United States Postal Service Case Study
History and Background
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is an independent government organization that generates income through mail services. It is currently the second largest civilian employer in the United States. Its primary task is to deliver mail around the country, at a standard price, regardless of geographic location. Over the last two centuries, the USPS has evolved into an efficient organization that financially sustains itself through its delivery operations. With a monopoly on the delivery of non-urgent mail, the USPS provides delivery service of about 40 percent of the world's mail, or approximately 200 billion pieces of mail annually. Starting in the 1990s, the USPS faced increased competition from rival package delivery and courier services, as well as the Internet. Presently the USPS is facing a financial collapse. The USPS needs to undergo an essential and systematic change in order to maintain its significance in the 21st century. History/Background
On July 26, 1775, members of the Second Continental Congress appointed a Postmaster General giving birth to the Postal Department of the United States. The mission of the U.S. Postal Department was much the same as today, process and deliver first class and non-urgent mail to individuals and businesses within the United States. Congress passed various laws that grant the post office a “statutory monopoly” on non-urgent First Class Mail and the exclusive right to put mail in private mailboxes. Although these laws grant the USPS a market advantaged they also restrict its ability to compete with rival package delivery and courier services, as well as the technological innovations. How it got started
The Post Office Department has origins in America dating back to the 17th century, when there was a need for mail between colonial settlements and intercontinental exchange of information with England. In 1775, the Continental Congress named Benjamin Franklin as the first postmaster general and chairman of a committee empowered to make recommendations for the establishment of a postal service. On September 22, 1789 the post office became a new government branch of the United States. At this time there were 75 post offices and approximately 2,000 miles of post roads. The USPS was critical to national welfare and pivotal in facilitating communications for military, congressional representation and newspapers. From the very beginning, the USPS financed operations from revenue it earned and Congress gave it a monopoly to be the only courier service to deliver mail. Key points in evolution
The main focus and the efforts of postal officials from the foundation of the Post Office to the present day have been finding the best methods of transporting information and directing mail. For example, in 1791 George Washington stated that that the importance of the postal routes had increased because the country wanted to distribute knowledge of governmental laws. Also, between 1791 and 1861, the U.S increased from 3.9 million to 31.4 million square miles and postal roads grew from 1,875 to 240,595 miles. The Board of Governors of the USPS sets policy, procedure, and postal rates for services rendered. Of the eleven members of the Board, nine are appointed by the President and confirmed by the US Senate. The nine appointed members then select the Postmaster General, who serves as the board's tenth member, and who oversees the day to day activities of the service as Chief Executive Officer. The ten-member board then nominates a Deputy Postmaster General, who acts as Chief Operating Officer, to the eleventh and last remaining open seat. The USPS is often mistaken as a government organization but it is legally defined as an "independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government...