U.S. Postal Service
Transformation Plan
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The Postal Service exists as a governmental entity whose mission is universal service to all.   The Postal Service provides universal service by:

* Fostering growth and by increasing the value of postal products and services to our customers;
* Improved operational efficiency; and
* Enhancing the performance-based culture.''

In their opening message Mr. Rider and Mr. Potter recognize their responsibility ``to take definitive action to offer the citizens of America a clear and compelling view of current and planned actions and our vision of where we are headed. At the same time we want to encourage all our stakeholders to remain actively engaged in discussions about postal issues and the Postal Service's future.''

During development of the Transformation Plan and during subsequent Postal Service testimony before the President's Commission on the Postal Service the following fundamental changes were identified as those reshaping the delivery services marketplace:

* Changing customer needs. With access to more information and options than ever before, customers have a broad range of choices for delivery of messages, money, and merchandise--our three businesses. Customer requirements for postal services and entrenched network structures and service patterns may be changing.

* Eroding mail volumes. Electronic alternatives, particularly bill presentment and payment, pose a definite and substantial risk to First-Class Mail[reg] volume and revenue within the next 5-10 years. This could, in turn, have a negative impact on First-Class Mail rates.

* Rising costs. Despite major gains in efficiency and productivity through letter mail automation, the costs of maintaining an ever-expanding postal network are rising faster than revenue, especially costs outside the direct control of the Postal Service, such as retirement and health benefit liabilities.

* Fixed costs. Universal service requires a significant infrastructure to deliver postal services. Almost half of current Postal Service costs are spent on these resources, and that level does not change when volume or productivity increases or decreases. This makes cost containment challenging.

* Merging of public and private operators into global networks. Former national foreign postal services, some privatized, have entered the U.S. domestic market; giant private firms that dominate global parcel and express markets are entering an increasing portion of the postal value chain.

* Increasing security concerns. Rising security concerns will require expensive and sophisticated countermeasures.

Are these factors still relevant? Which ones are relevant and which are not? Are some more important than others? Is the rate of change for each factor increasing or decreasing? Are there other factors that warrant consideration? What are they? In developing the 2004-2008 Five-Year Strategic Plan, the Postal Service would like to receive stakeholders' views and comments on these and other long-term external changes, issues, and trends.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) was created in 1996 to serve as the Postal Services first independent oversight agency.  Our statutory mission is to conduct independent audits, reviews, and investigations of postal programs and operations.  Since our inception, the OIG has identified over $2 billion in potential monetary benefits

This comment discusses ten major management issues that the OIG believes must be addressed if the Postal Service is to remain a viable commercial enterprise:

  1. Physical Security and Safeguarding the Mail;
  2. Maintaining Customer Confidence;
  3. Improving Financial Performance and Accountability;
  4. Resolving Workforce and Workplace Issues;
  5. Controlling Workers Compensation Costs;
  6. Managing Acquisitions and Contracts;
  7. Leveraging Technology;
  8. Improving the Quality of Information for Making Decisions,
  9. Safeguarding the Integrity, Confidentiality, and Availability of Information; and,
  10. Balancing Public Service and Commercial Enterprise