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Source:  http://postalaffairsblog.intelisent.com/

Response to USPS Commentary on Network Rationalization Post

with one comment

The following note was not sent to me directly, nor was it posted as a comment to this blog.  Oddly enough it was posted in the comments section on a site that linked to my original post here, and was forwarded by a colleague for my response.

Here is the comment:

If Lisa Bowes would have spent more time reading the materials the Postal Service provided on its website about Phase 2 of Network Rationalization (http://usps.com/ourfuturenetwo… and less time doing her own “deconstruction,” she would have a much better understanding why the Postal Service is taking this action. First, this is not new. Yesterday’s notification to mailers is a continuation of the network rationalization activity approved by the Postal Service Board of Governors in 2011. The consolidation of 141 mail processing facilities in 2012 and 2013 was highly successful and resulted in annual cost savings of approximately $865 million. After ensuring the efficient operations of our network following those changes, the Postal Service is ready to move forward in January 2015 with Phase 2 of Network Rationalization, which is expected to generate an additional $750 million in annual savings. The reason for moving forward is not a mystery – in the last three years, the Postal Service recorded financial losses of $26 billion and we continue to face significant financial challenges associated with the decline of First-Class Mail volume and revenue, wage and benefit inflation, increasing operating costs, as well as legislative mandates and significant debt pressures. In addition, the uncertainty regarding legislative reform and review of postal rates in the courts continues to delay needed capital investments in network operations and undermine the future financial viability of the Postal Service. Moving forward with streamlining our mail processing operations is part of a broader strategy to position the Postal Service for the future so we can continue to meet our customers’ mailing and shipping needs.

Dave Partenheimer
Manager, Media Relations
U.S. Postal Service
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

And here is my response (which, in addition to publishing here I will make every attempt to get my response to Mr. Partenheimer directly).

Dear Mr. Partenheimer,
I’m not 100% sure why my deconstruction commentary elicited such a strong and passionate response, and why you didn’t contact me directly.  Let me give you a little background to counter some of the conclusions you jumped to.  First of all, yes, I did read the materials the USPS provided on Network Rationalization, all of it.  I read all of the materials on Phase I as well.  I understand the USPS financial situation, however, that is not a catch all excuse to use in backing up all decisions and direction the USPS is taking.

Secondly, reviewing what I wrote, I never stated that any of this was new, or being sprung on mail owners and mail service providers.  The PMG promised 6 months notice, and that is what he did.

I strongly suggest that you read the Postal Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Opinion on Network Rationalization.

Apparently, the Commission doesn’t agree with the USPS savings projections, or service standard changes.  I seem to be in very good company questioning those projections.

As far as my comments on timing and USPS disappointment at not being able to get 5 day legislation enacted, please reference the USPS Press Release on Network Rationalization:
“Moreover, the uncertainty regarding legislative reform and review of postal rates in the courts continues to delay needed capital investments to acquire package sorting equipment and replace an aging mail delivery fleet.”

Lastly, I am entitled to my opinion, as you are to yours.  Because I express “tough love” on the blog – for I sincerely do value and love the postal service and do not take it for granted – should not upset you.  Families don’t always agree on everything.  Per the theme of National Postal Forum this year, we are “Stronger Together”.  We both want the same thing, a healthy, sustainable Postal Service for generations to come.

Sincerely,

Lisa Bowes
USPS Customer

 

 

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 2nd, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Posted in USPS

IMb Tracing FTP Scan Delivery Process Down at USPS

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From the IMb Tracing Help Desk -

Attention IMb ™ Tracing Customer

Incident #1376011

Please be advised that we are currently experiencing  network connectivity problems. This temporary outage has impacted the IMb Tracing  package file delivery process. This issue has been assigned a priority critical ticket (Incident #1376011) and our database administrators are making every effort to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

We appreciate your patience and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused to your internal processes. Please be assured that we are taking every measure to resolve this issue and we will provide additional updates as more information becomes available.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact IMb Tracing Customer Assistance.

