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United States Postal Service Synthesis Paper

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If I were the current CEO for the United States Postal Service, I would be gravely concerned about the future of my business, as it has recently taken a steep plummet from its success and popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries. The USPS is now faced with the decision to renovate itself due to the extreme loss of business as technology takes over the 21st Century. Some say that the USPS should be entirely reconstructed because the business is only headed further downhill, while others say that paper mail is still very practical, more so than e-mail, and we must each write more letters to do our part in reviving the business to profitability again. Because the USPS has been such a vital part of our country through its contribution to communication and employment, the organization needs to stay afloat by cutting back on delivery days, strategically rebranching throughout the country, and recapturing the importance of itself through advertising, in order to adapt to the new technology-based era.

The continuous loss of revenue for the USPS can be alleviated by simply eliminating two or three mail delivery days every week. The business sunk like the Titanic just three years ago, when “the Postal Service experienced a 13 percent drop in mail volume… more than double any previous declining and lost $3.8 billion” (Source C). Unfortunately, the problem is only predicted to deteriorate with even “steeper drops in mail volume and revenue” expected in the next decade (Source C). Some experts disagree, and argue that increasing service is the answer. Marketing professor Richard Honack advises, “don’t drop from six- to five-day delivery; go the other way” (Source A). On the other hand, Source F argues that “eliminating Saturday mail delivery would save $40 billion over a decade,” whereas Honack states no guarantees in money increase or savings. Having mail delivered four or five days a week is a necessary solution for the USPS, in a time where revenue loss continues to decline.

The USPS must cut down on employment and delivery costs by re-evaluating its location strategy and rebranching. Especially in urban cities buzzing with the latest technology, many would agree that, “you don’t need a full-service post office every few blocks in New York, for example” (Source A). In addition, I spend every summer with my dad in Chicago, and because there is a USPS post office right around the corner of our apartment building, I have noticed from passing it every day that it is the one store on State Street that is empty 90 percent of the time. In my experience, Postmaster General John Potter is correct in wanting to “close and consolidate 154 post offices”, significantly reducing operating costs and employment. Strategy is key; by shutting down the offices with the lowest production and necessity, USPS will no longer be uselessly spending money. Another point the USPS should take into consideration when restructuring, is that it is too easy for most Americans nowadays to forget the significance of a hand written letter or card, when we can communicate within seconds through technology.

Come to think of it, I remember running to the mailbox in excitement every November to collect a special, pink birthday card from my grandma with her messy cursive scrawled across the envelope. Now, my “special” birthday wishes are in a 30 second voicemail she leaves from her cell phone every year. The USPS must remind us of the significant difference it can make in communication by recapturing its emotional importance through advertising. Though the USPS has been around for over 200 years, “no one knows what the Postal Service stands for” (Source A). Creating a new slogan that emotionally connects to today’s world of digital natives, and represents the purpose of USPS, will encourage consumers to support the company.

Futurist Watts Wacker agrees, “A company’s brand is its most valuable tool or its biggest liability”, and with a new logo and slogan, America will be reminded that “an old-fashioned, hand written letter has value in this speed-obsessed world” (Source F). The USPS must take advantage of how technology has transformed America, and appeal to the heart instead of the clock or wallet. Despite the dramatic downfall USPS has taken as the 21st Century makes its way hand-in-hand with technology, the company can still preserve itself if it cuts back on service and applys the right location and marketing strategies. The USPS offers many advantages for the average customer, as it is cheaper than its competitors, provides hundreds of thousands of jobs across the nation, and allows communication for those who may not have access to the internet or other technology. The USPS must reconstruct itself to meet the needs of today’s society. It has always been a crucial part of our nation in the past, and it still can be for years to come.

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