Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Newsweek Magazine gives us advice

Newsweek magazine had an article about the current state of the Postal Service. It turned to seven "experts" who gave their advice on how to turn things around.

I was wondering what you think about their ideas? Any of them make sense. I have my opinion -- but Mrs. Franklin keeps telling me to hold my tongue. But feel free to voice yours.

1) E-business. Assign every American an e-mail address when they're born and sell advertising on those accounts.

2) Increase service. Expand from six days to seven and be the only carrier to deliver every day.

3) Help advertisers send coupons.

4) Make a play as a carrier of the proposed expanded government broadband access, becoming a complete communications-delivery service.

5) Get a new brand. (The writer says our brand is "Fly like an eagle," no doubt referring to ad campaign from a decade ago. Fact check please!)

6) Strategically close branches. Have some open only for letters, others only open for parcels. (Oh boy, I really want to say something about this, but Mrs. Franklin is kicking me under the table.)

7) Motivate staff by putting jobs out for bid, and then reward savings with cash incentives.

Okay. What do you think? Read the article here, and then comment here.


Anonymous said...

I don't believe an outsider can completely fix the problems within the Postal Service. There is a lot of dead weight, and waste supported by upper management which have contributed greatly to the current state of the Service. In addition, due to the reduced mail volume, the number of craft workers will need to be reduced as well. The quality of service provided to the American people, and the opinion of the American people towards the Service continues to increase.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's listen to a bunch of bad advice from people who don't have a clue what this organization is all about. No thanks. One way to "save" this company is to get rid of the unions. They are not needed any longer. Unions were necessary back in the 20's and 30's to ensure fair labor standards and decent working conditions. Now we're way past that and there are government laws in place to protect everyone in every business. Unions only harm the organization through ridiculous demands that have no bearing on what's best for the company, which incidentally is best for the employees through continued employment, and protect bad employees who should be fired. If employees were afraid of losing their jobs for not performing, they just might start performing their jobs which, by the way, is why they get paid really, really good wages and benefits for doing pretty menial work. Another way is to start paying these menial laborers what they are worth. No where else do you see factory workers making out so good. There would be no shortage of workers for these jobs at half the current pay.

Merk said...

Most so called experts outside the Postal Service have little or no understanding of how we operate and the mandates imposed on us. They may have some good ideas and some that don't make sense at all. Deliver 7 days a week? We already do that with Express Mail and nobody else does. In fact we deliver 6 days a week at no extra charge and others charge extra if they deliver on Saturday at all. I do like the idea of becoming a total communications company. Foreign postal administrations have made interesting forays into other areas to remain viable. Our rules and restrictions may need to be changed to implement similar services, but we should look for ideas from all sources and see which would work best for us.

Anonymous said...

Amen, to all postings so far!
But the Postal Service also needs to hire only the most qualified potential employees and stop promoting Neices, Daughters, etc. up the ranks when they have no idea what they are doing!!

Anonymous said...

Unions...I've been a shop steward and in management. Bottom line, history proves they are both needed and they must work together.
The article...I didn't get the same interpretation as Benny on a few of the items. For instance, #3. I understood the suggestor to say that the Postal Service should send out coupons for its products. Kind of a buy 10 stamps, get one free type idea. We just did this with the summer sale! It may be working because my mailbox is full of bulk business mail these days. And that's a good thing!
Maybe make Benny's blog caricature our new brand. :-) Some of the other ideas the Postal Service has already adopted. We just need to execute better. In management, the PES is a great idea. However...my unit is a field branch of Headquarters. Headquarters gets x%. Of that, my unit gets y%. Then individuals get z% of that based on performance. The z% establishes the maximum % I can receive for my work. Therefore, it drives my evaluation number (0-15). So I get told by my supervisor I am doing an OUTSTANDING job and don't change a thing but my z% dictates a rating of 6 (just barely meeting expectations). It's mixed message situations like these that are very disheartening! I love the Postal Service and overall it has been good to me but somedays are definitely better than others.

Anonymous said...

To Annon. - I don't think you would find many people willing to carry mail in 100+ temp or -60 wind chill for $10 an hour.

As for the suggestions - Assigning an email address is assuming everyone has access to a computer and electricity.

The writer has no idea what an additional day of delivery would cost in real dollars.

I believe the idea was for us to issue coupons - that is tied into the price structuring.

