Here is some of what's new in the Postal World:
October 3, 2008
Postal Regulatory Commissioner Ruth Goldway has had her reappointment to the Commission confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
As DM News has noted, "Some of the catalog industry's major players stood last week in support of mail preference service Catalog Choice, including Wil liams-Sonoma, Orchard Brands, LL Bean and Crate & Barrel. The kudos come barely a year after the service launched with a less-than-friendly reception from the industry. The Direct Marketer's Association also made its own mail preference news last week, as word got out that it's planning an upgrade of its DMAChoice mail preference service at its annual conference next month. “Catalogers should make it easy for consumers to express their mail preferences — that's a fundamental responsibility,” said Pat Connolly, EVP and CMO for Williams-Sonoma Inc., adding that, while DMAChoice is one option, he believes there is a need for another. Catalog Choice also received the endorsement of industry group American Catalog Mail ers Association this week. ACMA created a task force last fall to investigate the growing number of mail preference services and is now asking catalogers to include Catalog Choice in their efforts to execute mail preference."
Computerworld has reported that "Several criminal gangs have acquired administrative log-in credentials for more than 200,000 Web sites -- including the one used by the U.S. Postal Service -- and have used the compromised domains to attack unsuspecting users' PCs with a notorious hacker exploit kit."
Word has it from a number of postal sources that the USPS has cooled to the idea of exploring any future market-dominant NSAs. The time and resources individual NSAs have consumed reportedly has been significant. Sources say that the one area the USPS may choose to explore are niches, i.e., product groups in which many customers, rather than only one customer, would qualify.
According to the American Chronicle, "American industries are subject to anti-trust laws which prohibit the formation of monopolies and leave open the door to fair competition. However, those laws do not apply to the Postal Service. That orgainzation survives because of federal regulations which protect their monopoly on First Class mail. These laws provide an unfair advantage over private sector competitors, thus assuring lower standards in their operations."
Hellmail has asked: "Are Royal Mail Cuts Going To Far? Seems a reasonable enough question with so much talk of extended walks and fewer opportunities for full-time workers. Royal Mail has been under continual pressure over the last couple of years to reduce costs partly through a changing business, pressure from competitors and indeed the regulator to slash operating costs. People are certainly leaving the business, and around 80% of those I used to have regular contact with at Royal Mail have since left and/or found other jobs in entirely different industries so the pressure is real enough."
The National Association of Major Mail Users has reported that:
The Washington Post has reported that "Here's another sad sign of our economic times: Never before has the U.S. Postal Service laid off workers. Now, it's a real possibility. "For the first time in history, that is being considered," said Gerald McKiernan, a USPS spokesman."
As the MediaDailyNews put it: "If the first digital decade was about personalization and individual control, then prepare for a decade of mobile innovations that bring technology to new levels of involvement. Geo-location through GPS, near field communication (NFC) and the next generation of embedded sensors on handheld devices will add a new layer of passive user feedback to the media and marketing loop. This time it's not just personal: It's getting intimate. Prepare to cuddle your media."
In a meeting between PostCom and USPS, mailers' concerns about how MERLIN will be used to verify move update compliance was discussed. The USPS indicated that while MERLIN will be used to sample pieces and obtain the name/address information, that data then will be transmitted and validated through its NCSC channels and address databases. The USPS is not planning to attempt to have address databases reside in the MERLIN equipment, which was a significant concern raised by PostCom and others because of the complexities of move update compliance methodologies which could not be adequately handled by MERLIN.
UPDATE:Attendants at the Postal Service's IMb University have been told that fall 2009 is when the a new price option for full IMb service will be implemented. The price may vary by mail category. These are expected to be announced in February 2009
According to the Reading Evening Post, "Postal voting is a lot more complicated than turning up at a polling booth and making your cross."
The Universal Postal Union has noted that:
According to France24, "The French national postal service is offering staff training in “eco-driving”. The idea: to save up to 20% in fuel costs by driving at a regular pace and avoiding sudden accelerations or brutal braking. Among the new rules that trainees will have to follow are driving in fourth gear in the city and cutting the engine at stops of more than 12 seconds. These simple rules can help save energy but also cut carbon emissions. With the help of such training programs, the company hopes to cut its carbon emissions by 10,000 cubic tons by 2009."
