Key Notes – Volume 04 Number 06

House Panel Hones in on Postal Service Reform – One of Congress’s most contentious committees is pushing toward a rare bipartisan victory: reforming the United States Postal Service.  Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee praised each other during a hearing this week for closing in on a bill to streamline USPS services and salvage its debt-riddled employee benefit plans.  Lawmakers from both parties say that the bill could protect USPS from a future government bailout down the road. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), said USPS could need up to $150 billion in taxpayer funds without major reforms, according to his calculations.  Source:  The Hill

UPS Drivers Don’t Turn Left, Saves 10 Million Gallons of Gas – UPS have moved away from trying to find the shortest route and now look at other criteria to optimize the journey.  UPS have designed their vehicle routing software to eliminate as many left-hand turns as possible (in countries with right-hand traffic).  As a result, the company claims it uses 10 million gallons less fuel, emits 22,000 tons less carbon dioxide, and delivers 350,000 more packages every year.  The efficiency of planning routes with its navigation software this way has even helped the firm cut the number of trucks it uses by 1,100, bringing down the company’s total distance travelled by 28.5 million miles—despite the longer routes.  Source:  Quartz

USPS Reports Fiscal Year 2017 First Quarter Results – Excluding the effects of a $1.7 billion change in its workers’ compensation liability due to fluctuations in interest rates, the U.S. Postal Service posted a net loss of approximately $200 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016).  Source:  USPS

Study Reveals Surprises for Print – How do you help grow your print advertising business?  Well, in Bauer Media’s case you commission a third-party research firm to confirm what you already believe—readers still love print.  Bauer hired Equation Research last fall to survey its readers and learn more about their passions and how they engage with and consume content.  The study polled more than 600 females, ages 18-64 who bought one or more magazines from Bauer or a competitor.  The study reveals a slew of insights that should, at the very least, raise an eyebrow for prospective advertising clients.  More than three-quarters of respondents (84%) said they find themselves more engaged when reading a print magazine, versus consuming other forms of content, including online and on television.  Source:  min

GAO Report: Restoring Fiscal Sustainability at USPS – Large unfunded liabilities for postal retiree health and pension benefits—which were $73.4 billion at the end of fiscal year 2016—may ultimately place taxpayers, USPS employees, retirees and their beneficiaries, and USPS itself at risk.  As GAO has previously reported, funded benefits protect the future viability of an enterprise such as USPS by not saddling it with bills after employees have retired.  Further, with USPS retirees participating in the same health and pension benefit programs as other federal retirees, if USPS ultimately does not adequately fund these benefits and if Congress wants these benefits to be maintained at current levels, funding from the U.S. Treasury—and hence the taxpayer—would be needed to maintain the benefit levels.  Source:  GAO

Is the Future Value of Print…Multi-Sensory? Researched mostly in Europe, there is growing interest in what is called ‘sensory’ or ‘multi-sensory marketing’.  Like other forms of marketing, the goal is to engage the target audience. Recently, PHD, Newsworks and UCL presented facts about the importance of touch in the study Touching is Believing.  When 272 newspaper readers read the same newspaper in print, on a computer and on a tablet, those that read and touched the printed version reported:  Ads and brands felt more trustworthy and sincere; Heightened perceptions of brand confidence and reliability; and Increased scores for customer satisfaction and likelihood to recommend.  Source:  Xerox

FSC New Chain of Custody Standard – On January 1, 2017, FSC published version 3-0 of the FSC Chain of Custody Certification Standard (FSC-STD-40-004 V3-0).  The new standard will become effective on April 1, 2017, and all certificate holders will be evaluated to the new standard by March 31, 2018. Source:  FSC