Here is some of what's new in the Postal World:
September 25, 2008
Advertising Age has reported that "No matter which way you slice it, the first six months of 2008 have been a disappointing two quarters for everyone. Total measured ad spending declined by 1.6% in the first half of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The second quarter alone was down 3.7% over last year, marking the biggest quarterly drop since 2001."
From DM News:
The Statesman has reported that "With receivers still in troubled waters, the local postal department here is flooded with thousands of undelivered letters, that have been piling on since 20 September when the flood severed Garadpur, Patkura and Mahakalpada blocks from rest of the World. "
September 24, 2008
As Traffic World has noted, "the U.S. Postal Service will ask for a 23 percent increase in its federal appropriation in the next fiscal year as it copes with a dramatic decline in mail shipping this year. The USPS says mail volume will be down some 9 billion pieces in the current fiscal year from last year, partly because of the downturn in the American economy. The USPS says it is cutting costs by reducing work hours for its employees because it must "take steps now to shore up its business."
The Tampa Tribune has reported that "Thousands of pieces of mail destined for homes across the Tampa Bay area have not been delivered. The letters, cards and magazines have instead been hidden in storage units, stuffed into garbage bags and dumped in rural areas of Hillsborough County. Many were emptied of gift cards, cash, checks and credit cards. The people responsible for the thefts have been letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service, entrusted to handle and deliver the mail. Some of them were motivated by greed, taking gift cards, checks and cash and using them to buy personal items, including power tools and beer."
Check out the Consumer Postal Council web site for its "Index of Postal Freedom - Israel Post."
Press Release: "USPS is taking a page from its own playbook to advertise our new “Rethink Your Shipping” campaign. On Sept. 30, the Postal Service will target 600,000 small- to medium-sized businesses with a direct mail campaign of its own. Aimed at document and package shippers, the direct mail campaign touts the benefits of using USPS over the competition, and then provides information on getting a free shipping kit that includes Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes and envelopes, labels and special offers from our partners Stamps.com and Endicia. With the free kit customers can easily start shipping with us right away. A smaller campaign earlier in the year resulted in more than 3,000 replies. Look for this direct mail campaign in the mailstream next week."
Posted on this site is a Congressional Research Service report to Congress on "Do Not Mail Initiatives and Their Potential Effects: Possible Issues for Congress."
According to the BBC, "The Post Office is to close 43 branches across the west of Scotland."
Postal Service Chief Financial Officer Glen Walker provided the Board of Governors (BOG) an update on postal finances through the third quarter of the fiscal year at its open meeting today. As he reported to MTAC last month, the Postal Service experienced a year-to-date net loss through the first three quarters of the year of $1.1 billion. Walker gave no year-end projections and did not provide the Postal Service’s financial plan for FY 2009, as many in the audience expected. Walker did note that the decline in the fourth quarter has been at “an accelerating rate.”
Recent filings with the Postal Regulatory Commission indicate that the Postal Service saw a net loss of nearly $1 billion in August. If September is even a break-even month, the USPS will end the year with a loss of about $2 billion.
The Postal Service is expected to unveil its FY 2009 financial plan at the November 13 open meeting of the BOG. The recent events in the financial markets and the overall economy may have delayed the Postal Service’s release of an FY 2009 financial plan, as the USPS considers the effects of a government bailout of the financial services industry and what it might mean to the larger economy and postal volumes.
Also at today’s BOG meeting, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Transition Linda Kingsley provided an overview of the Postal Service’s upcoming five-year strategic plan, known as Vision 2013. Kingsley said the new plan, which will be posted on the USPS’ website on Oct. 1, will be unlike previous strategic plans in that it will provide a vision, not tactics. The focus of the plan will be on the customer and service.
Read more on the BOG’s open meeting in this week’s issue of the PostCom Bulletin.
