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JUNE 2009





As the Postal Service moves forward with its new integrated Sales and Service team, an important focus is working with Postal Customer Councils to bring new programs, ideas and solutions to customers.

“Customers told us they wanted ‘one-stop shopping’ with the Postal Service,” says Susan Plonkey, vice president, Sales. “By including sales, business development teams and the Business Service Network (BSN), we created that one central point of contact our customers asked for.”

There are more sales people on the street and increased emphasis on the value the Postal Service can bring to small and medium-sized customers. Sales and postal districts have been aligned so customers have an entire postal team ready to help them with their mailing and shipping needs.

The primary contact at the district level will be the BSN, which serves as a critical link between customers and postal operations. The BSN gives customers access to an entire network of knowledgeable professionals who collaborate with experts in each of the various functional departments of the Postal Service. A cohesive network of experts ensures that no question, comment or concern is overlooked, and the response is timely.

“We’re committed to helping our customers find the right postal products and services to help their business grow,” says Plonkey. “Sales, districts, BSN — we’re all working together for you.”



The Postal Service is reviewing all city delivery routes this year to determine what adjustments can be made to balance volume with each carrier’s delivery coverage.

Letter carrier with cart full of mail

The Postal Service and National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) agreed to the Modified Interim Alternate Route Adjustment Process (MIARAP), which allows USPS to react quickly to mail volume declines and maintain a delivery network that matches resources to workloads.

A previous agreement with the NALC resulted in evaluations conducted on 93,000 routes and a net route reduction of 2,500 routes. The MIARAP process intends to evaluate virtually all 158,000 city delivery routes.

The route evaluations and adjustment began in May and will continue through August.

It’s just one of the many actions the Postal Service is taking to streamline operations and improve efficiencies across the board in order to protect its ability to provide affordable, universal mail service.

USPS also has begun reviewing its network of Post Office stations and branches to better meet changing retail needs. Nearly 30 percent of postal revenue comes from alternative access channels, such as Automated Postal Centers, usps.com, Stamps by Mail and other options.

The study will examine retail activities at more than 3,000 stations and branches located in urban areas and in close proximity to one another. It’s expected the review process will identify opportunities to consolidate urban stations and branches, but no decisions will be made until the reviews are finalized.



The Postal Service has thousands of highway contracts to transport mail between its network of hundreds of processing plants, bulk mail centers and surface transfer centers. While the Postal Service continues to optimize its transportation network in order to improve utilization and reduce cost, excess capacity will remain due to the natural imbalances of mail volume between cities and the need to meet service standards.

On April 1, the Postal Service gave notice to the Postal Regulatory Commission of its intent to initiate a two-year market test of an experimental “Collaborative Logistics” competitive product to make this excess capacity available to shippers. The market test began May 7, and is being managed by Network Operations at Postal Service Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Here are the basics of this new Collaborative Logistics product:

  • Space available on existing highway transportation
  • Less-than-truckload and full truckload (where available)
  • Palletized loads — single or double stacked
  • USPS or customer drop-off and pickup
  • No materials that may impact mail security/service
  • Traditional freight and drop-ship freight
  • Attractive individually negotiated rates
  • Excellent service
  • Delivery standards generally one to four days

For more information contact the Shared Transportation Control Center (STCC) at 866-877-7666, or send an e-mail to stcc@usps.gov.



The National Postal Forum is offering Intelligent Mail University sessions at two locations in July. Mailers can participate in a comprehensive day of information and education about Intelligent Mail services and hear how Intelligent Mail barcodes drive improvements in both service and efficiency, and add more value to mail.

The sessions are July 9 in Columbus, OH, and July 16 in Fort Worth, TX. You must be pre-registered to attend. To register, visit npf.org/imb or call 703-218-5015 for more information.


New requirements for letter-size booklets mailed at automation and machinable letter prices were printed in the April 15 Federal Register. The purpose of the new requirements is to reduce damage to mail and eliminate the use of alternative processing methods for these pieces.

Booklets are defined as mailpieces that have a bound edge. This includes sheets that are fastened with at least two staples in the manufacturing fold (saddle stitched), perfect bound, pressed-glued or joined together by another binding method that is automation compatible and produces an end where pages are attached together. Booklets are generally open on three sides before sealing, similar in design to a book.

In general, booklets must be uniformly thick. Large bound booklets that are folded for mailing, also defined as a quarter-fold booklet, qualify for automation and machinable prices if the final mailpiece remains nearly uniform in thickness.

Mailers are encouraged to become familiar with these new requirements, which include required methods for securing open edges, to prepare for the Sept. 8 implementation date. Find “New Standards for Letter-Size Booklets,” on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com — click Federal Register notices — to prepare for the change.


Who will be PCC of the Year? How about PCC of the Year Level 24 and Below? And then there are PCC honors for mentor, industry member, USPS member and district manager, as well as bronze, silver and gold recognition for excellence in communication, education and leadership. The nominees are up to you. The best of the best in the PCC community will be announced on National PCC Day Sept. 16.

Mail or e-mail your nominations. The deadline is July 15. Guidelines, award criteria and nomination forms can be found under "Leadership Programs and Best Practices" at the National PCC website at usps.com/pcc.

Don’t delay — send your nominations today. We look forward to recognizing your PCC on National PCC Day.


Management Insights is now available on the National PCC website at usps.com/nationalpcc/resources.htm. This monthly newsletter, which is e-mailed to PCC co-chairs and administrators, provides information on Publication 286, Postal Customer Council Program Policies and Rules.

Did You Know? Parcel Post, created in 1913, gave mail-order shopping its first big boost.



  • The Call for Papers for the 2010 National Postal Forum opens on June 19. Check out www.npf.org for more information.
  • National PCC Day is scheduled for Sept. 16 in New York City.



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Everyone can relate to increased responsibilities and limited resources in the workplace, says Northern Virginia Metro PCC member Betty Williams.

“Keeping up with mailing developments and requirements with limited resources can be very difficult,” she says. “But postal representatives and PCCs offer valuable resources, especially at times when you need assistance the most.”

Williams is Director of Operations at Didlake, a not-for-profit organization in Manassas, VA, that provides jobs and other services for people with disabilities. Her introduction to the PCC network came when a customer brought in a mailing of 180,000 pieces with a four-day turnaround. The design of the mailpiece had changed and “I knew I had a problem,” she said. Not sure where to turn, Williams called her local business mail entry unit and talked with a postal representative who set up an appointment with a mailpiece design analyst that same day.

“With all of the assistance I received I was able to meet my customer deadlines and the postal requirements,” she says. “That one contact opened up a whole world of contacts to other postal representatives with USPS product and service knowledge.” And she was introduced to the value of belonging to a PCC.

“My membership and participating in the PCC provided an enhanced partnership. I attended quality meetings and events, learned about new postal technology being developed and implemented, and learned about ways to help save customers money. And that’s the bottom line,” she says.

Williams believes in the PCC so much that she served time as postal co-chair. “Most importantly, I believe the PCC brought together those who share a mutual desire for success.”
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