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Standard Mail Volume Is Reviving, Says Deputy PMG

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service is seeing the improving economy spark increased volume for Standard mail and some of its package business, deputy postmaster general John Nolan told attendees to the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting here at postal headquarters.

First-Class mail, however, is “not changing dramatically in the short term and remains a challenge,” he said.

In terms of Standard mail, Nolan said, “we have actually had a few places in the country that had a backlog of Standard mail all of a sudden. It was a quick reminder for us in a couple of isolated locations that we need to remind managers who have dealt well with lack of volume what to do when volume picks up.”

The USPS needs to “continue to talk within the industry to get a better sense of what's going on in [terms of] volume so we can prepare for it properly,” he said. Nolan also said “we are hoping for a very good fall season, and we need as much information from you that we can possibly get to make sure that we are prepared.”

In general, Nolan said, the USPS is continuing its focus on costs and service, and “things are going very well. Our costs continue below plan, our revenue is slightly above plan, our employee satisfaction scores continue [to be] and our customer satisfaction scores continue [to be] high … there are an awful lot of positive things happening.”

The Mailing Industry Task Force led by Nolan and Pitney Bowes chairman/CEO Michael J. Critelli has completed phase one of its program, Nolan said, “and has moved on to phase two, focusing on generating revenue for the industry, and we are actively meeting to discuss ideas that we've got about [this.]” He added that “there is still incredible power in the mail, and we intend as an industry to find where those best opportunities are to attempt to grow.”

Nolan, however, didn't comment on the House Government Reform Committee's draft postal reform bill that began circulating Monday night.

“Management and the [USPS Board of Governors] are currently reviewing the 126-page draft on postal reform, [and] I won't have any comments on that specific thing until the board and management have finished reviewing it,” he said. However, “we are taking it very seriously, examining it carefully.”

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