National Postal Forum News “Report”

with 25 comments

Postal Service spending millions to send execs to conference | www.wsbtv.com.

What a piece of propaganda, postured to inflame! As a former industry attendee and a current exhibitor and speaker at NPF, I know first hand, from many different perspectives, how important NPF is to the business of the USPS.

Having actually been to NPF, I’m more qualified to comment than this “reporter” who says he “obtained” the agenda. Yeah, because it is posted on the internet. Great job of investigative reporting.

NPF is an educational, networking event. It is NOT a party event by any stretch, there is a tremendous amount of work done.

The “reporter” failed to mention that the National Postal Forum is a non-profit organization – not the USPS.

Or bother to cite the NPF Mission stated here: http://tinyurl.com/aaqjr6p

 

Written by Lisa.Bowes

February 19th, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Posted in USPS

25 Responses to 'National Postal Forum News “Report”'

Subscribe to comments with RSS

  1. ANY amount of money spent is too much when you closing P.O. transfering people away from their homes etc. PERIOD!!

    Dwight Stone

    20 Feb 13 at 7:56 am

  2. Hmmm? The USPS Hq’s is located on the East Coast and the Postal Forum is located on the West Coast. In between are most of the mailers, publishers, and post offices. Seems is this was about business there would be a location in the center of the Country in order to reduce travel costs or even obtain a lower cost for lodging, food, etc…????? But then again this is all about “business”.

    Barry Painter

    20 Feb 13 at 9:35 am

  3. NPF locations rotate across the country each year, to make it easier and more fair to the postal CUSTOMERS to have equal access. Next year’s Postal Forum is scheduled to take place in Washington DC. Seems that in order to comment in an educated manner, at the very least a review of the information at the NPF website is needed, and at best, some actual exposure and/or experience with attending NPF would be in order.

    Lisa.Bowes

    20 Feb 13 at 9:51 am

  4. National Postal Forum is a brainstorming event, in addition to an educational event. Postal customers (the folks that are paying the rates, using the mail, selling the mail, supporting the mail – at no cost to the USPS) come to NPF to share ideas, to make suggestions, to work with the USPS to improve processes, offerings, etc. The value of this dialogue is well worth the cost. These people are working together, collectively, to maintain – and grow – USPS revenue in order to help keep as many post offices and processing facilities open as are needed. Investing in the future of the Post Office is money well spent.

    Lisa.Bowes

    20 Feb 13 at 9:57 am

  5. What a selfless community oriented bunch of people joining together to make the USPS a better, happier place.
    Look, there’s nothing wrong with a trade group getting together to figure out better ways to profit from the system but call it exactly what it is, an industry lobbying for the best deal it can get.
    Some of you folks in the industry were awfully silent or ready to jump on the bandwagon when Carper wanted Goldway’s head for her travel which was just as legitimate as this.
    Whatever the case the optics of this are terrible. Given the current issues, the fact that thousands are losing jobs and millions are losing service USPS officials could have found more appropriate ways to accomplish whatever this is designed to accomplish.

    M. Jamison

    20 Feb 13 at 10:37 am

  6. The National Postal Forum is a good networking opportunity for USPS employees. But do we need to send 400 employees??
    How about sending four? These four employees attending the conference could then share the information gained through email and/or phone conferencing after the fact?

    jaylee

    20 Feb 13 at 10:59 am

  7. I am speaking for myself here – I make my living selling USPS services, at no cost to the USPS itself. My customers are First Class and Standard mailers, paying regular rates. My goal is to keep as much current volume in the mailstream, and to add as much new volume as I can influence. Any successes my company has also equates also, directly, to USPS success. The mission of the National Postal Forum is to EDUCATE mail owners on USPS products and services and opportunities to expand their mail usage. I have been attending NPF for the past 15 years, as a postal customer, as an industry vendor, and as a representative of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee. The “news” story regarding NPF was written to inflame, using carefully spouting off selected facts that only gives a biased, slanted – inaccurate – opinion of a single individual who has never actually attended NPF. I am not a “lobbyist”. I am not cutting special deals at NPF. We are working together to increase the value of mail, and keep mail in the mail stream. USPS officials DO NOT RUN NPF. NPF is run by a Board of Directors of this non-profit organization. Do some fact checking, and do so with an open mind. It is the only way to form an educated opinion vs a snap judgement.

