What's New in the Postal World
Page Two (The Entire Month's Entries) | Page Three (Prior Month's Entries) | Page Four (And the Month Before That)
May 28, 2009
The Buffalo News has reported that "An Elma businessman who devised a complex scheme to cheat the U.S. Postal Service out of $350,000 pleaded guilty to three felony charges today before District Judge Richard J. Arcara. William Toth, 42, was arrested last year after a lengthy investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the criminal division of the Internal Revenue Service. Toth pleaded guilty to money laundering, mail fraud and filing a false tax return, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen L. Wylegala said. While operating a mail services company called NETEX in the years 2004-2006, Toth invented a scheme to send packages throughout the United States without paying the full postage due, Wylegala said. She said the scheme cheated the Postal Service out of more than $350,000. He also admitted that he filed a false 2005 tax return, which understated his taxes due by $40,000."
Media Daily News has reported that "Two more supermarket chains are introducing mobile coupon services for shoppers, marking another advance for this increasingly popular marketing channel. Tom Thumb and Randall's -- both owned by Safeway -- are currently cooperating with packaged-goods manufacturers General Mills, Unilever and Kimberly-Clark to offer shoppers 21 coupons for goods like pre-packaged tossed salad and children's cereal. Shoppers who have a loyalty card can view and select the digital coupons they want by visiting the store's Web site on their computer or mobile device. The selected coupons are registered on their loyalty account, and automatically deducted when the cashier swipes their loyalty card. The infrastructure for the system was created by Cellfire, a company specializing in mobile coupon distribution; it also handles operations and other technical issues."
Newspaper Death Watch has reported that "publishers are finally beginning a sunsetting strategy for their print editions. By driving up circulation prices, they are effectively winnowing out their low-value customers. Price increases will probably come fast and furious in the future. Each will cause circulation to fall until a new floor is reached. Expect circulation declines to quicken as more newspapers adopt the strategy." [EdNote: Sounds some days like a strategy the USPS has adopted. Increase your prices. Pass along your costs in the form of oppressive worksharing requirements, and squeeze the lifeblood out of your most important First-Class Mail customers by having the Postal Inspection Service serve them with criminal offense notices. It's a great way to show the value of doing business with you. Soooooo, who's gonna host a "Postal Service Death Watch" blog?]
As PC World has noted, "We're in a no-longer-so-new world on the Web and content producers, like newspapers and magazines, have to experiment, probably radically, to find a model that compels people to pay for their product. [EdNote: Makes you wonder when those who are responsible for the nation's postal system will awaken to a similar appreciation.]
Check out the Wall Street Journal for a peek at where newspaper, book, and magazine publishing may be heading. Hint: It isn't ink on paper.
Kahala Posts Group (KPG), an international coalition of 10 leading postal services from around the world, will hold its next CEO Board meeting at the Westin Miyako Hotel in Kyoto, Japan on July 8. The CEOs of all 10 postal services will be in attendance. A press conference will be held from 11 am to 12 noon. During the meeting the members will consider various initiatives for the development of postal products and services, as well as marketing, extension of the global postal network and new memberships in the group. Norio Kitamura, chairman and CEO of Japan Post Service Co., Ltd., will chair the meeting. Leading postal services in the Asia‐Pacific region founded KPG in 2003 to strengthen their jointly managed International Express Mail Service (EMS), aiming to ensure seamless, high‐quality, end‐to‐end reliable delivery by leveraging and integrating their networks and technology to provide transparency to customers. In addition to founding members from Australia, China, Hong Kong‐China, Japan and Korea and the United States, KPG now includes members from Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Singapore, and continues to explore opportunities for further expansion.
