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Association for Postal Commerce
"Representing those who use or support the use of mail for Business Communication and Commerce"
"You will be able to enjoy only those postal rights you believe are worth defending."


1901 N. Fort Myer Dr., Ste 401 * Arlington, VA 22209-1609 * Ph.: +1 703 524 0096 * Fax: +1 703 997 2414
What's New in the Postal World
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November 24, 2009

The President of the National Association of Letter Carriers has told his members that "There is no way to sugarcoat it; it was a horrible year,” NALC President Fred Rolando said. “The housing collapse and meltdown on Wall Street hit the most mail‑intensive sectors of the economy, and the deep recession that followed may have accelerated the drive by many mailers to seek electronic substitutes for mail." Independent auditor Ernst & Young cautioned that “there is significant uncertainty” whether the Postal Service will have enough cash on hand to make all of its payments in the year ahead, including the $5.5 billion retiree health benefits payment due on the last day of FY 2010. That is the next installment due to pre‑fund future retiree health insurance costs."

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News has reported that "Scaling back mail delivery from six days a week to five may be the best bet to stem mounting U.S. Postal Service losses, but could still be a gamble, says a University of Illinois economist who has studied the agency's persistent financial decline. Seung-Hyun Hong says projected savings from weekday-only delivery could wither if the move chases away lucrative business customers who count on the mail to blanket homes with coupons, fliers and other advertisements." [EdNote: Yes, you read it right. The source really is Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.]

For those who may have missed it, here is a link to a C-SPAN interview with Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway.

The latest entry has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/
 
  • 40 Years Ago.  What was the Post Office Department like 40 years ago?  Are prospects better or worse today? 
 
You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at:  www.uspsoig.govYou can also follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/OIGUSPS.  If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

The following reports also have been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/).  If you have additional questions concerning a report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286. 

November 23, 2009

Postalnews.com has warned its readers that "Big Brother is watching?"

According to Rag Content, "Whether you are a kindergartener or a college student, this question has found its way into the minds of every person at some point in his or her life. Some are fortunate and know right away that they want to be a teacher or doctor, a firefighter or lawyer. I know when I was growing up, a postal commentator never came to mind, but here I am. With the recent announcement from the Postal Service's chief financial officer regarding the USPS' dire postal financials (i.e., an ever increasing debt, another $7 billion loss hanging over their heads for FY2010, and no postal price increase for all of 2010) it is a good time for the USPS to sit back and think long and hard about what it wants to be when it grows up."


PostCom Members!
 
A copy of the latest Postal Postal Issues Briefs has been posted on this site. This brief focuses on the issue of five-day mail delivery.

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:  Docket No. R2010-1: The Association for Postal Commerce (“PostCom”), Direct Marketing Association (“DMA”) and Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers (“ANM”) have submitted supplemental comments in response to four items filed by the Postal Service. They said that "the fundamental thrust of the supplemental materials submitted by the Postal Service is that the volume of mail that will be subject to the surcharge is so small that the Commission should simply ignore the operational, policy and legal issues that fatally infect this proposal."

TTKN News has reported that "Parcel2Go.com's new parcel delivery partner is Home Delivery Network (HDNL) which delivers to homes in every postcode, every day, thoughout the UK. Parcel2Go.com revealed its link up with HDNL just days before the national strike action by postal workers began.

Trading Markets has reported that "CSC has announced that Britain's Royal Mail Group, a supplier of postal services, has signed an agreement extending its relationship with CSC, for the provision of cloud computing information technology (IT) services."

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE “The U.S. Postal Service announced this week that they have lost $3.8 billion this year. Here’s the worst part. You know how they lost it? In the mail.” -- Jay Leno

From Market Wire: "Writing holiday wishes on someone's Facebook wall, Tweeting "Merry Christmas" to followers, or emailing "tis the season" digital cards will happen frequently this holiday season, but not as frequently as using the old fashion postal service to mail holiday cards. A recent survey conducted by WhitePages and Market Decisions found that, despite the growing popularity of electronic correspondence, 78 percent of Internet users will use traditional mail to send out holiday cards this season.:

OneNewsNow has reported that "A Postal Service spokesman tells CBS News that the agency currently owes the U.S. Treasury $10.2 billion. Now comes word that Congressman Danny Davis (D-Illinios) is calling for a federal bailout of the Postal Service and elimination of Saturday service. Tad DeHaven (Cato Institute)Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute, says Davis' comments reflect a mentality in Washington that prefers taking other people's money and throwing it at a problem rather than finding practical solutions. "You can get rid of Saturday service, or they've talked about removing a day from the week. You can give the Postal Service more money through general funds, but that's not going to fix the underlying problems at the Postal Service," the budget analyst notes. "With technology changing, people use e-mail; they use text messages [and] cell phones. That's completely undermined the demand for the Postal Service's business." DeHaven predicts that because it is burdened by excessive labor costs through a largely unionized work force, and because the current Congress has no interest in undermining union power, the Postal Service will continue to "plod along and lose money."

