Monday, March 8, 2010

The U.S. Postal Service is Officially in a Panic

In the lead sentence of his article on the Postal Service's proposed changes, Federal Times reporter Gregg Carstrom summarized the tenor of the Postal Service's presentation.   "The U.S. Postal Service is officially in a panic."

Having the core of the postal industry in a panic about how they are going to survive should unnerve every stakeholder regardless of whether they are a customer, supplier, or employee of the Postal Service. 

Customers with a panicky supplier have real incentive to seek alternatives.  Uncertainty about the future makes effort to seek alternatives to Postal Service delivered mail more attractive.  Even digital and mobile alternative appear less risky as a predictable future for the "known" delivery mode becomes less certain.

Suppliers with a panicky customer may choose to the cease being suppliers.  Working with a panicked customer is expensive as purchasing decisions become less certain and predictable.  Suppliers will shift their sales efforts to postal operators with a more clear vision of the future, a future that allows them to plan their sales and marketing efforts more easily than it would be if they tried to sell to the Postal Service.

Employees with a panicky employer may choose to seek employment in calmer environments.  A panicked employer finds it more difficult to have employees that are satisfied with their current job and career prospects.   The Postal Service will find it increasingly difficult to hold on to its best employees and find the most qualified people to replace them.

As the above brief paragraphs show, a panic has significant consequences.   The question now is who will calm the panic?

12 comments:

Haywood Jablome said...

HEY.........Alan Robinson.....IT MUST BE A SLOW DAY AT THE COURIER OR YOU JUST DON'T HAVE ANYTHING BETTER TO DO!

Anonymous said...

Maybe ... and that's just maybe some of the Management that has no involvement with the acceptance,transportation, sorting or delivery of mail should be put to use in a more productive manner. Too many mgrs. to little to do.

Anonymous said...

It is painfully obvious you do not work at the PO. THERE ARE NO GREAT MANAGERS WHO WOULD LEAVE. Most only have a High School education. I started in 1977 and watched people get promoted. THe guy who is promoting you will not let you get promoted if you have a college degree and he does not have one. Why? Because he knows you are a danger to HIS job so he promotes people who are stupid and just plain ass kissers with no brains. It is called dumming down and has finally after 30 years run the full cycle. THe PO is a broken model and needs to go under and start over..just like the Republicans who keep saying start over with health care (while they did nothing for 10 years) need to step up and do the same thing to the PO.

Anonymous said...

This author doesn't have a clue.... there is no panic at the Postal Service... it's just poor management as usual and posturing for upcoming contract negotiations... besides it's still a government endeavor...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you are a windbag. Yes there are lots of managers, but there are also FMLA scammers, EEO scammers and lazy union stewards who don't want to work, so they stir the pot and get people to file stupid grievances. There are worthless employees at all levels of the Postal Service, and your anonymity makes me wonder about your commitment to Postal Service.

San diego clerk said...

The USPS is in definite trouble because of the switch from letter correspondence to electronic.

No doubt.

But, part of the panic on management's part is because of the complete incompetence at the top.

The Peter Principle, which has been the method of promotion since at least the 1980s, has led to the ranks being loaded down with people who are woefully ill prepared to deal with the changes in our society and its affect on the USPS.

Here is a great example: Mgmt had a VERA (early retirement) offer in 2003, to get excess people off the rolls. At my bid installation, a hundred people retired. Mission accomplished, right? wrong.

What did management do? Hire 200 people beginning in
2004. Those 200 people are now the ones management is trying to get rid off by excessing them out of town. Why did they have an early out to begin with? Now, they have to pay relocation expenses to a hundred or so people, When they should never have been hired in the first place.

Thats just one example of the incompetence that is in charge, And these unqualified managers are taking the entire Agency down.

The people actually moving the mail are the ones suffering for their ineptitude. But I am sure when all the suffering in the low rank and file is over, management will continue to survive up at the top.

Anonymous said...

I concur that there are NO Great Managers in the Postal Service, the ENTIRE "management promotion system" inplace is a quagmire. Not only do many or all of them have little education but they have "Massive emotional/ethical issues" leaving them TOTALLY unable to effectively manage ANYONE, much less their own lives. In many of the Local offices they are allowed to hire their husbands, brothers, sisters, children,cousins, aunts, uncles,inlaws/outlaws,etc..... with all the daytime soap drama that goes with this Nepotism practice. Yes, Yes, Ass Kissers with NO BRAINS and the dumming down now is posting the hard results. Change the entire management structure, require higher education even at the supervisory/customer service level. This will weed out the massive managerial disfunction and begin to heal the Postal Service. Yes, the Postal Service is vital to All Americans, it CAN be saved and this is one of the largest steps, which, if taken will turn the USPS around for a long,long time.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I think most of you are missing the point. The concern expressed is how do you recruit and retain the employees that are qualified when your company looks like it is going out of business? I mean look at school teachers. Every year for the past several years in CA, they have handed out pink slips. As a student growing up in this environment, who in their right mind would ever want to be a teacher?

Anonymous said...

Is there a charge to get in line to jump off the bridge or maybe stick your head in the oven and turn on the gas ? ? Sheez , guys !!

Lori said...

I hate to break the news...but a degree requirement for supervisors would accomplish Nothing. I work at the P. O., and some of the dummest people I know there have college degrees. And yes, they are supervisors/managers. They need pre-promotion testing and post-promotion TRAINING. Real training. Not the 'blind leading the blind' training that goes on now. 'Idiots in charge' is one of the reasons so many postal employees are disgusted with their jobs.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that a change is needed in how the Postal Service promotes its managers. I have a BS degree and I have 204-b in the past, but the past 10 years I have watched those without degrees get the EAS job over me. Mostly its who you know, not your work performance or educational background. Oh ya, the Postmaster I work for, his mother is a Postmaster and so is his wife. Its all in the family.... I believe that the Postmaster General should require all EAS positions that are over 15 level to have a four year degree. Those in positions in those higher levels without degrees, better find a lower level position or look at a craft position. Perhaps educated management could solve the problem; instead the all in the family bunch.

Anonymous said...

If the Post Office was "officially in a panic," the Post Office should focus on cutting down their managerial ranks, instead of adding to their inept managerial number that don't seem to know what is going on and how to accomplish their commitments without the use of the abuse of overtime. From Potter down the ranks, management is the cause of the panic.