Friday, December 4, 2009

Postal extreme makover: Business leaders give their tips

It seems that everyone these days has an opinion on the Postal Service.

And many business leaders have their ideas on how we could improve. The magazine,,  asked five top entrepreneurial leaders on how to makeover the Postal Service. Here are their responses:

Digital mail system
"The USPS needs a digital mail system. Your physical address could become your username, with the post office allowing you to turn off physical delivery of mail, like banks have done with bank statements. Recipients could choose to have their physical mail delivered to their home mailboxes for archiving once a month. By creating and owning the digital postal service market, the USPS could greatly reduce costs and become profitable, useful, and relevant for the next 100 years.

Aaron Houghton, Chairman and co-founder, iContact

Charge for pickup

"The mail carrier could do pickups and charge a monthly pickup fee, just like FedEx and UPS, while keeping the letterbox as a free service. Simply adding a $25 monthly fee for businesses that want a daily mail pickup would be something that many businesses would jump on. If you had even 20 percent of the small-business market, you could generate an extra $60 million a year. If the USPS also cut retiree benefits by 40 percent and operating costs by 10 percent, along with raising rates by 5 percent, it could turn a $7 billion loss into a $4 billion profit."

Sandeep Walia. CEO, Ignify,Cerritos, California

Raise rates

"Raise the rates on first-class mail. It is the postal service's core, and it has a monopoly to deliver it. This system actually works and is the most profitable part of the USPS. When the USPS's first-class rates are compared with those in other industrialized countries, though, they are grossly underpriced. A similar-size letter mailed in the U.K. costs 65 cents versus 44 cents with the USPS; in Germany, it costs 78 cents. Using 2008 statistics, each one-penny increase in the first-class mail rate would add over $900 million in revenue. If you raise it by 5 cents, you add another $4.5 billion."

Harry Geller. CEO, SoDel Concepts, Bethany Beach, Delaware

Better tracking

"When it comes to shipping small packages, the USPS is cheaper than its competitors and offers comparable and sometimes even faster delivery times. However, since it doesn't offer reliable tracking, we pay a premium to ship most of our packages with UPS. If the USPS tracked packages as well as UPS, it could capture a lot of business."

Sean Harper. Co-founder, TSS-Radio


Sell it off
"The USPS is an out-of-date concept. I don't think my 18-year-old son has ever written a letter. For him, the post office is about as relevant as cassette tapes, rotary phones, and broadcast television. The USPS doesn't need to be fixed -- it needs to be sold off."

Tony Paquin, CEO, Paquin Healthcare Companies, Celebration, Florida

Read the whole article here.

What's your opinion on their observations? Click here.


Anonymous said...

I like the idea of adding Digital Mail to our services.
Charge for pickup is also an idea to consider.
Uping rates should not be an option because we are supposed to serve everyone and that includes the poor.
Cutting benefits will cut personnel applications for new hires. We need the cream of the crop folks. Our duties may not be extremely difficult (in most cases) but we do protect the sanctity of the mail. We want to hire folks who are proud of the service.
Sell it off... only if I can become a millionaire on the stock I'm issued. LOL

Merk said...

I agree that we need to be the ones offering a digital method of sending & receiving mail, not Zumbox or Earthmail. We have the security, trust and experience to do it right. As far as those who suggest selling off USPS, to who??? Who would want the mandates we must follow when there is no profit to be made? And if Congress would allow a private company to deliver the mail without the restrictions imposed on us, then they should be willing to lift those restrictions for us. Our competitors don't want that, though. Every time we try something new and become a threat to their business they cry foul. Yet they don't want the unprofitable parts of our business.

Anonymous said...

A written letter will ALWAYS be.
Typing or hand written notes/letters: communication...from the heart=voice.
Also: appalled at the thought of:
After all their years of good service? That is flat COLD & CRUEL.
RR 17
Hudson Station

Anonymous said...

All the Post Office needs to do is listen to some of their employees. They never do. First I am retired from USPS. I was in management and did llisten to my employees, but my bosses did not listen to me. I am glad to be retired. It just gets worse every year with bosses that know less and less each time they move up. It was suggested many times to just charge each rural address a small fee each year for delivering their mail. Charge this by address only and not by name. That way if someone moves they don't get double charged for the service. I know congress needs to change this, but rural free delivery was started when it was the Post Office Department under goverment control and payments. Congress will not change this as it would cost some of them not get reelected. They do not want to fix things, just keep thier pay check comming. It's a shame we have such poor representation in DC. Not guts.....

Anonymous said...

Mr. Paquin,
I feel the saame way about the health care industry, it should be shut down, not because it is irrelavent, but because it is beyond repair and no longer affordable to the working people. I would like to see more and better tracking of all of our packages also. I think this would make the USPS a dominant force in the package business.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the suggestions come from people that don't know what they are talking about. If we go digital what about all the people without computers. Believe it or not, not everyone is able to afford them. Would the person that suggest cutting benefits be as willing to have their benefits cut? Raise the price of stamps and we'll see even less mail? Let me know if you find someone that wants to buy this business. Under the current structuring I don't see anyone being able to make a go of it. They want us to run this business like any other private industry but with a whole lot of restrictions that private industry doesn't have to deal with. I think we need to get rid of all of the elected folks in DC and put their salaries into supporting health care and the postal service.

Anonymous said...

Again, an assortment of ideas from business owners who think "one size fits all." Unrealistic thinking that everyone owns or has access to a computer.

We have made gains in becoming more efficient, but there is still room for improvement starting at the top.

As far as fees, why not have a $1.00 fee for each change of address? No other delivery company will forward without additional cost to the customer.

Anonymous said...

1)STOP FREE forwarding.
2)I do not understand why we charge enrollment fee for premium forwarding but not for basic forwarding
3)Take away temporary forwards. If you can afford to vacation for 3-6 months out of the year you can afford premium forwarding.

Anonymous said...

Granted not everyone has a computer - now. But we need to look at ideas for our long-term future. How many 20-somethings and shcool-age kids (our future customers) don't do almost everything on computers and smart phones? To gain their business and loyalty we need to develop and market products to them. Sure, there will always be physcial mail but we know that it is decreasing and will continue to decrease. I do agree that we should start charging for forwarding services and go back to charging customers a small fee for PO Box service in non-delivery towns. Though the idea was that everyone should have access to some form of free delivery PO Box service is generally earlier and more secure than carrier service so it should be treated as a premium service. Those who don't want to pay a small fee for it can opt for either general delivery which could be restricted to one pick-up a day and be available at a time set after the PO Box mail is up.