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Special Delivery: Business Advice for the USPS

postage-costs-110429-02 Credit: Dreamstime


The financial troubles of the United States Postal Service (USPS) are no different than the problems faced by any business that's been around a while and hasn't quite figured out how to change with the times.

What the good old USPS needs to do, according to entrepreneur David Greenberg, is make some tough decisions and reinvent itself. Greenberg, the president and founder of Updater.com, an online platform to manage offline mail, knows what he's talking about. He's created a cloud-based system to help you manage your mail, address changes and control junk mail.

"The Postal Service has some very difficult decisions to make and they are doing a great job of addressing the problems head on and analyzing all possible solutions," Greenberg said. "I am actually optimistic that the Postal Service can reinvent itself and again become a self-sustaining government run entity."

Greenberg offers the USPS some business advice that could be taken by any company that needs to make some big shifts and change with the times.

Shift in focus - The Postal Service is one of the most respected and revered American institutions, Greenberg said. The USPS should begin transitioning into new business areas by leveraging the incredible consumer trust that they have built up over generations. Some examples of new business areas include offering prepaid cards, selling additional items and services at postal facilities, venturing into the online security industry and even offering escrow services for cash and physical items, he added.

Delivery schedules - Some experts estimate that the Postal Service could save $3 billion a year by eliminating Saturday mail delivery. The USPS should go even further in restructuring delivery schedules, said Greenberg. The Postal Service should look into significantly cutting back the delivery of standard (bulk) mail, which consists primarily of unsolicited advertising mail. I would like to see the USPS only delivering standard mail one or two days per week. The USPS should begin delivering packages seven days per week, he added. Collectively, these deliver schedules would represent a shift in focus.

Pricing - There are currently loopholes and special deals that force the Postal Service to charge certain customers less than the true cost of delivery. Those deals should be phased out.  For example, national and state political committees from all parties enjoy major postal discounts. And currently, nonprofit organizations enjoy a 40 percent advertising discount from the Postal Service. This should be gradually reduced, suggested Greenberg.

Also, bulk mail advertisers receive tremendous discounts for advertising to huge numbers of citizens. Most citizens don’t want this mail and the USPS should significantly increase these rates and reduce such mail.

Advertising - The Postal Service should look into generating new types of revenue. For example, Congress should consider allowing the USPS to sell advertising space on vehicles and facilities, so long as such ads can respect the Postal Service's integrity, Greenberg said.