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)
June 24, 2009
Hellmail has reported that "The IEA & Marketforce’s 8th Annual Conference, 'THE FUTURE OF UK POSTAL SERVICES' begins next Tuesday (30th June) at Le Méridien, Piccadilly, London With Royal Mail now adapting to increased competition, the state of the UK's postal market is increasingly in the spotlight. The event promises to be a hotbed of ideas and the ideal place to learn about the challenges ahead."
At today's business meeting of the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia Subcommittee on the mark up of H.R. 22, ³United States Postal Service Financial Relief². H.R. 22, it was recommended that chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code be amended to allow the United States Postal Service to pay its share of contributions for annuitants¹ health benefits out of the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund over a three year period.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that:
From Business Wire: "R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company has announced that its OneSite Internet portal has been selected for the Chairman's Website Award and its co-palletization tray solution has been recognized with the Mailing Industry Ingenuity Award by the Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association (MFSA)."
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.)
Hellmail has reported that "Swiss Post has reduced the number of its weight classes. The measures, which were announced in March, effectively reduce the price of many of its letters by up to 20% as of 1 July. All letter prices will include VAT. Swiss Post said it would mean price advantages of around 200 million Swiss francs per year for customers. The main measures involve a comprehensive price reduction for most business customers, with Swiss Post picking up the tab for the new VAT rate for letters weighing up to 100 g. All business customers who are able to claim back VAT will benefit from price reductions of around 7% on items weighing less than 100 g."
The Arizona Republic has reported that "Residents of unincorporated Queen Creek have voted to give their community a new name and identity: San Tan Valley. After debating what to rename the area for little more than a week, a plurality of voters chose the name over the second-place title, Bella Vista. The community, north of the Santan Mountains in Pinal County, is home to roughly 80,000 residents, most of who moved to the area within the past 10 years. It is not part of the nearby town of Queen Creek, but that became the area's affiliation after the U.S. Postal Service in Queen Creek began using it for practical purposes."
BlueMauMau has reported that "In an interview last October with United Parcel Services, spokesperson Norman Black emphatically stated that he could not confirm that UPS or Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) had engaged the services of the Boston Consulting Group to conduct a major study (pdf file, 15 pgs) on the financial health of the system. When informed that a deposition of MBE in-house counsel Rich Kolman revealed the alleged results of the feasibility report showing “77 percent of the network, meaning 77 percent of the stores, were operating at “either an at risk or worse status,” Black replied, “We don’t need an outside consultant to tell us the health of our network. I want to be very clear here. I have no idea what you are talking about.” Now as franchisees prepare for trial in the Morgate LLC v. Mail Boxes Etc. case, the 2006 Boston Consulting Group report that Black says he knew nothing about will be a focus in the litigation, highlighting areas related to franchisee profitability or the lack thereof. Fifteen pages of the report have been unsealed by Judge Highberger, who is presiding over the trial."
From the Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission. Priority Mail Contract
Dead Tree Edition has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is preparing some price breaks for the money-losing Periodicals class, sources tell Dead Tree Edition. The most likely change to the Periodicals class, which is used by magazines and newspapers, seems to be a revamping of the “ride-along” pricing and regulations. Ride-alongs are items not eligible for Periodicals treatment on their own, such as product samples and catalogs, that are mailed along with a Periodicals publication. Postal officials are likely to allow more than one ride-along per publication and to lower the prices for them, especially for ones weighing less than an ounce, sources say. Although USPS is losing money on the Periodicals class, attracting more ride-alongs would be profitable for the agency because including one in a publication hardly changes the Postal Service’s handling costs."
The Greenville News has reported that "U.S. Postal Service inspectors were called last week amid concern over an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 pieces of mail in a stolen Clemson University van found in flames. The van and its contents are a total loss, said Clemson University Police Chief Johnson Link. The vehicle was so burned that it's difficult to tell whether all the mail was still inside or whether any had been removed before the van was set on fire, he said. That leaves questions regarding the fate of checks and personal information such as Social Security numbers contained in some of those envelopes, said Douglas Lofton, director of mail services at the university."
Advertising Age has reported that "Microsoft has long built enterprise software solutions for myriad industries: retail, health care, sales. But now it has its eye on advertising. Microsoft and Mediabrands are calling the software platform the Media Operations Management System -- and they're certainly not underselling what they envision the final product to be. The announcement touts it as "intended to reinvent the way media is planned, purchased, measured, reported and optimized." And Scott Howe, corporate VP of Microsoft's advertiser and publisher solutions group, likened the effect of the yet-to-be-implemented platform to that of the first investment bank to use a spreadsheet instead of calculators and slide rules. He said the visibility they're going to provide is the holy grail for marketers."
The Japan Times has reported that "internal affairs minister Tsutomu Sato suggested Tuesday he may review the four-way split of Japan Post services."
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
June 23, 2009
NewsChannel34 has reported that "U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer wrote to the U.S. Postal Service Postmaster General urging him to reconsider the proposal to terminate local mail processing and distribution services in Binghamton, Utica and Watertown by consolidating the three facilities into one regional facility in Syracuse. The proposal to transfer mail processing from several local areas to one regional facility is based on preliminary findings of the Area Mail Processing (AMP) Feasibility Study. Schumer noted that closure or partial closure of these facilities would present significant challenges to the local economies, impact the timely delivery of local mail in counties across the Southern Tier, Central New York and the North Country, and put local jobs at risk."
The London Daily News has reported that "The strike called by the CWU which threatened most of the capitals mail service was a "shambles" according to senior postal workers who spoke to the London Daily News, with delivery vans able to cross picket lines in Rathbone Place, Mount Pleasant and Nine Elms delivery depots. Delivery vans crossed picket lines on Friday because the strike ballots the CWU had conducted were apparently not complete and Royal Mail managers threatened if the drivers did not cross picket lines they would face the sack."
The Wall Street Journal has a story telling how "Netflix's chief is racing to shift the DVD-rental company's business to make more movies available online. His position offers a rare look at how a CEO manages a still-hot business as its time runs out."
TMCNet has reported that "An Azerbaijani delegation is attending the 5th meeting of ECO postal authorities in Islamabad, Pakistan. The event`s agenda includes discussions over prospects of expanding mutually profitable cooperation between the member states in postal area, application of new technologies to the postal sector, provision of additional services as well as other significant issues of postal sector."
The Daily Mail has reported that "Royal Mail faces a fine of up to £40million amid claims that managers rigged research to give a false impression about the efficiency of deliveries. Staff are accused of manipulating an independent study designed to find out whether mail is delivered promptly and arrives at the correct address. As a result senior staff were able to claim big bonuses, amounting to thousands of pounds, for apparently running a successful delivery service."
The APWU has given a straightforward response to a USPS request for input regarding five-day mail delivery: “Don’t do it!” If five-day delivery is enacted, APWU President William Burrus declared, “History will record this act as the first step in the dismantling of the United States mail system.” A reduction in the number of delivery days will result in “negative changes to employee staffing and scheduling,” the union president noted. Although the changes are intended to reduce personnel costs, “Any service organization that reduces service invites its own demise,” he said."
According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, "Direct mail marketing has advantages over other marketing techniques. It’s proactive because you don’t wait for the potential customer to find you. Your message is delivered directly to customers or prospects you identify as being likely buyers of your product or service. It builds relationships with customers because you can tell your story and build your credibility. It sends a targeted message. You can send different messages to different types of customers or prospects that appeal to their interests. Well-designed direct mail is not treated as junk mail by the recipients. A survey by direct mail giant Vertis Communications found that 85 percent of women in the coveted 25-44 age bracket actually read direct mail marketing pieces. Among total adults surveyed, 72 percent said they have replied to “buy one, get one free” direct mail offers. Of all adults surveyed, 63 percent said they have responded to direct mail discount offers."
Reuters has reported that "It looks like newspapers are having as much trouble holding their readers’ attention online as well as offline. Time spent on 17 of the 30 most-trafficked newspaper websites fell last month, while the rest of the sites had minimal, if any, gains, according to Nielsen Online data cited by E&P. On average, papers keep their readers for roughly seven minutes."
Hellmail has reported that:
The June 23, 2009 issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors Legislative & Regulatory Update has been posted on this site. In this issue: HR 22 Markup Could Miss the Mark; Cover Your Eyes: This May Be Messy.
On Wednesday, June 24, 2009, at 9:00 a.m., in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia Subcommittee will hold a business meeting to mark up H.R. 22, ³United States Postal Service Financial Relief². H.R. 22 amends chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, to allow the United States Postal Service to pay its share of contributions for annuitants¹ health benefits out of the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund. For further information regarding the hearing, contact the Subcommittee Clerk, Aisha Elkheshin, at ext 65132.
According to Bloomberg News, "United Parcel Service Inc. must face a nationwide lawsuit by 3,500 former owners of Mail Boxes Etc. stores who claim they were misled to convert their operations to UPS Stores, attorneys for the store owners said today. Judge William Highberger in Los Angeles state court certified lawsuits against Atlanta-based UPS as a class-action, or group, case, attorneys Amy Darby and Miles Scully said in a statement distributed by PR Newswire."
