The United States Postal Service: At the Brink of Insolvency

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The United States Postal Service: At the Brink of Insolvency

Business 510 – Managerial Economics

Final Project Submission

February 25, 2012

Executive Summary
this report takes a look at the United States Postal Service financial problems, which brought it to the brink of insolvency, after losing more than $25B in the last 5 years. It analyzes factors and performance and postulates corrective actions to bring USPS back to financial solvency. Both microeconomic and macroeconomic factors affecting the firm were analyzed while identifying its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. USPS products and services demonstrate its strengths with its monopoly of the mailing industry and as a government franchise with an open line of credit with the Federal Financing Bank of up to $15B. Weaknesses include lack or very little diversity in its products and services, very restrictive delivery schedules and mandated large delivery points. Opportunities for USPS include increasing its product diversity taking advantage of the internet and other developing technologies it can use to improve its operating expenses. USPS is also experiencing external and internal threats. One of these threats is the wider acceptance of digital technology especially with the internet and email, smartphones and mobile internet, skyrocketing operating costs and inability to make timely changes and responses to mitigate continued losses without having to go through the Postal Regulatory Commission and Congress. In view of this, USPS is recommended to take a multi-prong approach to improve its revenues by increasing product pricing with its shipping services while staying competitive, using the theory of price elasticity of demand to appropriately price its mailing services and diversifying its products. Reduce operating costs by reducing numbers of employees, improving its fleet of vehicles to more fuel efficient vehicles or using alternate energy and also by reducing managed facilities and delivery schedules. And finally USPS needs to request Congress to give it authority to effect price changes resulting from out-of-the-ordinary changes in cost of fuel and other materials and resources used in fulfilling its mandate of providing a fundamental postal service to the nation.

Establishment and General Business Description
Article 1, Section 8, clause 7 of the United States Constitution establishes the U.S. Postal Service. The current post office organization is operating under the provisions of the Postal Reorganization Act of July 1, 1971 designating the US Postal Service (USPS) as an independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, Public Law 109-435 made further revisions and the governing statute is codified in Title 39 of the United States Code. The same public law created the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) bestowing the PRC with regulatory and oversight obligations in the management and operation of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS Annual 10-K Report, 2011). The mandate of the USPS is to offer a “fundamental postal service” to the entire nation at fair and reasonable rates approved by Congress. This mandate is fulfilled by offering different level of mailing and shipping services throughout the country. As of September 30, 2011, total employees number to 557,251 career employees, down 4.6% from the year before of 583,908 and 88,700 non-career employees (Annual Report to Congress, 2011). More than 85% of career employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements through one of the following four management organizations: American Postal Workers Union (APWU), National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), National Postal Mail Handlers (NPMHU) and National Rural Letter Carriers (NRLCA). Products and Services

The United States Postal Service divides their services into two broad categories: Market dominant mailing services and...
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