U.S. Postal Service Press Release: "As the current economic climate continues to contribute to a decrease in mail volume, and with no reversal in the trend in sight, the Postal Service reported today it expects to end the current fiscal year with a volume decline of nine billion pieces. The end-of-year financial results will be released in November. At today’s Board of Governors meeting, Postmaster General John Potter said the magnitude of the loss in mail requires the Postal Service to take steps now to shore up its business, which it is doing by reducing work hours. “While we deal with the economic challenges, customers and service to our customers will always be number one on our agenda, it is why we exist, it is our franchise,” said Potter."
The following have been posted on this site:
The F. Curtis Barry & Company's Multichannel Operations & Fulfillment Blog has posted "some of the more important issues ACMA is currently following and intervening in on behalf of its members." ACMA is a member of PostCom and its chief staff executive serves on PostCom's Board of Directors.
From Business Wire: "FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world’s largest express transportation company, today announced it had launched a new Airbus A310 flight service to Vietnam to meet the country’s increasing demand for reliable time-definite express services. The new service increases FedEx capacity into and out of the country fivefold, to more than 30,000kg per day."
MediaDailyNews has reported that:
Bob McLean of the Mailers Council has reported that the Postal Service's chief financial officer did not give an estimate regarding the USPS' probable year-end financial position. Through quarter three, volume is down 5.5%, revenue is up 1.4%, and expenses are up 0.4%. The year-to-date loss through Q3 is $1.1 billion.
From Canada NewsWire: "Two large billboards that are critical of Lawrence Cannon's position on postal deregulation are going up today. One in downtown Gatineau and another in his riding."
GovExec.com has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has been using the technology just as long. One of the world's largest active RFID networks is used by the International Postal Corporation, an organization composed of the 23 largest postal operations around the globe.The network employs about 15,000 active RFID readers provided by Lyngsoe Systems of Denmark at international mail hubs such as John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The readers track 500,000 RFID tags inserted in test letters mailed to track the speed of international mail. Clayton Bonnell, the Postal Service's program manager for intelligent mail, says the technology and the metrics it provides has resulted in a tremendous improvement in the delivery of international mail."
According to The Scotsman, "just 30 people turned up to two meetings held in the city last night to discuss the future of two under-threat post offices. The meetings were called as part of a consultation process to discuss the future of the branches on Gorgie Road and Shandon Place, both of which are facing the axe. But despite assurances from Post Office bosses that the closures are not a done deal, the two meetings attracted a poor turnout."
Federal Register: The Commission is adding the Postal Service's negotiated agreements with China Post Group and Hong Kong Post to the competitive product list. This action is consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations. Republication of the lists of market dominant and competitive products is also consistent with new requirements in the law. DATES: Effective September 24, 2008.
The Chicago Sun Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who sent out a series of threatening letters containing white powder earlier this month."
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
The National Business Review has reported that "New Zealand Post lifted annual net profit 26.9 percent to $110.2 million, but its dividend payment to the Government will be 23.7 percent down at $23.5 million." See also Stuff.co.nz and Radio New Zealand.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc.’s slogan “What Can Brown Do For You” has delivered a major award. The slogan has landed on The Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame between 42nd and 50th streets in New York. This year’s Advertising Week is from Sept. 22-26."
According to Northumberland Today, "Elections Canada doesn't recognize rural areas as part of its online service. Rural residents entering their postal code will quickly discover a message stating, "Your postal code information did not identify a valid electoral district," asking you to enter your street address. Entering your address results in the same response, directing you to begin a new search. This time you must search by province, and then electoral district."
Fox24News has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has established a temporary mail pickup location in La Marque for residential and business customers who were served by the two main post offices on Galveston Island before Hurricane Ike struck the area."
Gulf Times has reported that "members of the quality steering committee of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) yesterday expressed confidence that the radio frequency identification project (RFID), aimed at improving the quality of postal delivery, would be successfully implemented in several countries across the world, most probably by early next year."
The Express Buzz has reported that "the Indian Postal Department will issue identity cards (ID), carrying the home address, to city residents from the second week of October."
