USPS PG Potter eyes Web as competition

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The passage of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 and the downturn of the economy have resulted in a year of transition for the US Postal Service, said postmaster general John Pot­ter in his keynote address last week at the National Postal Forum in Anaheim, CA.

As a result of the new law, the USPS has implemented new pricing regulations and is also working on new service standards, Potter said.

He also said more than once during his speech that the USPS was “in competi­tion with the Internet.” In order to better compete, more value needs to be added to the mail — but it is “imperative” to keep prices down, he added.

One way to add that value is by using the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMB), which encodes routing and tracking informa­tion on mail, Potter said. Throughout the past year, the USPS has been seeking and responding to public feedback regarding the implementation of the IMB. Overall, mailers understand the benefit of the bar­code, which will save them money and decrease the amount of undeliverable as addressed mail, he said.

The upcoming deployment of Flats Sequencing System (FSS) machines will provide a faster and more efficient way to sort flat mail, including magazines and catalogs, Potter said. The new machines will save mailers money and help eliminate the “labor intensive” practice of manually sorting flat mail. The first FSS machine is already up and running in Dulles, VA.

In light of pending do-not-mail legisla­tion in states across the US, Potter also stressed the importance of addressing cus­tomers' environmental concerns about the mail. There needs to be more discussion of the benefits of having something deliv­ered vs. driving from store to store, he said. At the same time, mailers need to be smarter about what and how frequently they mail to their customers, he added.

“Going green makes sense,” he said.

To that end, Potter announced the appointment of Sam Pulcrano as corpo­rate VPof sustainability. In this new posi­tion, Pulcrano, who has served the agency for the past 33 years — most recently as director of safety and environmental per­formance management — will be respon­sible for coordinating all of the agency's environmental and energy programs. According to the USPS, his first goals will be to create an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, then initiate an action plan to reduce those emissions.

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