Dominican Today has noted that "The Dominican Postal Institute (Inposdom) director Modesto Guzman yesterday handed over 150 motorcycles to facilitate the daily work done by postal workers. Guzman said these motorcycles were a promise, and noted that the new work tool will accelerate the pickup and delivery for Postal users and also puts it at the forefront."
Business Day has reported that "Postal Corporation of Kenya is automating its branches to inject efficiency into its operations as it looks to grow its financial services division. The corporation plans to automate its back office operations in 340 post offices out of a branch network of 700 branches countrywide. Posta targets with the computerisation the strength to have “good to excellent communication between branches,” forming a backbone for other firms to leverage on its branch network." See also the report by Daily Nation.
AllAfrica.com has reported that "The former Member of Parliament (MP) of the Ahanta West Constituency, Mr. Sylvester K. Kwofie, has underscored the need for postal services in the area to be strengthened."
According to The Hindu, "The Postal and Railway Mail service divisions have announced to start a postal logistics service from Tirupati to Chennai. The service, to be offered in both directions, will be of great use to the small traders of Tirupati, Renigunta, Puttur, Nagari, Tiruthani and Tiruvallur en route, as it comes at an affordable cost. Further, the postal staff will also assist the customers in the pre-pickup and pre-delivery of the goods."
Hellmail has reported that:
One of the GovExec.com blogs noted that "Just yesterday, we published an Associated Press report on how Postal Service volunteers may step up to distribute antibiotics in the event of a future anthrax attack. Apparently, at least one postal carrier already has a head start in drug distribution -- and is paying the price for it. The Beaverton, Ore., Valley Times reports that Ronald Richard Berkan has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for selling marijuana on his route. Berkan also had to resign from the Postal Service after nearly 15 years of service and had to forfeit $3,000 of the money he made peddling weed. Berkan's dope distribution scheme apparently went on for years, and he had at least one customer who was under 21."
October 2, 2008
DMM Advisory: The Pricing and Classification Service Center (PCSC) is now open from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. The PCSC administers the National Customer Rulings program, handles mailer appeals of local decisions, and processes applications for Periodicals and nonprofit mailing privileges. To find out more about the PCSC, please visit Postal Explorer (pe.usps.com) and click on “PCSC” in the left column.
As the Washington Post put it: "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor bioterrorism attack stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds -- especially if they are delivering antibiotics to protect people from anthrax. That may someday become the unofficial motto of the U.S. Postal Service." See also United Press International.
According to Transport News Network, "Although the recent credit crunch and resulting economic uncertainty are affecting the growth potential of the European express industry, the main effects will be on the use of different modes of transport and profitability rather than on overall levels of parcel volumes. Indeed, supply chain rationalization, internationalization and business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce are continuing to drive industry growth."
The Kitchener Record has reported that "A national strike vote is underway for some Canada Post workers, but the Crown corporation says delivery of services isn't threatened. Voting started yesterday by the 2,100 administrative and technical workers represented by the Union of Postal Communications Employees. "These employees don't touch the mail," said company spokesperson John Caines. Voting continues until Oct. 17."
From Canada NewsWire: "Canada Post employees demonstrated in Montreal on Monday in a show of protest against their employer's latest contract offer. The workers are members of the Union of Postal Communications Employees (UPCE) - a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)."
Hellmail has noted that "postal operators & courier services could soon start increasing prices after DHL Express Europe today announced a general rate increase of 4-5%, due to take effect on December 1, 2008. The increase is in line with overall European inflation figures and has "become necessary amid rising operating costs" it said. It is thought that inflation and higher fuel costs are hitting postal operators and couriers hard and the annoucement by DHL signals a move to reduce losses through rising operating costs. Many state-owned postal services have fixed prices for domestic post, but business mail and parcels could see similar rises over the next few months."
Net4now has noted that "L-Mail, the online, on-demand letter printing/posting service operating from nearly 30 global locations has made sending automated letters from web systems that little bit easier with the launch of its new open source web module."
According to The Guardian, "Some blame this banking crisis on greed; others on supine regulators. But there is a small, hardy band that defend the sub-prime mess as an attempt to make finance more democratic. The goal of widening access to finance should not be abandoned. The good news is that Britain already has an institution that could do this, and it is as far from high finance as Macclesfield is from Manhattan. It's called the Post Office."