Daily News & Analysis India has reported that "In an image makeover that befits the corporate sector, the government-owned India Post unveiled a new brand identity on Tuesday. The organisation launched its new logo in red and yellow, designed by Oglivy & Mather, to give the postal service a corporate look." See also the Calcutta Telegraph and the Indian Express.
According to the Deccan Herald, "Alarmed by complaints that the post office savings deposits are losing sheen blame the low interest rates the Centre plans to refurbish the schemes and offer higher interest rates."
Indian Express has reported that "Telecom Minister A Raja today said efforts are on to introduce the Post Office Act Amendment Bill, that brings courier companies under the ambit of its regulation, in the forthcoming session of Parliament.
The Postal Regulatory Commission has an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated, highly skilled person with experience in field of economics. Position Title: Economist Grade: Prc-3 Salary Range: $52,296 - $83,673 Location: Postal Regulatory Commission Office Of Accountability And Compliance Analysis And Pricing Division 901 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 200 Washington, Dc 20268-0001.
September 23, 2008
The United States Postal Service will announce a $2.5 billion dollar yearly loss tomorrow, ABCNews.com has learned. Postal service officials say the loss this year, and the year before, was due largely to a Congressional mandate requiring the Postal Service to pre-pay $5 billion in retirement benefits for postal workers. But for that requirement, say officials, the Postal Service would have posted a $2.5 billion profit this year.
GovExec.com has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has indefinitely frozen all hiring, promotions and other personnel changes in its latest response to a worsening financial position."
From Business Wire: "MailExpress Inc., the leading provider of performance mail solutions for corporate customers nationwide, today announced the appointment of two new board members: Andy S. Bodea, SVP of Global Operations for Equifax, and Linwood A. "Chip" Lacy, Jr., former Chairman and CEO of Ingram Micro Inc. Bringing strong operational and strategic leadership experience working with a range of successful companies, the new board members are poised to help MailExpress reach aggressive revenue targets as the company rides strong momentum into the next stage of growth."
According to Royal Mail, "Almost two thirds of young consumers use a catalogue to shop, new Royal Mail research revealed today. Royal Mail’s Home Shopping Tracker Study 2008 revealed that 54 per cent of all adults use catalogues, either for buying directly or helping them with online or in store purchases. But for the 16 to 34-year-old age group this figure is even greater at 62 per cent - demonstrating that the ‘tech generation’ of young shoppers is embracing catalogues in the greatest numbers. The annual study also revealed that the 37 per cent of shoppers who consulted a catalogue before making purchases online in the past year spent 13 per cent more than those who did not. Online shoppers spent £1,502 on average but the figure rose to £1,694 for those who used catalogues first."
Advertising Age has reported that "The fifth annual Advertising Week in New York and the opening session of the United Nations' General Assembly intertwined for a short while Monday morning. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon invited a small group of the ad industry's top executives to U.N. headquarters for a chat. He wants the world's largest advertising holding companies to assist the U.N. in mounting a sustained advertising campaign about the dangers of global warming." [EdNote: Catalogers....Are you encouraging your correspondents to recycle their catalogs? They really ARE recyclable, you know.]
Okay, on the lighter side....Here's an item from Information Week:
First, the bad news. Men making a lot of hands-free calls from a mobile phone stored in a pants pocket could damage their reproductive chances, a research group said. Researchers at the Center for Reproductive Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic found that radio-frequency energy from mobile phones decreased sperm quality. The study of 361 men, posted on the clinic's Web site, found the greatest impact on those who used their phones for more than four hours a day.
Now, the good news. This doesn't happen when you communicate by mail. [We will now return to our regular programming.]
