Wednesday, May 6, 2009

USPS: Ve Haf Vays of Making You Use Our Barcode

The Postal Service's Intelligent Mail program might fail because it is not sufficiently attractive to mailers, the Government Accountability Office warned today.

Not to worry, the Postal Service responded. If the tiny Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) discounts scheduled for later this year are not enough to entice mailers, it said, two years from now the huge penalties for not using IMbs will force mailers to change their ways. Starting in May 2011, mail without IMbs will be ineligible for automation discounts, which typically are at least several cents per mail piece.

"Some mailers have said they find the pricing incentives insufficient to recover their investment in the program," said the GAO report. "For example, some large mailers said they invested millions of dollars to update and purchase hardware and software, while some smaller mailers expected to invest tens of thousands of dollars."

Other highlights of the report and the Postal Service's response:

  • The Intelligent Mail program "lacks a comprehensive strategy" that includes a detailed plan or "goals and measures of success", the GAO said. The Postal Service agreed to beef up its planning but said the approach recommended by the GAO would drag out implementation too long.

  • "USPS and mailers may not be ready for implementation given USPS's short-time period in which to simultaneously design, develop, test, and implement the Intelligent Mail program," the report said. Amen to that!

  • An odd statement from the Postal Service: "Despite an extremely compressed schedule, the successful implementation of the Operating System environment on May 11 and the Test Environment for Mailers on May 18 demonstrates how well this effort works." May 11 and 18 haven't occurred yet, and mailers are reporting that the Postal Service is not ready for those key dates. See "Another Delay for Intelligent Mail?"

  • USPS "lacks information on costs and savings attributable to the Intelligent Mail program," the GAO said. USPS responded that the program will give it valuable information enabling it to become more efficient but that "there is no sound financial method to specifically attribute these reductions to Intelligent Mail."

  • "According to USPS, Intelligent Mail is the most complex project it has undertaken," the GAO report said.


Lee said...

Please tell me I'm reading the title wrong. "Ve Haf Vays" might seem humorous to the writer of same but I see it as a derogatory reference to Nazi Germany. Isn't this the language used in numerous movies dipicting same? Shame on this writing

Anonymous said...

That's all you have to say about this blog? That you are offended by the title? OMG.

That's about as bad as what I just posted. A non-comment.

Anonymous said...

Now maybe you understand how clerks/carriers feel about management. No matter what you do it is wrong and needs USPS managment, no one else, to remedy the difficulty. Either poor planning,communication or a power trip, you always need to obey.

Anonymous said...

Oh I totally disagree with commenter Lee! GREAT title! Laughed so hard I haven't even been able to finish reading the post yet!

Anonymous said...

Typical Post Office.

They're just trying to strong-arm mailers because the cost of program implementation is probably astronomical...and no one wants to take responsibility for another failed initiative. The byproduct is that the mailers will start shifting more advertising resources to digital presentation and the Postal Service will once again be in financial difficulty.

Typical Post Office. Typical government.

Schnulli said...

Lee, with folks like you around, it's no wonder we are in such bad shape as a nation. You might wanna read the article as well in addition to the title and not just rely on movies of the type you mentioned for your education. This article is about tracking you, since once you buy the bar code with your credit card, it has your name incorporated in it. Am I the only one seeing this!?! OMG, OMG we are doomed. Lee, get rid of your conditioned "politically correct" reflex like responses. Then you might be able to actually discuss things.