“Forward ever, backward never: onwards with Breaking Through”

No 59 -2019

Formulated by UNI Apro Post and Logistics Sector

New milestone for ASENDIA in the Asia-Pacific Region.   July 26, 2019.

APWU: Members are asking…July 24, 2019.
UPS announces innovative new products and services to help customers grow and succeed. July 23, 2019.

EU approves €171.7 million compensation to Poste Italiane. July 22, 2019.

Norway’s clean and green last mile. July 22,2019.

New milestone for ASENDIA in the Asia-Pacific Region

July 26, 2019

International mail, shipping and distribution company Asendia has announced the launch of Asendia Oceania as part of its latest phase of global expansion.

Online retailers in Australia and New Zealand will now be able to benefit from Asendia’s comprehensive range of digital, logistics and delivery services.

Lionel Berthe, Head of Asia Pacific commented:“Asendia Oceania will ensure that online retailers in Australia and New Zealand can deliver a world class cross-border shopper experience. For this, retailers need easy-to-use, trustworthy and comprehensive solutions to satisfy the growing demands of online global shoppers. These global shoppers are now wanting more choice and convenience in products, delivery and payment solutions.”

“We’ll bring the region a new approach to cross-border e-commerce which combines our extensive range of B2C postal and commercial delivery solutions integrated with selected services from our specialised cross-border partners,” Lionel adds

Asendia Oceania has recently established several strategic partnerships in the region in order to provide this new service:

eShopWorld, one of the world’s leading cross-border commerce companies, will provide a digital platform and global infrastructure to create in-country local shopping experiences for shoppers. The technology offers in-country pricing strategies, (including duties and taxes), and a local checkout that adds optimised address entry and local payment methods. eShopWorld’s platform ensures seamless access to delivery solutions provided by Asendia and manages a global network of in-country returns centres.

SelluSeller, a SaaS service for global marketplace management powered by Anchanto, will also be offered as a bundled service amongst Asendia Oceania solutions. This will give online retailers a single software solution for selling in major Asian, European and American marketplaces. The software provides real-time catalogue-management, price change and inventory synchronisation functionality, and shipping labels, all from one place.

Local logistics partners Tigers Australia and First Global Logistics NZ will provide a regional footprint for B2C and omnichannel fulfilment solutions. Tigers Australia has a nationwide warehousing network across Australia (Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney), specialised in multiple B2C vertical markets. First Global Logistics has facilities in Auckland and Christchurch. Further supply chain optimisation will be possible by drawing on Asendia’s and Tigers’ established global presence, including in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK.

with AsendiaOceania’s range of cross-border delivery services. Postal solutions will include Asendia’s goods delivery services, which provide worldwide tracked solutions (partly or fully tracked) for packages from 0 to 2 kilos, and the company’s premium goods offer, which provides access to key destination markets (China, Japan, the US, the UK, Europe, India and Southeast Asia) with local e-commerce delivery service for items from 0 to 20 kilos. Retailers can also use Asendia delivery services for their international mailings and publications.

“The launch of Asendia Oceania is an exciting new milestone for Asendia in the Asia-Pacific region and comes one month after the strategic partnership announcement in India with DTDC. It’s another sign of our commitment to growth in the region,” said Lionel Berthe.

Source : https://postandparcel.info/109420/news

APWU: Members are asking…
July 24, 2019
Members have legitimate questions and deserve factual answers. “Why are we facing interest arbitration for a new contract when there was a tentative agreement?” “What was in it?” “Why didn’t I get a vote?” “When am I receiving raises and my next COLA?”

Some background: As lead negotiator, my goal was to find a principled path to a negotiated contract, thus keeping members in control of our destiny. The National Negotiating Committee believed the best path forward was to seek a two-year extension of the 2015-2018 union contract. Last December, the APWU and USPS reached a “Tentative Agreement” (TA) that extended the contract, until September 20, 2020, with some work-rule changes. 