Computing.co.uk has reported that "Royal Mail is looking for a supplier for a £120m contract for the transformation of its web operations. The mail service wants to select a partner for systems integration and the transformation of its e-business division, providing services such as design, development, hosting and ongoing operation of all its web sites. The successful vendor will be asked to migrate from or take charge of the firm’s existing IT platforms and relationships in that area, while delivering a cost-effective model to allow the launch of new web-based products and services. The value of the five-year contract may reach £120m, according to the contract notice published on the Official Journal of the European Union. Royal Mail said in the notice that spending for the project “will be to such level as are considered necessary to provide suitable requirements” and is also subject to reviews driven by macroeconomic factors and other business priorities. Bids must be submitted by 25 June."
From Business Wire: "Postea Inc. announces that Singapore Post will license Postea’s suite of hardware and software technology. Postea develops and operates companies which provide technology and support to the postal, courier and logistics markets. Subsidiaries include Proiam LLC and Innovations Group Inc. (IGI). Innovations Group’s Retail Network and Franchise Management program is currently in deployment by the United States Postal Service."
The Wall Street Journal wants you to know "Why Government Can't Run a Business Politicians need headlines. Executives need profits. overnments are run by politicians, not businessmen. Politicians can only make political decisions, not economic ones. They are, after all, first and foremost in the re-election business. Because of the need to be re-elected, politicians are always likely to have a short-term bias. What looks good right now is more important to politicians than long-term consequences even when those consequences can be easily foreseen. And politicians tend to favor parochial interests over sound economic sense. Government enterprises are almost always monopolies and thus do not face competition at all. But competition is exactly what makes capitalism so successful an economic system. The lack of it has always doomed socialist economies. Governments use other people's money. Corporations play with their own money. So a labor negotiation in a corporation is a negotiation over how to divide the wealth that is created between stockholders and workers. Each side knows that if they drive too hard a bargain they risk killing the goose that lays golden eggs for both sides." [EdNote: A case in point. Name one private sector union with collective bargaining rights that would rather run to Congress to cry the blues rather than bring its problems to the collective bargaining table to work out differences it has with its employer. Now contrast that with the behavior you see with public sector unions, such as those representing postal workers.]
According to Seacoast Online, "Residents of Ocean Avenue Extension ante up their complaints over the town's decision to make the street one-way, as the York Village Post Office now refuses to deliver their mail. The post office will no longer deliver mail to Ocean Avenue Extension, said York Village Postmaster William Monagle, because to do so would require the driver to make a left-hand turn. Monagle said the U.S. Postal Service has a policy not to create new left-hand turns on its routes." [EdNote: Now that ought to make the senator from Maine particularly happy with the Postal Service....Advice: Know your friends. Don't make unnecessary enemies.]
Hellmail has reported that "Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said top represent some 150,000 postal workers, added his voice to claims by UNI Global that postal liberalisation is leading to unemployment, attacks on working conditions and poorer service for customers. “We’ve said for a long while that liberalisation doesn’t benefit the market. The UNI report shows that postal services are public services and don’t sit well in the private sector.” His comment follows a UNI global study carried out in 13 countries that indicated that full liberalisation of the postal market was failing. The study examined the effects of liberalisation on workers and response from unions. UNI found that the economic theory backing up liberalisation was questionable and that there was little competition in the liberalised postal markets, with new entrants obtaining from 0.1% to 10% of market share. The study also revealed that there are very few competitors to the incumbent, in most cases between one and four."
Yahoo! News has reported that "Global newspaper sales inched up last year, contradicting gloomy predictions that dailies face extinction, as gains in Africa, Asia and Latin America offset slumps in Europe and the US, an industry group said Wednesday. Newspaper sales grew 1.3 percent worldwide last year from 2007 to 539 million daily, a rise of 8.8 percent over the past four years, said Gavin O'Reilly, president of the World Association of Newspapers. "The sector continues to grow," he said at the start of a two-day WAN conference in Barcelona, adding media commentators were making a "mistake" when they predicted the death of daily newspapers."
