U.S. Postmaster General Embraces Change

Postmaster General John Potter told more than 3,000 people attending the National Postal Forum to look beyond the current economic downturn and continue to transition mail into the 21st Century.

“Despite the challenging economy, one thing that hasn’t changed is America’s confidence in the mail,” Potter told the packed room. “We owe it to America, to our clients and to ourselves not to overact to the situation at hand.”

Potter provided the Forum’s keynote address, discussing technology, environmental concerns and changes in federal law that gave the Postal Service greater pricing flexibility. The National Postal Forum is the mailing industry’s premiere trade show and event.

Consumer and business need for speedy and reliable service is growing. For mail to continue to be relevant, the industry must change to continue to provide business solutions.

Potter spoke about new technologies that are providing these solutions — Intelligent Mail Barcode and the Flat Sequencing System (FSS). FSS is new technology that will speed the sorting and delivery of large envelopes, catalogs and magazines, quadrupling productivity. FSS machines also will be able to read the Intelligent Mail Barcode, allowing mailers and the Postal Service to track mail throughout the sortation process, improving service and reducing costs to mailers and consumers.

He also encouraged mailers to respect consumer interest and concerns about the environment when creating and sending mail. Eco-friendly practices, programs and services are key to the future of the industry as more consumers chose to do business with companies that embrace green practices.

“It’s the right thing to do for our future generations,” Potter said, acknowledging actions mailers already are taking to address sustainability, including the use of recycled paper and inks that are less harmful to the environment.

That future also includes dramatic changes created by the Postal Law of 2006. The law enables the Postal Service to more effectively compete in the shipping market, providing unprecedented pricing flexibility for package services. Customers will see greater savings online than at the retail counter.

Potter told customers to take advantage of volume pricing and to look forward to contract pricing in the coming months.

“We’ve only scratched the surface on the changes the new law will enable,” he said. “Our focus is to increase the value of mail through improved service, and predictable, affordable pricing.”

“Personally, I’m bullish on the future of the mail,” he said. “Our future is bright because of the teamwork that exists between the Postal Service and the mailing industry.”

Potter also presented the Partnership for Progress Award to members of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC), recognizing their “tremendous contribution” to the Postal Service. MTAC members have worked closely with postal officials on implementation of the FSS, Intelligent Mail Barcode and the new law.

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