Just three days after the Postal Regulatory Commission awarded it a 4.3% exigent rate increase, the U.S. Postal Service filed a request with the PRC for an advisory opinion on its plan to “level the load” handled by its carriers during the week.
Currently, mailers that qualify for a Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) discounted rate can expect Monday delivery of mail accepted by facilities on Thursday or Friday. Under the new load-leveling plan set to take effect on March 27, Standard Mail accepted on Friday will not be delivered until Tuesday, and mail accepted on Saturday will have a promised delivery day of Wednesday.
“We usually drop-ship mailings on Thursdays and Fridays and have to be delivered on Monday. Now [Postal Service managers] have decided that labor costs are too high on Monday and want to add a day on to their service standards,” says Joe Schick, director of Postal Affairs for Quad/Graphics. DSCF Standard Mail is comprised mostly of direct mail letters, catalogs, flyers, and other advertising mail.
In a September 2013 test of load leveling in its South Jersey District, the Postal Service realized a reduction in processing work hours and carrier overtime hours, according to its filing with the PRC. Additionally, it reported earlier delivery of mail to customers and earlier cancellation of mail picked up by carriers on their routes.
The Postal Service is required to file an advisory request with the PRC 90 days before it plans to undertake a nationwide service change. In this case, the PRC will use that time to verify that the move is within the legal parameters of Title 39 of the Postal Code and could recommend alterations to the plan to make it more so.
Mailers, therefore, should prepare to make changes in their delivery schedules this spring unless the PRC requires the Postal Service to go back to the drawing board.