Postal Service Throwing Good Money after Bad

with 2 comments

The following is a postal perspective by Grayhair Software CEO and owner Cameron Bellamy. The views expressed are the solely author’s.

The Postal Service unloaded a bombshell on its “partners” – mailers and mail service providers – when officials hastily announced at an industry meeting in November their plan to build yet another new tracking system to replace previously failed attempts … and this time they say they want a system with reporting and analytics capability.

This “one-stop-shop for all mail visibility data,” as they describe it, could cost tens of millions to build and maintain across the USPS enterprise. The idea behind this “Informed Visibility” initiative is to track mail pieces in real time, generate reports and analytical data. That might sound great, but private industry is already doing that, and doing it well. Can the USPS really be as nimble and innovative as industry?

The Postal Service should be focusing its attention on improving functionalities that are central to its mission of delivering mail, such as the PostalOne! mail acceptance tool, which is riddled with outages and a constant source of costly, patchwork maintenance. But instead of fixing what mailers already have paid for, USPS wants to throw more mailer money at a new mail tracking tool that adds no real value and absolutely no return on investment to what its private sector “partners” already can provide today.

If past is prologue, the USPS is not likely to get it right. And since USPS plans to offer “Informed Visibility” reports at no cost, there’s no way it can recoup the enormous investment mailers themselves will pay for through soaring postage rates. The agency is plunging deeper into debt, with a record loss of nearly $16 billion for fiscal year 2012. By every projection the losses will deepen unless real reforms are put in place.

Never mind that the private sector has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in tools that accurately and effectively provide analysis and reports on mail performance. It simply makes no sense for the Postal Service to throw good money after bad … and especially now, when it has so little to spend. Disregarding what already has been funded by postal ratepayers (and private sector businesses) and paying consultants to build yet another flawed technology is not the answer.

Here’s a head-scratcher: The Postal Service is deep in the red and now plans to spend tens of millions of dollars that it doesn’t even have on a new program ostensibly to provide services already available in the marketplace with virtually no regard as to how the associated expenses can be recouped. How’s that for throwing good money after bad?
Note:  This item was posted right before the holiday, I chose to re-post it now so it does not get missed.

I don’t usually post items from our competitors, however… I can totally relate to the frustration expressed here.   Thank you to Cameron for speaking out so frankly.  This USPS encroachment is not limited to tracking services, either – all “partners” need to keep a watchful eye on things.  In my opinion, the Postal Service needs to deliver the mail, and deliver on the current promises that have been left unfulfilled before they move into new endeavors.  They also need to take advantage of what their industry partners do best already.

Interesting times…


Written by Lisa.Bowes

December 27th, 2012 at 8:42 am

Posted in USPS

2 Responses to 'Postal Service Throwing Good Money after Bad'

Subscribe to comments with RSS

  1. They need entrepreneurial startup infusion instead of trying to develop things internally like partnering with MailGapp


    30 Dec 12 at 4:12 pm

  2. Thanks for you blog it was great to hear about mailers and postal services through good money after bad


    16 Mar 16 at 1:06 am

Leave a Reply