Wednesday Update:

Wow. Thanks for the fabulous response to the brainstorm. We’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer number of thoughtful responses. To give everyone enough time to comment and us a little time to read through everything, we’ve decided to extend the period for taking comments and post a blog about the brainstorm with the poll on Monday. Until then, please keep sharing your ideas. All suggestions received by Friday morning will be candidates for the poll. Oh, a word about moderation, we moderate every comment, and our policy is not to include comments that include vulgar words (even if the words are partially obscured with other characters) or involve name calling. We have not been able to approve a few comments that were otherwise very interesting because they violated our comment policy, so please double check your comment before you submit it. Thanks again!

Original Post:

The Postal Service is facing a financial crisis and needs to pursue every option it can to improve its net income. Pushing the Envelope thought it might be a good idea to ask for your thoughts. How do you think the Postal Service can save money or raise additional revenue? To make this a bit more interesting, the blog team will review your ideas and pick the most popular or most interesting for a poll. We’ll post the poll on Wednesday. So brainstorm now, and be sure to come back on Wednesday to view the shortlist and to vote for your favorites. Share your ideas in the comments below. Describe the idea, whether it involves cutting costs or generating revenue, and how much you think it could add to the Postal Service’s bottom line. Happy brainstorming! This topic is hosted by the OIG's Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

Comments (570)

  • anon

    I think in this day and age of the internet where people are using e-mail to send personal letters... The Post Office needs to begin catering more to businesses who DEPEND on the Post Office. There are dozens of companies like NetFlix, my own PuritanPicks(.com), and other smaller businesses like gamefly.com who without the proper operation of the Post Office would not have a business. These are the companies who want to see the post office do well and don't mind spending money to see it happen. NetFlix spends millions of dollars setting up distribution centers in populated cities to increase delivery time. They also experience a 10% loss in inventory due to DVDs breaking in the mail. That money could be the USPS' instead by providing custom solutions... and this does not mean major infrastructure changes. As small businesses we wouldn't mind PAYing USPS business consultants to teach us how the system works, how to debug problems and better take advantage of already existing services. For example, if someone sat with me and explained how the delivery network worked there would have been mistakes I could have avoided as a small business owner. For instance: You are already adding tracking to first-class mail. My small businesss could produce the same turn around as NetFlix WITHOUT distribution centers if I knew when my customers dropped the mail off at THEIR post office. Rather than waiting for a DVD to arrive, I could send the next one out immediately upon drop off. Are there engineers in the post office I could pay to help me/walk me through this implementation? From my perspective the post office is a big black box. I drop mail off, I get mail back: but I don't know how it works or how to take advantage of the already existing services. Do you see my point? Start catering to small businesses.. Make small business counters in post offices so we don't have to wait on line (we'll pay for that!).. give local post offices incentives for meeting with small businesses and being entrepreneurial, etc..

    Jul 13, 2009
  • anon

    I Really like these ideas UPS and FEDEX seem to do a lot of this in addition I Have the text from an email I'm sending to the president and Congressman and Senators as well as the Post master Generals office If I can find an email address for his office. Text below: To the President Barack Obama, Distinguished Senators, Congressman, and The Post Master General CEO John E.Potter, As noted in many news reports and in the Post Master Generals own reports, technology is impacting the U.S. Postal System. This impact via the internet has claimed a dramatic quantity of information transmission that used to occur via the U.S. Mail. What should the U.S. Postal Service do? While the internet has generally been a real boon to the economy and commerce problems exist with it. The U.S. Postal Service has standardized the way our addresses are organized via zip codes and Zip +4 bar coding all wonderful innovations. The Internet posses many benefits and many problems namely in the area of security. My Proposal for the U.S. Postal Service is to become a standard bearer for internet & email security offering secure portals. Portals that can be secured via a CAC card similar to the one I use for my computer email access over the U.S. Army NIPR computers, or perhaps even more secure SIPR like system at the Post Office itself. Passwords for all Internet commerce need to be standardized, just like our Zip Codes. The same applies for Login names for buisness/banking needs. These should not apply to social networking sites unless volunteraly. The post office could provide secure Email, Fax, and postal online payments. These are just some of the ways I believe the postal service needs to transform itself for a rapidly changing technological society. We will still need effecient rapid package delivery nothing can replace that yet. But the postal system must evolve to meet the needs of a changing nation and world. Thank You and God Bless America. Sincerely, Henry Joerz I believe sending hard copy documents still has it's palce but will only decline. Therefor the Post Office must still serve it's purpose to make sure that mail either hard copy or electronic gets delivered and that it is carried through rain, sleet, hail, snow, storm,virus, hacker, or what else plagues or will plague the internet. This will provide new income streams for the U.S. Postal service and transform itself thouroughly into what it has always been a bearer and mover of INFORMATION!