The Deccan Herald has reported that "The Bangalore Urban Principal Forum has come to the aid of a dismayed consumer who lost vital documents due to severely deficient service rendered by the post office."

WMBB has reported that "Investigators with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office have arrested one man and uncovered an elaborate scam using the internet and postal system. On November 18 a package was delivered to an incorrect address on Panama City Beach. The recipient of the package opened it and called the BCSO. Inside the package were Russian magazines and 46 checks hidden within the pages—each for about 500 dollars. Investigators were able to determine the names on the checks were legitimate, as were the routing numbers. The people whose names appeared on the checks were contacted and each person reported having trouble with their online bank accounts. The victims also denied having written the checks. However, all reported receiving and responding to an email claiming to be from their banking institution requesting account information."

The Press-Enterprise has warned that "While the year-ending holidays are expected to engender some merriness in the hearts of most people, for others it's a season to be larcenous. The U.S. Postal Service reports that mail theft increases during the holidays, due to many an envelope containing a check or money order meant as a gift or to packages containing merchandise that could be fenced."

The Washington Times has reported that "USPS redesigns to aid Mac users." See also the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer.

"Russia's national postal service plans to slash 33,000 managerial jobs in the coming year as part of rationalization measures, the state news agency Ria Novosti reported Monday. State-run Russian Post, which currently has 415,000 employees, has already cut nearly a third of its management positions in the first nine months of this year, according the report."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Deutsche Post AG Chief Executive Frank Appel has said the company is well prepared for the year to come and doesn't require any large acquisitions or big improvement measures."

As Transport Intelligence has noted, "FedEx Ground, the small-package ground delivery unit of FedEx Corp., has opened a new distribution facility in Medley, Fla. The 217,015 square-foot operation is double the size of the facility that it replaces, which also was located in Medley. The $59 million facility is part of an ongoing national expansion plan and will provide processing rates of up to 15,000 packages per hour, additional load and unload doors as well as more scan tunnels and sorters. The facility supports a workforce of more than 340 employees and independent contractors and expects to add approximately 50 temporary positions for the holiday season."

Trade Arabia has reported that "The GCC postal corporations’ meeting held recently in Muscat, Oman, discussed several critical issues facing the postal sector and underlined the need for greater co-operation among GCC postal organisations."

Deadtree Edition has reported that "With less than a week to go before a new postage discount debuts, knowledgeable mailers want nothing to do with the new program. It’s officially called the full-service Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb). But as the horror stories and unresolved problems rack up, Dead Tree Edition hereby dubs it the FUBAR (Failed Unbelievably Bureaucratic Addressing Regulations) code. Those of you with military experience know another meaning for FUBAR, and the IM program certainly fits that definition as well. Many Periodicals mailers are also spooked about the Intelligent Mail program after hearing how it cost Time Inc. more than $90,000 in duplicate address-change charges in a period of just two months. Newsweek, often a leader on postal issues in the magazine industry, spread the word among publishers a few months ago that it was not putting any more resources into Intelligent Mail."

MWC News has reported that "As recently as 1992, the government in Rome issued a decree reserving a fifth of all the openings in the Italian postal service for relatives of employees and ex-employees."

November 22, 2009

The State has reported that "DHL, one of the world's largest shipping companies, is opening a processing center in Lexington County that will employ 200 jobs initially, a number that could rise to 700, Lexington County officials said. The center will be located on Platt Springs Road, across the street from the Midlands Technical College's Airport Campus. It will be housed in the building that once housed the Teradata firm. Officials for DHL confirmed Friday the center will open early next year."

The latest copy of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. electronic governmental affairs newsletter is available on the NAPUS web site.

According to Financial Advice, "Despite hopes that the Royal Mail and unions had buried the hatchet and were looking to the future with regards to a long-term agreement, sources close to the Communication Workers Union have let it be known that talks are stalling and concern is growing. It seems as though, in private, the Communication Workers Union is looking to threaten further industrial action in the run-up to Christmas, something which all parties had been looking to avoid. So what has gone wrong?"

November 21, 2009

Hellmail has reported that "Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people, has appointed CFH Total Document Management to implement Corporate Docmail, the integral document management and hybrid mail system, into its head office and network of 212 branch offices. The appointment is based on a three year contract (plus two year option), and with upwards of 9 million envelopes being mailed by Hays each year, is worth over £12million."

Reuters has reported that "Japan's government and ruling parties are considering using money from state-owned Japan Post's [JP.UL] massive savings and insurance units to make loans to regional businesses."