The Washington Post has reported that:
From PR-Inside: "In 2007, companies spent more than $6 billion on direct mail marketing(1), generating an average response rate of less than 3 percent. As costs continue to spiral upward and consumers increasingly disregard direct mail, companies are looking for cost-effective customer communication strategies that actually generate an acceptable ROI. In this complimentary, one-hour Webinar, Forrester Vice President Bruce Temkin will discuss the importance of delivering an exceptional customer experience, especially during an economic downturn. Attendees will also learn how two leading companies dramatically improved response rates at a fraction of the cost of traditional direct mail. WHEN: Tuesday, September 23, 2 - 3 p.m. EDT / 11 a.m. - noon PDT."
The OC Register has reported that "An offer by Aliso Viejo City Council to purchase property slated for a controversial 350,000-square-foot mail processing plant was rebuffed Friday by the U.S. Postal Service officials, who said the deal was "not prudent," as "no viable alternative [is]available" for construction. City officials have criticized the Postal Service's vetting process and operational criteria for an alternative site, maintaining the agency's conditions are so narrowly defined that it necessarily excludes all other alternatives."
The News & Observer has reported that "A new contract post office that can cater to Spanish-speaking customers opened Monday in East Durham, U.S. Postal Service officials said."
According to the Star Herald, "UPS is delivering more than packages in the region. When it comes to community service, the company is delivering hope. Earlier this year, the United Parcel Service was recognized nationally by the United Way for its giving. For the eighth straight year, UPS employees - active and retired - were No. 1 with contributions, pledging $60.8 million during the 2007 United Way campaign."
USPS News Link has reported that "Chief Operating Officer Pat Donahoe’s latest edition of Field Updates takes a look at several cost-reduction strategies for fiscal year 2009, with a focus on removing some of the fixed costs in deliveries. Donahoe discusses two main strategies — maintaining the current hours per route through Quarter 1 and right-sizing route structures. “Our hours per route are between 7.5 and 7.75 — that’s great! We need to maintain that performance through December. “Based on projected workload in city delivery, there’s over a billion dollars in savings associated with route reduction and route structure potential,” Donahoe said. Included in that $1 billion is a full-time street concept worth $424 million in savings. Overall, the plan is expected to save $1.4 billion. And with mail volume down and an uncertain economy tightening everyone’s purse strings, Donahoe’s plan will help the Postal Service survive the challenging financial times ahead."
Canadian Business Online has published an interview with Pitney Bowes CEO Murray Martin.
MediaDailyNews has reported that "A distinguished group of panelists at an Advertising Week event Monday looked into their crystal balls and offered a range of forecasts about the future of the industry."
Federal Register "The Postal Service is revising Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM[supreg]) to reflect changes to the marking requirements of our Shipping Services product, Parcel Select[supreg]. On May 21, 2008, we published in the Federal Register (Volume 73, Number 99) the proposed rule describing Parcel Select marking changes. This final rule revises the effective date to October 9, 2008 (proposed rule date was September 30, 2008) when Parcel Select shippers must use one of the following markings, as appropriate, on each Parcel Select package: For all destination entry packages, use ``Parcel Select''. For BMC presort entry packages, use ``Parcel Select BMC Presort'' or ``Parcel Select BMC PRSRT''. For OBMC presort entry packages (Inter-BMC) packages, use ``Parcel Select OBMC Presort'' or ``Parcel Select OBMC PRSRT''. For barcoded Intra-BMC and barcoded Inter-BMC packages, use ``Parcel Select Barcoded'' or ``Parcel Select BC''. DATES: Effective Date: October 9, 2008."
WZZM13 has reported that "Kent County Road Commission crews discovered a mess along the highway that turned out to be mail on its way to a recycling facility. It happened Monday afternoon along Westbound I-196, just past Market Street, in Grand Rapids. The Kent County Road Commission found the mail scattered along the expressway and immediately notified Michigan State Police, who in turn, notified the United States Postal Inspection Service. Several workers from the road commission, along with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were sent to retrieve any pieces they could find along the highway. The mail turned out to be mail that was on its way to be recycled. U.S.P.S. Spokesperson, Gina Haisma, says, "It's not returnable, it's not deliverable as addressed. It could also include mail that was refused at point of delivery. So, all of that goes to be recycled. The company that does the recycling apparently lost part of the load." The postal service says it would most likely know if "live" mail was missing. It has processes in place to make sure it gets delivered or returned. In this case, it was past that point and on its way, to be recycled."
