Wednesday, February 6, 2013

No More Mail On Saturday... -ish

First, you need to read here. Then, you need to go below the fold. It is called that as a reminder to the old print tradition of newspapers, which were folded. So, you'd have teasers above the fold, then the meat of the story below the fold (or deeper in the paper. Whatever.) So, there. Now you can say you are smarter than a stuffed cat.

So, here's a serious question: They aren't going to deliver mail, but they will deliver parcels. They're still going to need people at the office on Saturdays, and they're still going to need people to deliver the parcels. This... doesn't seem like it will save as much money as just saying: "We are totally closed now on Mondays." Or Tuesdays. Or Wednesdays, really. I was electing Mondays because with the number of Monday holidays we have, its best to just suck it up and close down on Mondays so that we don't have an extremely interrupted week if we don't deliver the mail on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Not only that, but Saturday is one of the few days that a majority of working people can actually use the Post Office. If you want to ensure that the people who still used the USPS to do their mailing continue to do so, I suggest not making the one day they can definitively get to an office, without having to risk staying late at work or skipping lunch, even less appealing.

Really, I don't understand how this is anything but a stop-gap measure because no one is willing to pull the trigger on what needs to be done to get the USPS competitive again, or willing to look at that 2006 law that no one seems to like except everyone who thought we should pass it. They dropped the ball by not modernizing years ago, and they let competition settle in to the niches that aren't protected by a legal monopoly.

Now, we have another issue. If we can deliver Saturday and Monday's mail on Monday without issue, then the problem is that we are have too much capacity for not enough mail. Think of it like when an air plane has to take off with empty seats: That's essentially money missed out on. In this case though, we're running trucks and paying people to make inefficient delivery routes. Maybe, though I hate to say this because I hate Lean Six Sigma, maybe someone needs to optimize postal routes to reduce the number of wasted/duplicative trucks and mail carriers that could be sitting idle. In doing so, we could then reassign those assets (or the money for those assets) to areas that need more services.

It is going to be painful to modernize the mail force, and you'll need smarter people than me to do it. But, we don't cry for buggy whip makers. In about 30 years, we'll probably say the same thing about the mail carriers.

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