Key Notes – Volume 04 Number 45

U.S. Postal Service Reports Fiscal Year 2017 Results – The Postal Service reported revenue of $69.6 billion for fiscal year 2017 (Oct 1, 2016 – Sep 30, 2017), a decrease of $1.8 billion compared to the prior year. The lower revenues were driven largely by accelerated declines in First-Class and Marketing Mail volumes.  In 2017, mail volumes declined by approximately 5.0 billion pieces, or 3.6 percent, while package volumes grew by 589 million pieces, or 11.4 percent, continuing a multi-year trend of declining mail volumes and increasing package volume. While mail volume declines for the year were somewhat offset by growth in package volume, overall volume has declined by 4.9 billion pieces.  The Postal Service reported a net loss for the year of $2.7 billion, a decrease in net loss of $2.8 billion compared to 2016. Of this decline in net loss, $2.4 billion was the result of changes in interest rates, outside of management’s control, that reduced workers’ compensation expense compared to last year.  Source:  USPS

USPS Innovating Today for Tomorrow’s Customers – The USPS is a valuable asset to businesses that prioritize direct mail to reach customers.  “Our strategy is to get out in front of technology and encourage mailers to enhance the physical mailpiece with digital enhancements,” explains Steve Monteith, Vice President of Marketing for USPS.  “Mail is still a very valued thing to our customers, so combining a digital element with a hard copy can enhance their returns.”  The USPS provides the means to share these technologies with consumers, but it will take continued buy-in from the industry for such advances to make an impact.  “A marketer’s job is all about making that mailpiece irresistible so that the customer wants to find out more,” explains Gary Reblin, Vice President of Product Innovation for USPS, who points out that research by Canada Post, that country’s primary postal operator, shows that 85 percent of people will engage with direct mail if a piece interests them.  “But nothing happens unless you first capture that person’s imagination. That’s what technology does.”  Source:  Bloomberg

Drone-Equipped Vans Begin Testing – Workhorse Group Inc. is official kicking off a pilot test program in “several major cities” this week of its new N-Gen electric van equipped with an optional HorseFly unmanned aerial vehicle or “drone” for delivering packages weighing up to 10 lbs.  As a finalist for the U.S. Postal Service’s vehicle replacement contract (they are a subcontractor for the bid by VT Hackney) Workhorse has conducted a lot of research into the “package delivery ergonomics” of U.S. mail carriers, who make hundreds of stops per day, and figures Workhorse’s new floor design should significantly reduce the potential for on-the-job injuries.  Source:  Fleet Owner

What Is Agile Direct Mail and Why Do I Need It? – The key to direct mail agility is consistent mailing over time, with constant vigilance on what is working and what needs improvement. There are no excuses for not tracking your responses; if you have no idea if something is working, you have no reason to send another one. You are just wasting your money. You and your team need to constantly be having conversations; not just about what you are doing, but about what the competition is doing, too. What new ideas are you coming up with? Where can you find inspiration? Constantly feeding the conversation about your direct mail campaigns will keep agile thinking top of mind.  Source:

UPS Launches eBike Solution – United Parcel Service (UPS) announced the launch of an eBike that will deliver packages in Pittsburgh, Pa.  The electrically-assisted tricycle will help reduce carbon emissions in addition to traffic, noise and air quality challenges in Pittsburgh.  The deployment is part of UPS’s Cycle Solutions and the company’s Rolling Laboratory, which tests alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles.  Source:  Business Insider

Market-Dominant Product Prices Approved – The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved the Postal Service’s proposed prices for market-dominant products.  In its 63-page decision, the PRC found that the proposed rates do not violate the price cap and that the workshare discounts meet statutory requirements; proposed classification changes also were approved.  To read the full order, please visit the PRC’s website here.