Thanks,
USPS-National Customer Support Center
IMb Tracing™ Customer Assistance
IMbTracing@usps.gov
1-800-238-3150 option 2

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 2nd, 2014 at 10:21 am

Posted in USPS

Priority Mail Prices

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From USPS

The United States Postal Service today filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to change Priority Mail prices, including a reduction in prices on average for businesses and other customers who use Commercial Plus and Commercial Base online shipping services. The price change will include a modest increase for Priority Mail prices at Post Offices and other postal retail outlets. The proposed changes, which would go into effect in September 2014, are intended to offer more competitive pricing and build on Priority Mail’s popularity with customers.
“The Postal Service is a vital business partner for small and large businesses and lowering shipping prices will save them money and improve their bottom line,” said Nagisa Manabe, chief marketing/sales officer. “With our affordable shipping options, we hope to attract new business customers and become their preferred delivery service.”

Full press release Priority Mail Price Change Release

PRC documents:

http://prc.gov/prc-pages/library/detail.aspx?docketId=CP2014-55&docketPart=Documents&docid=89958&docType=Notice

 

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 1st, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Posted in USPS

Penalties as a Revenue Stream, aka Spend a Buck to Save That Penny

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aka, Penny Wise and Pound Foolish, which coincidentally (or not) sounds like something 1st Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin might have said, although it is not attributed to him)

I’ve gotten several requests to provide a link to the “Penalties as a Revenue Stream archives”, in light of the recent legal activities by the USPS, so here it is

http://postalaffairsblog.intelisent.com/penalties-revenue-stream-blast-past/

That retrospective post is from February of this year, with posts dating back to 2010.  How quickly we have gone from inching toward to damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!

The USPS continues to make mailing more difficult, more costly, more risky, more uncertain, less reliable, with less people, who have less experience.  It just doesn’t seem like a good business plan, much less a viable, sustainable one.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 1st, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Posted in USPS

Closure of EC postal distribution center to slow delivery

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 1st, 2014 at 11:37 am

Posted in USPS

Rationalization of our Network of Mail Processing Facilities…and a Deconstruction

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From the DMM Adviosry:  (important enough to even circulate via email!)

Rationalization of our Network of Mail Processing Facilities

Dear Valued Customer,

The United States Postal Service is planning to resume the rationalization of our network of mail processing facilities which began in 2012.  To provide adequate time for planning and preparation, the Postal Service is providing this six-month advance notice of consolidations, for up to 82 facilities, which will begin early January 2015 and be completed by the fall mailing season.

The Postal Service will provide detailed information about its network rationalization planning in the coming weeks.  As with prior network rationalization efforts, the Postal Service will work closely with customers to mitigate potential issues associated with transportation and logistical requirements.

In 2012 and 2013, the Postal Service consolidated 141 mail processing facilities.
This rationalization was highly successful, resulted in negligible service impact, generating annualized cost savings of $865 million and required no employee layoffs.  The Postal Service expects the completion of this phase of network rationalization will generate an additional $750 million in annual savings.

Why are we taking this step now?

Over the past three years, the Postal Service recorded financial losses of $26 billion.
The Postal Service receives no tax-payer funds to pay for operating costs and derives all of its revenues from the sale of our products and services, and continues to face significant financial challenges associated with the decline of First-Class Mail volume and revenue, wage and benefit inflation, increasing operating costs, as well as legislative mandates and significant debt pressures.  Moreover, the uncertainty regarding legislative reform and review of postal rates in the courts continues to delay needed capital investments to acquire package sorting equipment and replace an aging mail delivery fleet.

We believe strongly that this phase of network rationalization will establish the low-cost, technology-centric delivery platform necessary to serve the mailing and shipping industry for decades to come.  We look forward to discussing our specific plans for our network in the coming weeks.

The list of facilities to be consolidated after January of 2015 is available at http://usps.com/ourfuturenetwork .
_______________________________________________

I haven’t done a deconstruction in a while, but this USPS communication has inspired me:

Unfortunately, I have nothing on the “Dear Valued Customer” salutation.  Anybody out there feeling valued?  Rate increases, uncertainty, inadequate postal systems, exigency, consolidation, churn, change…

The Postal Service will provide detailed information about its network rationalization planning in the coming weeks.
One of two things could be in play here…They don’t know and don’t actually have a plan, or it’s a big secret.  Or they will blame the unions or that old favorite standby scapegoat SOX.

The Postal Service expects the completion of this phase of network rationalization will generate an additional $750 million in annual savings.
Unfortunately USPS estimates are always overstated, with service implications understated.