While email did slow down firct class delivery, the current economic trend is taking a larger bite of our revenue.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments above about the unions...there was a time when they were needed, but no longer. Now they are only out to maintain their membership; they do whatever they can to keep someone from being fired, even if the firing is justified (I've seen it firsthand). What's best for the Postal Service is ultimately what's best for the employees, but the unions tie their hands with demands for more, more, more with no concern for the well-being of the company.

Anonymous said...

email to all persons- I am in a community which is 1/3 Amish and 1/3 Seniors. Most of the seniors do not have computers and of course the Amish do not have computers. The Good Old USPS is very welcome and needed in my community, but since my office is so small, we are afraid of being closed down if they look at profit!! Look at the community and not just the profit if you are thinking of closing offices- try telling an Amish family to drive their buggy another 10 miles to get to a Post Office. Car- 10 minutes- buggy over 1 hour!!

Anonymous said...

As far as putting positions out for bids to hire workers. I don't think I want "low bidder" workers handling my mail at any point. Good wages and benefits are big motivators to do your job well and obey rules. Our screening processes weed out a lot of trash in the employee pool also. I agree unions sometimes protect those who should be fired and that needs to change or they will argue themselves right out of existance. Every decent employee has seen instances of people being kept on that should have been sent packing.Everyone needs to remember also that it is BECAUSE of unions that ALL of us get decent wages and benefits. If you think a company will just hand us these benefits from the goodness of their hearts, then you are incredibly naieve.

Anonymous said...

Yeah everyone thinks they can do our job better all we do is put mail in boxes anyways. Yeah right! If only people knew the extent of what we really do then they would not be so demeaning towards us. Half the people who run their mouth about the postal service couldn't hack this job for one day. 7days a week is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Yes, unfortunately, the Postal Service has yet to put in place a promotion process that excludes the ability of higher-level management to promote their "friends" - people who clearly do not have the experience or knowledge of a job, but because they are drinking buddies or otherwise socialize outside of work, they get promoted over more qualified applicants simply because of their connection and everybody knows it. We all suffer for this kind of unjust favoritism.

Anonymous said...

I think we need to cut the unions down to just one union! The union needs to be involved in salary & benefits, environmental working conditions, and terminations. They need to be out of the daily interventions such as OT bypass, job bidding, work schedules, cross craft disputes, leave denials, and such. I used to be a steward and now I am in management. The two are suppose to work in harmony to resolve issues, but over the years all I see are grievances being filed because employee X was put in employee Y’s work area, so employee Y had to work harder then he wanted to in another area. Or management needed someone to do some OT, employee X volunteers and the union files a grievance and 10 other “bypassed” employees get paid for doing nothing! Everyone needs to be happy to be working for a company that has such great benefits. People…..it’s very simply….come to work every day and do the best you can.

Anonymous said...

While all of the previous comments are vaild, have we missed that biggest of problems: Waste, waste, waste!!

We waste time through inefficient and redundant practices, we waste energy in fighting for and against things that are ultimately pointless and we waste money through the implementation of proceses that net us no apparent gain.

In the end, everyone needs to wake up and question why things are done the way they are, pony up (no pun intended)and develop viable alternatives. Management: your duty is to properly manage thhe resources under your charge. In resisting the ideas from subordinates and fearing to challenge the status quo to your superiors-yes i said fear as many of you will not question the decisions of an EAS higher than you, however wrong-we will all successfully dig in our heals and watch as the service suffers and fails.

Has anyone looked at the auto industry lately in order to draw a parallel?

Anonymous said...

Here, here. You are so right about unions and management wasting money. I heard today that the NALC in my District won a grievance which requires the District to purchase and provide a water bottle to each employee. This is because the District ended a water-dispenser contract to save money. This union, in this District, is not the least bit interested in the health of the company for the sake of their membership. Their only goal is to stick-it to management any way they can, no matter how petty. And it's been on-going for years!

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of the broadband, but the rest of the ideas are based on complete ignorance of our system and how it works. Not that the status quo is working either. However, the National Performance Assessment system does not work, because goals are artificially set in ways to make attainment impossible in many cases. Likewise, a similar system would not work with craft employees. We need new services to offer our customers, similar to the offers made in foreign countries. We need to invent new strategies for revelue and think outside our box. And Congress needs to stop playing games with us.