Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reading for Postal Policy

I have been doing a bit of reading lately that people in the postal community may find both interesting and helpful in understanding the challenges ahead. The books and studies listed here all are easily accessible either for free on-line or from a number of used book stores. I have provided links to the appropriate websites for free items and Amazon for those that must be purchased. Other used book sites such as Alibris.com may provide better prices.

Books About The Transformation of the Bankrupt Railroads in the United States

Both of these books are very readable histories of the railroad industry in this period. Richard Sunders is a history professor at Clemson who is has written a number of books on railroad history. Rush Loving, Jr. is a journalist who has written about the demise of the Penn Central as well.

Main Lines: Rebirth of the North American Railroads 1970-2002 by Richard Sunders, Jr

The Men Who Loved Trains: The Story of Men Who Battled Greed to Save an Ailing Industry, Rush Loving Jr.

Strategies and the Post

Accenture has published a number of studies comparing the strategies of posts worldwide. These studies are generally well written and provides some helpful new information about what seems to work and what does not. The studies raise a number of questions about why a particular Post chose a particular strategy, the path that was taken that resulted in the current strategy, whether there is a path to a different strategy in the future, how political and capital constraints may have determined the strategies that were available to the Post's management at the time the study was written.

Achieving High Performance in the Postal Industry: Accenture Research, 2009

Achieving High Performance in the Postal Industry, Accenture Research, 2006

Now that I have started the dialogue on research for postal policy, it is now time for this blog's readers to spread their knowlege by adding additional books, studies, and articles in comments. I am particularly interested in the input of readers outside of the United States who can provide information on a number of topics where information is scarce. These topics include:
  • The role of politics in postal transformation. While most countries that have transformed their post offices are within a democracy, decision making in democracies do vary from country to country because of the relative power of the head of govenment and the individual legislators, the stability of governments during periods of postal transformation, the challenges the Post created for a government prior to transformation, and the competitiveness of elections for individual seats in a legislature or parliament among political parties ell as the importance of postal policy in competition.

  • The costs and challenges of transformation particularly at posts that had outdated delivery, processing, retail, communications or computer infrastructures.

  • The challenges of transforming the relationship with postal labor as posts m
    ove from labor rules, salary levels, and benefits offered to government employees to those negotiated with unions once a Post must develop its own pay and benefit packages.

  • How capital needs for covering the expenses of operating modernization affected postal policymaking and the decisions that individual posts have made regarding their operating and marketing strategies.

  • The opportunities for innovative labor-management initiatives to build volumes and revenue through work-rules and/or contracts designed to serve specific customers and/or postal submarkets.
Now it is your turn.

No comments: