US Postal Service
USPS granted partial review of PRC limits, but court stands by PRC's "new normal" concept
A federal court denied the USPS's petition to review the PRC's claim that the former's discount for presorted mail is excessive.
The Senate has approved the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) overhaul bill, multiple outlets reported, passing the bipartisan measure 62 to 37.
As part of a previously announced $3 billion cost-savings initiative, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is moving forward with plans to change delivery standards for first-class mail, the organization said on Dec. 5. The cuts would eliminate next-day delivery for first-class mail and periodicals.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) closed the 2011 fiscal year with a $5.1 billion net loss, the government agency said on Nov. 15. Last fiscal year USPS posted an $8.5 billion net loss, the largest loss in its history.
Although the headlines about the US Postal Service staring into a financial abyss are disturbing, many marketers who use the mail are relatively unperturbed.
The fur is flying and everyone is yammering now that the US Postal Service is taking steps to rationalize its network. In August, USPS served public notice of its intent to close underperforming retail locations.
The U.S. Postal Service will let consumers make purchases on USPS.com with PayPal beginning next month. The organization will also streamline users' site accounts into one umbrella login and make site pages available in Chinese and Spanish.
The U.S. Postal Service said Sept. 15 that it is considering cutting its processing-facilities network by more than half and adjusting service standards to save up to $3 billion a year. However, the USPS also said the changes would also result in longer processing and delivery times for the mail.
Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe told a Senate committee September 6 that the US Postal Service is "in a crisis" and will default on a $5.5 billion payment to the federal government if Congress does not enact legislation this month changing its business model.
The US Postal Service is letting small businesses know that they can reach neighborhoods or ZIP codes without putting consumers' names on the front of the envelope.
The US Postal Service has asked Congress to allow it to cut about 220,000 positions by 2015, bringing its total workforce to 425,000. The move would decrease the USPS' employee costs by 30%, the Postal Service said.
The US Postal Service continued its downward spiral on Aug. 5, with the agency reporting a net loss of $3.1 billion for the third quarter of its 2011 fiscal year. The number is a slight improvement compared with the same period in 2010, when the USPS posted a $3.5 billion net loss, but the agency said that "absent substantial legislative change" it will default on payments owed to the federal government.
The US Postal Service said July 26 that it is studying the consolidation of as many as 3,700 post offices as it adjusts the size of its retail network.
US Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced a sweeping postal reform bill June 23 that would create new oversight bodies to help the US Postal Service restore financial stability. The bill would also allow the USPS to move to five-day home delivery, close retail locations as it sees fit, and sell advertising on facilities and vehicles. Issa estimated that the changes included in the bill would save the USPS at least $6 billion a year.
The US Postal Service said June 22 that it will suspend its benefits contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) to preserve liquidity through the rest of its fiscal year. The Postal Service said it expects to save about $800 million by the September 30 close of its 2011 fiscal year.
Postal industry stakeholders said June 15 that digital technologies must be a part of the US Postal Service's future, and that the organization has been burdened by government regulations.
Two things that the PostalVision 2020 conference is not lacking are industry soul searching and out-of-the-box thinking.
Jeff Jarvis, author and associate professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, said the US Postal Service must look for consumer needs that the private sector does not meet in order to survive. The author of What Would Google Do? told attendees of the PostalVision 2020 conference in Arlington, Va. on June 15 that the USPS must adopt an entrepreneurial attitude as personal letters, business mail and First Class volume fade away in coming years.
The US Postal Service defended internal research that found it would save $3.1 billion per year by eliminating Saturday home delivery, calling into question the Postal Regulatory Commission's research that found it would only save $1.7 billion by doing so. PRC chairman Ruth Goldway also said the USPS declined to meet with the oversight body about the discrepancy in projections.
The US Postal Service received some support this week from The Washington Post's editorial board, which supported the proposed move to five-day home delivery as well as agency consolidation, in an editorial.
The US Postal Service will conduct a promotion this summer rewarding mailers for using two-dimensional barcodes on their marketing materials as part of the organization's larger initiative to attract advertisers to the mail. The promotion, scheduled for this July and August, will give mailers who use smartphone-friendly barcodes a 3% postage discount on qualifying Standard and First-Class mail letters, flats or cards.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced a bill May 17 that would allow the financially struggling US Postal Service to modernize its pension payments system, eliminate Saturday home delivery, and expand its services. The Postal Operations Sustainment and Transformation Act of 2011 would also give the USPS the ability to close post offices as it sees fit.
The US Postal Service has made no secret that it is trying to replace some of the revenue lost to First Class mail decreases with more marketing mail. One large marketer, Chrysler, will launch a major direct mail campaign this year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Jeep, Pat Donahoe, postmaster general, said at the National Postal Forum in San Diego this week.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said Monday that he had to nudge his in-house and agency marketing team towards the ad campaign that the US Postal Service will use this fall to show off the effectiveness of mail as a marketing tool. "They said 'mail's not sexy,'" Donahoe told reporters at the National Postal Forum 2011 in San Diego on May 2.
The US Postal Service will launch a b-to-b marketing campaign in September to promote the mail as an effective marketing medium for businesses, said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe at the National Postal Forum in San Diego on May 2. The organization is working with agency Campbell Ewald on the effort, which will include TV and direct mail components.
The financially struggling US Postal Service distributed its first round of "Sample Showcase" mailings last month, helping marketers reach a target audience of mothers in Austin, Texas, Chicago and Denver. Brand marketers reacted positively to the program's initial results.
The US Postal Service will begin to test a postage-back guarantee next month for large marketers that agree to advertise their products through First-Class and Standard mail. The USPS will offer the "Mail Works Guarantee" to a group of companies that spend at least $250 million a year on advertising, beginning May 16, in its latest initiative to attract large advertisers.
Zappos.com, best known for its online shoe store, is expanding its presence in consumers' mailboxes.
The US Postal Service began a product sampling initiative this week, targeting more than 250,000 consumers in Chicago, Denver and Austin, Texas, as well as about 75,000 opted-in consumers across the country. Brands including Wisk, Starbucks and Nestle are distributing products through the "Sample Showcase" program at launch.
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