Appendix: Strategic Initiatives

Background. In its March 2010 Annual Compliance Determination, the PRC requested additions to the Comprehensive Statement, specifically to provide more information on the performance of individual programs and the connection between programs and the strategic goals. The three Strategic Goals continue to be:

Limited Corporate Objectives. Each year the Postal Service sets a limited number of corporate objectives to advance its three strategic goals.1 This is consistent with industry best practice, the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act,2 and guidelines of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB directs agencies to establish a limited number of high priority objectives:

“…usually three to eight, as representative of the agency’s most pressing priorities. (They) must have high relevance to the public and reflect the achievement of key agency missions. They must further progress in achieving a strategic plan goal, and must contain near-term, measurable targets, the results of which are reviewed on a quarterly basis.”3

Linking Strategic Goals and Corporate Objectives to Strategic Initiatives. Corporate objectives are not set for individual programs, which would dilute the organization’s focus on its high-priority objectives. However, to help clarify the connection between strategic goals and objectives, and the actions necessary to achieve them, the Postal Service identified nine key strategic initiatives. These nine were chosen based on their strategic importance and the degree of attention they will require over the next few years. They are consistent with priorities identified in the Postal Service’s Action Plan for the Future and the corporate objectives contained in the 2011 Annual Performance Plan.

Success indicators were established and aggressive 2011 targets set for each. Results will be reported in next year’s Comprehensive Statement. The relationships between the strategic initiatives and the three strategic goals are described below. The many actions underway to achieve the strategic initiatives are described in more detail in the Comprehensive Statement.


Intelligent Mail (IM). The purpose of the initiative is to use IM technologies to enhance performance and customer value. By improving visibility at all points in the process of creating, processing, and delivering mail, IM helps the Postal Service and customers improve service and efficiency. An effective measure of success is the amount of mail with Full-Service or Basic IM barcode. The 2011 target is for 90 percent of workshared mail to contain an IMb. In-county Periodicals are not included in the measure since they are mainly small newspapers that are dropped off close to or at delivery units.

Strategic goals supported by IM:

  • Service is improved by increasing the amount of mail that can be measured and the information available to the Postal Service and to mailers to identify and correct any problems.
  • Employee Engagement. Providing more detailed, actionable information about mail in process allows employees at all levels to identify opportunities and implement solutions to improve performance.
  • Financial Performance is impacted on both the cost and revenue sides of the equation. Additional information about mail flow allows for improvements to both mailers’ and the Postal Service’s operations, thereby increasing the value of mail and mailers return on investment.

Flats Sequencing System (FSS). The focus of this initiative is to reduce carrier sortation and associated costs through automated processing of flat mail into delivery sequence. FSS will replicate for flats the benefits achieved by letter sequencing. The indicator is the percent of flat mail in delivery point sequence for delivery zones on FSS in operation at least six months. This allows for ramp-up by mailers and the Postal Service. The 2011 target is 72 percent.

Strategic goals supported by FSS:

  • Service historically has improved as mail is automated. This includes on-time performance as well as more consistent delivery times for customers since carrier departure for the street is less impacted by daily variations in volume.
  • Financial Performance is impacted mainly through significant work hour reductions. Less manual handling and fewer routes, vehicles, and support staff will reduce expenses. Improved service also drives revenue.

Expand Access. To provide access consistent with customer preferences, the Postal Service must ensure that appropriate alternatives are available when and where customers want them, often 24/7. The target is to expand the share of retail revenue generated by means other than at a postal retail counter to 35 percent by the end of 2011.

Strategic goals supported by Expanded Access:

  • Service is improved by making postal products and services available where customers already are doing business, whether online or in person. These locations often have longer hours, better parking, and/or higher foot-traffic.
  • Financial Performance is impacted on both the revenue and expense sides. Expanded access drives revenue growth by making postal products more accessible and easier to use. Alternative forms of retail access are also less expensive than the postal retail counter.

Optimize Network. Adapt physical networks to changes in mail volume, mail mix, and customer behavior. This allows the Postal Service to take advantage of technology and improved processes to reduce excess capacity in plants, Post Offices, and delivery units. The 2011 target is to reduce total interior facility space by 2.8 million square feet.

Strategic goals supported by an Optimized Network:

  • Service is improved by gaining economies of scale and scope when operations are consolidated. Fewer trays, trips, and handlings are required, which expedites processing and delivery, and minimizes errors.
  • Financial Performance improves by reducing the number of owned and leased buildings. Savings include fixed costs such as maintenance and administrative overhead. This also supports the Reduce Energy Use strategic initiative. There is also a revenue benefit when buildings are sold.

Flexible Workforce. Labor remains the largest cost component. In addition to reducing work hours, the strategy is to take full advantage of contractual flexibility to reduce the cost of work hours used. The indicator for this initiative is the average hourly rate for bargaining and casual employees, including existing contractual wage increases. It excludes payments for retiree health benefits (current and pre-funding amounts) which are not within management’s control. The 2011 target is to beat the $41.69 average cost per work hour contained in the Fiscal Year 2011 Integrated Financial Plan.