According to KOMO, "Beverly Hills has a famous one, but this King County town of 10,000 just wants one to call their own -- a zip code. The city's only two postal zip codes are both listed as Renton. "I think it's like living in Lake Woebegone, where you can't really put it on the map," said Newcastle City Manager John Starbard. This is no laughing matter. Newcastle wants its own zip code, and one reason is a city councilman learned those Renton zip codes are in accident-heavy areas. "Because the zip codes are Renton-based, (the councilman) is paying about a 20 percent premium on his auto insurance," Starbard said."
There's been a lot of talk these days about the Postal Service serving as a "laboratory" for the development of longer-life electric vehicles. Here are two items some might find of interest:
From Business Wire: "Pizzas 4 Patriots, a non-profit organization, is teaming up with DHL, the world’s leading global express delivery and logistics company, and Uno Chicago Grill®, the inventor of deep-dish pizza, to dish out up to 28,000 pizzas to U.S. servicemen and women throughout Iraq and Afghanistan in time for Independence Day, 2009."
Supply Chain Europe has reported that "UPS announced plans to boost its global post sales service options by significantly expanding its field stocking location (FSL) network in India."
MyCentralJersey.com has reported that "Starting in September, there will be one more venue to do so in the township at a new satellite U.S. Post Office that will open inside Devine's Pharmacy at 1949 Oak Tree Road. "It will offer residents the convenience of postal products and services right here where they live," said Edison Postmaster John Karp. Satellite offices, also called contract postal units (CPU), are a growing trend, Karp said. Central Jersey already has a few of them, including one at the Cold Cut Center at Roosevelt Avenue in Carteret and several on the Rutgers campuses in New Brunswick and Piscataway."
Heritage Foundation: Unfair Government Competition: A Threat to the U.S. Economy Date: June 3, 2009 Time: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. "Federal, state and local agencies, universities, non-profit organizations, prison industries, and other government sponsored and supported entities engage in commercially available activities that result in unfair government competition with private enterprise. This adversely affects the U.S. economy by duplicating activities available from commercial providers, increasing the government payroll, and diverting public monies from inherently governmental activities the American public expects of its government. More than 850,000 positions out of a non-postal, non-military uniformed Federal workforce of 1.8 million are in “commercial” activities. Every White House Conference on Small Business has identified unfair government competition as a top concern of America’s small businesses. Nevertheless, the Obama Administration is proposing to add some 250,000 new federal employees and “insourcing” numerous activities currently performed by private sector contractors."
From PR Newswire: "Valassis, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, and The Dallas Morning News, the flagship subsidiary of A. H. Belo Corporation (NYSE: AHC) , today announced a powerful, innovative alliance that changes the way advertisers reach households in the Dallas-Ft. Worth designated market area (DMA). Through the alliance, The Dallas Morning News will combine its advertising inserts with Valassis' RedPlum(TM) Direct Mail Package, creating a single, shared offering that will reach 1.5 million households weekly in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market."
MTAC and the Postal Service are co-sponsoring an industry volume survey to help understand the trend of future mail volumes. We need your help to forward this link to your respective members asking that only one person in each member company or organization provide his/her best estimate about future mail volumes.
May 27, 2009
According to Advertising Age, "Print is not aging well. Or, rather, its readers are aging rapidly. That's been suspected and alleged since digital media was born, of course, but the latest round of industrywide research revealed just how much has changed in the past five years."
TriValley Central has reported that "Throughout the county, all ZIP codes beginning with "852" will make a one-digit change, replacing the first "2" with a "1." The remaining digits in the ZIP code will remain the same. To adjust for population growth, Casa Grande's 85222 ZIP code will change to 85122, the U.S. Postal Service announced this week. Also, 85294 will change to 85194, and the 85230 code for post office boxes will become 85130. "This will give the USPS capacity to add additional five-digit ZIP codes in the future to handle growth when new deliveries are added in the area," said Peter Hass, USPS corporate communications officer. The new ZIP codes will officially be changed on July 1 and residents should begin using them by that date, the U.S. Postal Service said. By May 28, the new ZIP codes should be effective in the USPS system."
