Archive for September, 2012

ADVISORY OPINION ON MAIL PROCESSING NETWORK RATIONALIZATION SERVICE CHANGES Commentary

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Postal Regulatory Commission
 ADVISORY OPINION ON MAIL PROCESSING NETWORK RATIONALIZATION SERVICE CHANGES

It is important to at least scan through the entire document prior to considering my comments below.  Excerpts taken directly from the report are indicated by quotes and footnotes with page references.  This is a lengthy and complex document, carefully and thoughtfully prepared, I applaud the Commission for the obvious time and work that went into pulling this all together.  It will take some time to read through and analyze, so I will be posting comments in chunks.  This is the first of a series of more posts to come.
“The Postal Regulatory Commission has analyzed the Postal Service’s Mail Processing Network Rationalization (MPNR) initiative, a plan to provide forecasted net savings of $2.1 billion by consolidating its processing and transportation networks to better match estimated mail volume. The Commission’s range of potential net savings estimates is lower than that projected by the Postal Service.”[1]

The USPS has a track record of manipulating and presenting biased data that supports whatever they are trying to push through, discarding and/or discounting data that does not support or further their agenda.  I am not surprised in the least that the Commission net savings estimates are lower than those projected by the Postal Service, and I am of the opinion myself that they are far more grounded and in line with reality and fairness than the information provided by the USPS.  The Commission’s conclusions that savings can be realized – great savings – without gutting service outright, are right on the money.

“The Postal Service does not take full advantage of its network modeling tools. It uses modeling to develop an initial list of facilities to be consolidated given the decision to reduce service levels, but rejects most of the facilities identified by the model. The Postal Service relies on internal expertise for final decisions.”[2]

I think the Commission is being kind here.  The USPS uses modeling to substantiate their endgame.  They do not use it to gather information in order to make a fair, unbiased, and balanced decision.  There is a level of arrogance that is pervasive and objectionable, where the USPS feels their own internal expertise is far more strong and capable at guiding the decisions being made than it actually is.  The USPS squanders the feedback from those of us out in the trenches, unless it supports their plan.

“Specifically, the Commission encourages the Postal Service to make every attempt to retain overnight delivery in keeping with the analysis presented in the subsequent chapters.”[3]

On this point, I find it sad that the Commission needs to even state it.  The USPS should have made every attempt to retain overnight delivery without “encouragement”.  Again, the focus was not on a balance, or the quality of service, it was on a mistaken idea about savings.  I do not think there was enough (if any) emphasis made on preserving service.  There is an attitude of using “times are tough” as an excuse to be short sighted and damaging in the long term in order to make short term changes, that once implemented would be next to impossible to repair or recover from.

Several witnesses, as detailed in this paper, produced models indicating that a balance between savings and consolidations – while maintaining current service standard levels – should be closely and carefully considered by the Postal Service with an open mind.  Hopefully these opinions won’t be discarded simply because the USPS didn’t think of them first, or because the USPS arrogance blinds them to any other opinions besides their own.



[1] ADVISORY OPINION ON MAIL PROCESSING NETWORK RATIONALIZATION SERVICE CHANGES p.7

[2] ADVISORY OPINION ON MAIL PROCESSING NETWORK RATIONALIZATION SERVICE CHANGES p.8

[3] ADVISORY OPINION ON MAIL PROCESSING NETWORK RATIONALIZATION SERVICE CHANGES p.12

Written by Lisa.Bowes

September 30th, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Posted in USPS

NAA factsheet on what’s in the USPS / Valassis negotiated services agreement

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From the NAA

Status: The NSA became effective on August 23 when the Postal Regulatory Commission approved the agreement. NAA filed an appeal of the PRC’s decision in Federal court, and a petition to stay the decision until completion of the judicial review. NAA is waiting for the court’s decision on the stay request.

via NAA factsheet on what’s in the USPS / Valassis negotiated services agreement.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

September 29th, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Posted in USPS

Still business as usual – Second missed payment won’t affect operations

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Still business as usual – Second missed payment won’t affect operations.

For the second time in two months, USPS will not make a mandated payment to prefund retiree health benefits.

In a prepared statement, the Postal Service said it can’t make a scheduled $5.6 billion payment to the U.S. Treasury on Sept. 30. As was the case with the default of a similar $5.5 billion payment that was due Aug. 1, USPS said it will continue to deliver the mail and will pay employees and suppliers.

 

Written by Lisa.Bowes

September 29th, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Posted in USPS

USPS advised to delay facility closures – Oversight

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

September 29th, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Posted in USPS

PRC Issues Advisory Opinion Analyzing USPS Plan to Change USPS Service Standards

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Washington, DC –The Postal Regulatory Commission today issued its analysis of the Postal Service’s Mail Processing Network Rationalization (MPNR) initiative, a plan to capture net savings of $2.1 billion (later revised to $1.6 billion) by closing and consolidating 229 of its 461 processing plants to better match declining mail volume. The Commission’s range of potential net savings estimates is lower than that projected by the Postal Service. The Commission’s Advisory Opinion concludes that the Postal Service could significantly reduce its network and realize substantial cost savings while preserving most current service levels.
http://www.prc.gov/prc-pages/default.aspx

Link to the PDF
http://tinyurl.com/9zve72k

I will be reviewing the information in depth this weekend, and will provide my commentary and thoughts in the next few days.

 

 

 

Written by Lisa.Bowes

September 28th, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Posted in USPS

Redrawing the Map: A Look at USPS’ Network Rationalization Plan

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

September 28th, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Posted in USPS

Making votes count

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With more than 25 million ballots expected to be mailed this election season, the Postal Service is encouraging voters to mail ballots early to help make sure they meet delivery deadlines set by election officials.

Voters in the contiguous 48 states should mail ballots by Nov. 3, at least three days before the Nov. 6 general election. Ballots mailed from the contiguous states to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands and vice versa should be mailed by Nov. 1, at least five days prior to the election date.

Voters need to consider the time of day when dropping off ballots in a collection box to be sure the pick-up time for the particular box has not passed the suggested mailing deadline.

Americans overseas, including military personnel, should plan on mailing ballots according to the mailing schedule at the Government Service Web page at usps.com. Mailing information also is available at the local Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office APO/FPO and American embassy for deadlines specific to overseas locations.

“Mail is an increasingly important part of U.S. elections,” said COO Megan Brennan. “All American voters living overseas, whether civilian or military, have the opportunity to mail their completed ballots back home free of charge using the APO/FPO or by hand-delivering their ballots to the nearest American embassy or consulate.”

USPS also is offering the following tips for voters using mail ballots:
>Visit state websites to determine election office locations and Vote-by-Mail rules.
>Check with local election office for rules governing mail ballots.
>Place completed ballots inside their window envelopes correctly.
>Ensure proper postage and stamp placement on the upper right-hand corner of envelope.

via USPS News Link Story – Making votes count.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

September 27th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Posted in USPS

Postal Service to default again (yawn)…

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It’s almost time for some more postal “default” news stories, and CNN Money has gotten the obligatory “insolvency” story out of the way almost a week early. The story has an interesting twist though- it rather matter of factly states the real reason for the so-called “crisis”:

The financial crunch is due to a law passed in 2007 that only Congress can fix. Congress ordered the prefunding of retiree benefits, as a way of easing federal deficits. Neither of the bills moving through Congress completely undo that mandate — they just prolong or delay it.

No failed business model? No bloated bureaucracy? Looks like someone at CNN isn’t following the script! The article even quotes NALC President Fred Rolando pointing out that far from running out of cash, the USPS has $44 billion stashed away already for the future retiree health benefits Congress is supposedly so worried about.

via Postal Service to default again (yawn)… – postalnews blog.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

September 27th, 2012 at 8:47 am

Posted in USPS

USPS CIO to resume duties

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Ellis Burgoyne will resume his duties as the Postal Service’s Chief Information Officer CIO beginning Oct. 1. With Burgoyne’s return, Joe Corbett, who served as acting CIO, will return to his position as Chief Financial Officer CFO. Steve Masse, who served as the acting CFO, will resume his duties as VP, Finance and Planning, and Cynthia Sanchez-Hernandez, who temporarily assumed Masse’s duties, returns to her job as manager, Finance and Planning.

via USPS CIO to resume duties – postalnews blog.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

September 27th, 2012 at 8:44 am

Posted in USPS

Private Appointments/Demos at Graph Expo

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I will be attending Graph Expo in Chicago in a few weeks, and am booking private appointments for demos and meetings right now.  I am not tied down to a booth at this show, so can meet at McCormick Place, or at your site locally if preferred.  Please contact me directly at Lisa.Bowes@intelisent.com if you are interested in meeting, slots are filling up quickly.  I have openings on Tuesday, October 9 and Wednesday, October 10.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about IMb Tracing mail piece tracking, and how it relates to operations and marketing efforts.  I can  cover any OneCode or Full Service Intelligent Mail Address Correction Service items, also any questions or concerns about the use of Intelligent Mail, especially with the imminent POSTNET retirement January 2013.   Take advantage of some advice from an industry expert.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Written by Lisa.Bowes

September 26th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Posted in USPS