Earlier this week, US Postmaster General, John Potter sent up the red flares regarding the coming train wreck. Facing a $238 Billion deficit by 2020, the USPS is looking at a a wide range of options including closing post offices and five-day delivery. A recent report from McKinsey & Co. stated that the USPS should consider three-day delivery to make ends meet.
Although the post office might not be high on your list of model organizations, we as an industry desperately need them to survive. If rates continue to escalate and if the McKinsey model is seen as viable. we are in deep doo-doo.
If one looks at this industry and see where dollars are generated, its periodicals and direct mail. If one looks to see the industry’s future for the general commercial printer, it is in short run variable data. And what do all of these have in common? The delivery vehicle which is the USPS. The more costly it becomes to deliver the message; the more options become available to the end user.
Congress is presently unwilling to act and therefore keeps on kicking the can down the street hoping someone else will deal with the problems of the post office — many which are inflicted because of dictates from that same body. Per marketing consultant Dick Gorelick, who has been the lone voice crying in the wilderness on this issue, Congress more than likely will continue to fiddle while the fires burn. He feels, and I think he’s right, Congress will not want to tackle wholesale reform, but just make the necessary appropriations to keep the can moving down the street.
Regardless, it wouldn’t hurt to contact your Congressman and help him/her understand that there are about 7 million people in the United States who are involved with the “mail” business, and ignoring the main delivery vehicle of print could be dangerous to everyone’s health.