Online Media Daily has reported that "Traditional print media drives online leads, according to data released today from Telmetrics, a Toronto-based company focused on advertising call tracking and measurement solutions."
MediaPost has noted that "One of the real concerns of sustainability advocates is that the stagnant global economy will put pressure on businesses to freeze, moderate, or even eliminate sustainability-oriented programs and messages. At a time when corporate profits have cratered and nearly everyone's job seems at risk, the belief is that spending on sustainability will be lumped in with other examples of unnecessary corporate excess, like corporate jets and stadium luxury suites. A review of recent studies and surveys suggest that, in fact, the opposite is true: companies that aggressively pursue sustainability will put themselves in a position of unique strategic advantage. Ultimately, this can lead to more efficient business practices, an enhanced brand, and improved fiscal performance. "Sustainability and Branding: The Imperative of Continuity," a white paper recently released by ADC Partners, identifies a number of the underlying reasons for initiating or maintaining sustainability programs, and for aligning a brand accordingly."
PostCom Members! Your latest issue of the PostCom Executive Summary has been distributed. Please feel free to pass this on to others within your organization. If you haven't yet received your copy, contact email@example.com
PARCEL Forum has reached out to some of the industry's top consultants to produce a series of all day, intensive pre-conference workshops. Each workshop is designed to focus on a specific segment of the small shipment supply chain; Operational Efficiencies, Transportation Law, Transportation Technology & Resources and Executive Management. Now's not the time to stick your head in a box and wait for things to change; now's the time to arm yourself with the knowledge to make things change and... that's where we come in! You also can get hold of the latest issue of PARCEL magazine presented in web-friendly NXT format.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: (updated)
PostCom Members! The summer sale. Do you qualify? Don't you qualify? How do you determine your threshold test? You can find the answers in two documents the Postal Service has provided and can be found on this web site: (1) Guidelines For Documenting Standard Mail Volume Sent Through A Mail Service Provider For Participation in USPS Summer Sale Program and (2) Customer Volume Claim Form Summer Sale Program.
The DM Bulletin has reported that "Upmarket clothes catalogue Lands' End has been signed up as the first mail order client of Royal Mail's green DM postal service, Sustainable Mail. The service, launched in April, offers a lower price tariff for mail that meets environmental criteria in line with the new DM green standard, PAS 20:20. Black Horse Personal Finance and Standard Life are already using Sustainable Mail."
The Swazi Observer has reported that "the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology has called for the speedy implementation of the opening of exchange bureaus in post offices. Principal Secretary Nathaniel Mahluza during the opening of the Southern Africa Postal Operators Association (SAPOA) 8th Annual General Meeting at Orion Piggs Peak Hotel on Monday, said this would help rural communities and migrant workers remit funds to their families. He noted that in the SADC region over 60% of the people still reside in rural areas, therefore, the speedy implementation of the road transport network, quality service and money transfer regionally are of utmost urgency. Mahluza applauded the SAPOA for demonstrating firm commitment and professionalism in the manner in which it discharges its mandate as defined in the transport, communications and meteorology protocol."
Shacknews has reported that "the United States Postal Service has denied that it is providing preferential treatment to the competitors of videogame rental-by-mail service GameFly, and today filed a motion to partially dismiss the company's complaint. "In short, the Complaint lacks merit and fails to articulate grounds for any relief," said the USPS in its 26-page response. "[GameFly] seems to believe that problems of its own making can somehow be solved by the Postal Service when, in fact, they cannot--at least not without incurring costs that would be a disservice to all other mailers."
As the local postmaster told the readers of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, "While it's true that the recession and the Internet are contributing to difficult financial circumstances for the Postal Service, the major cause of loss of mail volume and revenue is the economy. Let's not all throw in the towel and turn to the Internet without considering some important facts...."
