While many posts, including the U.S. Postal Service, are downsizing due to shrinking domestic markets, China Post is aggressively expanding. By the end of 2015, the China Post Group plans to extend universal service to all villages, increase urban residential letterboxes, and add 300,000 jobs. This development presents an opportunity for the Postal Service to partner with China Post to expand the reach of both posts, as the demand for end-to-end solutions between the Chinese and U.S. markets grows.
The major factors that fuel expansion and justify development are an increasing residential delivery network, major growth in small-to-medium enterprises (SME) and exports, and a developing direct marketing industry. The Chinese government also fosters China Post’s growth by permitting non-postal activities like banking and shielding some profitable segments of the express mail market from competition. Although industry players question the legality in an international context, China Posts’ Express Mail unit has the exclusive rights to a profitable product segment.
Together these factors guarantee steady mail volume increases and help China Post secure a position in the burgeoning direct mail industry, e-commerce market, and other non-postal sectors. By tapping into its far-flung network of post offices to provide customers a wide range of services in one convenient location, new opportunities will emerge for China Post as well as the Postal Service.
The Postal Service is taking action to capitalize on these opportunities. Last year, the Postal Service introduced a new, small-packet product targeting China’s small, lightweight exports, such as electronics and apparel. The Postal Service also signed a memorandum of understanding with China Post and eBay to provide an end-to-end, e-commerce solution. Earlier this year the Postal Service hosted a 20-member China Post delegation to discuss the direct mail industry. As the demand for postal products and services grows with China Post’s expansion, the Postal Service is uniquely positioned to establish a partnership that connects and fosters Chinese and U.S. markets.
What other opportunities do you think the Postal Service should pursue with China Post?
This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).Read More
Although the digital option has grown as a channel for Americans to communicate, purchase, and store personal information, there are drawbacks that leave a significant portion of the population underserved. To meet the population’s needs and “bind the nation together” in a digital world, the Postal Service must modernize its role.
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Risk Analysis Research Center has completed Part 2 of a series on the Postal Service’s role in the digital age. Building on the first white paper which explored the facts and trends impacting communications, The Postal Service Role in the Digital Age – Part 2: Expanding the Postal Platform, presents a strategic positioning framed by three guiding principles:
• Promoting solutions for the communications problems of the digital age
• Using the core competencies and assets of the Postal Service
• Considering the policy implications of the strategy based on the current legal and regulatory environment
Using an “eMailbox” that links a physical address to an electronic mailbox for every citizen and business, the Postal Service could build a digital platform that supports communications and commerce for postal, governmental, and commercial applications.
The paper provides six additional initial applications for consideration, including:
• An eGovernment application that promotes the expansion of government services throughout the postal platform and uses the eMailbox to send and receive secure and official communication with federal agencies.
• Tools for identity validation, privacy protection, and transaction security that allow users to verify the individuals and businesses they are communicating with, the safety of their personal information, and security of their purchases and financial transactions.Read More
Last year Americans spent $155.2 billion in online shopping. This year they are projected to spend more than $190 billion. The delivery of these parcels and packages represent a large revenue opportunity for the U.S. Postal Service, especially if they can improve delivery times, package tracking and increase processing through automation and new technologies. One solution may be the use of radio frequency identification (RFID).
How has the digital age changed your life? Do you still shop in a store or buy online? Get the newspaper delivered or have an online subscription? Read hard copy books or use an e-reader? If you chose the digital options, you are not alone. You may be a digital native, one of those who are most comfortable working in a digital environment.
The Internet and the digital economy are fundamentally changing communications, transportation, and commerce. This “digital revolution,” in combination with the great recession of 2008 to 2009 has affected postal operators all over the world causing a steep decline in the volumes of personal, business, and advertising mail. This shift from the physical will only accelerate as digital natives become more prominent in the workforce.
In a white paper released today, the Office of Inspector General analyzed the changing digital landscape as the first in a series of papers on the Postal Service role in the digital age; here is a sample of the key trends:
1. There is a progressive shift from the physical to the digital by business, government, and consumers.
2. Control has shifted from the sender to the receiver.
3. The Internet has evolved from mass broadcast media to personalized conversations.
4. Explosive growth of mobile devices increases consumption of content “on the go”.
5. E-commerce is growing rapidly but has not reached its full potential.
6. Mobile commerce is positioned to grow significantly in the U.S. market.
7. Digital technologies have facilitated global commerce.Read More
In recent years, a growing number of people have chosen to avoid crowded shopping malls by doing their holiday shopping online. To a certain extent, online shopping reduces their carbon footprint by keeping these individuals from driving to and from the store. However, their packages still have to be delivered. What if postal customers could choose to have carbon neutral delivery for an extra fee?
In 2009, Itella, Finland’s postal service, introduced a program where customers could pay extra for carbon neutral delivery, adding the “Itella Green” marking to letters for less than a penny or parcels for around five cents. Itella achieved carbon neutrality through a combination of energy efficient delivery vehicles by funding reputable, environmentally-friendly projects. While Itella’s plans include increasing carbon efficiency in all three phases of the package delivery process: sorting, transportation, and delivery, the greatest carbon efficiency gains currently come from their shift to electric or fuel efficient delivery vehicles.
In a world where speed is everything, a new product is becoming popular that takes it s-l-o-w. It’s called Future Mail. In China, several companies are offering to deliver mail as slowly as you want, — even weeks, months, or years into the future. No time machine necessary!
Some customers are using Future Mail to send letters to their future selves, others use it to be sure their anniversary, birthday, or holiday greetings will arrive exactly on time. Future Mail customers simply fill out, address their cards, letters, or packages, and specify the date they want them delivered. These new companies will make it happen. One can even purchase gifts and flowers to be sent in the future.