According to Marketing Week, "Against all odds - postal strikes, technological advancements, environmental concerns and economic recession - direct mail retains its appeal to executives and marketers alike. Or so say the several hundred marketers who told Marketing Week that direct mail continues to have the ear of the board (56% of those polled attested to this), and the significant minority (7%) who say the recession has had no effect, or the small number (5%) that said that the economic downturn has had a “very bad” effect. Explanations for the channel’s stoic resilience offered by those participating included: “It still provides one of the highest returns on investment when carried out in a targeted and controlled way”, and “….in terms of offering measurability of campaign and marketing spend effectiveness, to my mind it is second to none as a channel for customer acquisition.”

CBS News has reported that "An Alaska senator says the U.S. Postal Service is resuming a program allowing volunteers to respond to letters sent to Santa Claus in care of the North Pole, Alaska, post office. Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Friday that Deputy Postmaster General Pat Donahoe told her in a phone call the agency has reconsidered its decision to not allow volunteers to answer the letters."

UPS has released new list rates for 2010, including an average increase of 4.9 percent for UPS Ground packages and an average net increase of 4.9 percent on all air express and U.S. origin international shipments. The rate increase for air express and international shipments is based on a 6.9 percent increase in the base rate, less a 2 percent reduction in the air and international fuel surcharge index. Updated rate and service information will be posted on ups.com/rates beginning Nov. 20. On Dec. 18, customers can download the 2010 Rate and Service Guide. The new rates take effect on Jan. 4, 2010. Also effective Jan. 4, fuel surcharge tables for air express and ground services will be adjusted. The changes will better align Air and Ground Fuel Surcharges and will substantially reduce the volatility of air surcharges when fuel prices fluctuate. An explanation of the fuel surcharge calculation methodology along with the new rate tables will be available on ups.com/rates.

In recognition of being leading service providers globally, organizations and individuals were awarded with an International Service Excellence Award.  FedEx Customer Information Services was named “Best Customer Service Division of a Large Business.” 

The Guardian has reported that "The postal dispute could reignite next week if Royal Mail continues to stall over peace talks, sources close to the Communication Workers Union have warned. The two sides began negotiations under the auspices of mediation service Acas this week but it is understood that little headway has been made. "So far, it's been a case of talks about talks," one source said. "If no progress is being made you can't rule out the union going back to strike action."

Bloomberg has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service, which has said it may lose $7.8 billion this year, pared the list of facilities it’s considering closing by 35 percent. The agency cut the number of stations and branches under evaluation for closure to 241, the Postal Service said today in a statement. The original list of potential closures included about 3,600 locations. The Postal Service, which has almost 37,000 post offices, branches and stations, said last month that 371 locations remained on the list." See also the Postal Service's press release, WNYC and the PRC web site.

MLive has reported that "A U.S. Postal Service study recommends moving some mail operations from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids, cutting 40 area jobs and $2.5 million."

November 20, 2009

 
The latest issue of the
PostCom Bulletin is available online.
 In this issue:

  • Despite aggressive cost cutting of $6 billion and a $4 billion reduction in required retiree health benefits payments, the U.S. Postal Service has reported a $3.8 billion loss for Fiscal Year 2009. The Postal Service experienced a 12.7% volume decline from FY 2008, which is more than double any decline in USPS history. At the same time, it cut 115 million workhours, which is equal to 65,000 Full-Time Equivalents.
  • This week during the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee and a media briefing, Pat Donahoe, USPS Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Operating Officer discussed the progress made since the enactment of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. He focused on three key areas: service, SOX, and cost.
  • This week at the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee, Robert Bernstock, USPS President of Mailing and Shipping Services, along with Tom Foti, USPS Manager Marketing Mail and Steve Monteith, USPS Manager Transactions and Correspondence spoke about the growth opportunities the Postal Service is pursuing in the new year.
  • In its 10-k, the Postal Service honestly reported that 2009 was a terrible year. Its forecast for 2010 is not much better.
  • Postmaster General Jack Potter earlier this week marked the 176th quarterly meeting of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) by reminding industry representatives not to lose focus on the “big picture.” The Postal Service’s senior executive talked about the USPS’ decision to keep market-dominant product prices stable in 2010, the need for legislative change that includes more pricing and product flexibility, SOX compliance and mail acceptance deficiencies, and the need for both the Postal Service and the industry to live up to their obligations.
  • Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Operating Officer Pat Donahoe earlier this week at the quarterly meeting of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) reported the USPS’ FY 2009 service performance, as well as announcing the Postal Service’s FY 2010 service performance goals for market-dominant products.
  • USPS senior vice president of Intelligent Mail and Address Quality Tom Day earlier this week announced at the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meeting that the USPS will increase the IMb/POSTNET barcode readability threshold to 80 percent effective November 30, 2009, and to 90 percent effective March 15, 2010.
  • The USPS earlier this week at the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meeting presented for the first time its Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) Full-Service verification policies, including the identification of errors that will result in loss of IMb Full-Service discounts. Despite the Postal Service’s repeated assurances that it would not establish error tolerances and consequences for IMb Full-Service mailings until both the USPS and industry have more experience with the complexities of Full-Service and data can be collected and analyzed, the USPS said its verification procedures and consequences will take effect on November 29, 2009 – the date the IMb Full-Service price differential takes effect.
  • USPS offers a new pricing deal for efficient packaging. PRC accepts all periodic reporting rule changes as USPS proposed. Follow-up related to Move Update technical conference on PRC website. 5-day delivery: depends on your perspective. Potter recognized by Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers. APWU president speaks out against major mailers. PostCom congratulates new MTAC focus area chairs.
  • Updates on postal matters published in the Federal Register.
  • An update on DMM Advisory notices issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • A review of postal news from around the world.
  • Postal previews
Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none?  Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.