Why are we taking this step now?
Several reasons.  Angry about no 5 day from Congress- the timing of this announcement is just not coincidental – and anger at the Staples blowback.  I have to confess, I bought in to the Staples rhetoric at first, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and that pudding is some rotten.

We believe strongly..
This is the part that makes me sad, because I do think the USPS believes strongly.  However, I think their arrogance makes them bad listeners, and bad listeners can’t be successful in the long run.  I hope I am wrong on that, because I value the postal system.

 

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 1st, 2014 at 10:12 am

Posted in USPS

APWU to Launch Vigorous Campaign Against Plant Closures, Consolidations

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

June 30th, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Posted in USPS

PMG: Mail processing plant closures announced again

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After recently announcing a two year moratorium on plant closures, the PMG has recanted that idea and has again announced a return to shuttering hundreds of much needed mail processing facilities. The PMG cited a three year decline in first class mail volume as well as exigent price increases or a lack thereof as the reasoning. In a short video to employees, the PMG OFFEREDED NO DETAILS on what impacts the new closures will have on employees. It appears the postal service is unsure of what it is going to do, but they are going to do it anyway.

via The Postal Newsgroup: PMG: Mail processing plant closures announced again.

Bolding was added…couldn’t have said it better myself…

Written by Lisa.Bowes

June 30th, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Posted in USPS

Network Rationalization Part II

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aka – “as if we aren’t changing enough things already without being able to keep up, here’s some more change to heap on the pile”…

From an Industry Alert:

The United States Postal Service is planning to resume the rationalization of our network of mail processing facilities which began in 2012.  To provide adequate time for planning and preparation, the Postal Service is providing this six-month advance notice of consolidations, for up to 82 facilities, which will begin early January 2015 and be completed by the fall mailing season.

The Postal Service will provide detailed information about its network rationalization planning in the coming weeks.  As with prior network rationalization efforts, the Postal Service will work closely with customers to mitigate potential issues associated with transportation and logistical requirements.

In 2012 and 2013, the Postal Service consolidated 141 mail processing facilities. This rationalization was highly successful, resulted in negligible service impact, generating annualized cost savings of $865 million and required no employee layoffs.  The Postal Service expects the completion of this phase of network rationalization will generate an additional $750 million in annual savings.

Why are we taking this step now?

Over the past three years, the Postal Service recorded financial losses of $26 billion. The Postal Service receives no tax-payer funds to pay for operating costs and derives all of its revenues from the sale of our products and services, and continues to face significant financial challenges associated with the decline of First-Class Mail volume and revenue, wage and benefit inflation, increasing operating costs, as well as legislative mandates and significant debt pressures.  Moreover, the uncertainty regarding legislative reform and review of postal rates in the courts continues to delay needed capital investments to acquire package sorting equipment and replace an aging mail delivery fleet.

We believe strongly that this phase of network rationalization will establish the low-cost, technology-centric delivery platform necessary to serve the mailing and shipping industry for decades to come.  We look forward to discussing our specific plans for our network in the coming weeks.

The list of facilities to be consolidated after January of 2015 is available at http://usps.com/ourfuturenetwork .

Written by Lisa.Bowes

June 30th, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Posted in USPS

Dead Tree Edition: Subtle Violations of Postal Regulations Can Cost Mailers Millions

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Dead Tree Edition: Subtle Violations of Postal Regulations Can Cost Mailers Millions.

Mailers, very important to pay close attention.  Do you feel like a valued business partner of the USPS?  Regardless, you had better proceed with caution, and watch your back at all times.

I’m curious as to how long a private sector company would remain in business, with this twisted way of treating their valued mail service provider and mail owner “partners”.  I suspect not very long.

I am sure this gives companies like SCE and Sears a lot to think about – as far as how they can fast track diverting their communications out of  the mail stream – permanently.

This also makes me wonder about exigency — were the USPS losses because of the “Great Recession” — or are their “losses” actually a bloodletting from a multitude of self inflicted wounds?

Also, search this Postal Affairs Blog for “Penalties as a revenue stream” -  going back several years.   Nothing new, and only getting worse.

 

Written by Lisa.Bowes

June 30th, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Posted in USPS