    Aug 04, 2009
  • anon

    I would like to see greater tracking on parcels. Why can't we have a barcode in the box so if we leave a parcel we can tie the scan to the box so we have proof that we put it in the right box? As it is now I have a customer who says they didn't get a parcel. I scanned it delivered at the time I am usually in their area. However there is no proof I put it in the right box. Also we need better marketing. I think we need to remind people that there are still some of us out here who like to get hard copy cards more tnen ecards on birthdays and other occasions. We also need to market the fact that the internet is less safe a delivery method then the postal service is. Every line and hub your online business crosses is a potential hack in site. IT doesn't matter how many firewall and virus scans you have once it leaves your computor. I have gone back to paying bills by mail and only paying on line in a pinch since I heard an expert explain the facts.

    Jul 21, 2009
  • anon

    Gamefly has alleged undue discrimination in a formal complaint to the PRC regarding the handling (breaking actually) of its DVDs. See PostCom's July 15th homepage for more details. I'm just one letter carrier, but there is no question, based on my experience, that Netflix DVDs were 'culled' or pulled from automation and sorted exclusively, or nearly exclusively, by hand. I doubt Gamefly will ever receive justice. How much is this legal action costing them anyway? What alternative do they have? Would they be better off offering a 'non-predatory' home loan to our postmaster general to win favor? What certain (not all) members of the USPS are doing to certain customers (again not all) is sad and frustrating. Unfortunately, I had a 'hand' in this blatant discrimination.

    Jul 15, 2009
  • anon

    Randy S., If you pay 70 cents for "two-way" Delivery Confirmation, you can keep track of: 1. When you mail your DVD's/parcels out. and 2. When your customer mails them back by having them scanned by the carrier. We will scan them on pick-up when it is requested. For many, many, years the USPS has been seriously lacking in how to run an efficient operation. There are WAY, WAY, TOO MANY management personnel who are only in management beacuse they cannot do the job of craft employees. They are also protected by others including members of their own families who are either high level bosses in the USPS or elected politicians. When they screw up and cost the USPS thousands of dollars each and every year, they are NEVER held accountable. I should know. I have been on the receiving end of two office-wide monetary greivance settlements in the last 25 years that cost the USPS over $1,000,000.00!!! I guarantee you that no heads were rolled over either one of those incidents.

    Jul 13, 2009
  • anon

    The service of providing a return addressee notification of intransit mail should be relatively simple to do with the new four state barcode and the IMAQ system. We just need to figure out what and how to charge for the service.

    Jul 13, 2009
  • anon

    Eliminate the District level of management. All important decisions are made at Area level or HQ anyway. In this age of tele-cons and e-mail communications District is just an over paid messenger.

    Jul 13, 2009
  • anon

    Seems a no-brainer that the USPS should take care of the Census, especially when the Government will pay over 10 billion dollars. Who better know where everyone lives on a day to day basis.........hell, you could probably to it with a push oif a button........better yet, creata a program that could update populations on a weekly basis......... Also, the idea that the USPS should be involved with FEMA, if only for logistics, could generate more revenue, AND create more mamangement jobs..........

    Jul 14, 2009
  • anon

    Please see my YouTube video 'ARMD'. We already have walk sequenced flats. Please read that last sentence again. What we do NOT have is a delivery tool developed specifically for delivering these perfectly walk sequenced flats (folded self-mailers, tabbed booklets, walk sequenced post cards, etc.). -dryMAILman

    Jul 14, 2009
  • anon

    Amen.

    Jul 14, 2009
  • anon

    This is a no brainer. Overbloated management. Including a Postmaster at every office. Ridiculous. Should be craft employees. Also, management needs to focus on progressive revenues streams, like universal email access to each and every address and yes electronic or hard copy options.

    Jul 14, 2009
  • anon

    Yeah, we have an OIC at the moment and our Postmaster is out doing route adjustments. Pay him what a city carrier makes and don't pay two station managers.. What a waste of money. We have people who can't cut it in their offices and they float around doing adjustments or other office work just to find them a position.. When I worked for Dupont years ago while going to school, if you were injured and not suitable for employment, you were retrained and cut loose.. The Postal Service is a walking welfare system for many. In our office the majority of people are decent,hardworking people,but the minority of employees who "milk" it make it rough on the majority.. The service has to grow some ...... and run it like a business.. Maybe educate the managers.. Not every mail-handler knows the facts about carrying mail. It only looks good on paper.

