Latest Headlines

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Why the President Can’t Tell the USPS What to Do

By law the USPS operates independently.  The service is led by a postmaster general and a deputy who in turn are selected by a bipartisan board of nine governors.  Board members are chosen by the president and confirmed by the Senate.  No more than five members can belong to one political party.  Right now all nine seats are empty.  The last one to leave was James Bilbray, who turned out the boardroom lights in 2015.  That leaves two people running the USPS: Postmaster General Megan Brennan, the first women to head the service, and Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman.  Aside from picking the postmaster general, the board makes long-range plans, review operations and offer advice on how to better run the USPS.  Read more at Market Watch

No, the Postal Service Isn’t Losing a Fortune on Amazon

The Postal Service reported a net loss of $2.7 billion for 2017. It has lost $65.1 billion since 2007. Much of the red ink is attributed to a 2006 law mandating that USPS pre-fund future retirees’ health benefits.  Package delivery, however, was one of the few bright spots in its latest financial statement. In 2017, parcels brought in $19.5 billion, or 28 percent of USPS’ annual revenue. At $2.1 billion, packages contributed the largest revenue increase.  Deals with private shippers like Amazon accounted for $7 billion of the $19.5 billion in revenue.  Read more at POLITIFACT

Saturation Mailers Submit Reply Comments to PRC

Comments submitted by the Saturation Mailers Coalition to the PRC on the rate review include a section discussing the new developments of unprecedented challenges from potential paper tariff and tax law changes.  The comments also emphasize the overwhelming response from the non-profit mailing community.  Read the full comments at Postal Regulatory Commission

PRC Directs USPS to Address Compliance Issues in FY 2017 ACD

The Postal Regulatory Commission (Commission) issued its Annual Compliance Determination (ACD), a mandated assessment of the U.S. Postal Service’s (Postal Service) compliance with pricing and service performance requirements in fiscal year 2017 (FY 2017).  The Commission identified 42 workshare discounts with compliance issues.  The Commission identified10 Market Dominant products that were Noncompensatory in FY 2017. For Periodicals In-County, Periodicals Outside County, and Standard Mail Flats, the Commission finds that additional transparency is necessary to hold the Postal Service accountable.  Read more here.

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Tariffs on Newsprint Push Papers to the Breaking Point

With preliminary countervailing and anti-dumping duties recently announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce, American publishers that use newsprint — such as newspapers, books, directories, etc. — could take a significant financial hit or, worse, could be without an adequate supply of their most important raw material.  With the new anti-dumping duties ranging up to 22.16 percent, and countervailing duties that range from 4.4 to 9.9 percent, tariffs on imports of Canadian newsprint climb as high as 32 percent for some Canadian manufacturers.  Read more at News & Tech

Life of a Box

Watch a video and learn about your product’s journey from manufacturer to shelf, and why package design is so important.  From materials, to design, production, kitting and logistics – Veritiv has packaging services that will delight consumers, your team and your bottom line. Explore our packaging services options at Veritiv Packaging Solutions

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Attaining Customer Retention, Loyalty and Win-Back with Direct Mail

Focusing marketing efforts on your current customers has many benefits.  The Postal Service has a great web page on how to use direct mail to retain customers, inspire loyalty and even win back the ones you’ve lost.  Learn tactics for effective customer retention mail; how to win back customers and how to harness the power of direct mail to grow customer loyalty.  Read all of this and view videos at USPS Delivers

Coupons are Making a Comeback

The coupon comeback is continuing.  Forty-eight percent of consumers say they prefer to receive coupons in the mail, up from 44 percent a year ago and up from 40 percent in 2016, according to a new study by Valassis Communications Inc., a direct mail marketing firm.  Coupon usage is up, too: Ninety-one percent of consumers say they use the coupons they receive in the mail, in the store or printed from their computers, up from 86 percent in 2017.  Read moe at USPS LINK

Direct Mail Generates Highest ROI for Small Business Advertisers

According to a recent survey conducted by Taradel, direct mail generates the highest return on investment (ROI) for small business advertisers.  The survey, conducted via SurveyMonkey online polling software, included advertisers from B2C (80%), B2B (13%), and Non-Profit (7%) organizations, with consumer-oriented advertisers comprising a majority of the results.  According to the results, 28% of respondents listed direct mail as their top-performing marketing channel, followed by social media (18%).  Even in the digital age, 88% of all respondents confirmed using direct mail for new customer acquisition purposes. 30% use it with monthly frequency.  Read more at PRWeb


Parcels Delivered by Drone Will Soon Start in China

The largest courier company in China, SF Holding Co. was granted a government license to operate drones, opening up the possibility for parcel deliveries by drone.  More than 40 billion packages were shipped around China in 2017 and that number is expected to rise to 49 billion in 2018 according to the State Post Bureau, China’s delivery-industry watchdog.  Read more at Drone DJ

Inside UPS’s Electric Vehicle Strategy

UPS made an important announcement about its plans to roll out 50 new midsize electric delivery trucks in Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles.  The headline is that, for the first time, the electric trucks are expected to cost the company no more than regular diesel vehicles.  Up-front price is no longer a barrier.  Read more at Harvard Business Review

A Faster and Sleeker Way to Get Around

Tired of subway delays and crowded buses in your daily commute?  Here’s a new idea from electric-car pioneer and space entrepreneur Elon Musk.  It’s dubbed an “urban loop system” and is designed for pedestrians and cyclists.  In a video posted online, Musk touts one of his latest ideas from the Boring Co. It shows a white carrier that looks like a half-bus, half-train being lowered from street level with people inside. Once underground, it runs through tunnels and lanes. The video shows it traveling about 125 mph.  Read more at the Washington Post

Overcoming the Transportation Industry Gender Gap

According to the most recent numbers from Women in Trucking’s WIT Index, 7 percent of truck drivers and 24 percent of management are women.  While 24 percent can be seen as a noteworthy figure, the industry must endeavor to captivate a greater share of interest amongst women for this to be sustainable.  At a time when industry demand for drivers is at an all-time high, opportunity awaits.  It’s becoming paramount that we inspire a more universal appeal that generates an enthusiastic eagerness in those considering a professional transportation career.  Read more at Supply & Demand Chain Executive

———  ODDS & ENDS  ———

Celebrate National Card and Letter Writing Month

Spring is in the air — and so is the spirit of letter writing.  April is National Card and Letter Writing Month, an annual celebration of handwritten correspondence.  To mark the occasion, the Postal Service is again collaborating with Scholastic Corp. to create an educational program for third- and fourth-graders.  Read more at Scholastic

Facts About the Pony Express

The famous Pony Express is the remarkable mail system that carried correspondence and news across the western United States at breakneck speed in the days before the transcontinental telegraph and the transcontinental railroad.  There are plenty of myths surrounding the historic mail delivery service, and much of what we’re taught about the Pony Express in school isn’t quite right.  Read more about this amazing delivery service at Mental Floss