Postmaster General Discusses USPS Technology, Data Enhancements

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The USPS is currently pilot testing geo-fencing to improve carrier efficiency during street delivery.  Click the photo above to learn more.

Geo-fencing – which often utilizes location for marketing services to consumers – is just one of the many enhancements Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe believes will help advance the USPS.  To best utilize geo-fencing, the organization must work to create a digital address for every customer in America.

“These investments provide better delivery accuracy and visibility, and enable enhanced product and delivery offerings – such as package redirect and Priority Mail features that include free insurance, tracking and date-specified delivery,” Donahoe said in his State of the Business address on Tuesday.

Information released in August indicates that the USPS is currently piloting testing geo-fencing technology with letter carriers to assist in accuracy during street delivery.

Currently, many marketers use geo-fencing to send messages, alerts, or coupons to consumers when they enter a defined geographic area.   On Tuesday, Donahoe added the USPS’ also plans to utilize geo-fencing in its integrated marketing campaigns.

The USPS continues to offer and encourage customers to take advantage of QR codes and other digital promotions.  We covered these promotions in MailBlogx posts available here and here.

To view the State of the Business address, visit the USPS’ website.

USPS to Close Approximately 82 Facilities Beginning January 2015

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The USPS plans to close 82 facilities starting in 2015. This is phase two of their consolidation plan. 141 facilities were closed between 2012 and 2013.

A letter to customers on the USPS website indicates that more changes are coming to the USPS in January.  Considered a continued rationalization of the network, the USPS plans to close approximately 82 facilities next year.  141 processing facilities were closed between 2012 and 2013.

“We believe strongly that this phase of network rationalization will establish the low-cost, technology-centric delivery platform necessary to serve the mailing and shipping industry for decades to come,” the letter states.

The letter also states that post offices closed between 2012 and 2013 were reported to save the organization $865 million annually and “required no employee layoffs.”  The additional closures starting in January are expected to save an additional $750 million annually and $3.5 billion in the next five years.

For customers concerned if this consolidation will affect their routes or shipping, a list of expected closures is available on the USPS website.  In a FAQ available online, the USPS adds that “the consolidation will not impact the delivery process.”

15,000 USPS employees will be impacted by the consolidation.  A six month notice will be provided to customers impacted by the closures.  The FAQ also indicated how specific closures were chosen.

“Criteria include expected savings, service, transportation and logistics networks, and capacity within the processing plant, amount of required capacity (mail volumes), using the least amount of equipment and maximizing capacity,” the website states.

This phase of consolidation is expected to be completed by the fall mailing season.  More information is available on the USPS website.

USPS Releases Third Quarter Financial Information

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USPS financial woes continue with an overall third quarter loss of approximately $2 billion.  These woes are expected to continue as the USPS is not expected to meet their $5.7 billion prefunding payment for retiree health benefits.

On Monday, a press release from the United States Postal Service stated that revenue from Shipping and Packaging Services increased 6.6 percent and Standard Mail rose 5.5 percent in the third quarter.  Postal increases initiated in January have contributed to a total revenue increase of $424 million this year.

“Revenue continues to improve as a result of the Postal Service’s January mail price increase, successful sales and marketing initiatives, and continued success in growing the package business. Total operating revenue of $16.5 billion increased by $327 million, or 2.0 percent, compared to the same period last year,” the release stated.

Despite overall increases in packaging and mail revenue, the USPS had a $2 billion loss in the third quarter.  Additional financial woes are still expected to hit the USPS late next month when the organization is expected to make a $5.7 billion prefunding payment for retiree health benefits.  In the press release, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett stated that the USPS will be unable to make the payment by the expected date of September 30th.  Last April, we reported how this prefunding is affecting the USPS’ overall finances.

As a reminder, the price increase instated in January by the Postal Regulatory Commission is not expected to be permanent.  This specific increase was ruled as a surcharge until $3.2 billion in “incremental revenue” is collected.  This is predicted to happen in the second half of 2015.

As a reminder, the USPS reported a quarter two loss of $1.9 billion.  First-Class Mail declined 4.1 percent and Shipping and Packaging increased eight percent in quarter two.  Detailed financial information on the USPS is available here.  More information on the CPI-based price cap is available on the Postal Regulatory Commission’s website.