The Florida Baptist Witness has noted that "Over the past 17 years, thousands of Christian American and Chinese middle and high school students have exchanged letters through Christian Corresponders. Recently, program sponsors, Fellowship of Baptist Educators, affiliated with the International Mission Board, announced a move from “pencil and paper” to e-mail."
October 1, 2008
The U.S. Postal Service has posted the following documents associated with its updated strategic plan (Vision 2013) on its web site:
From Business Wire: "http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/adca58/courier_express has announced the addition of the "Courier & Express Services Market Report 2008" report to their offering. In 2007, the total value of the UK postal and courier/express services market increased by 4.9% to GBP14.9bn. National post is the largest sector, but its value remained virtually static between 2006 and 2007. Other courier and express services is the growth sector and, in 2007, its value increased by 13.4%. The market for courier and express services is defined as the business sector that supplies the need for rapid collection and delivery of documents and packages, including the services provided by the national post. Items covered by this definition include mail, parcels and other items with a high value-to-weight ratio and a time-sensitive delivery requirement."
In his most recent communication to his employees, Postmaster General Jack Potter said that "as we begin fiscal year 2009, I want to take a moment to thank you for your accomplishments over the last year and to talk about the challenges we face in the new fiscal year. We just closed the books on a year of remarkable customer service and delivery performance, coupled with significant cost savings. Our successes were only possible because of your dedication and commitment to carrying out our core mission to provide universal service to every American. Our customers not only recognized your performance through high levels of customer satisfaction, but the highly respected Ponemon Institute named the Postal Service the most trusted government agency for the fourth straight year."
The White House has announced that Robert W. McGowan of Nevada has been nominated to be a governor of the USPS for a term expiring December 8, 2015. McGowan will replace Chairman Kessler, whose term expires at the end of this year.
Press Release: "Window Book and Streamline Solutions have joined forces to provide an interface that allows PrintStream users to benefit from the state-of-the-art postage documentation capabilities of DAT-MAIL."
Press Release: "Unplug. Turn off lights. Close doors. Adjust thermostats. Report HVAC problems. Turn off unused equipment. Become personally responsible for conservation. Simple steps that, taken collectively among the 685,000 employees at the U.S. Postal Service and throughout its 34,000 facilities, will have a dramatic impact on the environment. That was the message from Postmaster General John Potter, launching a year-long campaign to increase awareness and create results for energy conservation."
The CNET has reported that "On Wednesday, Netflix plans to announce a new partnership with Starz to offer subscribers 2,500 additional movies from Starz Play. The best part of this news, for Netflix subscribers, is that all of this extra content isn't going to cost them a dime. All Netflix subscribers with unlimited subscriptions (those $8.99 and up) will have access to the Starz Play selections." [EdNote: The bad news for the Postal Service...no postage.]
The Washington Post has reported that:
According to the Salem News, "Opt-out strategies reduce mailbox waste-invasion."
From Canada NewsWire: "UPS employees across Canada are rolling up their brown sleeves to do a lot more than deliver packages in October. Throughout the month, UPS employees will participate in the company's Global Volunteer Month, giving their time, talents and hands-on support to charitable organizations in their local communities."
From PRWeb: "Window Book, Inc. will be showcasing Intelligent Mail® solutions at GraphExpo, October 26-29, 2008 in Chicago, IL."
Money.co.uk has noted that "Energywatch joined forces with two other campaigning groups to form a new, merged, watchdog today. The gas and electricity consumers' group, the National Consumer Council and Postwatch - which supervised the postal service - have now formed the new Consumer Focus organisation. It will function primarily as a voice for British people, lobbying the government for fairer treatment."
The Associated Press has reported that "In a case that echoes a "Seinfeld" episode, a former postal worker has been charged with stealing thousands of pieces of mail that authorities say she had kept in a storage unit northwest of Detroit. More than 9,000 pieces of mail have been recovered from a storage unit in Fowlerville, federal investigators said Tuesday. Authorities allege that Jill Hull admitted storing the mail because she couldn't deliver it on time. Some mail has postmarks from 2005. Postal spokesman Ed Moore said the case is a "black eye" for carriers who faithfully deliver mail."
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.)
From PRWeb: "FollowThatPackage.com was recently developed and released to help both customers and retail companies alleviate the amount of incoming phone calls to determine the status of their package they have purchased online. When placing an order online with any retailer, there are many steps to the process. First you place the order; the retailer receives the order and fulfills it. The retailer then ships the items out to you. At that time, the retailer sends you a shipping confirmation notice with your tracking information. The Shipping Carrier comes to the retail location, picks up your package and runs it through their shipping hubs to ultimately deliver the package to you. Pretty simple it seems. That's not always the case. In some cases, packages get delayed, re-routed or even returned back to the retailer."
The Courier, Express, and Postal Observer has offered a few thoughts the Burrus communication reported below.
In his most recent communication with the members of the American Postal Workers Union, APWU President William Burrus said that "Postmaster General John E. Potter informed the unions and the Postal Regulatory Commission this month that the Postal Service has experienced a 12 percent reduction in mail volume and that in Fiscal Year 2008 (ending Sept. 30), expenses will exceed revenue by approximately $2.3 billion. I do not challenge this assessment, as any casual review of mail processing plants or postal vehicles will reveal dramatic reductions in mail volume. The 2008 deficit is not the largest the USPS has ever suffered, but for the first time in postal history, the losses cannot be recovered by postage rate increases." [EdNote: Amen to that, brother.]
September 30, 2008
Self-Service has reported that "Wincor Nixdorf has expanded its software-solutions portfolio for postal-services providers. The PC/E Postal Solution Suite covers primary postal processes, ensuring effective processing of classic postal services and financial services, as well as those of sales processes that resemble retail sales."
In a letter to the editor of Newsweek, in response to a piece published by the magazine on advertising mail and the Postal Service (see first item reported here on September 27), Linda Woolley, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs Direct Marketing Association wrote:
The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported that:
The chief executives from nineteen of the companies from what is known as the CEO Council have written to the chairmen of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors and the Postal Regulatory Commission:
A European Commission report on "Main Developments In The Postal Sector (2006-2008)" has been posted on the Commission's web site.
The Galveston Daily News has reported that "Some mail delivery begins on the island."
The Port Huron Times Herald has asked: "How close an eye do you keep on your mailbox? A Javelin Strategy and Research survey on ID theft estimates 8.1 million Americans became victims in 2007. Nearly a half-million cases occurred as the result of stolen mail. Bank statements, credit card and loan invoices, utility bills, checks, and healthcare records all contain a wealth of information for identity thieves and are regularly delivered in the mail to all our homes."
Federal Register: The Postal Regulatory Commission is noticing a recently-filed Postal Service Global Expedited Package Service negotiated service agreement. This action is consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations. Comments are due October 2, 2008. Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov. For further information contact Stephen L. Sharfman, General Counsel, 202-789-6820 and email@example.com.
Transport Intelligence has announced the further enhancement of its Asia Pacific intelligence portfolio with the publication of Asia Pacific Transport and Logistics 2008.
According to China Knowledge, "Postal Savings Bank of China is to issue the first credit card as early as this October or November, sources reported. At the China International Financial Exhibition on Friday, the Postal Savings Bank, which was established in March 2007, revealed its six core business models, including credit banking, corporate banking, wealth management, international banking and credit card services. The credit card service has been put into internal trial operations since June before it is available to the public. The establishment of Postal Savings Bank marks huge progress in China's financial reform and is expected to improve financial services in the country's rural area due to the comprehensive post office network in the countryside."
From PR Newswire: "CSC has signed a new information technology (IT) services contract with the UK's Royal Mail to deliver a national mobile service to 25,000 delivery vehicles in its letters and parcels operation. The CSC-led team includes Blackbay, a provider of mobile workforce solutions. The service will enable Royal Mail to provide increased quality of service to customers by allowing them to view the status of their tracked deliveries in near real time via the Web. It will also enable replacement of current paper-based systems for the majority of tracked items, including Special Delivery(TM), by capturing signatures on mobile handheld devices provided by Intermec. The solution integrates numerous legacy systems and provides confirmation of delivery."
The News has reported that "The constant features of unreliability and uncertainty marring the regular postal service have become compelling factors for people to use modern methods of communications for sending Eid greetings whose quality and service have proven their worth with greater speed and cheaper costs."