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
June 22, 2009
DMM Advisory: Intelligent Mail® Services Weekly Update – Correction. PostalOne! Outage – In the June 19 Weekly Update we listed the time incorrectly for the June 28 PostalOne! outage. The outage is between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. (CDT). During this time there will be intermittent or no access to the system.
The latest blog 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/. Hollywood’s Take on the Postal Service. It takes a lot of digging to find a positive Hollywood portrayal of postal employees. From Cheers’ Cliff Clavin to Seinfeld’s Newman, TV and the movies have not always portrayed postal employees in the most favorable light. The OIG’s blog asks, “Why do you think postal employees get the short shrift on heroic roles? And what can be done to turn Hollywood around and point them in the right direction?” You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at: www.uspsoig.gov. If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.
As FedSmith has noted, "Electronic messaging is perfect at work, and was great for personal correspondence in the days before e-mail was used by anyone with your e-mail address. Now, once you're on a distribution list, you're on it for life. If I have an important message, I make a phone call or send a letter — I want to make sure the message is delivered. In the mail, it's pretty easy to spot a piece of mail that either doesn't interest me or is suspicious. All I have to do is recycle it, and in the case of a suspicious offer, call the Postal Inspectors — the Postal Service law enforcement agency sworn to protect consumers from mail fraud."
According to Air Cargo World, "Louisville-based UPS has earned the distinction of being the only transportation company from the Standard & Poor’s 500 list to make the 2008 Carbon Disclosure Project’s Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index."
The New York Times has reported that "For decades, stamps on letters mailed in New York City have generally been canceled with squiggly lines of ink and the name of the sender’s home borough. But this tradition may itself soon be canceled, at least in Brooklyn and Queens and on Staten Island. Under the Postal Service’s plan, most mail from the three boroughs would be sent to a central processing center in East New York, Brooklyn, where it would be branded with a new emblem: “TRIBORO, NY BKLYN-QNS-STATEN ISL.” The plan was spawned because of a 29 percent decline in the volume of first-class mail over the past decade. Officials say the change would save $6.7 million annually. This is where a bureaucratic transaction gets personal."
From Business Wire: "Americans overwhelmingly oppose the proposed government “brown bailout” for United Parcel Service that would give UPS an industry edge for overnight deliveries, according to a new national poll conducted June 2-3 by Public Opinion Strategies for “BrownBailout.com.” Nearly seven out of 10 Americans polled oppose the government intervention and 80 percent say the federal government should stop bailing out companies and let the market determine who succeeds."
Reuters has reported that "The Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) , majority owned by the South Korean government, has reported to parliament a plan to buy the financial arm of the country's postal service agency, a newspaper said on Monday. IBK has been in talks with the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) to take over deposit-taking and insurance businesses from the Korea Post."
The Wall Street Journal has reported that "The European Commission Monday cleared Luxembourg-based private equity firm CVC Capital Partners to get joint control of the Belgian postal service De Post NV/La Poste SA together with the Belgian government. CVC now owns 50% minus one share of De Post/La Poste, with the Belgian state remaining the majority shareholder."
The latest report has been 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. “Estimates of Postal Service Liability for Retiree Health Care Benefits" (Report Number ESS-MA-09-001) -- http://www.uspsoig.gov [EdNote: This is an important report!!]
The Miami Herald has noted that "Small businesses already working to hold costs down during the recession have another expense to contend with: higher postal rates. Technology offers small-business owners many ways to save money on mailing and shipping costs. It is easy to send printed material by e-mail or through file transfer websites that can accommodate documents and files that are too large for many e-mail systems. These methods eliminate not only postage costs but also printing and labor expenses. Websites can also help businesses comparison shop among delivery services. Small businesses are also saving by switching to Web-based or e-mail billing rather than snail-mail invoices."