Source : https://www.postaltimes.com/postalnews

UPS announces innovative new products and services to help customers grow and succeed

July 23, 2019
UPS today announced the most extensive roll-out of new customer services and capabilities in the company’s recent history.  The new solutions are designed to capture growth opportunities in strategic markets: small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), e-commerce, high-growth international countries, and healthcare and life sciences. These market segments were outlined by company leaders as priority growth areas when addressing investors at the company’s Transformation Conference in September 2018.

“UPS continues its commitment to helping our customers grow and succeed while also creating higher UPS network utilization and profitable growth,” said David Abney, UPS Chairman and CEO.  “Transformation, including technology-driven modernization in our network and technology platforms, is enabling major enhancements to our product portfolio and our customers’ experience.”

UPS My Choice for Business
UPS is launching a first-of-its kind solution in the U.S. market for SMBs called UPS My Choice® for business. Available July 29, the new solution builds on the tremendous success of UPS My Choice for home, which has 60 million members.

UPS My Choice for business allows customers to easily monitor, plan and control deliveries and outgoing shipments.  Features include a web-based dashboard, advance delivery notifications for “day-before” and “day-of” delivery alerts with estimated arrival times within two hours.

Self-registration ensures easy access and to ensure effective controls, the service features administrative capabilities for businesses with multiple employees involved in order management and delivery processing. For more information, see UPS My Choice for Business.

Continued Investment in U.S. Network to Speed Transit Times and Enable New or Expanded Solutions, Including Seven Day Pick-up and Delivery

Improving Time in Transit
As part of ongoing plans, UPS is making major investments to optimize transportation assets, shipping modes and technology resources to improve time in transit.  The investments focus on shipping lanes connecting cities and towns where more than 80 percent of the U.S. population resides.  The investments will benefit customers using all products in UPS’s broad shipping portfolio.

UPS Extended Hours Pickup for Next Day Ground Delivery
UPS now enables customers to tender shipments later for next-day Ground delivery in cities and towns with about 85 percent of the U.S. population. This offering solidifies UPS’s leading market position in both next-day air and ground coverage.  The extended day pick-up for next-day Ground service is currently available by contract.

Seven-Day Delivery Network
Beginning January 1, 2020, UPS will offer customers pick-up and delivery services seven days per week.  UPS will expand its current Saturday pick-up and delivery services for both residential and business locations and add new Sunday pick-up and delivery options.  The seven day operation builds on UPS’s market-leading position by allowing shippers to reach consumers faster with the products ordered over the weekend.

“We will leverage the combination of the UPS Network, UPS Access Point locations and SurePost in collaboration with the United States Postal Service to efficiently provide these exciting new capabilities,” said Kevin Warren, UPS Chief Marketing Officer. “Building on an expanded relationship with the Postal Service to help deliver seven day service to our customers makes good business sense.”

The company is adding 10 million pounds of additional lift capacity, the largest current expansion of capacity by any carrier. Over the last several months, UPS has significantly increased its market share in the next-day air package market, especially among the world’s largest e-commerce shippers. The company continues to operate at a high level of aircraft capacity utilization and is deploying aircraft to shipping lanes in line with market needs. Previously announced investments in the UPS airline network are providing flexibility for growth as customer expectations shift toward faster delivery times.

UPS has already taken delivery of 18 of 44 new aircraft previously announced and will receive the remainder by 2022.  In 2019, UPS will receive 11 aircraft, the most in any year of the current aircraft expansion program.

UPS Access Point Locations Increase by up to 12,000, growing to 21,000 in the U.S. and 40,000 Globally, Supporting E-Commerce Delivery and Returns

An important element of the company’s e-commerce growth strategy is broadening and simplifying access for UPS customers by partnering with leading retailers. UPS today announced the planned expansion of its UPS Access Point network over the coming months with up to 12,000 additional locations across CVS Pharmacy, Michaels and Advance Auto Parts stores, with initial store pilot efforts already underway.

With more than 40,000 UPS Access Point and 38,000 drop-box locations around the world, UPS gives customers the global advantage of an industry-leading network with more than 78,000 locations to pick up or drop off packages.  Soon, more than 90 percent of U.S. consumers will find a UPS Access Point location within five miles of home, offering an extraordinary level of convenience and flexibility.

The UPS My Choice for home solution, used by more than 60 million consumers throughout the world, and the new UPS My Choice for business platform pair seamlessly with UPS Access Point locations offering consumers and businesses with enhanced control and convenience.

“We remain the e-commerce shipper of choice, providing unmatched support to meet our customers’ needs for premium, quick delivery solutions,” said Kate Gutmann, Chief Sales and Solutions Officer.  “These partnerships and platforms provide a win-win for our customers and UPS.  Our customers gain convenience and control and UPS attains further geographic reach and greater densities.”

Worldwide Economy Product
Building on the industry’s broadest portfolio, today the company also launched UPS Worldwide Economy, a new deferred service designed to provide affordable and efficient international shipping options. The new offering supports international merchants’ desire to make more low-priced items available for cross-border e-commerce transactions.  This new service initially will be available to UPS customers in the U.S., Canada, China, Hong Kong and the U.K., with additional key global markets being added in the near future. For more information, see UPS Worldwide Economy.

UPS Establishes New Drone Subsidiary: UPS Flight Forward
To scale drone operations in targeted markets faster, UPS has filed for Part 135 certification from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate a newly established UPS subsidiary called UPS Flight Forward, Inc.

The certification, when granted, will allow application for FAA-approved flight operations beyond line of sight, at night, and with an unlimited number of drones and operators in command. UPS intends to remain at the forefront of drone commercial aviation and the industry leader in FAA fully certified U.S. drone operation for routine flights.

UPS and its partner, Matternet, currently operate special drone healthcare deliveries of medical samples under FAA Part 107 rules at WakeMed hospitals in Raleigh, N.C. Part 135 certification will pave the way for service expansions to several other U.S. healthcare networks that have expressed interest in similar services.

“This is an exciting and momentous time at UPS, as we leverage the exceptional power of UPS technology and innovation to bring to market new industry-first capabilities,” said Abney. “We have even more exciting solutions on the way.  UPS will remain an indispensable partner by delivering value for customers, employees and shareowners through speed, technology and reliable execution.”

UPS senior leaders will discuss these new capabilities as part of the company’s Q2 earnings call scheduled for 8:30 AM EST on July 24, 2019.  To listen to the call, please use this link to access the webcast.

Source : https://pressroom.ups.com/pressroom

EU approves €171.7 million compensation to Poste Italiane

July  22, 2019
The Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a €171.74 million public service compensation granted by Italy to Poste Italiane for distributing, at reduced tariffs, newspapers and publications of book publishers and non-profit organisations in the period 2017-2019.

Italy entrusted Poste Italiane with the obligation of providing this service of general economic interest (“SGEI”), which aims at preserving and fostering media plurality and diversity of views by charging reduced rates to publishers and newspapers for the distribution of certain categories of press.

The Commission assessed the measure under the EU State aid rules on public service compensation. These rules enable Member States, subject to certain conditions, to compensate companies that have been entrusted with public service obligations for the extra cost of providing these services.

The Commission found that the level of compensation did not exceed the amount needed to cover the net cost borne by Poste Italiane for providing the service. As a result, it concluded that the measure was proportionate and did not lead to overcompensation.

Furthermore, in 2018, the Italian authorities carried out a public consultation with a view to verifying the public interest perception for the protection of press distribution for the publishing materials at issue. The consultation confirmed that the SGEI consisting in the reduced tariffs offered to publishers and not-for-profit organizations is considered as important by users.

The Commission concluded that the Italian measure is in line with EU State aid rules, as it fosters a service of general public interest and promotes media plurality, without unduly distorting competition.

Source : https://postandparcel.info/109384/news

Norway’s clean and green last mile

July 22,2019

Posten Norge is implementing electric vehicles at scale. Marek Różycki (Last Mile Experts) and Ian Kerr (Postal Hub Podcast) take a special look at how the post is doing it, and offer some key tips for other posts and parcel companies looking to follow suit.

Nordic countries have a growing reputation for being environmentally aware. Following our recent article about the electric future for delivery vehicles, we look at how Posten Norge (Norway Post) is implementing electric vehicles (EVs) at scale, making the last mile cleaner and more effective.

There is a lot of noise being made by posts and carriers about moving to, or at least testing, EVs, and the growing portfolio of EVs is promising for an industry that has a large carbon footprint and is fighting for efficiency. However, the reality is that targets for EV implementation are often set years into the future and may change. We believe that even with current technology an electric fleet can be successfully implemented for many operators with urban coverage.

Posten Norge started looking at electric vehicles in 2010, at a time where there weren’t many options to choose from. It had a delivery fleet of 4,500 diesel vans, comprising 96% of the fleet. Its EV story started with the realization that a diesel van wasn’t suited to all types of route.

“We defined a fairly simple vehicle strategy that we would use for future implementation,” says Gunnar Inderberg, head of operational development at Posten Norge. “We separated routes into city center, suburban and rural. All had different characteristics with regard to number of stops, distance traveled, weight/volume carried, etc.”

Based on this analysis, it became easier to see what kind of vehicle fits where. Postal delivery in city centers is generally characterized by a medium number of stops but with multiple delivery points (due to blocks of flats), fairly low kilometers traveled and poor parking availability. Suburban areas have more stops (more single houses) and a medium range of kilometers traveled per route. Rural routes have relatively few stops, but a large number of kilometers traveled.

What Posten saw was that by replacing combustion vehicles in city centers and suburban areas it could improve productivity. There was no ‘one size fits all’ option, though. For city centers, electric trolleys and eBikes made sense, but for suburban areas range often became an issue and larger, more powerful EVs were needed.

Let’s look at more detail here. Many posties were making 300+ stops per route, which took a lot of time with a car (drive up to the mailboxes, brake, park, pick the mail, get out of the car, walk to the mail box) but with smaller/lighter vehicles without doors, they could access the mailbox faster. Posten actually saw time savings of up to 15% here.

This was the background for embarking on a major electrification initiative with Paxster, which produces a niche vehicle for postal and logistics deliveries, and larger EVs such as the Renault Kangoo and Peugot Partner. Today Posten has more than a 1,000 EVs in the fleet (about a third the total) and this number is growing.

“Our EV policy has reduced annual CO2 emissions by 40% over the past few years,” says Inderberg. “We have an ambition of increasing the electric ratio even more, but with current battery technology we can’t cover all routes.”

So what are the main learnings we can share with you? Here are our 10 commandments for successful EV implementation:

Don’t limit yourself to a 1:1 swap with current routes/vehicles. Adjust routes to make them suitable – for example, only 80% of a current route could be suitable for an EV – then restructure the route to capture the operational savings

Look at creative ways of extending the range – for example, use fast chargers in the lunch break, try solar ‘top up’ panels on the roof, or perhaps additional battery packs for less dense, longer routes

Remember that most manufacturers’ declared capabilities will be optimistic, especially on very hot or cold days (when the battery is least effective or under most pressure – or when the heating or air conditioning is on full blast)

At first, drivers will suffer from ‘range anxiety’ and may return without completing a route for fear of running out of juice. Let them run the full route. If properly planned and operated, they’ll succeed; if not, replan the route and/or train the driver

Create competition among staff to get the most out of the EVs; range is heavily impacted by driving behavior. Electric vehicles are often lighter than the vehicles they replace, with different handling, so staff engagement is important

You need to have a good (local) servicing infrastructure in place for maintenance of electric vehicles

You need to have pre-planned and installed suitable and diverse charging facilities. They can be costly to install and should be part of the total cost of ownership evaluation

EVs make less noise, so drivers should be even more careful when driving, especially in residential areas. Some EVs have artificial engine noise to deal with this issue

Once drivers pass the initial skepticism toward EVs they become a preferred choice as EVs are often easier and more convenient to drive. Also, it’s important for customers, the media and the general public from a corporate social responsibility viewpoint

Environmental and economic targets may be achieved simultaneously if implementation is right

The Posten Norge example has helped us see that good planning, flexibility in route management and understanding of the various types of EVs and their relative merits is key to any successful project aimed at electrifying the last mile. The benefits are clear, with labor efficiency gains of up to 15% and a dramatic cut in carbon footprint (assuming there is clean electricity in your country). In addition, EVs will have 10-20% of the fuel cost of a combustion engine and much lower service costs/maintenance stops. EVs are still relatively expensive, but subsidies in many countries help reduce this imbalance.

It seems, then, that the writing is on the wall: EVs are coming and those who are first to implement a green last mile effectively will benefit financially and have a better image with customers and the public at large. Well done Posten for being at the cutting edge here!

Source : https://www.parcelandpostaltechnologyinternational.com/analysis

No 60 -2019

Formulated by UNI Apro Post and Logistics Sector

Alabama home builders pushing to change USPS centralized delivery mandate. July 25, 2019.
Amazon reduces its reliance on fossil fuels with on-site solar systems. July 25, 2019.

Australia Post’s Digital iD receives highest level of identity accreditation. July 24, 2019.

Our Hours campaign online petition launched. July 19, 2019.
Fix The Postal Service Before It Goes Broke. July 18, 2019.   

Alabama home builders pushing to change USPS centralized delivery mandate
July 25, 2019
Alabama home builders are continuing efforts to preserve home mail delivery. These efforts are in response to the United States Postal Service’s mandate requiring mail delivery to cluster mailbox units in new residential developments and commercial developments.

In one east Montgomery subdivision you won’t find a single curbside mailbox. Instead a USPS worker delivers mail to a cluster box unit. A method resident Cori Noble says is inconvenient.

“It is aggravating. I have to walk behind these houses and check my mailbox. I want a mailbox in my yard,” said Noble.

It is also raising red flags for homebuilders.

“We can’t think of any good reason to stop door-to-door delivery,” said Alabama Home Builders Association President David Lisenby.

Lisenby says this mandate by the USPS requires centralized delivery in new residential developments, adding what he calls “unnecessary expenses” for the developer.

“It is up to a developer to find space for it, allocate resources for it, parking for it lighting for it,” said Lisenby. 

Source: https://www.postaltimes.com/postalnews

Amazon reduces its reliance on fossil fuels with on-site solar systems

July 25, 2019

Amazon has announced the early completion of its commitment to host 50 solar systems on its fulfilment and sortation centre rooftops globally by 2020.

The on-site solar systems reduce Amazon’s reliance on fossil fuels, and can generate as much as 80% of a single fulfilment facility’s annual energy needs.

Amazon’s on-site solar investments support Shipment Zero – Amazon’s vision to make all Amazon shipments net zero carbon, with 50% of all shipments net zero by 2030 – as well as its companywide goal to use 100% renewable energy across its global operations and infrastructure.

In just the last three-years alone, Amazon has installed more solar capacity in the U.S. than any company. In total, Amazon’s solar projects in the U.S. have offset the CO2 equivalent of more than 200 million miles of truck deliveries.

“Online shopping is inherently more sustainable, and with Shipment Zero, we’re working to make all Amazon shipments net zero carbon, with 50% of all shipments net zero by 2030,” said Kara Hurst, Director of Sustainability, Amazon. “Our investments in renewable energy – including reaching our goal of 50 solar rooftop installations a year early – are another important milestone in building a more sustainable business. Thanks to all the teams working hard to deliver this – we’re going to continue our investment in renewable energy.”

Globally, Amazon has 32 rooftop systems in the U.S., 12 in the EU, and seven in India, totaling over 98 MW of installed capacity. In total, Amazon has 61 operating solar and wind projects that are expected to generate over 1,044 MW and deliver over 3.1 million MWh of energy annually.

“Corporate solar investments are surging thanks to companies like Amazon,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Over the past three years, Amazon has installed more solar than any other company, showing that clean energy both boosts the bottom line and helps companies meet climate commitments. We commend Amazon for its leadership on solar energy and urge other businesses to follow their example.”

