Editorial: The USPS needs help

Share this content:

Prices on a first-class stamp went up last week — the third straight annual rise — but the increase will have little, if any, impact for me. 

In reviewing my own mail over the past several months, in addition to all the e-mails and texting, I've notice a couple of things that have now become standard. One, I'm using less checks, because I'm paying all of my bills, with the exception of rent, online. As a result, that book of stamps that used to last less than a month now carries me through for quite some time. 

And that's the problem.

This week starts a four-day National Postal Forum in Washington, an annual gathering of postal officials and mailing industry professionals. US Postmaster General John Potter opens the forum the morning of May 18, to be followed by another, likely much anticipated, session: a financial briefing on the US Postal Service.

The past several weeks have not brought much good news for the USPS, and the revenues generated from the stamp price increases will do little to ease its financial stress. With a $2.8 billion deficit last fiscal year, the USPS recently reported a year to date loss of $2.3 billion so far this year, which began October 1, citing an "unprecedented" decrease in volume and revenue, given the recession and electronic mailing alternatives. 

The USPS has pointed to its cost-savings efforts: cuts in work hours, realigning carrier routes, freezing top level salaries, cutting travel budgets and more. And it also has floated the idea of a five-day mail delivery schedule.

But the bottom line remains that there is less mail, and it will only continue to decrease. E-mail and other electronic messaging have cut into mail volume substantially. At the other end, as costs rise, direct mailers also are seeking other alternatives. 

What can be done? Some advocates continue to push for a five-day delivery week. That could have immediate cost savings but, at the same time, leave a delivery void that will no doubt be filled quickly by another company, potentially leading to future erosion of customers for the USPS. But at the rate of the drop in postal volume and revenue and the growing losses, alternatives may be limited.

Others say the agency should be fully privatized. If that was the case and it was a private company or bank, the USPS would clearly be one of those in line for a bailout and a likely overhaul.


Next Article in Direct Mail

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above