Mailers Urge House Panel to Reform USPS

(Direct Newsline) Mailers urged Congress yesterday to adopt recommendations of the President’s Commission on the U.S. Postal Service.

In testimony before the House Special Panel on Postal Reform and Oversight, William L. Davis, CEO of printer R.R. Donnelley & Sons, urged Congress to act now to ensure the continued health and viability of the USPS well into the 21st century.

“Change is essential to the health of the mailing industry,” Davis said. “This is a $900 billion industry, which accounts for 9 million jobs and nearly 9% of the GDP.”

Davis added: “This is about so much more than reforming the USPS. This is about the economy, this is about jobs, and this is about the future.” The USPS operates under an inefficient 30-year-old model, has massive unfunded liabilities, and is $7.3 billion in debt to the U.S. government, he continued.

Among other things, Davis recommended that Congress:
*Maintain universal service.
* Encourage the USPS to engage in more public/private sector worksharing to drive productivity like that of major U.S. companies.
*Review all processing networks. While the entire network should be reviewed, there are savings to be realized in the range of $6 billion-$8 billion if just the upstream process was realigned.
* Give the USPS the flexibility and the incentive to implement the programs necessary to post productivity gains similar to those in the private sector.
*Rework the Postal Board of Governors to resemble the boards of publicly traded companies.

For his part, Michael J. Critelli, chairman/CEO of Pitney Bowes, urged Congress to make the USPS a “booster of economic growth.” In addition to enhancing private-sector partnerships, Critelli, who also chairs the Mailing Industry CEO Council, recommended that Congress encourage the increased use of technology to increase the mail’s value, while reducing costs, and improving mail security.

“Technology will be key to increasing the value of mail, reducing costs and improving security,” he said. “The heart of this vision is putting intelligence in the mail — the use of data rich, machine-readable information to uniquely mark each mail piece with the sender, recipient, and other information.”

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