USPS | re: supply

news our suppliers can use




JULY 2009












Welcome to re:supply, your source for supplier-related news and information from the U.S. Postal Service.

One of the goals of this newsletter is to recognize the critical contributions that suppliers make to our success. We’d also like to share information that will enable you to work more effectively with us in pursuing a common goal: to deliver outstanding supply-chain management performance.

We hope you find this newsletter interesting and informative, and we welcome your suggestions, comments and article ideas for future issues to

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USPS Financial Update
Just like many other businesses today, the Postal Service is experiencing serious financial challenges.

Along with the decline of First-Class Mail in recent years, the economic recession has caused a 14.7 percent decrease in mail volume and a $1.9 billion loss for the second quarter of our 2009 fiscal year (January through March 2009), compared with the same period last year.

To help stabilize our financial situation, the Postal Service has cut more than 1,400 supervisory and management positions at nearly 400 mail-processing facilities around the country. We froze the salaries of all Postal Service officers and headquarters executives. And, we halted construction of new postal facilities. Early retirement is being offered to nearly 150,000 workers, and six district offices are in the process of closing, eliminating more than 500 positions. We are cutting costs in every area possible throughout the organization. (For the most up-to-date information on Postal Service financials, visit

Renegotiating With Suppliers
To help improve our financial situation, we’ve also had to ask our suppliers to help us shrink our contractual spend by more than $1.3 billion through scope reductions, process improvements, and lower prices.

In a letter to almost 300 of our key suppliers, our new Chief Financial Officer, Joseph Corbett said…

The Postal Service is experiencing the largest mail volume decline in its history….With this downward trend expected to continue for both volume and revenue, we expect substantial losses by year’s end.

The Postal Service is self-supporting, funded by the revenue earned through the sale of products and services, not tax dollars. To maintain our ability to affordably serve the needs of American families and businesses…we are taking steps to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and optimize our workforce. Additional cost savings actions are necessary to reduce the substantial forecasted losses. This is where you, the supplier, come in.”

Corbett went on to say:

“Nearly 20 percent of the Postal Service’s costs are related to products and services provided by suppliers. As an important member of our supplier community, we need your help to reduce these costs, so that we can maintain affordable service and remain viable to best serve our customers. “

As a valuable customer to your business, we ask you to commit to our mutual success by helping identify possible scope reductions and process improvements and by making significant price reductions on both existing and future work....”

Though you might not have received this letter, we are asking all our suppliers to “commit to our mutual success” by continuing to identify opportunities to reduce both short- and long-term costs to the Postal Service. If you have any questions, please contact your USPS contracting officer.

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The Postal Service values its relationships with its suppliers, and we want to make it as easy as possible to do business with us. So, we’ve redesigned our supplier pages on to make it quick, easy and convenient to find the information you need.

All supplier-related Web pages have been updated to provide improved navigation and include USPS structural changes, mailing addresses, and generic e-mail accounts for all Supply Management offices. Additional pages explain our supply-chain management processes. Please visit to view the new site.

If you have any questions or suggestions to further improve the Web pages, please contact

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Suppliers can now enter and transmit required subcontractor data and collaborate on supplier performance efficiently via the Internet. The first Supply Chain Relationship Management System (SCRMS) module, Subcontract Reporting, was implemented during FY 2008 and enables suppliers to easily input their spend data with small-, minority- and women-owned (SMWOB) subcontractors on a quarterly basis. You can log in to SCRMS at

A new Subcontract Reporting Web-based training course is available online!

After logging into SCRMS, go to the SubK Menu>>Training and Reference. From this page, there are instructions for downloading and running the self-paced, interactive training course. If you have any questions or technical difficulties, please contact the SCRMS Help Desk at 713-439-0777 or at

Reminder! Report Your Subcontractor Data
When submitting proposals for contracts valued over $1 million, suppliers are required to include a subcontracting plan describing their goals to contract with SMWOB suppliers and subcontractors. The content of these plans are subject to negotiation with the Postal Service.

For awarded contracts of $500,000 or more, suppliers are required to submit quarterly reports on subcontract efforts with SMWOBs.