    Lisa.Bowes

    20 Feb 13 at 11:02 am

  8. NPF is a networking event giving postal CUSTOMERS the opportunity to meet with and learn from the best of the best USPS employees. I know, first hand, how hard these USPS folks who attend work in setting up the educational sessions, the presentations, the information that is disseminated to postal customers. For many postal customers this is the single opportunity they have – annually – to meet with their postal contacts and develop strong working relationships so we can all achieve our collective goal – growing the mail.

    Lisa.Bowes

    20 Feb 13 at 11:10 am

  9. Sounds like a party to me. “Networking” can be done via computer, withou golfing, cocktails, lavish meals and probably first class air fare. Those of us who lost our jobs are not happy about the wasteful spending in all areas of America’s “Service”. I hope Scott Macfarlane keeps digging up these parties under flase names.

    sandra

    20 Feb 13 at 12:09 pm

  10. Ms. Bowes, your ASSUMPTION that you learn from the “best of the best USPS employees” tells me that you are one of them. Too bad you don’t go out into the field and meet with the real workers….. the clerks, carriers and mail handlers that make this top heavy ship float.

    Mike Farrier

    20 Feb 13 at 12:12 pm

  11. Cast yourself in whatever humble light you like but you have a rather twisted view of why the postal network exists. The postal network is a national infrastructure open to all comers. It’s existence has been beneficial to many businesses and industries.
    Unfortunately the intent and purpose of the network has been captured by some segments of the mailing industry leading to a distorted rate system, an institutional direction that weighs the needs of some over the greater benefits.
    You’ve crafted a nice living selling your knowledge of the system to others. Good for you, that’s one of the primary premises of creating a national universal network. But don’t deceive yourself that the various mailing groups are anything other than lobbyists attempting to get this infrastructure to work especially for them.
    The result is that one group of users has outsize influence with the leadership of the institution and that resources have been diverted to satisfy one industry while compromising the integrity of the network and the overall mission.
    You’re right, USPS officials don’t run NPF but to some extent they are run by the folks that do run NPF and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

    M. Jamison

    20 Feb 13 at 12:26 pm

  12. The postal network exists to provide universal mail delivery service to all citizens, regardless of the profitability of delivering to individual addresses. Benjamin Franklin’s original noble vision remains unchanged as far as that goes. I don’t deceive myself that different groups have different motivations. Don’t deceive yourself that the efforts of mailers to keep mail in the mailstream does not directly benefit ALL users of the mail, by keeping costs down, improving efficiencies, and making things better in general. I was elected by my peers to represent mail owners and mail service providers in the areas of Informed Visibility and Service Performance at MTAC. I do not represent my individual company at MTAC, nor do my MTAC leadership colleagues. I have family members who are USPS employees – a retired Postmaster, a current carrier. Believe me, I get input from them as well, and I have the utmost respect for their contributions and appreciate the different perspective they provide. Last year my company “touched” over a billion pieces of mail. A billion. My colleagues represent even larger volumes than that. Without these volumes in the mail stream, do you really think a First Class stamp would still be the bargain it is? Do you know any of the NPF board personally? I do. I have a great deal of respect for their efforts and their contributions to the mail stream as a whole.

    What it boils down to is we need to all channel this energy and focus it on our common goal – a healthy postal service for many years to come. Everyone, mailers, mail owners, unions, HQ, working people, executives – we all need to work together.

