Waiting for the Third Shoe?

Many of my fellow 3PL and CEP cohort are anxiously aware of the current UPS / Teamsters negotiations on the UPS national contract (shoe #1.) and the FedEx / ALPA Pilots labor negotiations (shoe #2). But many of you may not know about ‘The Third Shoe’ in this year’s logistics sector cliff hanger – the US Postal Service’s current labor negotiations with its largest workforce segment, OVER 335,000 Letter Carriers delivering mail and packages to 12.7 million business addresses and 152.2 million residential addresses.

So, if even one of the trio shuts down for a few weeks, meaning the ‘brown boxes’ stopped getting delivered, and the ‘purple tails’ stopped flying, and the merry mailman stops ringing you bell this summer, who are you going to call?

NALC and the Postal Service open negotiations for sixteenth collective bargaining agreement | National Association of Letter Carriers AFL-CIO

Evolution of a Medium, or it’s decline and fall?

The U S Postal Service ramps up its marketing for Direct Mail – using the medium to showcase the message. The ‘current’ campaign uses a highly sophisticated direct mailpiece (see description below). Based on our experience developing integrated direct marketing campaigns for Express Mail in the USPS Northeast Region in the mid-1980s, the current campaign is likely targeting SMEs with a list built from a.) In house customer account files, b.) Respondents from prior marketing campaigns, and c.) Purchased lists based on USPS criteria for market segments for direct mail.

The mailpiece itself combines several interactive elements to engage the audience’s senses including sight – the visual elements of design; touch – the physical mailpiece itself, a hard copy Business Reply Card to mail back for more information and featured publication, and the interaction of rubbing the ‘cookie images’; smell – to release the aroma of the cookies, as well as digital interaction with a QR code to scan in order to obtain a copy of publication the “Evolution of a Medium”

The one glaring flaw of the campaign is its timing, as evoked in the copy and artwork; i.e., a tie in to the Holiday Season as referenced by the scratch and sniff holiday cookies. And most interestingly, the direct mailpiece image that was scanned in the Informed Delivery ® service is hot linked to a USPS response microsite – Uncover the secret ingredients with USPS. | USPS Delivers, in effect serving as a demonstration of the service, and an example of an integrated marketing medium.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Postal Service cannot deliver even its own mail on time which is particularly poignant amidst its latest existential crisis. Somehow, delivering mail months late (yes, we are still receiving holiday cards from friends and family as of this month, birthday cards mailed to family members that would have been delivered within the normal First Class Mail standard time frame of 2-3 days nationwide never showed up, and checks mailed to professional industry organizations in January have disappeared.

So, the question remains, is this the Evolution of mail, or the decline and fall of a Postal Service?

Western Union Partners With Walmart!

January 19, 2021

Western Union services will roll out in more than 4,700 Walmart stores starting this spring. A leapfrog over the competition, or a ‘Hail Mary pass’? – https://bit.ly/3pbAfgo

And further to the discussion where in the world is the US Postal Service’s “Sure Money® (DineroSeguro®)”. Yes, the service has been around since the mid 1990’s but have you seen it advertised lately? The USPS has about 30,000 retail outlets versus Walmart’s 4,756 stores.

And why didn’t USPS partner with Walmart? Walmart’s footfall and customer demographic are a natural fit. “Has the USPS lost its business development mojo?” Stay tuned for the next installment – “Retail Self Service Kiosk – What Took So Long?” #USPSLostBizDevMojo


Further to the disruption by commercial electric vehicles, CEVs, #CEVs, today’s news about GM’s pullback from Nikola is apocalyptic. The legacy automotive industry cannot disengage its DNA, it cannot turn off the combustion engine.

Change is coming, as the petrol-powered automobile rendered horse drawn carriage and drayage to the knackers of history, EV/alternative fuel, AF, transport is doing the same, and the curve is accelerating.

Lest you distrust our vision, our over the horizon history goes back to 1984 when our Principal consultant first formally documented a prototype EMS self-service kiosk, through 2002 when he pioneered ‘Customer Value Chain Analysis’ (USPTO application) and devised the concept of “embedded networks” #EmbeddedNetworks, for last mile delivery for emerging ‘big box’ merchants; e.g., Walmart, years later as publicly presented at World Mail & Express Americas in 2017, and in practice today – Walmart free delivery from store.

For a discussion of what is coming tomorrow in the CEP sector, and especially for the national postal operators, #NPOs, please feel free to contact us  — theCEPGroup.com; “Transforming Disruption Into Opportunity”


USPS Will Begin Nationwide Reduction in Mail Processing Equipment Due to Falloff in Mail Volume

Facing an ongoing falloff of letter and flat mail volume that is further accelerating due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the national economy, the Postal Service plans to significantly reduce the number of Advanced Facer Canceler Systems (AFCS), Delivery Bar Code Sorters (DBCS), Automated Flat Sorting Machine 100s (AFSM100), and Flat Sequencing Systems (FSS) in its mail processing facilities. This loss of production capacity may signal an irreversible degradation of service and the inability of the service to recover during an economic upturn.

The subject reduction is anticipated to take place over the next several months. For further analysis of the impending reductions, including the affected mail processing facilities and service areas and potential impacts on the business mailing sector please contact us for a one on one consultation.