Source: https://postandparcel.info/109407/news

Australia Post’s Digital iD receives highest level of identity accreditation

July 24, 2019
Australia Post’s Digital iD service has received the highest level of accreditation for an identity service provider by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), providing customers and businesses alike with added confidence when completing their identity transactions.

Importantly, Australia Post is also the first provider of identity services in the country to be accredited under the Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF), which has recognized its Digital iD as a trusted digital platform that consumers can use to verify their identity when they interact with government departments.

Regis Bauchiere, general manager of identity products and services at Australia Post, said, “We are very proud to be the first to obtain this accreditation. It demonstrates our strong digital capabilities, coupled with our far-reaching post office network, uniquely positioning us to support all Australians in connecting with vital government services, regardless of where they live.

“At Australia Post, we believe that the consumer should be in control of their digital identity and welcome the DTA’s approach, which focuses on privacy, security and integrity.”

According to Bauchiere, the accreditation was important in showing consumers which identity providers are the most trusted by government. “Our growing digital economy is requiring consumers to verify themselves in more and more everyday situations, which is why Australians need to know that their identity is being protected,” he continued. “Once a consumer has verified their identity with Digital iD, they are able to reuse it on their smartphone wherever they need to prove their identity, whether in person or online.”

Source : https://www.parcelandpostaltechnologyinternational.com/news/technology

Our Hours campaign online petition launched

July 19, 2019
The CWU’s high profile campaign against the unfair treatment of an ever-growing percentage of Openreach engineers who are forced give hours of their time for free every week steps up a gear today (Friday) with the launch of an online petition.

Already thousands of members from across the company have signed a traditional paper petition – reflecting mounting anger at discrepancies in contracts that see some employees compensated for their travelling time, but others for work for up to 10 hours a week for nothing.

Frustration has been building since September 2012 when the business put new recruits outside the existing Parking at Home policy, with no agreed commute time.

But since the launch of the union’s Our Hours campaign, the scale of the problem has been brought into even sharper focus – with many recognising for the first time the full extent to which they are being disadvantaged by a toxic combination of Personal Travel Time (PTT) and abuses of the Flex system by some managers.

Just yesterday the union issued urgent advice to members across the business on ways they can minimise the loss – with a detailed explanation of how they can spot whether they are being doubly disadvantaged by the adjustment of timesheets by some managers who outrageously seem to regard those on PTT contracts as being required to give an extra 60 minutes at the end of each day in travel time come what may. (See ‘Devil’s in the detail of Our Hours robbery’ story here)

Within less than six hours of the email broadcast over 12,000 members had viewed the advice, and with the clamour for change fast becoming deafening the union has launched an online petition to allow those not yet reached in face-to-face meetings to express their dismay at Openreach’s current position.

CWU national officer for Openreach Davie Bowman explains: “It’s already clear that the anger of those directly impacted by PTT is shared by their colleagues in desk roles, as well as those on pre-September 2012 contracts. CWU members have a proud record of recognising injustices when they see ones perpetuated against their colleagues – and for good reason too.

“There has to be a danger that, with more and more people effectively having their working week extended by PTT, the company will be tempted no ‘normalise’ this unacceptable situation by trying to extend it to everybody.

“Although, for those in desk roles, we have a very clear ‘log-on/ log-off’ policy, which means people log-on at their official start time, if the company forms a view that this is the right way to go you have to wonder how long it will be before it starts to suggest that desk workers should come in at, say, 7.30am to start at 8am – expecting a bit of free time from them as well.

“That’s why it’s crucial that those not directly impacted by PTT support the union’s fight for those who are – because if we can win the argument that PTT is wrong for those who already have it in their contracts, we’ll be securing an important principle for those who are not currently affected.

Davie concludes: “Ultimately this is about standing together for what is right – and that’s why everyone in Openreach should show solidarity with their PTT contract colleagues by supporting our campaign petition and signing the CWU’s Our Hours petition immediately.