    Lisa.Bowes

    20 Feb 13 at 12:58 pm

  13. Please read my other responses – I don’t work for the USPS. As a matter of fact, I work for a privately owned family run company. I do know and respect many, many workers out in the field, from carriers to Postmasters to HQ folks. I don’t look at things from one perspective. Also – I live in Connecticut. I saw, first hand, what the great people that make up the USPS infrastructure do in the face of adversity – Storm Sandy, the Newtown tragedy, the recent snowstorms. I know how hard postal workers work, I know their level of pride, conscientiousness, service to their communities far above and beyond what is required of them. I also try, very hard, not to make judgements about what somebody knows or doesn’t know, without taking a movement to walk in their shoes first. Your assumption that I don’t go out to the field (where the real work is done) is incorrect. My father was a printer when print was a craft. I worked my way up from a bindery material handler, to a journeyman apprentice bindery stitcher operator, to where I am now. I wasn’t born into my current position…

    Lisa.Bowes

    20 Feb 13 at 1:19 pm

  14. while you may believe it is not a party when the forum was in san diego it was the biggest party I have ever seen given by the post office. you may not see all the things management does because you are NOT invited. management does NOT care about service only closing offices and getting rid of people. do you know that management is NOT making their ranks smaller? just yesterday 2-19-13 donahoe created another vice president. https://liteblue.usps.gov/news/link/2013/02feb/news20s2.htm

    postalvet

    20 Feb 13 at 1:40 pm

  15. I see you subscribe to the myth that the heroic advertising mailers have subsidized low first class mail rates.
    Maybe without those volumes the first class rates would be higher but who’s to say those volumes would disappear if advertising mail rates weren’t subsidized by first class mail rates. The current system is built on a set of fictions that detract from the mission and meaning of a universal postal network, a network that may have developed in other healthier and more productive ways had it not been captured by the consolidators, discounters and others who hold their cheap rates as sacrosanct while advocating for policies that undermine good middle class jobs and reductions in service to rural and poorer urban communities.
    If those who make their living developing products that make mail more valuable for advertisers want to hold a convention to sell those ideas that’s great. But the whole system of discounts for some of those products like use of QR codes rely on industry capture of a national asset. It’s virtually no different than bankers and the finance industry capturing the SEC and getting regulations, rules, and products that benefit them to the exclusion and detriment of the general public. Or oil companies that turn regulatory infrastructure to their benefit.
    There are a whole set of postal products, rates, discounts, and policies that undermine the intent and purpose of the system by diverting its focus to narrowly serve one group of customers.
    Regardless of any of that your initial argument was that it was perfectly justifiable for postal management to spend $2.2 million to send a contingent to an industry forum. Again, given the current circumstances it is not justifiable. The opportunity to lobby, and it is exactly that, postal officials for better rates, products or offerings that serve one groups needs often to the detriment of the overall system.
    You contend that the billions of pieces you place in the system support the system in a way that smells of entitlement. The infrastructure is there for your industry to use and it’s great that your business profits from that but the current system is failing because of it has focused on only a limited set of stakeholders.
    Finally, who you think you represent on MTAC is really of no consequence. MTAC is an example of industry capture. And who you know or don’t know or who I may know isn’t really the issue. Many in the mailing industry went berserk when Ruth Goldway’s travel was made an issue yet they see this as perfectly acceptable. The money the Postal Service spends on NPF is an example of an assbackwards system that is ironically going to destroy the very network you rely on.

    M. Jamison

    20 Feb 13 at 1:53 pm

  16. The current system is changing because volumes are changing – they are going down. Although I respect your opinions, and am approving them so others can get a different perspective, I disagree with most, if not all of them. The investment made into NPF will generate a return in business for the USPS that will greatly offset the cost.

    Lisa.Bowes

    20 Feb 13 at 3:01 pm

  17. For clarification – I was at NPF in San Diego. When trying to sell something, whether it be a product or a service, wearing sackcloth and presenting a future of gloom and doom is not exactly conducive to attracting new customers.

    Also, your statement about “another vice president”, is incorrect. The PMG replaced retiring Digital Solutions Vice President Paul Vogel. The “new” part of this is the addition of the word “Secure” before “Digital” This assignment is not an additional VP position. Get your facts straight.

