Everyone knows that the United State Postal Service (USPS) has been in financial trouble since the 21st century began. That is not surprising given that most financial transactions now take place on the Internet. I can’t remember when I last mailed a bill payment through them or much of anything else for that matter. This post is about what may just be the future of the USPS and that is as a FDD.
I have let it be known here at RJsCorner that I am a frequent Amazon user. For those of us in rural areas, we no longer have to get in the car for an hour round trip to do much of our shopping. We can simply go on-line and order it and it comes to the door within two days. Now, I see where Amazon’s goal is next-day delivery and for urban areas same-day delivery!
I know that there are some of you who think that Amazon is killing local businesses, but I kinda think that Walmart pretty much did away with most decades ago. But that discussion is probably for a future post. Let’s get back to a re-purposed USPS.
In the early 2000s Amazon shipped most of the products via UPS and FedEx. The last few years they have, as usual, changed that strategy to become more efficient. Now they ship from regional warehouses directly to the local post office for delivery to the final destination. That will very likely prove a win-win strategy.
The Post Office gets much more business and Amazon can concentrate on bulk deliveries. I know from a personal standpoint that Snail Mail delivers about 80% of what I buy from Amazon now. Only the larger stuff comes from UPS. I don’t know the numbers but I suspect that at least half of USPS deliveries are now from on-line retailers.
In conclusion, the days of the old style USPS are limited. To match their new persona they should be named FDD (Final Destination Delivery). Another thing that needs to be done it to break them away from the Federal Government into a separate publicly owned business enterprise.
4 thoughts on “USPS ..to.. FDD”
1. I suggest that the USPS is not in “financial trouble”. We think that because we think it is a business and not a public service. By definition a “public service” is funded as a “service” paid for by [all] the public. We all share the costs so that the service is more affordable to everybody. It’s goal is to provide an affordable service to all.
2. I’m not sure what a “public business” would be. The goal of a business is to make a profit – or it’s not a business. I’m willing to bet that if the USPS became the US Postal Business we might not like it. Cost goes up and/or service goes down. To have a business you stop doing things that loose money. Close post offices, reduce delivery frequency, charge extra for delivery outside an urban area, etc. How would having a “public business” be better than what we have now?
Thanks for the thoughts Bob. The thing about the post office is that when it was formed it met a need not available by another source. That is simply not true anymore, so I don’t think it meets the “public service” definition any longer.
There are many businesses that do not have profit as their primary purpose. They are called “non-profit”. That is what I had in mind with the term “publicly owned business”. Yeah, they have to cover expenses but not provide a profit. But you are right that things would likely have to change. I have talked about that in several previous posts. You can’t leave a post office in the middle of a dead town. If they won’t support a grocery store then they don’t need a post office.
I would be interested to know what the post office does that is [completely] provided by “other sources”?
UPS and FedEx, etc. do not provide them – and what they do provide is considerably more expensive. Email and “digital delivery” does not provide them. I still want physical cards and letters for some things. An email sympathy does not cover it for me. How do I ship/send things to other countries using their mail – which is way less expensive than UPS/FedEx, etc.
What does a person who does not use email, etc.do for correspondence? I still know a lot of folks who do not have email addresses.
What is you definition of a “public service”? It seems to be limited to “only those things that can’t be or aren’t provided by the private sector”. Or do I misunderstand your first paragraph.
It seems to me that what we have with the current USPS is a “public business” as it is managed for the benefit of the entire public which is what a “public” business ought to be setup to do. Meaning that you make the “business decisions” with the idea that the business should provide the services that are needed by [all] the “public” even if the public has to pay higher prices or live with reduced services to ensure that the services are [easily] available to everybody.
You and I are not that far apart Bob with our opinions. Yes, at least for a decade or so USPS will be necessary for those who are intimidated by electronic mail or just don’t care to change their ways with new opportunities. One example of a public service that was privatized is our telecommunications system. At one time the old AT&T was the sole provider of that service via being a regulated monopoly. But that changed in 1983. I lived through those times as an employee of AT&T. Even though it was very painful for a while I came to initially believe that opening up that area to competition brought almost unimaginable progress. I doubt very much that we would not have the system we now have of personal phones wherever we go if it weren’t for the breakup.
Certainly, if people want to continue to use USPS then they should bear the “real” costs of those services. Small communities could make donations to keep local service but if they don’t then they will likely cease to exist.
But all of this discussion is getting off the point of the post. It just makes sense that there be one provider of final destination deliveries. It doesn’t make sense to have six different delivery trucks come down my road on a daily basis. I think that USPS is in a good place to be that provider.