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Media Daily News has reported that:

  • The economy may have rallied in the third quarter but the newspaper industry did not, as total advertising revenues -- including print and online -- tumbled 28%, from roughly $10.1 billion in the third quarter of 2008 to about $6.4 billion this year.
  • The first glimmers of a print turnaround may be evident. One of the prominent success stories is the Publishing Group of America, which reported that total ad pages for its newspaper-distributed monthly magazines jumped 19% in the fourth quarter of 2009.

KeysNews has reported that "The Florida Keys' congresswoman has protested staffing reductions at Key West post offices, which have resulted in long lines and waits of 30 to 60 minutes for service. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and her staff have met with U.S. Postal Service (USPS) representatives and asked them to end the mandatory staffing reductions. Key West post offices have lost 10 postal clerk positions in the past year, said Kathryn dePoo, vice president of the local chapter of the American Postal Workers Union. Required staffing reductions eliminated four positions, while another six recently retired, and Postal Service policies and reductions prohibit their replacement, dePoo said."

The San Jose Mercury News has told its readers that "It's a sure sign that Christmas is coming. A chill in the air. Bing Crosby music at the mall. And the first blizzard. Not snow, but mail order catalogs — their glossy pages imploring Americans to buy everything from flannel shirts to expensive chocolates to the latest in must-have electronics. Last year, an estimated 17 billion catalogs were sent to U.S. households. That's about 56, for every man, woman and child. Now, a growing chorus of environmental groups is sounding the alarm that the Yuletide avalanche may not be good, for goodness sake, for the planet. Some are seeking a national "Do Not Mail'' registry, modeled on the "Do Not Call'' list that Congress set up in 2003 to control telemarketers. They say the public should also have an enforceable, easy way to block junk mail."

According to Market Scan, "Royal Mail's direct mail services will still be exempt from VAT despite the recent removal of exempt status for most of its services. A ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) stipulates that Royal Mail must charge VAT on many of its services to maintain market competition, but this will not apply to direct mail because its delivery is price-controlled and subject to regulation, reports Marketing Direct. The decision means B2B offline marketers will still be able to benefit from VAT-free direct mail services. Mailsorts one, two and three are price-controlled and therefore will not be subject to the ECJ ruling."

According to the Watertown Daily Times, "U.S. Postal Service officials and Central New York Area postal union representatives have differing views on how the relocation of the Watertown post office's mail processing operations has gone. Postal officials contend that the move to the Syracuse Processing and Distribution Center mostly has been a smooth process, while union representatives counter that the mail processing relocation "has not gone well."

The Washington Post has reported that "Santa's "elves" at the North Pole have been given their walking papers - but they're not going quietly. The volunteer "elves" are trying to counter a decision by the U.S. Postal Service to discontinue a program begun in 1954 in the small Alaskan town of North Pole, where they open and respond to thousands of letters addressed to "Santa Claus, North Pole" each year."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Product ,
60301–60302 [E9–27936]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

  • Docket Nos. MC2010-12; R2010-2: Market Dominant Product Prices Canada Post – United States Postal Service Contractual Bilateral Agreement For Inbound Market Dominant Services (Mc2010-12) Negotiated Service Agreement

The Stylelist has reported that "It's the end of an era. JCPenney is discontinuing its biannual "Big Book" catalog and instead will concentrate its efforts on creating smaller, more targeted catalogs, online selling and social media exposure. Case in point: the retailer's recent foray onto Facebook. With the discontinuation of this catalog, JCPenney anticipates a year-over-year reduction of 25 to 30 percent in paper used for catalogs in 2010. "Big book catalogs have become less relevant as customers have embraced shopping online, where they have ready access to our entire assortment at any time on jcp.com," Mike Boylson, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a release."

Deadtree Edition has noted that "The U.S. Postal Service’s workforce reductions did not keep pace with declines in mail volume the past two years, but postal officials indicate that may change this fiscal year. Mail volume was down 13% and revenue was down 9%, but the number of career employees declined only 6% in the fiscal year that ended September 30, postal officials revealed this week. The previous year, volume declined 4% while career employees decreased 3%."