Source : https://www.cwu.org/news

Fix The Postal Service Before It Goes Broke

July 18, 2019
Congress often abides by the adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” The U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS’s) business model is broken. Despite this and years of accelerating losses, USPS is persevering and serving America quite well. It would be a mistake for Congress to wait to fix USPS until it is truly broke, meaning bankrupt and unable to pay wages and vendors, or make deliveries.

The Postal Service continues to fulfill its “mission” to provide the nation with reliable, affordable, universal mail service,” meeting what is known as its Universal Service Obligation (USO). And it does this remarkably well!

Absent legislative reform, USPS likely cannot continue this much longer since “it receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies (only) on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.”Revenues are increasingly insufficient to cover operating costs. In her June 20 message to employees, Postmaster General Megan Brennan said, “Given our current business model, our operating losses will grow larger as this trend continues. No matter how you look at it, our flawed business model is unsustainable.”

Congress has made several attempts at legislation that would correct the flawed and outdated structure of the USPS as established in 2006 by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. But the problem is not easy to fix.

The government’s obligation to provide “reliable, affordable, universal mail service” is subject to much interpretation and has never been specifically defined. The issue impacts every personal residence and business in every urban, suburban, and rural voting district.
To help find common ground in an environment where mail volume has been declining and e-commerce package deliveries have been accelerating, a group of stakeholders came together in 2011 to form PostalVision2020 to discuss how to “Reinvent the American Postal Ecosystem.”

Not everyone believed the business model was broken in 2011, though there is a clear consensus today that it must be fixed. Stakeholders also recognize how difficult, if not impossible, it will be for the Postal Service to continue to deliver at the service levels we have come to expect without continuing losses. Something must give. USPS simply must earn more income from operations, deliver at lesser service levels, or both.

If the USPS were a private enterprise it would cut unprofitable services, redefine product offerings, raise prices and/or move into new lines of business. Service cuts would come from discontinuing costly low-density rural routes, closing low transaction volume facilities, reducing delivery days and eliminating unprofitable not-for-profit products. Mail prices would be increased beyond cost-of-living caps, and new products would be introduced based on valuable address and delivery data.

Even though the USPS is required to operate like a business, it is hog-tied by government regulation that restricts it from doing so and is held accountable to its Universal Service Obligation “to provide the nation with reliable, affordable, universal mail service.” But what does this mean?

At PostalVision’s most recent conference on June 7, Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) Chairman Robert Taub delivered the keynote address on the need to define the USO. He reiterated a recommendation from the President’s Task Force report to “Clearly define the USO. Provide a targeted definition of minimum, essential postal service, that due to specific social and economic needs have a basis for government protection.”

While many of the Task Force recommendations require legislation, the list of specific USO actions are mostly administrative. As such, Congress does not have to define USO issues such as geographic scope, number and density of post offices and collection boxes, model of delivery, processing standards and USO funding. Only delivery frequency was singled out as requiring legislative action as Congress has mandated that the Postal Service provide delivery six days per week.

Defining the USO is not a new idea. The PRC discussed this in reports in 2008 and 2014. But now with some exposure of the issue at the highest administrative levels, and considering that Congress is not likely do anything about it any time soon, it is time to get working on defining the USO in earnest at the USPS itself – with support from the PRC, U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General, Government Accountability Office and the stakeholder community.

In Postmaster General Brennan’s June 20 letter, she reports on progress in developing USPS’s 10- year business plan, saying, “The Temporary Emergency Committee (TEC), which includes our governors along with Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman and me, are developing a 10-year business plan to put the Postal Service on a sustainable path forward. The plan will focus on the key public policy questions of what universal services the Postal Service should provide, and how to pay for those services” (emphasis added).

This is an encouraging step. I call for bold leadership from the TEC. No solution will satisfy everyone. It is time to put forth sound, reasonable, and responsible definitions that will anticipate and meet the needs of Americans for postal service in the next decade and beyond.

Source : http://www.postalvision2020.com/2019/07