The United States Postal Service is in a heap of trouble- $16 Billion in losses for the year, and thousands of layoffs are likely to occur. To start, what is wrong with the Postal Service, and why is this happening? The Postal Service has huge operating expenses, as it is required to fully fund health care benefits and pension for retirees some 20 years in advance. The Postal Service also has operations in extremely small trafficked areas, and they are losing money by having a post office and employees at that location. Gas and vehicle prices are also growing, along with fewer people using Snail Mail.
Obviously, the Postal Service has a lot problems. It has these problems because it is operating 20 years in the past. What can we do to save the Post Office?
1. Cut down on the benefits of retirees, both healthcare and pensions. Just a nominal decrease would work, as this would provide enough savings to help cover part of these benefits. We must also restructure the retiree system for Postal employees, forcing more employee contributions and fewer retiree benefits. This is a drastic step, but it’s this, or no Snail Mail.
2. Obviously, we can’t just not have mail service in less trafficked areas. But there are post offices in these areas operating under full hours and with full staffing. What if we moved the staffing around, only having one or two employees at these branches, compared to the four or five we already do have? We can also cut back on the hours of the branch.
3. With growing gas and vehicle prices, we can easily cut back on the routes of postal employees. We can do this by offering rural customers a Post Office Box at no charge, and then offering to actually pay the people using these Post Office Boxes. We already pay a few dollars in gas and vehicle maintenance every time deliver to these rural routes, and it would save a lot of money just to pay them to use a P.O. Box.
4. We need to explore new revenue options that would not increase prices for the consumer. Clearly, we must increase the stamp price to keep up with inflation, but we need to figure out if we are maximizing our profits. What if the Postal Service put up advertising in it’s branches, along with advertising on the stamps? What if the Postal Service put advertising on its trucks, and then sold bulk mailing to companies at a rate not by the price of the stamp? This would encourage companies to do more bulk mailers.
The postal service is in loads of trouble, and it will eventually be forced to close to keep up with the times. Just look at UPS or Fedex’s Models, and these companies are thriving. It’s a matter of reforming to the times, which is something the Postal Service must do in order to save itself.