration of the United States Postal Service. past, now, and in the future. The CBO letter analysis to the Honorable Judd Gregg created a long-term analysis bar graph What I Recommend chart to display the cost savings diminished over USPS should consider time in four year increments through the year options that differentiate 2030. In it, analysts suggest and recommend its services from its competitors including that the savings from bill S.622 shown as pension DHL, FedEx, UPS, and and escrow provisions do indeed fall over a 25 Mailboxes, Etc. In the year period while at the same time costs minds of consumers, there increase grow, and exceed the rate of return. is no such distinction, Thus, the savings associated with changes to the thus, no competitive or Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the economic advantage to escrow fund will continue to fall while costs rise the public using any organization as a faster than inflation. CBO offers two substitute rather than as a alternatives to the trajectory, and the consumer complementary good and price index (CPI) is used to measure different service. In terms of aspects of inflation to demonstrate how costs economics, a profitable can be offset in an analyses of spending versus business model for USPS revenues in the same time period. 1 would be to differentiate its goods and services so that substitution does not GAO completed seven (7) reports in 2009, each occur, and therefore, it addressing the need of USPS to restructure its can gain a competitive operations in light of deteriorating finances. advantage in any Most recently, analysts suggest the business economy, but especially during an economic downturn..
  • 2. model itself is not viable due to increasing costs and decreasing revenues. One suggestion to the Congress includes the option to provide financial relief. 2 The Congressional Research Service (CRS) in August 2009 conducted a study and analysis of steps the Congress could take to alleviate the financial pressures upon the USPS. Policy suggestions to the Congress included amending law to appropriate funds permanently to the agency, amend law to avert facility closures, or enact other policies not yet in action which would ameliorate deficits and disparities that serve to confuse the public or otherwise undermine efforts to reign in cost-cutting suggestions. 3 MY SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The suggestions I put forward are a combination of marketing and educational alternatives in light of the current U.S. and global economic situation. These measures can reduce costs in lieu of the legislative “policy lag” problem inherent in changing or amending current laws to aid the United States Postal Service, and may serve to ultimately reduce pollution, educate the general public, and improve government-consumer relations. They are as follows: 1. The postal service should begin an advertising campaign to show the American public (and the world) how reliable its many services are in comparison to the many ways of communication we have with others who live/work long distances away. USPS should demonstrate the value of global 24/7/365 business and communication (or, alternately information communication technologies) in the digital age. 2. USPS can also graphically display the cost savings of consumers by demonstrating the relatively low costs of sending and receiving a postal letter, and how the postal stamp has evolved, yet remains relevant, timely, and cost effective in spite of the many miles a letter can travel on the cost of one stamp. 3. Another way to do so would be to illustrate the differences between a mailed letter and an electronic message. While electronic mail is considered one of the de facto methods of communication in the digital age, perhaps the U.S. postal service can show the public the differences: legal, regulatory, and reliability. 4. The postal service can incorporate an interactive feature on its website for the public that quickly shows the various cost methods available in comparison to its competition: DHL, FedEx, UPS, and Mailboxes, Etc. 5. Reinvent the post office as a one-stop shop for 24/7/365 delivery and receipt of mailed items. Right now, one can shop for posters; purchase stamps, moving supplies, and boxes; get identification (taking pictures and filling out documentation); make copies (if available at a location), and pay on P.O. boxes. These services should be shown as value-added services to the public where there is continuity of design incorporated into the building. At this time, each post office building aesthetic is different – each has a different layout and there is no
  • 3. This awareness on the part of the consumer that the post office has a standard design, or that a particular building design signifies a particular kind of service offering. This should be changed. 6. While building consolidation is all the rage in business in an economic downturn, it should be done with constraint. Variables such as current population and marketing should be considered when looking at whether or not to close, update, or otherwise expand services in a given area. A survey instrument should be created that captures relevant information to make an informed decision as to whether or not a particular building/facility should be closed 7. USPS should design a better receptacle for mail collection as the mailbox is “dated”. Many are old, there is no GPS system to track where they are located (for the public) and it is unknown whether or not mail is even picked up from some of them anymore. Several have the appearance of being dirty, ill-kept, and full of graffiti which does not foster confidence that one should leave mail there. Many times I simply travel to the main post office to avoid the mailbox(es), and I know several other people who do the same. 8. CBO, GAO, and CRS are three agencies which provide support to the Congress in its decision-making. As such, each has identified via study, interviews, and testimony many steps that could be taken to alleviate some of the problems faced by the postal service in light of fiscal viability and sustainability. While many of the recommendations will require congressional action, the outlook of U.S.P.S. must be seen as that which will continue to improve transparency, oversight, and accountability to the American (and global) public which uses its services. 