USPS Hits Pickup, Service Milestones

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Postmaster general John E. Potter cited two achievements in customer service and convenience in December during this year's first meeting of the USPS Board of Governors in Washington last week.

The U.S. Postal Service posted a record monthly package volume of 4 million pieces generated by the carrier pickup online notification program.

"A lot of the credit for this new volume goes to the success of our Click-N-Ship service, which allows customers to go online to pay postage and arrange for their letter carrier to pick up packages at their home or place of business," he said.

The other milestone was reaching $100 million in revenue generated by the 2,500 Automated Postal Center machines installed nationwide last year. Customer service advisers were in post office lobbies to assist customers and demonstrate the ease of using the automated center.

"Over $40 million of the $100 million was generated in the first three weeks of December," Potter told the governors. "Carrier pickup, Click-N-Ship and our Automated Postal Center kiosks are part of our strategy to make it easier for everyone to do business with us."

In other action, the governors:

· Approved a Postal Rate Commission recommendation for a one-year test of an added fee for the use of repositionable notes. They are self-adhesive, 3-by-3-inch pieces of paper. Attached to mail, these messages can leave a lasting impression and generate sales and repeat business for companies. The board approved the test implementation date of April 3. The PRC issued its recommendation in December.

· Authorized funding for site acquisition, design and construction of a 428,951-square-foot processing and distribution center for southern Maine and renovation of the existing facility to serve as the Portland (ME) Main Post Office.

· Adopted a resolution raising the capital funding level for projects requiring their approval from $10 million to $25 million. The lower level had been adopted in 1986.

The board also elected James C. Miller III as its chairman and Alan Kessler as vice chairman.

Miller, a former director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, was appointed to the board of governors in April 2003. He serves as chairman of The CapAnalysis Group, an economic, financial and regulatory consulting firm associated with international law firm Howrey Simon Arnold & White.

Kessler is a Philadelphia attorney and partner in Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen LLP with experience in the defense of class-action litigation, including securities, antitrust, toxic tort and civil rights cases. He was appointed a governor in November 2000 and serves as chairman of the board's Strategic Planning Committee.

Also at the meeting, Potter mentioned the weather that shut down the nation's transfer air cargo hubs and the effect of heavy snow and ice storms that crippled commercial airlines and surface transportation networks. He apologized to customers who did not receive their holiday packages in time for Christmas.

Meanwhile, United Parcel Service Inc. lowered its earnings estimate for the fourth quarter last week, citing higher operating costs resulting from the severe weather that hit the Midwest during the height of its holiday peak-season operations, as well as an unanticipated volume shortfall in the Christmas-to-New Year's week.

FedEx Corp., however, last week reaffirmed its previous guidance for its third quarter ending Feb. 28, citing a strong holiday season. The company said it continues to see favorable U.S. and global economic conditions and that demand for all of its transportation services is strong.

Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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