When you buy your groceries, how do you pay for them? What about when you go to the gas station or neighborhood restaurant? How do you buy items online?
Cash may still be king, but in everyday life, it is being eclipsed by newer digital payment methods such as credit cards, debit cards, and electronic transfers.
These payment methods are often more convenient than carrying around lots of cash, but they are not equally available to everyone. People who don’t have bank accounts or credit cards cannot access the full-range of digital currency products.Read More
Despite financial challenges resulting from declining mail volumes and current economic conditions, the Postal Service is continually driving efficiency by making better use of space, staffing, equipment, and transportation in processing mail. One key element of improving efficiency is consolidating mail processing operations, which is an ongoing effort.
Since fiscal year 2009, the Postal Service has completed 47 consolidations and has an additional 107 consolidations in progress for proposed savings of approximately $255 million.
How can further efficiencies be gained in mail processing? One idea may be to redesign workroom floor layouts to improve mail flow and eliminate redundancy or inefficient mail flow routes. This effort could also lead to work hour savings and efficiencies in staffing, staging, and dispatching the mail. Another idea may be to standardize mail processing equipment based on the volume of mail processed at each plant.
Are these viable options for further improving mail processing efficiencies? What are some other ways the Postal Service can standardize mail processing operations to improve efficiency and improve the bottom line?
This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Network Processing team.Read More
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
In response to a Government Accountability Office report and a Congressional request, the Postal Service introduced its Transformation Plan in 2002. Since then, the Postal Service has seen many changes, including a new postmaster general (PMG) and senior management team. Mail volume has declined due to electronic diversion and the recession. In addition, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 changed how the Postal Service operates and conducts business.
The Postal Service released its plan, Ensuring a Viable Postal Service for America: An Action Plan for the Future, in March 2010. The plan outlined cost-cutting, increased productivity, and legislative and regulatory changes necessary to maintain a viable Postal Service. In December 2010, the new PMG announced his four core strategies for the Postal Service:
1. Strengthening the business-to-consumer channel.
2. Improving the customer experience.
3. Competing for package business.
4. Becoming a leaner, faster, and smarter organization.
It is a daunting task for any organization to implement new strategies. We have established an Audit Project Page to provide another opportunity for our stakeholders to comment on this issue. Click here to review – Postal Service Core Strategy Linkage.
We are interested in hearing your views on the four core strategies. What is needed to ensure the success of these strategies and what outcomes do you believe the core strategies are intended to achieve?
This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Planning and Strategic Studies Directorate.Read More
Advertising mail is a core product for the U.S. Postal Service. It is an important way for businesses to reach their customers, but many local small businesses and others underuse or avoid advertising mail. The rules, rates, and regulations can be complex and confusing. For saturation mailings, simplified addressing allows businesses to use a simple “Postal Customer” address instead of a full street address. While the Postal Service has tested a number of simplified address products in the past, early this year it rolled out a national product available for all “flat-size” saturation mailings.
In a recently released white paper titled Simplified Address Mail: An Easier Way for Small Businesses to Reach Local Customers, the Office of Inspector General, Risk Analysis Research Center lays out the advantages of the simplified address mail concept, which could potentially bring in over $1 billion in new revenue if fully implemented. Among the paper’s key findings:
- Simplified address stems from the Postal Service’s core, hard-copy mail delivery business and could help keep mail relevant in an increasingly digital world.
- Adding profitable simplified address mail volume could lower average unit costs and make universal service more affordable for all current and potential mail users.
- Simplified address makes advertising mail easier to use and far less expensive for organizations that have traditionally shied away from directly using the mail.
- Simplified addressing has long been the standard practice among foreign posts and often accounts for a significant proportion of their mail volume. The Postal Service has been the sole exception.