Recent problems with slow deliveries are causing some mail-dependent companies to think twice about supporting the radical downsizing of the U.S. Postal Service. Good idea.
An influential group of publication printers sent a letter to postal management last week to “express our concerns over the recent increase of customer complaints related to the late delivery of their catalogs and magazines."
“SCF drop shipments have increased from 3-day to 5-day at a large percentage of facilities,” stated the letter from Idealliance’s POISE committee. The POISE printers produce and distribute more than 70% of the Postal Service’s flat mail. Mailers typically look to these printers for help navigating operational issues with the Postal Service, including late deliveries.
The letter, which was distributed via Idealliance to numerous mailers, notes that postal management has asked the printers to support its “aggressive network optimization initiative.”
“To date, we have publicly supported the efforts of the US Postal Service, but the POISE group feels this is becoming increasingly difficult as we face these delivery issues and concerns from frustrated and unsatisfied customers.”
If they think things are bad now, they should take another look at what might happen if all of Postmaster General Pat Donahoe’s recently announced cuts are carried out. The USPS’ Radical Plan: Good in theory, potential chaos in reality, my article in the new issue of Publishing Executive magazine, explains why.
In short, it’s not that there aren’t plenty of opportunities to make the Postal Service more efficient, as noted in yesterday’s article Why Mailers Support Radical Downsizing of the Postal Service. The problem is that the groundwork hasn’t been laid for successfully restructuring USPS and ramping up its efficiency.
Real productivity improvement is built on a foundation of investments -- in equipment, technology, training, procedures, etc. Donahoe’s plan to downsize the USPS workforce by 30% in the next four years is like trying to install the roof before the foundation has been laid.
Mailers should expect more customer service problems in the next few years if politicians force the Postal Service to make huge cost cuts without giving it the resources to work more efficiently.