Government Security News has a story about "the MailDefender, a device that is intended to kill anthrax, small pox, ricin, avian flu and a host of other dangerous bio-agents by subjecting stacks of mail, placed inside its tumbling drum, to a combination of dry heat, short injections of moist heat and doses of ultraviolet irradiation, for a total cycle time of 80 minutes, followed by a 10-minute cool-down period. Any organization that placed all of its incoming mail through such a decontamination protocol could be highly confident that any worrisome bio-agents would be totally neutralized."

November 19, 2009

iStockAnalyst has reported that "Consumers can now buy ICICI Prudential products from any one of the 16,159 post offices in the State, while the existing policyholders can pay their premiums at any one of the 529 e-payment enabled post offices. The State has a post office for every 5,000 population. “We have partnered with India Post to provide our customers one stop solution for their long-term saving needs. This will also help us increase our rural reach, considering the fact that about 90 per cent of the 1,50,000 post offices across the country is located in the rural areas,” Mr Anup Rau, Senior Vice-President, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, told presspersons. He said ICICI Prudential was also providing training to around 1,160 postal staff in the State for marketing of its products."

Hellmail has reported that "Postal Strikes See Rise In Postal Operator Licences."

A new report has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/).  If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.

The CBS Evening News has reported that "Can the Postal Service be Saved? With Losses Mounting, Postal Service Seeks Autonomy, Pushes to Cut Saturday Service; Rep. Danny Davis Calls for a Bailout"

The Washington Post has reported that "American Express on Wednesday said it had agreed to buy the online person-to-person payment provider Revolution Money for $300 million, the latest move by one of the credit card giants to add a service that has been increasingly in demand by consumers, especially younger ones."

The Ma'an News Agency has reported that "Palestine was allocated a postal code by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) following successful talks with the International Bureau in Berne, Switzerland, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced Wednesday."

The Financial Times has reported that "UK Mail, the postal and parcel delivery company that was until earlier this month was known as Business Post, boosted its interim profits in spite of a fall in revenues as the recession dragged on demand."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Dutch postal and express groupt TNT NV said Thursday that it has launced Direct Express, a new road distribution service in Europe to ship high parcel volumes."

Trading Markets has reported that "Hungary's state-owned postal services Magyar Posta plans to enter the local mobile market, local newspaper Portfolio reports. Magyar Posta will launch MVNO services using Vodafone's network. Magyar Posta plans to sell handsets and mobile services with pre-paid cards in regions of the country where domestic operators have no sales points."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
Inquiry into Suspended Post Offices ,
59997–59998 [E9–27778]

[TEXT]  [PDF]

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service will no longer forward “Dear Santa” letters to Kris Kringle’s elves in North Pole, citing security concerns and putting in doubt the future of a volunteer letter-answering effort that dates back 55 years. North Pole Mayor Doug Isaacson has called on Alaska’s congressional delegation to intervene, saying the Postal Service is “running roughshod” over the city of North Pole, whose very identity is tied to Christmas. “What grinch would conceive of something so sinister?” Isaacson said. “We are known worldwide for being special because of our association with Christmas. Businesses and civic organizations gear up for this. That’s when we’re able to really demonstrate the spirit of Christmas.” U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski wrote a letter to the postmaster general asking him to preserve the tradition." See also KTUU, USA Today, and Fox News.

Hellmail has reported that "Ceska Posta, the Czech Republic postal service, has just launched a new international parcel service. International Commercial Parcel (EPG) is a new express service offering a fast, safe and favourably priced solution to Czech customers that need to mail parcels abroad. The postal operator said yesterday that EPG will meet the needs of both individuals and businesses mailing current messages and private correspondence, gifts, documents or goods abroad."

American Postal Workers Union President William Burrus has told his members that "As the Postal Service struggles with severe financial losses, postal commentators pontificate on the steps that must be taken to ensure its return to solvency. The standard line espoused by spokesmen for the major mailers is that the postal workers must lower their expectations for wages, benefits and working conditions. In addition, these pundits suggest that management must be provided greater flexibility in the assignment of employees."

The Daily Times has reported that "The Senate Standing Committee on Postal Services on Wednesday called on Pakistan Post to improve its service standards, especially in the rural areas, by making it more efficient and reliable."

According to Advertising Age, "Ad-industry employment has increased for the first time in a year, a hopeful sign of recovery following a deep recession. But there is reason to be cautious as there could be more job cuts ahead."

At the MTAC WG 122 meeting today, the USPS shared its policies for verification and sampling procedures for Full-Service IMb.  USPS said it plans to publish the information through a DMM Advisory, perhaps later this week.  This information will include scenarios at acceptance that could result in the mailer losing their Full Service discount, and/or their ACS information.  An example of this policy is that in the sampling of scanning container labels, if there were only one label missing or without an IM barcode, no issue, but if there are two or more, the whole mailing will lose its Full Service discount.  There are also unresolved issues with what happens when the mailing loses Full Service and goes at Basic IMb but then all the Service Type ID codes on the pieces are wrong because they were Full Service, not Basic. These policies go into effect when the IMb price discount takes effect on Nov 29.

As the Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has noted, "In its 10-k, the Postal Service honestly reported that 2009 was a terrible year. Its forecast for 2010 is not much better ."

November 18, 2009

At the Postal Regulatory Commission:

The Telegraph has a report on: "Post Office closures: How the Government ignored the public outcry." A scathing report from the Public Accounts Committee has said the Government ignored complaints over its plans to close 2,500 Post Offices. But the findings came as no surprise to one man whose own branch was forced to close last December. See also the Daily Mail. (See also item below.)

Okay, postal wonks. If you're not yet bored to death, get and read this: "Oversight of the Post Office Network Change Programme HC 832, Fifty-third Report of Session 2008-09 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence"


At today's MTAC meeting: 
  • Bob Bernstock, USPS President of Mailing and Shipping Services stated that there will be no winter sale and that the USPS is focusing on a spring sale.
  • Bernstock also stated that the summer sale earned close to two to three times the anticipated amount for the USPS.
  • USPS FCM growth initiatives for 2010 include: Pricing stimulus (fall sale); Bills and Statements (second ounce price break and a rebate on courtesy reply returns); Business class mail (sits between FCM and Standard); Vote-by-mail; and Technology (scanning platform).
  • USPS Marketing Mail growth initiatvies for 2010 include: Incentive (spring sale and NSAs); Market Segment (catalogs, saturation mail, periodicals, samples); Small Business Initiatives
  • The USPS explained that its upcoming spring sale will be in the form of a "rewards" program, where customers earn points over the three spring months. Customers can then redeem those points up to six months after-the-fact on certain products. This is being designed to ensure that customers will reinvest into mail and not take the postal rebate/discount off their bottom line. Discount levels have yet to be determined.
  • USPS announced that it will extend the EMD usage through March 14, 2010, while it looks to see what service can/will replace those using EMD.
  • Financial Update by Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett
  • Presentation by Deputy Postmaster General Pat Donahoe on "Progress with the Postal Act of 2006."

    From the presentation by Donahoe:
     
  • Service Measurement and Reporting
  • Focus on Passive Service Measurement
  • System using Intelligent Mail and existing equipment
  • Further Service Reporting Implementation for March 2010
  • For Measurement systems beyond passive collection, the expense will need to be covered through an exigent rate case

According to John Lenser, "On the one hand, there are those who predict the wholesale demise of cataloging:. However, others maintain that catalogs continue to play a unique role that will ensure a strong and vibrant industry. I personally believe that catalogs will remain an important component of multichannel marketing. Catalogs and other forms of direct mail will continue to be the most effective form of “push” marketing because they are targeted and accountable. By push, I mean that it is proactive, intrusive, educates the consumer about products and creates desire. In contrast, retail stores and websites are “pull” marketing and passive. The consumer must travel to the store or log on to the website already knowing what they want to purchase."

According to Marketing Direct, "Traditionally, ad agencies brand-build while direct specialists acquire and retain customers. However, as more marketers assign direct agencies to multi-faceted briefs, the tide may be turning."

CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:

China Post Group’s postal segment recorded a slower growth in September.
The German Government won’t abolish Deutsche Post’s privileged status on turnover tax in the beginning of 2010.
A decline in mail volume caused a decrease in turnover by 6.6% in the first three quarters of 2009 for Post Danmark.
After three quarters the Österreichische Post hast to cope with a decrease in turnover and earnings.
Bad news for Royal Mail again. Only days after the expensive conflict with the trade union CWU, the tax authorities showed up. According to HM Revenue & Customs Royal Mail hast to charge VAT on most of its services. HMRC’s thereby draw the conclusions from a lawsuit initiated by TNT. With the legal proceedings TNT successfully tackled the exemption of Royal Mail from charging VAT; in the future Royal Mail has to charge VAT on a lot of services for business customers.
Switzerland’s new postal law won’t be beneficial for customers.
Austria’s parliamentary commitee on transport passed the draft of the new postal law with the votes of the ruling parties last week.
Deutsche Post wants to increase the competition in the german market for logistic services related to the press.
The first ’personal daily newspaper’ njiu was delivered this Monday in Berlin. After almost three years of development this idea, which was developed by two students of business studies at Berlin’s university of Applied Sciences, started (CEP-NEWS 08/09). Customers may compile their personal newspaper from regional, supraregional and international papers.
Civil servants made redundant by Österreichische Post during the next years may become support workers for the police force.
Due to a data glitch it was possible to access thousands of billing and address data of Post Office shop’s customers. Deutsche Post acknowledged this last week.
Deutsch Post’s so called’Online-Brief’ will be released under a different product name next year. Deutsche Post regards the new project as an ’extension of the postal supply space into the internet.’ The next stages of development will be print and scan services, similar to Swiss Post’s one."
Deutsche Post now competes with the German Yellow Pages on the Internet.
Deutsche Post CEO Appel canceled former plans of Deutsche Post to develop a free newspaper.
In the light of ’serious issues in the letter business’ Deutsche Post calls for the renunciation of the nationwide provison of postal services. ’Do we need exactly 12,000 stores nationwide? This regulation isn’t seasonable any more’, Deutsche Post CEO Appel said in an interview with news magazine »Focus« (15.11).

