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Why the U.S. Postal Service Must Adapt or Die

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In the history of business, it has proven true that you must adapt to change or die.  Companies must be nimble and willing to change, especially with advances in technology.  We have seen this prove true with Borders Books and Kodak with advances in electronic books and digital photography, but the same may well be the fate of the U.S. Postal Service if it doesn't act soon.

As you probably know from reading the news, the post office has been struggling with debt, closing several distribution centers across the country to save money.  We also saw postage go up a penny.  However, in my eye, they still remain resistent to change and lack a willingness to compete in the marketplace.

Recently, a client decided to "overnight" a fee payment check to me to be sure he got it to me on time.  He did this on a Friday, and sent it by USPS overnight mail.  Said postal service tried to deliver it on Saturday, but lo and behold the office was closed.  They didn't leave a note saying "Sorry we missed you."  They didn't try again on Monday.  They just held the envelope at the post office.  Also, since they didn't leave a note, neither my client nor I knew it was there!  Had my client not called the post office, and then when they were non-responsive, the Department of Consumer Affairs, the packet would have been sent back.

While working in a position with the Knights of Columbus I had people sending me things by overnight mail in order to meet deadlines.  If it was sent through the post office, they would come to my home, I wouldn't be there, and they would leave me a note saying to come to the post office to pick it up!  With FedEx or UPS, if the sender did not require a signature from the recipient, they would leave it on the porch or inside the storm door.  I finally told people not to use the post office because it was too inconvenient!

The point is, if it expects to survive, the post office needs to be more service and customer oriented, adapting to change, and offering services similar to those of their competitors.  Barnes and Noble is struggling, but they are still a major force in the market with the Nook for eBooks.  Nikon and Canon adapted by selling high quality digital cameras.  Hopefully, we will see some real change soon that will not involve yet another hike in postage rates.

 

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