LaunchLab.co.uk has reported that "The Forum of Private Business (FPB) says Royal Mail is pushing up prices for collecting post from small businesses but at the same time reducing the UK’s stock of Post Office branches by 2,500 as part of a cost-cutting exercise. Until April 2008, small businesses could opt to pay £280 a year for morning collections. Now there is a standard collection priced at £450. Businesses needing post to be collected at a specific time must pay a further annual fee of £750 for the privilege. The Post Office is selecting branches for closure using the government's ‘National Access Criteria', which stipulates that 95% of a postcode district's population is within six miles of a branch."
The African Press Agency has reported that "The Malawi Post Corporation (MPC)’s Postmaster General, Joseph Chiusiwa, on Tuesday said that the country\’s traditional mail volume has declined by two percent annually due to, among other things, the use of advanced communication technology. He told APA in Lilongwe that this was due to uses of electronic modes of communication like the internet, fax and mobile phones where short messages are used for to transmit information. In addition, increasing competition from other players like the DHL, Fedex, Skynet and TNT where clients are able to choose among the firms which one to use to send their mail."
Newstrack India has reported that "India Post today launched a new logo that will now be seen across all post offices and postal services of the country. The changed corporate logo for the Department of Posts was launched by Union Minister of Communications and IT, A Raja. Raja announced that India Post will very soon acquire a number of aircrafts to carry letters, parcels and logistic consignments for making overnight delivery in major towns of the country. He also announced a host of new customer services to be launched by India Post very soon. These will include express parcel post retail service, gift parcel post service, logistics post air service, sale of gold coins through retail post, express money order service, speed post call centres and a range of new international services." See also ITExaminer.
France24 has reported that "French postal unions called for a strike to protest the decision to privatise the state-run company, demanding a public debate on the subject. More than half of the French population opposes the privatisation." See also Hemscott and The Connexion.
Hellmail has reported that:
Postmaster General, Jack Potter met today with the leadership of the three management associations and craft unions representing all craft employees and EAS employees of the Postal Service. The meeting was scheduled to brief the leadership of the employee organizations on the current situation in the Postal Service and to request the cooperation from all of the representative organizations in working together to get through this difficult period.
From PRWeb: "WhitePages, the leader in online people search that provides people a simple way to find others and connect with confidence, today announced it is powering the popular "Post Office Locator" on usps.com for the U.S. Postal Service. Known for its extensive, industry-leading database of more than 200 million U.S. adults, this new WhitePages' solution enables users to search and navigate the nearly thirty-seven thousand (37,000) Post Office Locations and prospective postal services on the U.S. Postal Service site."
September 22, 2008
Business Daily has reported that "The Government has called in forensic auditors to probe the integrity of the Postal Corporation of Kenya’s electronic money transfer service, Postapay, following reports of loss of millions of shillings to fraudsters. In a letter to the corporation’s board of directors dated September 3, Information and Communications permanent secretary, Bitange Ndemo says the partnership as crafted had left the supplier of software with undue control over Postapay operations, exposing the company to heavy losses of revenue." See also ITNews Africa.
As the Wall Street Journal has noted, "As transportation costs continue to skyrocket, so too does the cost of shipping your business inventory and ordering supplies."
Congrats to PostCom board member and Experian postal affairs vice president Steve Lopez who will be presenting a paper at Post-Expo 2008. The Expo will be held this year in London, England. The conference is co-sponsored by the Universal Postal Union. Lopez has been active in PostCom's behalf at the UPU's Consultative Committee.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has reported that "Over 800 Royal Mail engineers and security staff will take three days of strike action starting tomorrow, Tuesday, in a dispute over changes to attendance times." See also the Dorsett Echo.