9. As the oldest and first mail delivery service began right after the Second Continental Congress in the 1770s, the U.S.P.S. has the duty to provide the most state-of-the-art services such as tracking, purchasing, delivery, receipt, confirmation, insurance, shipping, and mailing services available today. 10. The postal service should consider shared space leasing options such as found with financial institutions and grocery stores; food services and (gas) service/convenience stations; and the shared space of Yum Brands which finds Taco Bell and KFC in the same building as a cost saving effort. While U.S.P.S. does not have different brands, it could offer its menu of services in much the same manner, differentiating itself from its competitors in this way. 11. The “second oldest federal agency” in the United States has a history of excellence and flexibility needed to adapt in changing conditions, and should be recruiting talents to proactively mitigate and solve challenging problems now and in the future. The organization has a history of utilizing state-of-the-art technologies including the steam engine, horse-drawn sled, and transcontinental airplane. It should continue this tradition in the digital age. 12. The other one stop shop could be the actual mail carrier. I submit that most people do not know that stamps can be home-delivered, and that most mail supplies can be as well. This should be public knowledge, and would be seen as an added-
  • 4. value feature of utilizing the postal service in lieu of other organizations. 13. Stamp machine kiosks and the automated postal centers (APCs) should be in other retail establishments. In fact, everywhere there is a vending machine, there should be an APC. The USPS should consider business agreements to broaden the facilities (buildings) in which kiosks and APCs reside. Of course, marketing informational surveys should be created and conducted on a wide scale to determine the best economies of scale and to identify appropriate retail facilities where substantial costs could be recouped in a short period. 14. Finally, the elimination of the mailbox and the establishment of the APC in retail outlets, along with the mail carrier as the one stop shopping center would eliminate two of the highest costs of the organization: human resources (people) and gas. It would increase green energy and substantially decrease pollution as less transportation costs would be used to transport people and mail across long distances. It would also serve to educate the public as to the efficacy of self-service technologies (SSTs) such as those currently being utilized in grocery stores, with the intent of improving customer service and saving substantial costs on employee labor. Information on the Competition DHL is the global market leader of the international express and logistics industry, specializing in providing innovative and customized solutions from a single source. FedEx: Independently, each company offers flexible, specialized services that represent the broadest array of supply chain, transportation, business and related information services. UPS, United Parcel Service: We have become the world's largest package delivery company and a leading global provider of specialized transportation and logistics services. Worldwide express carrier and package delivery company. UPS is a global provider of specialized transportation and logistics services. Mailboxes, Etc.: A UPS® company, is the world's largest franchiser of retail shipping, postal and business service centers.
  • 5. NOTES 1 - Congressional Budget Conclusion Office. (2005). The Effects While the Congress has within its power to create, of S. 662 on the Long-Term change, and otherwise amend laws it is not always a timely exercise and as such, other options should Financial Outlook of the U.S. be considered. The alternatives I offer suggest Postal Service. Washington, that the legislative lag of proposing change, D.C.: Congressional Budget garnering support for it, and passing law are Office. lengthy and may very well lack the necessary impact originally intended. By the time the full 2 - Government impact of the law is felt, the original problem it Accountability Office. (2010). was designed to solve (1) may no longer exist, (2) U.S. Postal Service: may not exist to the degree it once did, or (3) may have changed altogether. Instead, USPS should Strategies and Options to seek from a menu of choices put together by Facilitate Progress toward industry analysts, weighing each fairly and in a Financial Viability (GAO-10- non-partisan manner, and coming to an informed 455). Washington, D.C.: decision based on the facts which will ultimately Government Accountability result in better transparency, oversight, and Office. accountability in government services to the public. 3 - Kosar, K. (2009). Post Office and Retail Postal Facility Closures: Overview and Issues for Congress (CRS# R40719). Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service. Hello and thank you for reading my five page report, “United States Postal Service: Suggestions and Recommendations Needed to Address Financial Viability, Sustainability, and Stability”. CONTACT INFORMATION: Alina J. Johnson, MSI Also on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alinajjohnson Also on Slideshare: www.slideshare.net/Alina01