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.)

Graphic Arts has reported that "Consumers are taking control of in-bound communication channels, unsubscribing to irrelevant email, and defecting from brands that continue to deliver irrelevant content and random mass mailings, according to a new poll from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and InfoPrint Solutions Company. While 64 percent of consumers say promotional offers dominate both the email and traditional mail they receive, only 41 percent view these as must-read communications. Of the 91 percent of consumers who opt out or unsubscribe to emails, 46 percent are driven to brand defection because the messages are simply not relevant. The threat of customer churn and disconnection intensifies as 41 percent of consumers say they would consider ending a brand relationship due to irrelevant promotions, and an additional 22 percent say they would definitely defect from the brand. Yet, while marketers continue to weigh the pros and cons of email versus printed postal mail, consumers are much more concerned about the level of individualization and understanding of their needs and relationship with the brand."

Indian Express has reported that "In an attempt to further streamline the process of issuing driving licences in the city, the Transport department of the Delhi government has now decided to switch to the good old Indian postal service instead of relying on private courier services for delivery of the smart-card based licences.

Θ Environmental Leader has reported that "In its first-ever sustainability report, the U.S. Postal Service showed a decrease in total energy use of 9 percent from 2005 to 2008. In 2008 the agency used 123 million gigajoules, compared to 131 million GJ in 2007, 134 million GJ in 2006 and 136 million GJ in 2005. The USPS reduced energy use at its facilities by 18 percent from 2005 to 2008, or about 14 percent per piece of mail delivered, according to the 2008 Sustainability Report: “Delivering a Greener Tomorrow.”

Marketing Week has reported that "Direct mail has stood up well to the challenges posed by the recession and the channel carries weight in the boardroom, according to Marketing Week’s Direct Mail Attitudes survey. The survey found that 56% of marketers believe that direct mail has influence with the top executives or board members at their companies. Just 5% report that the recession has had a “very bad” effect on the channel, while 7% claim the downturn has had no effect at all."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Service
PROPOSED RULES
Unpaid and Shortpaid Information Based Indicia Postage Meters and PC Postage Products ,
59494–59496 [E9–27628] [TEXT]  [PDF]

KMOX has reported that "Despite cost cutting in the postal service it still went 3.8 billion dollars into the red last year. That could mean more cost cutting measures in the future including the possibility of eliminating Saturday mail delivery."

National Public Radio has noted that "The volume of mail handled by the U.S. Postal Service fell by 13 percent in fiscal 2009, a drop of 25 billion pieces of mail. Anthony Conway, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, says e-mail and the current recession have been a double-whammy for the Postal Service."

Parcel2Go has reported that "European Court of Justice has told Royal Mail it must incorporate VAT in its private deals. Businesses may start using alternative parcel delivery services to those offered by Royal Mail after a court ruled it cannot be exempt from VAT on private contracts. European law currently states that publicly-owned postal service organisations do not have to pay the charge, as they provide a universal service. However, the European Court of Justice ruled that the exemption cannot be applied to private contracts Royal Mail has with various firms, in a case brought forward by rival parcel delivery provider TNT."

As the Federal Times has noted, "Daniel Indiviglio, writing on The Atlantic’s business blog, looks at the Postal Service’s gloomy FY09 financial results and declares 5-day mail delivery a “reasonable idea.” Then he looks a little further ahead — and predicts 5-day could eventually give way to even less frequent delivery. Indiviglio casts that as a positive — the Postal Service responding to the changing way Americans use mail (and, increasingly, don’t use mail). Interestingly, though, I often hear the same argument presented by union leaders and many postal employees as a criticism of 5-day. They view the end of Saturday delivery as a stalking horse for 4-day, 3-day, etc. And they see it as a negative, both because of its impact on postal workers and because they see it as selling off the agency’s competitive advantage."

According to Advertising Age, "As if the U.S. Postal Service's rate hikes weren't bad enough. Now traditional delivery is getting in the way of technological innovation meant to bring print into the 24th (and a half) century....Subscribers' mailing labels cover up the symbol that triggers the whole thing in the first place."

According to the News Leader, "Postal Service workers and officials are at odds whether a proposal to consolidate operations at a Charlottesville distribution center to Richmond would slow mail service in Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County."

The Wall Street Journal has reported that "FedEx Corp. (FDX) Chief Executive Frederick Smith said he expects holiday season volume to rise 8% over a year ago, partly helped by market share gains. "Christmas won't be a disaster," Smith said during The Wall Street Journal CEO Council conference Monday. The shipping company is often seen as an indicator for how well the broader economy fares. He said he expects fourth-quarter gross domestic product growth to exceed 4%, and GDP growth to exceed 3% in the following few quarters."