According to the Washington Post, "the post office may be the next too-big thing. If it continues on its present course, the U.S. Postal Service stands to post $6 billion to $12 billion in losses by the end of the fiscal year. By the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2009, it had racked up an operating loss of more than $2 billion, almost equal to its total losses last year. So far, the Postal Service has depended on loans from the Federal Financing Bank, a federal borrowing agency, to help make up the difference, but it is fast approaching its $15 billion credit limit. Something has to give. The Postal Service has asked Congress to omit a rider on an annual appropriations bill that mandates six-day service, opening the possibility of five-day delivery as a cost-cutting measure. It has also requested a temporary relaxation of its obligation to its pension program, enabling it to put nearly $2 billion toward breaking even. Both these short-term fixes fail to address the challenges facing the Postal Service....[There are] steps the U.S. Postal Service might take if it were a real company and not a hybrid hamstrung by a large and heavily unionized workforce, congressional management, and an antiquated business model. Instead of its short-term cost-cutting measures, it needs to reduce its giant fixed costs to continue its appointed rounds. The Postal Service must reinvent itself for the 21st century, starting with a plan that doesn't rely on the resurgence of traditional mail. To do this will require innovative leadership, freedom from congressional micromanagement and an understanding of the possibilities of new technology that goes beyond building a better Web site."
AMEInfo has reported that "Oman Postal Express, licensee of Fedex in Oman, has inaugurated its World Service Centre in Seeb. The new centre is the fifth in the Sultanate, with other branches in Sohar, Salalah, Buraimi and the head office in Wattayah. The Seeb's new office will offer the full range of Fedex services to the airline industry and other offices and residents of Seeb and neighbouring areas like Ghala, Rusayl Industrial Area."
Hellmail has reported that "Spanish postal operator Correos has reported a fall in mail volume of 5.2% this year, mainly due to the economic crisis. It also reported a 28.4% drop in profits compared to 2008."
June 21, 2009
The Washington Examiner has reported that "FedEx, the nation's second largest package shipper, lost more money in the last quarter, as consumers and businesses downsized shipments and the company took over $1 billion in one-time charges. Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx Corp. also said Wednesday that it expects a rough ride for some time."
Business24/7 has reported that "Emirates Marketing and Promotions (EMP), a marketing subsidiary of Emirates Post, has introduced an innovative mode of interaction and marketing exercise that offers a three-dimension solution to clients. Starting last year, the company has embarked on this 3D card system to provides customers a complete solution that has a DVD that can include pictures, music and even a software or data. It has been accepted as a postcard by the Union of Postal Unions (UPU) worldwide and it can be posted anywhere in the world as a regular postcard."
DMM Advisory: Intelligent Mail® Services Weekly Update. Reminder – Mailers using the Full-Service Intelligent Mail option will receive address correction at no charge. This address correction information is provisioned via downloadable reports or via an electronic exchange method using Mail.XML. The specifications for the downloadable reports are available in the User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports Guide and the specifications for the electronic exchange format using Mail.XML are available in the Postal Service Mail.XML Technical Specification.
June 20, 2009
According to The Telegraph, "Royal Mail has warned a family they will not deliver their mail after a postman was "attacked" by their kitten."
Radio Jamaica has reported that "The United Union of Jamaica (UUJ) says it has written to State Minister in the Finance Ministry responsible for the Public Sector Arthur Williams for him to urge the Post Master General to pay tailoring allowances owed to the country's postal workers. UUJ President James Francis told RJR News that the union has been coming under pressure from postal workers upset over the non-payment of allowances. According to him, if the payments are not made in short order, the union will have no choice but to instruct workers to take industrial action."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported that "the New Castle mail processing facility, which the U.S. Postal Service was considering closing, will stay open. Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Jason Altmire joined state and local officials yesterday to announce that the postal service has decided not to combine the New Castle operation with the one in Pittsburgh. The postal service said it would transfer the processing of a small portion of its mail to Pittsburgh. The 23 employees affected by that move will be offered other positions. The other 152 employees will remain."
As the New Haven Register has noted, "The U.S. Postal Service is projecting a loss exceeding $6 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, which puts retiree health benefit contributions in jeopardy unless a bill is passed by the U.S. Congress. To close the multi-billion dollar deficit, the Postal Service has asked Congress for flexibility to go from a six-day delivery schedule to five days per week, and is evaluating early retirement packages and work-hour reductions. Officials have implemented freezes on hiring and executive salaries and have cut travel expenses."
The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that "About 500 union employees of The Plain Dealer have agreed to take pay cuts and furloughs as the paper strives to keep the business viable while advertising revenue sags. Reporters and editors, delivery truck drivers and other union members agreed to 8.1 percent pay cuts and to 11 unpaid furlough days before June 2010." [EdNote: Makes you wonder what postal employees are prepared to do (if necessary) to keep the USPS viable.]
The New York Times has reported that "Facing major financial losses this year, the Postal Service has marked more than 3,000 post offices and retail outlets — out of more than 37,000 nationwide — for closing. Though postal officials would not provide specific locations, saying that a final decision was months away, published reports have said that about 20 post offices in New York City were on the list. The news is raising some alarm."