The Asahi Shimbun has reported that "Prosecutors arrested a welfare ministry official Tuesday on suspicion of falsifying an official document that led to alleged widespread abuse of a discount postage system intended for groups supporting disabled people."
Business Times has reported that "POS Malaysia Bhd(4634) will return to the black this financial year as it does not expect to make more provisions for its investments in Transmile Group Bhd."
Orissadiary has reported that "India Post also announced its tie-up with State Bank of India to provide rural banking services across the State. As many as 122 post offices would extend loan products as home loans, loan against property and gold mortgage, automobile loans, loans against term deposits, securities, Kisan Vikas Patra and National Savings Certificates as also non-agro SME loans, credit cards and kisan credit cards of SBI. The post offices would also be a source of saving accounts along with term deposit, recurring deposit and no frills account for the bank.:
The Nation has told its readers that "you may have heard that the United States Postal Service is in dire financial straits, having lost $2.8 billion in 2008 and on track to lose twice that much this year. Things are so bad that the Postmaster General recently asked Congress for permission to curtail mail delivery six-days a week. This matters because the USPS continues to provide a vital public service. The Post Office not only reliably delivers political periodicals like The Nation -- a class of content vital to a functioning democracy -- to anyone anywhere in the country, but the mails still serve to bind our vast populace together, with many post offices serving as de facto community centers. In this time of fiscal crisis, there is thankfully an easy way to support the USPS in the form of House Resolution 22."
The Prague Daily Monitor has reported that "Czech postal service operator Ceska posta saw its sales rise to Kc5.15bn in Q1 this year compared to Kc5.1bn a year ago."
According to SmasHits, "Flydubai, the state-owned low cost airline of Dubai, has announced that the Emirates Post Office, which has more than 100 offices all over the United Arab Emirates, will act as the airline's selling agent. As the region's most dynamic postal corporation, the Emirates Post set as its goal the provision of best service to all customers. With the help of our advanced IT technology and a trained team, we will provide a convenient and user-friendly service to Flydubai travellers."
The Swazi Observer has reported that "The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is engaged in projects that will make the postal network an important infrastructure that contributes to countries’ social and economic development. Director of Operations and Technology, UPU International Bureau Sulemani Msofe said quality of service forms part of the UPU mission and has been one of the strategies adopted by past congresses which placed quality of service among the most important objectives. Meeting Msofe was addressing a delegation from the Southern Africa Postal Operators Association during their 8th Annual General Meeting held at the Orion Piggs Peak Hotel."
Media Daily News has reported that "Since 2001, 64 of 90 leading consumer magazines have seen the median age of their readers increase faster than the population at large, according to a MediaPost analysis of the latest figures from Mediamark Research & Intelligence. The analysis, based on MRI's spring 2009 measurements, confirms the continuation of a long-term trend previously observed in 2006-2008. Overall, between spring 2001 and spring 2009, the median age of readers for the 90 leading publications increased an average of 3.1 years, versus an average increase of 2.1 years for the population at large."
Thanks to the difficult economic environment, Schweizerische Post saw its operating profit fall by 13.1 per cent (131.5m euros) in the first quarter of 2009, with a 1.6 per cent increase in sales (1.46bn euros).
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.)
According to Dead Tree Edition, "By shifting some mail handling from the Bronx to Manhattan recently, the U.S. Postal Service did an end run around union opposition and Congressional interference. Postal officials are increasingly using similar tactics around the country to bring about much-needed consolidation of their dropship network without stirring up local opposition."
According to Rasmussen Reports, "Seventy-four percent (74%) of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely that the price of a first class postage stamp will be $1 or more within the next 10 years. Forty-six percent (46%) say it’s Very Likely. Younger Americans are more likely to expect a big jump in the price of a stamp than their elders in a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey."
The following reports have posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/) today. If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.