Time to put my logistician hat back on for a bit, here’s my article that got front paged over at http://www.dailykos.com

The Postal Service today released it’s latest scheme, following on the heels of a bunch of other schemes that closed tiny local Post offices and giant Postal sorting centers all over the country but didn’t save a cent or the Postal Service. I know, I’ve read the post consolidation reports of how few positions were eliminated, transportation costs went in the ditch, and the Postal Service is now stuck with a thousands of big & little buildings in a weak commercial real estate market. Oh, and I know what a scheme is (a strategy for routing mail), but those traditional schemes worked, and these hair brained new ones won’t!

I spent over a decade at the Postal Service moving mail by the literal semitrailer load, sandwiched by temp gigs at UPS. They taught me most of what I know about logistics, and logistics tells us that moving mail, parcels, or twinkies is like managing a river. And like a river, the flow of letters and parcels continues 24/7/365, with customers great and small dropping letters into mailboxes and filling trailerloads with letters and parcels at all hours of the day and night. My department at the Postal Service was open 24/7/365, even had a skeleton crew on Xmas day, and for good reason- We’d get calls from citizens that mailboxes were overflowing on 3 day weekends and have to go out and collect overflowing mail. Same with the big shippers- they loaded the Postal Service’s trailers all night and weekends too, and it wasn’t unusual to get a call from them on christmas eve to come pick up a trailer they’d loaded, and please bring an empty trailer ’cause they were gonna work into the holiday.

Yup, the mail and parcels flow just like a river, and trying to damn that river for even a day will flood Postal facilities with enough mail to plug the buildings and make restarting operations even more difficult. Seen it before when blizzards would close the roads- within hours the affected facilities would be jammed with mail, and within a day distant facilities would also be jammed with backed up mail destined to the snowed in facility, and after the roads reopened it would take days to get service back to normal standards.  

By stopping saturday delivery the Postal Service will be hobbling themselves with the equivalent of a blizzard every weekend. What savings? The trucks will still be running saturday to deliver parcels, might as well deliver the letters and periodicals too. But Nooo… The letters that are now delivered saturdays will now jam Postal Service facilities all weekend, and it’ll take even longer for the Postal Workers to “dig out” from under this mountain of mail on monday, and the letters that won’t physically fit on the truck won’t get delivered ’til tuesday or later.

Wake up, Postal Service execs- This is a 24/7/365 world and it’s cheaper to move the mail than to store it. And the customers, who also happen to be us, your bosses, prefer our mail to be delivered promptly rather than warehoused!

 

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