    Lisa.Bowes

    20 Feb 13 at 3:17 pm

  18. Mark Jamison- You say that “the network has been captured by some segments of the mailing industry leading to a distorted rate system”. Who are these “segments”? If they have “captured” the network, that assumes that there are other “segments of the mailing industry” that are being left out- but who are they?

    You seem to be suggesting that USPS prices are too low. Given that the USPS no longer has an effective monopoly on its bread and butter markets (bill presentment and payment and direct advertising), won’t raising prices further reduce the already declining volume, regardless of the reason for the price increases? What other “segment of the mailing industry” would step in, and why?

    Brian Sheehan

    20 Feb 13 at 4:11 pm

  19. Ridiculous. Scott Macfarlane dug nothing up. It’s all posted on the internet. Nobody is trying to hide anything or put anything over on anybody. Meeting with your customers on an annual basis is not wasteful spending.

    Lisa.Bowes

    20 Feb 13 at 10:45 pm

  20. I am a mail carrier, I would like to meet with my business customers in, uh, let’s say South Beach. I’ll send Pat the bill. I’m sure the trip will bring in thousands in post cards alone. You are in denial, Ms. Bowes. Admitting that there is a real problem here is the first step toward recovery.

    sandra

    21 Feb 13 at 1:17 am

  21. Postal “management” including “Sales” is the biggest ripoff and racket ever invented. These people are just plain hogs at the trough, and the only “brainstorming” or “leads” being generated is where and how to get their drink on. Look at the multiple vice-presidents in Washington DC who don’t even bother to show up for work, or are too busy with other activities like writing cookbooks or other jobs that have nothing to do with the mail. Their activities are finally being exposed to the light of day, and the rats are scurrying.

    niles

    21 Feb 13 at 6:10 am

  22. I work directly with several of the vice presidents in Washington (was at HQ this week for MTAC). From my experience, the VPs (and the PMG, for that matter) are in early, stay late, and are some of the most hard working people I know. Unless you know these folks, who are have far more in common with the operations folks, and the delivery folks than you would ever open up your mind to, you really can’t make an educated judgement. Blanket judgements and “observations” like this just render your comment as unreliable, conjecture, and borderline pathetic. These are people you are referring to, they should not have lives outside of the postal service? Although I have little hope in changing your mind, I do respectfully post your comments, however misguided.

    Lisa.Bowes

    22 Feb 13 at 8:09 am

  23. I am a postal customer. I am a postal vendor. I have the utmost respect for mail carriers and what they are responsible for, delivering the mail. There are other people in your organization responsible for sales. In any business, selling any product or service,providing customers with the resources they need in order to grow-which is in everybody’s best interest – even yours as a carrier – is simply common sense. The real problem here is that we get caught up in this us against them mentality (hmmm, is there a Congressional parallel here?) and we don’t accomplish anything but angst and ill will, benefiting nobody.

    NPF will bring in much needed business. NPF will nurture and develop current relationships. More mail volume is a good thing.

    Lisa.Bowes

    22 Feb 13 at 8:59 am

  24. I am a postal customer. I run a large contract station that generates significant revenue for USPS, and processes and distributes large amounts of USPS incoming volumes on behalf of USPS, and I will be attending NPF. Additionally, I was a long time USPS employee. I do not agree that the Forum is any sort of “party”. Folks that take this point of view have absolutely no concept of what it’s like to work at USPS, the demands at all levels of the organiztion, nor are they aware (or care to acknowledge) the pride that most all USPS employees take in their work. On the other hand, it’s up to NPF organizers to ensure that attendance at the forum is worth the cost of admission ($900.00), and that USPS executives have time to meet with all of thier constituencies. This is already becoming a problem they need to address.

    Ray Perret

    8 Mar 13 at 1:07 pm

  25. Thank you for sharing this unique point of view. Please stop by and say hello, Intelisent exhibiting, booth 928

    Lisa.Bowes

    9 Mar 13 at 10:45 pm

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: