Keep Calm. Sort On.
We all used to think mail was mundane business, until recently. Nowadays, there is a steady stream of news about the US Postal Service and our mail. And, the theme of the story is based upon which media outlet you subscribe to. Yet, if we push all this news aside, we need to ask ourselves one simple question. Where else can you mail a letter from New York to Hawaii for a $.55 postage stamp, or $.50 metered rate? You’d be pretty hard pressed to find a more effective, economical source than the USPS.
We can all do our share of bashing the mail, mail service, and the USPS for that matter. But truth be told – we’d suffer mightily without the USPS and if they were replaced, you’d have sticker shock over the new price. Moreover, depending on your address you might not be serviced at all. It’s easy for all of us as outside observers to criticize the operations of companies and organizations we don’t work for or for that matter, really know. We often criticize the companies we do work for and the people we know. Realize that criticism is often a mirror reflecting the inherent flaws we see in ourselves.
Before we are quick to draw conclusion about what’s wrong with the postal service and/or its operations, we should do some fact checking. According to the National Association of Presort Mailers (NAPM), P3 (Public-Private Program) workshare arrangements have been around for decades with the USPS. In basic terms, this is when privately held and run companies perform a portion of the workstream traditionally done by the US postal system. The National Association of Presort Mailers is a source for current and factual data about the USPS.
“The Workshare PPP is good for the Postal Service. The workshare PPP benefits the Postal Service in many ways. First, workshare mail is more profitable for the USPS because it reduces its costs and allows the USPS to make more net profit per piece than it does on non-workshare volume. But there is much more beyond that. Workshare supports retention and growth of mail by providing end user businesses with affordable postage options and improved USPS service performance, which also helps the USPS meet its statutory requirements. Beyond the activities that are required in workshare, private sector mail service providers perform many additional “value add” services that also contribute to retention and growth of mail usage by businesses.”
The USPS has implemented and continues to examine initiatives aimed at increasing efficiencies and cost savings. When we collaborate and work on solutions – greater things happen. It’s not just about the USPS. According to a 2019 EMA Foundation Job Study, the US mail industry had 7.3 million jobs, or 4.6% of our country’s civilian labor force. Additionally, the mail industry produced $1.58 trillion in revenue in 2018, accounting for 4.3% of US total output of $37.1 trillion.
The health and continuity of the USPS affects not just postal workers, but our nation’s citizens. The challenge is to stop assigning blame and focus on the improvements at hand. As we in the presort industry like to say, “Keep Calm. Sort On.”