The federal government ships a considerable number of packages each year, primarily using FedEx and UPS. In fiscal year 2012, federal agencies spent almost $337 million on shipping services through General Services Administration (GSA) contracts. The U.S. Postal Service earned only $4.8 million of that revenue, or less than 2 percent, a recent Office of Inspector General audit report found.
The Postal Service faces several challenges to growing its share of this market. Unlike its competitors, the Postal Service cannot offer necessary discounts to penetrate a market, attract new customers, or match competitors’ prices. In addition, the Postal Service’s lack of a guaranteed 2-day or 3-day express delivery product prevented it from qualifying for one of the GSA’s most lucrative contracts. Priority Mail regularly meets 2-day and 3-day delivery performance (90 percent of the time), but it did not qualify because it does not include a delivery guarantee.Read More
Pushing the Envelope wishes our readers a joyful holiday season and a prosperous new year. We will take a break this week, but we encourage you to read over the past year’s blogs and let us know what you think on any of the wide range of topics we blogged on in 2012. We also want to remind you to visit the site next Monday when we will post our list of the Top 10 Stories of the Year. As always, we look forward to your comments and insights.Read More
Since the launch of “Pushing the Envelope” in October of 2008, we have been blogging on topics of interest to U.S. Postal Service stakeholders and the general public. We’ve published 212 blogs to date (this one makes 213). Since it is our birthday, we thought we’d take this time to reflect on the last year and to look to the future.
First, thanks to our active readers who provide insightful commentary and food for thought. Your ideas and comments can turn into audit projects, white papers, or even the need to turn something over to our Office of Investigations.
Our top five blogs this last year were:Read More
It’s been a year of major changes in the postal world. Looking over the headlines, the staff at the Office of Inspector General has pulled together the list below of the top 10 postal stories for 2011. Take a moment, read them over, and vote for your top story of the year. If you think we missed one, let us know!
10. Another Year, Another Loss – Even with a deferral of the retiree health payment, the Postal Service loses $5.1 billion in 2011, although $3.7 billion is changes to workers’ compensation expenses.
9. To Exigent or Not to Exigent – After federal appeals court remands the exigency case back to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the Postal Service is still undecided on whether it will pursue higher than CPI rates.
8. Pension Funding in the Black – OPM projects a $13.1 billion surplus in the Postal Service’s FERS and CSRS pension accounts for 2011.
7. DVDs by Mail Not Dead Yet – Netflix is forced to backpedal after customers rail against the company’s plan to unbundle DVDs by mail.
6. GAO Just Says No Overpayment – The Government Accountability Office (GAO) weighs in on the debate about the Postal Service’s $75 billion CSRS overpayment, stating there was no evidence of accounting errors and returning the funds is ultimately a policy choice that impacts the federal budget.
5. Digital Media to the Rescue – Ironically, blogs such as Dead Tree Edition, Courier, Express, and Postal Observer, and Save the Post Office are driving the debate in the area of hard copy postal issues.
4. Is Overnight Over? – The Postal Service proposes changing delivery service standards, including eliminating overnight delivery for First-Class Mail, to capture savings from network consolidation.
3. Plethora of Bills, Paucity of Law – An unprecedented interest in postal reform yields an abundance of legislative proposals, yet still no new law.
2. Cut, Cut, Cut – The Postal Service announces a provocative plan to break labor contracts, withdraw from federal health and retirement plans, and seek workforce reductions of 220,000 through layoffs and attrition.
1. Something’s Got to Give Round 1 – The Postal Service’s aggressive plans to close about 250 processing plants and more than 3,600 post offices hits strong opposition leading to a temporary moratorium on closings until May 15, 2012.
This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center.Read More
Pushing the Envelope is entering its fourth year! So on this annual observance of our birthday, let’s look back at some of the successes of our third year and consider where we hope to take this blog in the next year.
We published our first blog in October 2008, and since that time, Pushing the Envelope has tried to highlight a number of important postal issues for the benefit of postal stakeholders and the public at large. In the last year alone, 1046 comments have been posted in response to topics on our blog.Read More