If reforms are to succeed, they must ensure that the Postal Service has the freedom and leeway to leverage its unrivaled brand, network and technology, and invest across markets into new and promising services.
A recent USPS's Inspector General study suggests that USPS has "failed to justify millions of dollars worth of workshare discounts. Excessive discounts could cost the Postal Service money and lead to inefficiencies in mail processing.
USPS should position itself in the "enabler of connections', in addition to being in the distribution business. Fast-track sector liberalization should be on the table to allow the Postal Service to exploit its under-valued assets and its logistical capabilities.
North America has demonstrated that direct mail is an important component of the postal "eco-system". This is becoming a real possibility in emerging economies where there is now the economic potential to build the address infrastructure and maintenance services required to support direct mail and direct marketing.
The financial relief provided to USPS in the 2012 budget will bring some breathing room to the organization. However, it needs to undergo a fundamental cultural change by further investing in its workforce, by redefining its customer base, and by weaving its remarkable logistical distribution network with information-rich capabilities to bring timely and value-added products and services to the marketplace.
USPS recently announced the introduction of Critical Mail. By introducing 'high-speed' products for special situations, USPS may set the stage for slowing down the rest of the mail, reducing operating costs, and hopefully maximizing reliability at the same time.