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April 13, 2010




John Potter

With revenue and mail volume projections continuing to point toward dramatic losses in the billions, Postmaster General John Potter at the National Postal Forum in Nashville, TN, outlined the Postal Service’s action plan to remain viable in the future.

The plan, presented yesterday during a special session, provided attendees the opportunity to hear firsthand from senior postal executives and management consultants about the changes needed for USPS to create a more flexible business model.

“We wanted everyone at NPF to hear in depth what the consultants had to say,” said Potter, introducing representatives from management consulting firms McKinsey & Company and The Boston Consulting Group. They, along with Accenture LLC, helped identify business and marketing trends. From the consultants’ findings, USPS developed its action plan that was first presented March 2 at a conference in Washington, DC.

The USPS plan, said Potter, recognizes that success in the marketplace demands speed and flexibility — flexibility to respond to market dynamics and the speed to bring new products to market quickly. Just as significant, lifestyles and ways of doing business have changed dramatically in the last 40 years, but some of the laws that govern USPS have not.

Drawing from the consultants’ recommendations, the action plan for “Delivering the Future” calls for the Postal Service to focus on several main areas where change is needed. These include efforts to:

  • Restructure the prefunding of retiree health benefits payments.
  • Adjust delivery frequency to better reflect current mail volumes and customer habits.
  • Expand access to postal products and services.
  • Establish workforce flexibility that allows USPS to put the right people, at the right place, at the right time.
  • Apply the Consumer Price Index price cap to all market-dominant mailing products, rather than the current restriction which caps prices for every class of mail at the rate of inflation.
  • Expand products and services by allowing USPS to evaluate and introduce more new products consistent with its mission.

“There is no easy solution or quick fix,” said Potter. “When you hear us talk about solutions, we’re talking about a suite of solutions. We want to keep a balanced approach and consider the interests of all stakeholders.”



Robert Bernstock, president, Mailing and Shipping Services, and Cindy Mahoney, vice president of Product Development for Hallmark.
Robert Bernstock, president, Mailing and Shipping Services, and Cindy Mahoney, vice president of Product Development for Hallmark.

The first Intelligent Mail barcode “app,” a groundbreaking solution for customers and businesses alike, debuted at the National Postal Forum.

Hallmark is testing a product that allows customers to buy greetings with postage included for one price. “Postage Paid Greetings” uses a unique Intelligent Mail barcode on each card included in a package of cards. Hallmark pays the postage expense when the cards are mailed.

This application of the Intelligent Mail barcode allows the Postal Service to count the mailpiece as it enters the mailstream, rather than at destination, said Robert Bernstock, president, Mailing and Shipping Services.

“This is a complete solution using Intelligent Mail. Customers are happy because their frustration with buying separate postage is resolved and businesses like Hallmark are happy because postage payments are linked only to those greetings that become mail,” Bernstock said.

“Postage Paid Greetings brings customer convenience to a new level, something all businesses can appreciate,” said Cindy Mahoney, vice president of Product Development for Hallmark. “We are truly excited to be partnering with the Postal Service to test a new product.”

Bernstock encouraged mailers to create unique “apps,” pledging the Postal Service will to help create “unexpected, innovative products and services.”



The Postal Service is offering a convenient online option for mailing professionals who want to expand their knowledge about mail design and earn certification as a Mailpiece Design Professional (MDP).

The MDP course is offered through the National Center for Employee Development in Norman, OK. Previously a four-day on-site program, the coursework now will be posted at the NCED website. You can review the information and take the certification test anytime — at your convenience.

Learn how to design mail for automation, maximize eligibility for postage discounts, take advantage of special services and design Business Reply Mail pieces. The course also includes modules on addressing, classes of mail, processing categories and other basics.

The MDP course incorporates materials that were part of the Mailpiece Quality Design professional certification that was previously offered to PCC members.

Register online at The fee is $75. For more information about the program, e-mail

For a list of educational programs offered by the Postal Service, go to



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