November 17, 2009

Welcome to PostCom Radio
Postal Podcast . . . More on Move Update

Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito and The Bennett Group President Mary Ann Bennett in a discussion of the trials and travails of complying with Move Update.

According to DC Velocity, "Businesses ship a lot of air, driving up costs in a number of ways. Companies typically select packaging based on marketing or other considerations without giving much thought to the supply chain implications, he says. As a result, they end up using more packaging than they need, creating enormous waste and unnecessary expense. He advocates with some passion that logistics professionals should become more involved in decisions about the packages their companies use to ship freight."

At the Postal Regulatory Commission: "Live audio broadcast will air at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 18. This hearing – in Docket No. N2009-1 – provides witnesses the opportunity to enter rebuttal testimony into the record. Links to the audio will be posted here approximately 10 minutes prior to the broadcast."

dBusiness News has reported that "Lone Star Overnight (LSO), a Texas-based regional overnight package delivery company, is introducing a competitive multiple-package shipment rating option. Effective today, shippers may choose LSO's new Multi-PakSM pricing for multi-package shipments destined for the same address. The Multi-Pak option is available on all qualifying ground domestic shipments throughout the LSO delivery area, which includes the entire state of Texas; Oklahoma; western Louisiana; eastern New Mexico; and Texarkana, Ark. While most national small-package ground carriers require a 200-pound minimum for their multi-package pricing, LSO's Multi-Pak option will be available for shipments weighing just 100 pounds or more. Additionally, the assessorial fees associated with Multi-Pak, including residential fee maximums, are priced lower than those of national competitors."

ABC.az has reported that "The two-day meeting of the expert groups of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states and the 8th meeting of CIS states’ Section on interlibrary loan system kicks off in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, to finalize the draft agreement on preferential postal rates in the interlibrary loan system of CIS member states. The Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies of Azerbaijan informs that at the event Azerbaijan is represented by Subhan Kazimov the director general of Azerpocht LLC."

According to The Atlantic, "Late yesterday, the U.S. Postal Service reported that it lost $3.8 billion in the 2009 fiscal year. As you might guess, people just aren't using "snail mail" like they used to. The suggestion to shave some more off their costs? Cut Saturday service. That would save an estimated $3.5 billion per year. I think this is a pretty reasonable idea. These days, few people sending letters or packages through USPS care too much about timely delivery. If they did, they could still use UPS or FedEx. Instead, postal service could just act as a cheaper alternative -- with no Saturday service. I think, personally, I could live with that. And I suspect businesses could too. After all, Saturday isn't a business day anyway. The biggest problem I could see would be for those who pay their bills via USPS. An extra day for payments in-transit could translate to more late fees. Of course, this problem should take care of itself before too long -- once people realize that Saturday service has ended, and they need to mail their checks a day earlier. It's consumers' responsibility to understand how to get their bills in on-time, even if the mail service changes its policies. Besides, with each day that passes more and more Americans are choosing online or phone-based payment options, rather than rely on the mail."

From PR-Inside: "Melissa Data ( www.melissadata.com), a provider of data quality and data enrichment solutions, announced today a new solution that allows users to identify where Internet visitors are coming from to help increase click-through and sales. The new IP Locator Object, which is available as either an API or as a Web service, helps companies identify an Internet user’s geographical location, including country, region, city, lat/long, ZIP Code™, ISP and domain name, all without invading, or being perceived as invading, the visitor’s privacy."

CNN Money has reported that "FedEx Corp. is announcing a sensor-enabled device that can wirelessly feed real-time data about a package's whereabouts, condition and other metrics to the Internet. The service, called SenseAware, will launch this spring. Its initial target markets are the health-care and life-sciences businesses, industries that often need to know the precise location of the products (drugs, test results, samples) they ship. The new device, when attached to a parcel, contains senors that can provide temperature readings, data on whether a shipment has been opened or exposed to light, and precise data about a package's location."

The BBC has reported that "A debate is to be held in the Scottish Parliament to examine the future of the nation's sub-postmasters."

   

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HAVE YOU HAD IT WITH
"DO NOT MAIL" MANIA?
Then be sure to read:

* The Environmental Impacts of the Mail: Initial Life Cycle Inventory Model and Analysis (USPS study)
* Informing The Dialogue: Facts About Mail And The Environment (SLS Study) 
* Informing The Dialogue: Facts About Mail And The Environment (SLS Study) 
* The many documents that serve as backup  (SLS Study) 
* How To Deal With "Do Not Mail" Mania (PostCom) 
* What You Need to Know About
Mail, the Economy, and Society
(PostCom) 
* U.S. Constitution, Article 1
Section 8:
"The  Congress 
[not the States] shall have power...To establish post offices and post roads."


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