Transportation is central to mail delivery, so it is no surprise that the companies who move the mail dominate the list of the Top 150 U.S. Postal Service Suppliers in Fiscal Year 2019. Seven of the Top 10 companies are involved in transportation. Federal Express tops the list, as it has since 2002, with just

Lonely mailboxIs mail dead?  Let’s ask Google, the ubiquitous source of all things online. This should be a lay-up on the home court of those who would say yes. And guess what. The top ten results for a Google search of “Is mail dead?” produces seven articles on why e-mail is dead, two unrelated articles, and one article on why direct mail is not dead. Dig down for another ten results and you get about the same result – more articles on why email is dead and a few on why direct mail or “snail mail” isn’t dead.

At the National Postal Forum last month, a postal official responsible for large customer accounts noted that a while back, Circuit City was his 26th largest customer. Circuit City is now defunct. But if we asked people 15 years ago to predict whether USPS or Circuit City would still be around today, I don’t think many people would have picked the Postal Service.

Don’t get me wrong – mail has definitely changed. There’s much less First-Class Mail than before, and less total volume than before. But here’s what I learned about why mail is not dead and not going away any time soon.  No company is forced to use the mailbox as an advertising medium and there are strong competitors for most package services. But Standard Mail volume for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2014 is the same as last year, and Shipping Services & Packages volume increased by 14 percent.


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Postal GhostWhile dozing over some catalogs that had arrived in the mail, I was visited by three Postal Service ghosts:  the Ghosts of Postal Past, Postal Present, and Postal Future.

The Ghost of Postal Past

The Ghost of Postal Past was a merry ole soul, though not even that old. He presented himself to me as he was in Fiscal Year 2006 – just six years ago. Back then, he was quite large. He had 673 processing facilities, 36,721 retail and delivery facilities, and a total volume of 213 billion pieces of mail. He had revenues of nearly $73 billion – almost $3 billion more than the year before. This had been his fourth consecutive year of positive net income, and the seventh consecutive year of increasing total factor productivity.


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