Fixing the US Postal Service

Posted on April 5, 2010

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No post on Saturdays, that’s the word on the street anyways. Come on, I know you guys have a little bit of a deficit to deal with ($238 Billion), but that is seriously the best you can come up with? The number one reason this is a stupid idea; it didn’t work for the newspapers! Learn from the mistakes of others, pay attention to those who have acted similarly before. Oh, and don’t look at others only, but at yourself as well. The whole, raise price by pennies and cut services thing, stop it. It obviously isn’t working.

A key thing you need to realize is that people do not care about your service, because it is crappy anyways. The only thing people care about anymore is the information you deliver. As long as it is cheap/free and they get the information they want, they do not care. Look at what the Internet has done to the music industry and the print industry. There is this thing called e-mail, and slowly but surely it is making the services you provide obsolete.

So how do you fix that deficit and save the post? I have a couple ideas.

Service Innovation

Deliver only once a week. I’m not a fan of doing something radical, but if you have a 238-Billion-Dollar problem and time is running out, you need to do something big. So, I propose that you deliver the post once a week, rather than just not delivering it Saturdays. Everyone will not be up for something this radical of course, so begin by allowing people to sign-up for a Once-a-Week service. Set up a program and let it grow. I believe that virtually everyone, within a few years, will be all for this. E-mail is day-to-day, and post is something to sit down and worry about on the weekends. Seriously, you don’t need monthly bills, catalogs, and magazines delivered instantly.

Fleet Innovation

Convert to an electric fleet of mail carriers. This will reduce fuel costs and help speed up electric vehicle infrastructure all around the nation. The best thing about this, is that it shows the government is willing to do its part in reducing carbon emissions. People might be more willing to sacrifice if their government is doing the same.

Facilities Innovation

The USPS has buildings in every community in the country, so why not use them for more than a drop-off point and P.O. Boxes? Make the facilities more than just a post office. It needs to be a place people not just need to come to send large packages or buy stamps, but a place they almost want to come to. Since there is one in every community, it could be used as a means of community communication. Make it a knowledge center for all things (insert community name.) It could become the place that out-of-towners go to for information on the area; weather, crime, events, restaurants, hotels, etc. Your service is transporting information, so turn your post offices into informations hubs.

Set up services for local advertisement. Bands can contact your office and order a flyer advertising their show, which will be delivered community wide, via an infrastructure you already operate. This service can be used by anyone who wishes to host a local event, not just bands. Provide a way for the community to know what’s going on in the community, without having to search; be a provider of information.

Also, why not invite other corporations in to rent out a space for their product? Starbucks perhaps? Who wouldn’t like to make a single stop to take care of their morning post and coffee? This could work vice-versa as well. Place something similar to a Coinstar or Redbox machine in Wal*Marts, Targets, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Those metal mail-bins placed in the most un-strategic locations, need to be recycled.

Let Someone Else Do It

In all likelihood, this will never happen, but the maybe the best thing to do is sell everything. Just get rid of yourself. Let go of the past. Let communities, cities, and regions sell the rights to deliver post in their areas. It will become a competitive market, and with that, comes innovations that will make post worthwhile. A post that we still need and want.

Only a Start

This is only a start on ideas that I’ve formulated. What do you think the Postal Service should do to fix itself?

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Posted in: Culture