Donahoe outlines the future at USPS

The incoming postmaster general told a US Senate subcommittee today (2 December) that one of his highest priorities would be to improve the customer experience, making the Postal Service “leaner, faster and smarter” in the years ahead. Deputy postmaster general Patrick J. Donahoe, who will become the nation’s 73rd postmaster general on Monday (6 December), said he is looking at all the ways the Postal Service deals with its customers. “Every interaction with us,” he said, “with a carrier, a clerk, at a kiosk, at a contracted desk or online must be a great one.”

Addressing the current state of the Postal Service, he acknowledged that the past several years have been challenging but there are significant accomplishments that should not be overlooked.

He pointed out that the Postal Service achieved $3bn in spending reductions in 2010, for a three year total of $10bn and despite reaching the lowest career complement since 1970, “service levels, customer satisfaction and trust in the Postal Service have never been higher.”

Donahoe, a 35-year postal veteran who has served as deputy postmaster general since 2005, said the $8.5bn loss the Postal Service experienced in 2010 was “a stunning number” but were it not for two legislatively mandated payments, $5.5bn to the Retiree Health Benefits Fund and a $2.5bn non-cash workers compensation adjustment, the loss was less than $500m, a “significant accomplishment,” especially in light of a 6.6% mail volume decline.

“If you look at the aspects of the business within our control,” he said, “we have done well in responding to economic conditions. We have an opportunity to turn the corner and produce regular operating profits.”

He said the legislation introduced by the subcommittee chairman, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), the Postal Operations Sustainment and Transformation (POST) Act of 2010 would provide the Postal Service with “the flexibility to implement necessary business strategies faster and more effectively” and that the bill had his wholehearted support.

“We don’t want to be a burden to the American taxpayer, and the POST Act helps ensure that won’t happen,” Donahoe said.

Looking ahead, he told the subcommittee “My personal vision is that of a profitable, nimble Postal Service that competes for customers and has a well defined and valued role in an increasingly digital world. Part of that vision is to ensure the Postal Service will always be a resource to every American business and be valued and trusted as every American residence.”

He concluded, “Our goal is to remain viable for a long time (and with the help of the Congress), we will be able to do just that.”

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2 Comments

  1. Dan Allen

    “one of his highest priorities would be to improve the customer experience”……………….I’LL REMEMBER THAT THE NEXT TIME I AM 20TH IN LINE AT MY PO WHERE THERE ARE COUNTERS FOR 4 CLERKS, THERE ARE ONLY 2 WORKING, ONE OF THEM HAS 80 CERTIFIED LETTERS TO DEAL WITH AND THE OTHER ONE JUST PUT UP THE “CLOSED: SIGN SO SHE COULD GO ON BREAK. OH YEAH, AND THE POST MASTER WALKS BACK AND FORTH A FEW TIMES AND DOESN’T EVEN GLANCE AT THE SEA OF ANGRY FACES WAITING PATIENTLY ON THE LOBBY……………..

  2. Carole Eluca

    While I understand and sympathize with the sentiments here, you must place blame where it belongs, with the consumers who want to pay less for services, and the Unions, not the Postal Service or employee.
    When most Americans decry the ‘HORRIBLE .44 cost of a letter’, the USPS is attempting to find ways to cut costs as any business would. (The two closed windows, cutting the cost of two employees)
    Unions dictate that breaks must be taken at specific times; that clerk work must be done by CLERKS, not supervisors or other ‘craft’: (letter carriers, custodians, Postmasters, etc). Unions can and have been beneficial to workers rights. Unfortunately, in most cases now, unions protect lazy, incompetent poor workers to the detriment of a business, the postal service included. Protecting a good employee from bad management is cost effective. Protecting a bad employee, one who is lazy, incompetent or unproductive is not.
    I do agree that some (if not all) cost cutting is in areas that should NOT be cut and that there are many areas that deserve to be trimmed. Like most other mainstream business, those in charge protect themselves. Unfortunately, this goes for the USPS as well. My belief that many supervisory and administrative jobs are unnecessary will NEVER be taken seriously, because those whose jobs would be in jeopardy will never allow it! (Self-preservation at it’s best, or worst)
    You would think that computerizing functions would improve time and cut costs: I have found the opposite to be true: As new technology becomes available and put in place making potential savings likely and production increases, upper management adds more and more trivial workloads to the already burdened local supervisors list of duties.
    Until you put someone in charge who is hands-on-familiar with the day to day task of getting the mail to the customer, and I mean they have actually CARRIED MAIL for years, who understands first hand the problems and will work from the bottom up to improve the system, things will remain the same.
    Improvements, not cuts, are needed from the carrier, who delivers the mail, the clerk who disperses the mail to the carriers, the plant who delivers the mail from the distributions center to the local post office, these are the areas that cuts SHOULD NOT be made. These areas are the hubs of customer service. Work on improving function, reliability, productivity and speed in these areas and improved customer service will be a natural result.

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