The subcontract reporting periods for the year are:

USPS Fiscal Quarter Reporting Period (system open for reporting)
Q1FY2009 Jan 1 – 15, 2009
Q2FY2009 Apr 1 – 15, 2009
Q2FY2009 Jul 1 – 15, 2009
Q2FY2009 Oct 1 – 15, 2009

Plans and reports are sampled periodically to identify gaps and make improvements. The Postal Service is committed to maintaining strong, mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers and a competitive supply base that reflects the diversity of American suppliers.

Questions about Subcontract Reporting? E-mail:

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You might have noticed that in recent years more and more RFPs are leveraging optimization or reverse auction technology. The Postal Service is considered a leader in the use of these strategic sourcing tools, and was recently recognized with an R. Gene Richter Award for Leadership and Innovation in Technology by the Institute for Supply Management for implementing the necessary training and change management to make optimization technology a success for both the USPS and you, our suppliers.

According to Susan M. Brownell, vice president, Supply Management, the Postal Service began using optimization in 2005, primarily for transportation sourcing. “When we realized the need for a resource that could perform more robust analyses of complex requirements and allow more collaboration with suppliers, we decided to fully leverage the optimization tool,” she said. “It gives suppliers flexibility in submitting their bids and provides them an opportunity to give proposals that really hit their sweet spot.”

Building on the success of optimization and reverse auction, the Postal Service has recently completed a competitive purchase of technology that combines these two sourcing capabilities along with eRFx (electronic solicitation process) into a single solution. Training and deployment of the new solution began in June.

The new solution is an industry-proven, commercial-off-the-shelf software product, hosted external to the U.S. Postal Service using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model. The solution standardizes, automates, and streamlines the processes for sourcing supplies, services, equipment, transportation, and facilities and is comprised of the following modules:

eRFx: eRFx is an electronic solicitation process for posting such actions as Requests for Information (RFI), Requests for Proposal (RFP), and Requests for Quotation (RFQ). Purchase teams can receive and respond to supplier questions, receive proposals, evaluate offers collaboratively, and post awards. The electronic eRFx solution reduces cycle time and paper, and improves communications between the Postal Service and its suppliers.

Optimization: Optimization allows suppliers to submit offers in areas where their competitive strengths reside and where they can provide the best value to the Postal Service. The tool then performs real-time analysis of all buyer and supplier elements to determine the optimal allocation of business among suppliers.

Reverse Auction: This tool allows suppliers to submit pricing information in a real-time, dynamic bidding environment. The product allows the Postal Service to create events with price visibility or rank the bidders with significant detail.

Questions? Contact the USPS eSourcing technology support team at

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For the fourth consecutive year, has named the U.S. Postal Service the “Top Organization for Multicultural Business Opportunities.”

Demonstrating its commitment to minority- and women-owned businesses through the “volume, consistency, and quality of business opportunities it offers,” this is the first time an organization has received the award for four consecutive years.

The Postal Service’s Supplier Diversity program also has been recognized by several trade journals, including SAVOY Professional, Women’s Enterprise USA, and DiversityPlus for its commitment to providing small- minority- and women-owned companies access to business opportunities.

Thank you for your help and support of our Supplier Diversity efforts. Back to Top ›


The White House recognized the Postal Service recently for its environmental stewardship with a 2009 “Closing the Circle Award” for its Green Purchasing Program.

This year’s award brings to 40 the number of White House Closing the Circle awards USPS has won since the program’s inception in 1995.

A key strategy of the Postal Service’s Supply Management organization, the Green Purchasing Program incorporates evaluation of “environmentally preferable” products into purchasing decisions — along with price, quality and delivery standards. Examples include those made of recycled content or renewable resources, eco-label certified (i.e. Green Seal and EcoLogo), Energy Star and “Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool” (EPEAT) registered electronic products, water-conserving products and products free of targeted hazardous chemicals.

Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, designed to reduce energy costs and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. The Green Electronics Council sponsors the EPEAT program, which helps purchasers evaluate, compare and select electronics based on their environmental attributes.

“Our green purchasing initiatives help conserve natural resources, protect the environment and provide a safer workplace for our employees,” said Susan M. Brownell, vice president, Supply Management. “They also support our ever-improving sustainable business practices and are fiscally prudent.”

The Postal Service also received honorable mention for its Lead-Free Wheel Weight program. This program has the potential to prevent 17 tons of lead from entering the environment by outfitting Postal Service vehicles across the country with lead-free wheel weights.

While these awards were presented to the Postal Service, we want to thank our many suppliers that are environmental leaders and partner with the USPS to build a sustainable future. Back to Top ›


The Postal Service started a Supplier Quality Council in 1995 as a forum for suppliers to discuss customer-supplier issues and to act as a sounding board for USPS purchasing policy changes.

In 2005, the Council transformed into today’s Postal Supplier Council (PSC), and represents an assembly of close to 100 suppliers and Postal Service stakeholders. Membership is by invitation only and is limited to designated *Key Suppliers and Supplier Performance Award winners. It is managed by a Supplier Board of Advisors and a Postal Management Committee.

The current PSC provides a collaborative platform for addressing issues and works on various initiatives to improve the supply chain for mutual benefit. At the upcoming PSC/BOA meeting on June 25, members will present their recommendations for improvement of the next USPS Supply Management strategic plan.

PSC Vision
The PSC is a strategic force for mutually beneficial change.

PSC Mission
Identify and recommend opportunities that will benefit the Postal Service, its customers and its suppliers.

For more information on the Postal Supplier Council, contact:

*A Key Supplier is identified by a number of factors, including business impact to the Postal Service, market complexity, spend, and overall value. The Postal Service currently has approximately 100 suppliers that are designated as Key Suppliers. Back to Top ›


The U.S. Postal Service has recently honored eight suppliers for superior supply-chain performance in 2008.

For 19 years, the Postal Service has recognized top-performing suppliers who deliver best-value solutions and integrated supply chains that are timely, cost effective, and operationally efficient. This year’s awards program honored suppliers in five categories: Supplier Performance, Supplier Excellence, Supplier Diversity, Postal Supplier Council Excellence, and for the first time, Supplier Sustainability Excellence.

“Our relationships with our suppliers, especially in these challenging financial times, are one of the most important stakeholder relationships we have,” said Postmaster General John E. Potter, who presented the 2008 Supplier Performance Awards at a recent ceremony in Washington, D.C. “And for an organization as large as the Postal Service, it’s a critical relationship.”

Susan M. Brownell, vice president, Supply Management, helped present the awards. “We take great pride in honoring suppliers who exemplify superior supply-chain performance and exhibit a true spirit of cooperative business relationships,” she said. “The suppliers and postal teams here today exemplify a collaborative spirit of partnership that has helped, and will continue to help, us do things we never thought possible,” added Brownell.

Eligibility for the Supplier Performance award is reserved for suppliers designated as key suppliers (see definition of key suppliers in Did You Know? article footnote) that demonstrate outstanding supply-chain management performance and positive business relationships with the Postal Service. All other suppliers (those not designated as key) may be nominated for the Supplier Excellence award, which is based on criteria similar to that used in the Supplier Performance award.

The Supplier Diversity award recognizes suppliers for diversity efforts that have had a positive impact on Postal Service diversity goals, such as exceeding agreed-upon spend commitment to small-, minority- and woman-owned subcontracting firms on USPS contracts or participating in mentor/protégé efforts with small-, minority- or woman-owned companies.

The Supplier Sustainability Excellence award recognizes significant documented achievements in green business practices that help the Postal Service achieve its sustainability goals and reduce its carbon footprint.

The Postal Supplier Council Excellence award honors individuals or teams who have made the greatest contribution to the success of Postal Supplier Council initiatives.

The 2008 supplier winners are:

BGA, Inc.
A ConEdison Solutions Company
Supplier Excellence Award

Bell Incorporated
Supplier Sustainability Excellence Award

Cleanwise LLC (recipient of two awards)
A wholly owned subsidiary of Network Services Company
Supplier Diversity Award
Supplier Performance Award

First Script Network Services
Coventry Workers’ Comp Services
Supplier Performance Award

Tarheel Paper and Supply Company
Supplier Excellence Award

W. W. Grainger, Inc. (recipient of two awards)
Supplier Performance Award
Postal Supplier Council Excellence Award

Western Industrial Contractors
Supplier Excellence Award

Wheeler Bros., Inc.
Suplier Performance Award

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