Post Office sitting on a gold mine, but still going broke
By: Ed Farnan | Published Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 7:08 PM | Updated Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 7:08 PM
The Postal Service has been around for a long time and as far back as we can remember, they have been having financial problems.
But in a classic study of ineptitude, we watch the Postal Service going into an unnecessary death spiral, claiming it is short of funds again. Saying that unless an influx of billions of tax payers dollars come in and/or postal rate increases kick in, the postal service will not be able to meet it's obligations.
We stand back and watch this and then wonder just how efficient government healthcare will be if it is put into effect the way President Obama and his 5,000 pages of healthcare rules envision it.
Of course the Postal Service will have to slim down and streamline, that is a given. But people are still going to need mail and packages delivered long into the foreseeable future.
Certainly with email, online banking and competition from private sector package delivery services, it is a new world for the USPS. But there have been innovations just waiting to be used that, if it was the private sector, would have been aggressively pursued and utilized.
But the Postal Service is reminiscent of the crew of the ship adrift off the coast of South America. Dying of thirst, they don't realize they are surrounded by fresh water from the Amazon river. All they had to do is lower their buckets and bring up all of the fresh water they could drink. But they don't and they die of thirst.
So short of having a different entity take over the operations of the Post Office lets throw a few private sector ideas out there and see if they can grasp them to prosper:
Let the USPS get into the electronic mail business. Certified, secure official email sent via the USPS email system. There are would be many uses of this especially in the medical, legal and business field who would take advantage of this.
Corporate logos & advertisements on stamps. This is an untapped source of income for the Post Office, selling advertising space on stamps. Similar ideas for raising revenue have been appearing all over the country, such as naming sports stadiums after corporate sponsors. It is an easy leap to see the picture of a Chevy Volt on a first class stamp, instead of a butterfly , especially when the postal service would realize millions in advertisement dollars.
We see postal trucks and vans everywhere, why not rent out advertisement spaces on them? You can't drive anywhere in a city without seeing a public bus plastered with ads. Why can't the Post office take advantage of this?
The Post Office sells boxes/envelopes and packaging materials. Why not sell advertising space on them as well?
In rural areas where addresses are far flung making it expensive to deliver mail, set up regional mail pick up sites where people can drive in and get their mail.
Cut out weekend deliveries of mail, unless a customer pays extra for that service.
Make the wages/benefits of employees comparable to what is offered in the private sector.
With a few of these suggestions the Postal Service could lower it's bucket down into the ocean of private sector ideas and rescue itself. Think it will happen?
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