Key Notes Vol. 02 No. 30

Exigent Marches OnAs predicted by postal industry observers after an appeals court review of the exigent postal rate, mailers who had expected the surcharge to be lifted next month will be paying it for at least another eight months.  In releasing Order No. 2623, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) authorized the Postal Service to collect an additional $1.2 billion—in effect reassessing the recession’s cost to USPS from $2.77 billion to $3.96 billion.  The PRC essentially gave the Postal Service what it had asked for following the decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Judges had denied the Postal Service’s request to bake the 4.3% surcharge into the rate, but questioned the validity of the “count once” used to determine the financial effects of the recession.  In the order the PRC agreed that the procedure—which assessed decreased mail volume only in the year it occurred—was invalid.  Other portions ofPRC Order 1926, which originally instituted the surcharge, will continue to remain in effect. These include mandates that the Postal Service reports incremental surcharge revenue to PRC within 45 days after the close of each quarter and that it gives 45 days’ notice of exigency’s ultimate removal.  The PRC’s new order declined a request by the Postal Service that a “new normal” analysis of rate leveling be accounted separately for each class of mail. When exigency ends, it ends—probably some time next spring.  Source:  Direct Marketing

Postal Innovation Act US Senator Cory Booker has introduced the Postal Innovation Act, which calls upon the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to use “more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly technology” for its vehicles, and also explore “the economic benefits of non-postal services”.  The bill is something of a technological mash-up: it wants the USPS to take an “innovative” approach to both vehicle technology and online communication tools. And it also wants to allow the USPS to test potential new sources of revenue generation – such as overturning a century-old ban and permitting the postal service to ship alcohol.  Source:  Postal & Parcel

USPS Testing Package-Sized Mailboxes Package delivery can be tricky – sometimes a box can’t be left without a signature and those dropped at the front door could be damaged by weather.  But now, the United States Postal Service may have a solution – bigger mailboxes.  The Postal Service is testing larger, package-friendly mailboxes.  The 13-by-7 inch mailboxes are part of a pilot program underway in a handful of communities across the country.  They allow carriers to deliver boxes that might otherwise be taken back to the post office if no one is home.  The USPS is hoping that these larger mailboxes will also deliver a boost in business for the agency.  Source:  KCTV5

New Uses for Paper The KFC Tray Typer – a durable paper tray that transforms into a super-thin, rechargeable wireless keyboard when you connect your smartphone via Bluetooth.  Tray Typer was handed out with every order during an opening week of new KFC restaurants and people loved it.  Geolocated social media discussions skyrocketed and every single one of the smart paper trays was taken home.  Source:  Vimeo

Consumers Want the Option to Receive Paper Bills and StatementsAs pressure to go paperless from banks, utilities, telecommunications companies and other service providers grows, a majority of U.S. consumers wants to keep the option to receive paper bills and statements, according to survey results published today by Two Sides.  More than six in 10 consumers say they would not choose a provider that does not offer paper bills and statements, and 88% want to be able to switch between electronic and paper bills without difficulty or cost.  Source:  Two Sides