The minutes of the July 10 meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Services have been posted on the State Department website.
VNUnet has reported that "Royal Mail has attracted fierce criticism after it attempted to promote its direct mail services using a direct mail campaign that prompted one recipient to describe it as the "worst example of junk mail I have ever seen". The company's Direct Mail Seed Box campaign saw a cardboard box resembling a seed box and containing nine pamphlets each styled as seed packets and containing information on how to formulate a direct mail strategy sent to potential customers of Royal Mail's direct mail services. However, the 23cm x 12cm x 13cm box infuriated one BusinessGreen.com reader who contacted the site to complain at what she regarded as a " ridiculously wasteful" example of junk mail. "The box doesn't fit the purpose, and environmentally it is an insult," she said. "It illustrates very clearly precisely how seriously Royal Mail takes its environmental responsibilities."
According to TheNews.pl, "Poland's state-owned postal service intends to make up to 15,000 redundancies in an attempt to cut costs. The biggest cuts are to be made in the company's extensive administration - clerical workers, accountants, inspectors and mail sorters in big cities are facing the cut. So are some of the employees of small post offices in towns and villages."
The PostalNewsBlog has reported that "A posting on the NAPS member forum by NAPS Secretary Treasurer Jay Killackey verifies what most readers probably assumed from yesterday’s NAPUS hotline article. The article said that NAPUS President Dale Goff would be meeting with PMG Jack Potter tomorrow. The NAPS posting confirms that the PMG will be meeting with the heads of all of the postal unions and management associations. Speculation on possible outcomes from the meeting center on a restructuring of the organization, and other cost cutting initiatives. The USPS Board of Governors is scheduled to hold its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday and Thursday."
Media Daily News has reported that "Ad revenues continued to decline at leading newspaper publishers in August, in some cases by double digits."
Online Media Daily has reported that "In the short term at least, Web publishers can expect the continued growth of targeted advertising to hurt their bottom lines, according to Dave Yovanno, chief operating officer of U.S. Media at online ad network ValueClick, Inc."
The Manchester Evening News has reported that "hundreds of postal workers were expected to deliver an angry message to the Labour conference when they marched on Manchester today to protest against post office closures. Members of the Communication Workers Union were gathering at Castlefield before marching through the city to demonstrate their fury at 'drastic changes' in the postal industry. They were expected to be joined by pensioners and community activists concerned about the closure of Post Office branches in towns and villages across the region. Billy Hayes, the union's general secretary, said: "There are huge changes taking place in the mail industry, which are damaging jobs and services. Royal Mail's plans to close large numbers of mail centres and ongoing post office closures will cause thousands of job losses across the country. "This will undoubtedly have an effect on the quality of mail services."
According to Mailers Council exec Bob McLean, "Last week USPS SVP for Labor Relations Tony Vigilante notified the employee organizations that that due to the current financial situation a more controlled approach in managing the complement is needed. Therefore, a freeze on all organizational structure changes is effective immediately. The freeze includes position upgrades, additions to complement, position neutral exchanges, and requests for new positions and their related position evaluations."
Advertising Age has reported that "Retailers counting on online shopping to buoy sales in a tight economy are wrestling with a big problem: free shipping. Shipping discounts, which have become a mainstay of the holiday season, are being carefully analyzed by retailers as they weigh the benefits against the mounting costs. Transportation costs have skyrocketed in the last year, with diesel prices rising 50% year over year. In response, fuel surcharges applied by UPS and FedEx have more than doubled to 10.5% for ground packages and 34.5% for air packages. Those increases will likely cause retailers to make over their promotional offers this holiday season."
According to the Daily Express, "Royal Mail bosses came under fire yesterday after a new computer system caused a massive backlog of post for thousands of households. The firm’s new Pegasus computerised delivery system was criticised as a “shambles” by business owners and private customers awaiting delayed letters, bills and cheques."