In late May of 2023, two of Production Solutions’ own traveled to Charlotte, NC to attend the latest edition of the National Postal Forum. This event is tailored to the US Postal Service employees, vendors, and customers, and always offers a glimpse of what mailers can expect to see from the USPS in the coming years. It offers educational sessions on a variety of postal topics, as well as a chance to form new partnerships and collaborate with old friends.
Carolyn Angelini, Direct of Resource and Postal Affairs, and I attended many of the educational sessions and came away with some valuable knowledge to help solve some of our clients’ most urgent needs. They ranged on everything from the new CASS Cycle O to the best practices with Mailpiece Design, and from the new tools added to Informed Delivery to learning more about the top Data Security tactics. But the most exciting topic covered by both the educational sessions and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s speeches was the in-process and upcoming changes to the USPS logistics network.
“Simplification and Modernization” were key terms used early and often when discussing these changes, as well as some new terms like “Regional Processing & Distribution Center” (RPDC) and “Sorting & Delivery Center” (S&DC). There are already four brand new RPDCs going live in 2023 – one of which postal employees were able to take a tour of in Charlotte (not that we are jealous!). The overall trend will be to modernize existing processing facilities while decommissioning more inefficient ones to streamline the logistics network end to end.
What does this mean for mailers? We expect more focus will be on handling the increasing volume of parcels and controlling costs when handling letters and flats. Improvements to processing speed will also come by enforcing Shape Based Processing which allows centers to merge Bulk Mail Letters and Flats at the same facility, which in turn creates fuller trucks going to similar destinations. The timeline for completion of most of these evolutions is within the next five years, and if all goes according to plan, we can hope to see the postal service showing profits. Hopefully, these twice-per-year rate increases will be less impactful. DeJoy even mentioned the possibility of REDUCING postage rates (!!) – we are not holding our breath though!
Of course, much is left to be seen, and while there are certainly detractors of the PMG’s plan to “Deliver for America,” no one can argue that the foundation is in place to cut costs and improve efficiency.
Your Production Solutions experts will be watching closely to see how these changes pan out to ensure our clients receive the best postal solutions!