    Jul 20, 2009
  • anon

    The front line supervisor of customer service positions must be abolished/drastically changed. Carriers are only in the office until 9:30-10:00 am now. It will be even less once FSS kicks in. There is not reason to have 2-6-or even 8 or more supervisors with nothing to do the rest of the day. Solutions.1.)Hire retired supervisors to count the mail, and input it into the computer. Offer them 25 dollars an hour, no benefits, four hours per day. That is MORE than enough time for them to do everything they need to do. If they are not interested, than have TE or casual supervisors. There are plenty of people who would be happy to measure mail with a third graders ruler for 25 dollars an hour. Solutions 2.) 204B's should supervise/count mail in the morning, and carry mail in the afternoon. 4 and 4, or maybe 3 supervising, and 5 carrying. I dont have the exact figures in front of me. But doing this, the post office could EASILY cut in HALF the costs of having all the supervisors. At 100,000 dollars per year per supervisor for salary and benefits,getting rid of just 1,000 supervisors would equate to 100 MILLION dollars of savings. Think of the possibilities

    Jul 13, 2009
  • anon

    Not a comment about this, but rather just an idea. We cut lots of plastic straps every day and just throw them away. I don't work in a plant to see how the trays get strapped, but was just wondering why it wouldn't work to modify the plastic trays to accept a quick disconnect type coupler similar to used on dog collars built into plastic lids. I have some ideas as to how to actually make this work without adding weight to the trays and maybe save some carrier time. OIG email me if interested.

    Jul 16, 2009
  • anon

    Postal FSS was developed to reduce carrier office time. The project assumed 3 hours of typical pre FSS office time. I am now spending less than 1.5 hours in the office, without the help of postal FSS machines. How might this change affect the viability of postal FSS? What if we directed our energies to eliminating on the job injuries instead? Please see my YouTube videos, and remember, 'Safety Depends on Me!'.

    Jul 15, 2009
  • anon

    You must be a craft employee. Yes, some supervisor positions could be eliminated. The number of supervisors per installation is calculated by the number of employees in that facility. If all employees took more pride in the Postal Service that would help too. You know too many employees have built OVERTIME into their lifestyle so even as mail volumes drop they are still out on the street waisting time. Not all employees are like that but unfortunately too many. I believe the 5 day delivery would be benificial to all employees. Who wouldn't like to work 5 days a week instead of 6? I think it would be a win win for all employees as well as for customers. They (the Customers) may complain in the begining but aren't most of them working a 5 day week? I only hope that the choice would be to have delivery Monday through Friday. The carriers would have less worries with children playing around vehicles and customer vehicles blocking the boxes since more people are home on saturdays. Just my opinion. Oh by the way if supervisors made 100,000.00 a year I might have stayed in that position instead! But all the employee adult drama just didn't seem worth working too many hours and too many days a week.

    Jul 14, 2009
  • anon

    in response to small town pm,i (a city letter carrier/union steward) just took a survey amongst our 80 plus city carriers and found out near 75% of them thought eliminating saturday delivery would be beneficial to them and the po. as for "you must be a craft employee," we too are out to save the po and are just as sincere about doing what it takes to do so. in fact our "career 204s" were completely against us going to 5-day delivery because they are the only ones working 6 days.even our pm was encouraging us to work hard to do what it takes to save routes during the latest route adjustment...he did not want his office to drop below a level 22.

    Jul 24, 2009
  • anon

    I agree 100% with your comments. Having been on "both sides of the fence", I can relate.. Sure we have our "milkers",but in 26 years, I've more than earned my pay check. The 5 day work week would work for me.. My complaint about some of our employees.. and they are the ones who passed probation and have been on light duty almost the remainder of their career. The Postmaster hired these people and the supervisors kept them after their 90 days were up.. In our office many of the light duty employees are friends of the supervisor and walk around doing nothing. They can drive to work,but they can't deliver or take out express mail or sections to people on the o.t. list. The whole system has to be revamped.. Maybe we should carry like rural carriers? After 26 years, unless we fold, I plan on working another 10 years..

    Jul 20, 2009
  • anon

    Great idea!!! Let's throw in the facts of too many USPS Mngrs getting paid and getting bonuses (either deserved or not) and do not do their jobs on top of upper echelon USPS Mngrs creating more ways to keep the 1st line supervisors submitting reports all day and not making sure the employees are doing their respective jobs. Management is the worst position to be in due to the daily battles below and above them. How about just getting back to the basics of coming to work, do your job, and delivering the mail safely and correctly? It seems like a lot of USPS employees are looking for more ways to get out of work than actually do it. Why are there so many employees getting paid workmans comp and not working--maybe the Dept of Labor needs to be talked to before they just sign off on checks for individuals who can perform physical actions besides what was expected from them when they worked at USPS? Why isn't job accountability being reviewed for ALL USPS employees and the positions they hold? Too many financial issues and individuals that will continue to sink the USPS ship and ruin it for ALL of the respectable USPS employees.

    Jul 14, 2009
  • anon

    "204B’s should supervise/count mail in the morning, and carry mail in the afternoon. 4 and 4, or maybe 3 supervising, and 5 carrying. I dont have the exact figures in front of me.".... That would be a contract violation...but that has not stopped management from "wasting" even more money trying!!!!

    Jul 13, 2009

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