The Pushing the Envelope blog recently described some of the barriers that have prevented the Postal Service from optimizing its network of retail facilities. This week we’d like your thoughts on the factors the Postal Service should consider in developing a retail network for the future. If the Postal Service were to rebuild its retail network from scratch — focusing on today’s consumer behaviors and needs — would it look as it does now? Today, there are about 32,000 brick and mortar postal-operated retail facilities. However, the Postal Service generates about 35 percent of retail revenue through alternative access channels. For example, customers can buy stamps and access postal services at http://www.usps.com/, self-service kiosks, grocery stores, retail outlets, and privately operated shipper locations. The availability of alternatives combined with declining mail volume and changing consumer needs has led the Postal Service to renew its efforts to optimize the retail facility network.
The American marketplace is experiencing constant changes in the ways that companies conduct business and communicate with customers. Like other businesses, the Postal Service must also innovate to stay relevant. The Office of Inspector General plans to examine innovation processes currently used by major U.S. corporations to learn about best practices/processes.
The essence of innovation is to identify a problem and develop solutions. For example, Google and Facebook are successful because their websites meet needs of people to manage and organize vast amounts of information and social relationships available on the Internet.
The Postal Service has enjoyed some success with innovative products. Its Priority Mail Flat Rate products have become popular, shipping 350 million boxes over the last 6 years, with revenue of $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2010. This product met the need to simplify the shipping process and was relevant to both consumers and business.
What should the Postal Service do to identify business opportunities and customer needs in order to create solutions that lead to financial success and customer satisfaction?
Also, what experience(s) have you had with Postal Service innovation?Read More
Consumer needs for postal services are changing quickly resulting in the U. S. Postal Service developing a plan to right size the workforce. New Postmaster General and CEO Pat Donahoe announced on March 24 that the Postal Service plans to enact the Reduction in Force (RIF) and Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) processes with the goal of eliminating 7,500 administrative, supervisory, and postmaster positions. Additionally, the Postal Service will cut the number of vice president level officers by 16 percent and eliminate the senior vice president position.
Since 2007, the Postal Service has sponsored a number of recruitment and retention initiatives. One initiative identified critical needs in finance, supply management and engineering. Other efforts included the revamping of the Corporate Succession Planning process and the formation of a Leadership Development and Talent Management group in Human Resources.
How can the Postal Service solve its financial problems? What is the future role of the Postal Service at a time when digital alternatives are replacing many of the functions of hard copy mail? These are the questions facing policymakers and the postal community.
Think ahead to 10 years from now. What will the world look like in 2020? How will consumer behavior change? What should logistics companies do now to prepare for the future?
Deutsche Post attempted to answer these questions in its global Delphi study published in June (click here to view the study). The Delphi method is a technique to develop predictions about the future. The Deutsche Post study involved two stages. In the first stage, a group of specialists working in a wide range of theoretical and practical fields put forward various theses about possible future developments. These were discussed and debated until the experts converged on a set of 81 theses.Read More