The USPS filed a proposal on September 21 in a Federal Register Notice to revise their Service Standards for First-Class Mail, Periodicals, and Standard Mail. And they want your feedback on the plan!
Essentially, the Postal Service wants to eliminate overnight service for First Class and Periodical mail, reduce the area covered by 2-day delivery, and increase the area for 3-day. Further, the adjusted service standards are only part of a wider initiative to try and optimize the USPS’s facility network. Another key element will be the closure of a significant number of mail handling facilities. (This is beyond and separate from any Post Office closures; these are the USPS facilities that actually process and handle the mail before it reaches your local office.) Closing facilities, especially Area Distribution Centers (ADCs), will result in increased handling times for Standard Mail, and potentially other mail products.
So, how critical is this to your business? While your initially response might be, “Frakking USPS- lowering service standards, increasing my rates, closing facilities all over- what are they doing?!?,” you may want to take a step back and look at the whole proposal and plan first before responding in haste. The USPS is in dire straits right now, and unless significant changes occur in the laws and how they operate- the USPS will quickly become insolvent. The Service Standard revisions coupled with network optimization (and other initiatives like 5-day delivery and funding changes for retirees) are all designed to try and save the USPS about $19 billion over the next few years. And the service standard changes and facility consolidations may actually lead to much more consistent, accurate, and precise mailing delivery dates from the USPS. Unless you rely critical on next-day delivery of First Class mail, these service standard and network optimization changes could actually make life easier (and possibly cheaper) for you and your customers. And the Postal Service noted, “some commercial mailers could effectively maintain same-day processing and overnight delivery by restructuring their production cycles to align with the changed critical entry times.”
Now granted, this will be a nightmare initially, especially for drop-shippers and logistic providers (not to mention the poor truck drivers that could get stuck at overloaded facilities for 36+ hours), but the service standard changes coupled with a smaller optimized mail handling network could: save the USPS significant money, result in fuller containers and trucks possibly reducing costs to mailers, and lead to more consistent timely expectations of in-home dates.
And remember, the USPS requested your feedback on this proposal- so speak up- either for it or against it. If you are active in any mailing organizations like, AMEE, DMA, IDEAlliance, PostCom, MMA, etc – check with them and push for a single consolidated message from your segment. Otherwise, you can send your comments in directly to the USPS:
Written comments should be mailed to Manager, Industry Engagement and Outreach, United States Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW., Room 4617, Washington, DC 20260.
Comments also may be transmitted via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.