Some businesses will feel the sting from USPS cuts

Steve Chiotakis Dec 6, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: You’ve heard it called “snail mail,” and come March, mail delivery could crawl even slower. To save money, the debt-wracked U.S. Postal Service is planning to close as many as 200 processing facilities, which could gum up delivery. And businesses that rely on same or next-day mail will be affected the most.

Gene del Polito is president of the Association for Postal Commerce, and he’s with us right now. Hey Gene.

Gene Del Polito: Good morning.

Chiotakis: I know there are a lot of businesses that rely on same-day service. I’m thinking of Netflix, of course — they send out the DVDs by the next day. What happens to those kinds of businesses?

Polito: Well, for those businesses such as Netflix, which are tied very closely to the idea of having this speedy delivery of first-class mail, they may have to work a little bit harder in order to be able to achieve that end.

Most first-class mail previously had traveled across the country by air, and that, of course, is a very expensive route. The Postal Service is trying to reduce the cost of transporting that mail by moving more of it on the ground.

Chiotakis: You know, Gene, with cuts, and more cuts, from the Postal Service, something’s gotta give, right?

Polito: The Postal Service has a rather significant physical and human infrastructure, and it has no way to cover the costs of that infrastructure without making essential cuts and reductions. So the ball is really in Congress’ court. If it wants a postal system that functions, it needs to figure out what it will allow the Postal Service to do in order to be able to achieve the balance between costs and revenues that are necessary for it to be able to operate on an efficient basis.

Chiotakis: Is it a matter, do you think, of how it’s done business? I mean, you represent businesses. Should the Postal Service be run more like a business?

Polito: To tell you the truth, the whole idea of having the government run anything like a business, I think, is a bit of a fallacy. The Postal Service needs to be organized in a way in which it provides an essential infrastructure service for this nation in the least costly — the most cost-efficient — manner possible. And right now, it’s hamstrung by various elements of federal law, regulations, work rules — and those things significantly neeed to change.

Chiotakis: Gene Del Polito, from the Association for Postal Commerce. Gene, thanks.

Polito: You’re welcome.

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