Strategic goals supported by a more Flexible Workforce:

  • Service is improved by having the right employee, at the right place, at the right time for all operations.
  • Employee Engagement. Employees realize that workforce changes are necessary for future viability. Flexibility must increase as career attrition continues without compromising service.
  • Financial Performance is improved by reducing the wage and benefit costs per work hour used.

Reduce Energy Use. Energy is a major component of cost, primarily transportation fuel and utilities. The target for 2011 is continued progress toward 2015 energy reduction goals as laid out in the Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan at

Strategic goal supported by Reduced Energy Use:

  • Financial Performance is improved by reducing expenses in energy sources that often have volatile prices. Customers and employees are often influenced in their purchases by the sustainable actions of an organization, which also improves revenue and employee engagement.

Reduce Delivery Fixed Costs. Delivery is the largest cost center and carries the greatest share of fixed costs. For example, a carrier must go down the street regardless of the number of customers who receive mail on a given day. There is also a fixed cost of going to the mailbox whether an address receives one piece of mail or 10. Reducing fixed delivery costs is critical given declining volume and revenue per delivery point. The indicator of success is the increase in the average number of deliveries per route for city and rural routes combined. The 2011 target is 589 by the end of the year.

Strategic goal supported by Reduce Delivery Fixed Costs:

  • Financial Performance is improved by reducing the number of routes and vehicles used to meet service objectives. While Congressional approval to change to five-day delivery would obviously have a large impact, the focus here is on actions within management’s control.

Expand Products, Services, and Features. Profitable revenue is key to the future of the Postal Service. The best approach is to provide customers with new mailing and shipping products, services, and features consistent with their changing needs. The indicator is to create 15 new products, services, and features this year.

Strategic goals supported by Expanded Products, Services, and Features:

  • Service is improved by enhancing and expanding product offerings based on customer input. Many features will improve ease of use for customers, from households to large businesses.
  • Employee Engagement. Adding features and services allows employees to respond more fully to the needs of their customers. By virtue of their daily interaction with customers, employees are often the source of ideas and insights that lead to product improvement and innovation.
  • Financial Performance will be improved by being responsive to changing market needs. In most cases this is about increasing revenue, while in some cases it will reduce expenses for customers and the Postal Service.

Address Overfunded Legacy Costs. As mentioned in the Action Plan for the Future, the Postal Service believes that the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) have been overpaid for postal employees. Outside review has confirmed this assessment. Ideally, the overfunded amounts would be applied to future Retiree Health Benefits obligations and the Postal Service would return to “pay-as-you-go.” It is not certain whether the Postal Service will be financially able to pay the RHB obligation come September 2011 given it will likely meet the statutory $15 billion debt limit.

Strategic goals supported by Address Overfunded Legacy Costs:

  • Employee Engagement would improve by resolving uncertainties created by this issue. Employees are concerned about the long-term viability of the organization and their inability to mitigate large, recurring losses caused largely by the legislated prefunding requirement.
  • Financial Performance obviously would improve greatly. This would not solve the problems of the current postal business model. However, it would provide more flexibility and opportunity to invest in meeting the country’s future needs.

The table below illustrates the relationships between each of the strategic initiatives and the three strategic goals.


Strategic Initiative

Corporate Goals Supported

Results Indicator

2011 Target

Intelligent Mail


Employee Engagement

Financial Performance

Increase the percentage of workshared mail containing an IM barcode.
(Full-Service and Basic, excluding Periodicals in-county volumes)

90% by end of year

Flats Sequencing System


Financial Performance

Increase the percentage of flat mail in delivery point sequence for delivery zones on FSS that have been in operation at least six months.


Expand Access


Financial Performance

Expand share of retail revenue generated by means other than at a postal retail counter.


Optimize Network


Financial Performance

Reduce total interior facility space.

Reduce 2.8 mil sq/ft

Flexible Workforce


Employee Engagement

Financial Performance

Come in below the Integrated Financial Plan average work hour rate.
(Bargaining and casual employees, including wages, benefits and existing contractual wage increases. Excludes current and prefunding payments for retiree health benefits.)


Reduce Energy Use

Financial Performance

Continue progress toward 2015 energy reduction goals.

On target

Reduce Delivery Fixed Costs

Financial Performance

Increase average number of deliveries per route.
(combination of city and rural delivery routes)

589 by end of year

Expand Products, Services, and Features


Employee Engagement

Financial Performance

Create new products, services, and features.

15 new

Address Overfunded Legacy Costs

Employee Engagement

Financial Performance

Address legacy cost funding issues.

All three addressed

More information about the strategic goals and the process of setting annual corporate objectives may be found in the 2010 Annual Performance Report and 2011 Annual Performance Plan following this Appendix.

The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-62), or GPRA, established processes for federal agencies to set goals, measure progress, and report results.

Office of Management and Budget, Preparation and Submission of Strategic Plan, Performance Plans, and Annual Program Performance Reports, July 2010.