Newnhdad: You must have been pretty far down the food chain if you had to pay for your chain motel and meals at local dives. People in the Jeff Neely class don’t even have to pay for their rumba dancing lessons. Of course these meet-ups are essential because they provide an opportunity to “get familiar with the latest and greatest innovations and discuss the future with actual people that are most familiar with the industry.” Meetings like this probably explain why the USPS is so efficient and innovative.
They actually are, but most of what they do is behind the scenes and stifled by how they are able to do business. The legacy costs are what is killing them.
They have been on the cutting edge on barcode technology, including smartcodes and optical character recognition, handwriting recognition, streamlining and workforce optimization. Just about everything they do is geared towards eliminating as many people handling a piece of mail as possible but union demands and forced inefficiencies are suppressing innovations.
I believe if they were relieved of their union entanglements and allowed to compete with a more private sector mentality, they would offer a robust business model. Mail might be more expensive for the larger mailers, but they would be more market friendly.
A lot of the inefficiency that we see are due to constraints placed on them by Congress (because the fed government would be footing the bill otherwise)and more importantly, the unions.