Global Mail Delivery Delays Update: August 7, 2014

World Map_standing imageHere are the current areas of the world that may be experiencing mail delays.

Source: International Delivery Solutions

China – On Aug 3rd, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck southwest China’ s Yunnan province.

Argentina – Unionized customs officials staged a two-day nationwide strike at Argentina’s borders and airports on July 31st to demand an increase in wages.

Libya – airport operations are closed for mail and parcels until further notice.

Liberia – Nigeria – Sierra Leone numerous airlines are suspending flights to these countries affected by the Ebola outbreak since Aug 4th — therefore, mail and parcel transport will be suspended.

Global Mail Delivery Delays Update: July 16, 2014

World Map_standing imageHere are the current areas of the world that may be experiencing mail delays.

Source: International Delivery Solutions

Corscia Island – French Post reports a strike at the Post office Ajaccio, Corsica island. Delays are expected for mail and parcels to post codes 20000 – 20090.

Israel – Since July 6th, escalating airstrikes and conflict will cause mail and transportations delays.

Cameroon – Transport workers on a nationwide strike  over rising fuel prices on July 7th.

Southern Japan – Week of July 7th, Super Typhoon Neoguri could be one of the strongest storms to hit the country in decades.

Philippines – bracing for Typhoon Rammasun expected to make landfall today, over 100,000 families in the Bicol region have been evacuated.

Canada Holiday — Civic  Holiday – August 4th – Canada Post will not deliver and all Postal Stations throughout the country will be closed.

USPS Proposes New Pricing for Priority Mail Customers

The USPS recently introduced a new website that encourages customers to utilize Priority Mail features available online.  Those who opt to utilize Priority Mail directly at post offices may see an increase this September.

The USPS recently introduced a new website that encourages customers to utilize Priority Mail features available online. Those who opt to utilize Priority Mail directly at post offices may see an increase this September.  Screenshot from usps.com.

Businesses looking for relief from increasing mail costs may see a small decrease in Commercial Priority Mail pricing this September.  Unfortunately, others purchasing Priority Mail services directly from the post office may be subjected to an increase.

The changes were proposed by the USPS on Tuesday in a notice  to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).  Details are available in a press release on the USPS website.

In the release, Chief Marketing/Sales Officer Nagisa Manabe stated that the price decrease in Priority Mail for businesses is an attempt to attract and retain new customers.

The proposed decreases would have an impact on Commercial Plus and Commercial Base online shipping services.  According to the press release, Commercial Plus customers will save 2.3 percent and Commercial Base customers will save 0.9 percent.

The features of Priority Mail for business will remain the same.  These include tracking, insurance, a short delivery turnaround, and free package pickup.  Commercial Base Priority Mail does not have any volume requirements.  Those who use Commercial Plus Pricing are billed on shipping volume (around 50,000 pieces a year).

Increases for Priority Mail customers utilizing the service at post offices will average to 1.7 percent.  For customers wanting to utilize online shipping options, the USPS recently introduced a new online store that encourages users to print shipping labels, request a package pickup, etc.  More information on the store is available on the USPS website.

The PRC must approve the proposed Priority Mail pricing changes before they take effect this September.

Global Mail Delivery Delays Update: June 24, 2014

World Map_standing imageHere are the current areas of the world that may be experiencing mail delays.

Source: International Delivery Solutions

France – June 24th, French air traffic controllers launched a six-day strike, which caused hundreds of flight cancellations and major delays across the country. Expect mail and parcel delays.

Canada – Monday June 23rd St Jean Baptist Day (celebrated) in the Province of Quebec, expect postal delays in Quebec only.

Philippines – Philippines Post announced on June 19th that normal postal operations have resumed; however, due to construction of roads and some relocations postal delays are still expected.  This is due to last November’s typhoon.

Spain – June 19th the corontiaon of a new King in Madrid, expect some delays in delivery during that timeframe.

Indonesia – Indonesia Post announced on June 17th normal postal operations have been restored throughout country, they were fractured since February due to volcanic eruption.

Serbia – Updated on June 12th, all postal deliveries are still subject to delays in the following postcode areas: 11500, 11503, 11505 and 22248.

Canada Holiday — Canada Day – Tuesday July 1st – Canada Post will not deliver and all Postal Stations throughout the country will be closed.