April 17, 2020
There’s been a lot of speculation about the state of the USPS lately with concerns ranging from is the USPS “going out of business,” to will my mail be delivered and/or when will I get my mail? For a clear, concise and accurate update, read on. Our own Dave Lewis, Vice President and un-official postal guru, offers his take on the current USPS state of affairs as it relates to COVID-19 and the USPS. If you have specific questions, Dave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Postal Service has been in the news quite a bit. We want to provide an update on the status as best we know it at this point.
Yes, the Postal Service is broke, and has been for some time. The PMG has asked for $89 Billion(!) from Congress for debt relief, modernization, and new desk blotters. Congress was not amused, and the President really hates Jeff Bezos. So, immediate relief may not be in the offing. Still, Postal unions and other parties have exaggerated the immediacy of the crisis.
Given a medium-bad case scenario, the Postal Service would run out of cash by the end of September, but they did get an additional $10 billion in borrowing authority, which will keep them operating at least into April 2021. So, this is not nearly crisis-y enough to get Congress to actually do something. Don’t hold your breath on congressional action as part of the COVID-19 stimulus bills. Generally, Congress prefers to do the least possible at the last possible moment.
Still, it is extremely unlikely that the Postal Service would be allowed to perish. It is one of the few government agencies the American public likes.
USPS reported an overall volume decline of 32% last week; letters and flats overall by 25.2% and 36.5% respectively. Marketing Mail was down 42.5%. No breakdown was provided for Regular vs Nonprofit. Declines were most likely led by event marketing, hospitality marketing, and retail.
The Postal Service has no immediate plans to offer rate relief to stimulate demand. A group of industry leaders appealed for rate relief to the Postmaster General and PRC, and were turned down.
It is also worth mentioning that other marketing channels – digital ad and digital media specifically – showed comparable declines, and a reduction in planned ad spend. Rather than a turn against direct mail, there is a general decline in advertising spending.
We have been watching mail delivery closely across the country. Overall, when you consider the impacts of COVID-19 and the USPS, service is comparable with the pre-COVID world. There are some delays in large metropolitan areas that are virus hot spots – specifically, New York, Northern New Jersey, and the Detroit area. These delays are generally occurring within SCF and other facilities, rather than in the logistics portion. Trucks are running on schedule – we are just seeing some processing delays between destination induction and delivery.
These delays may range from a day to five days in our observations. The worst of them seemed to be in late March, but we will continue to monitor. We urge ProList clients to keep a close eye on their mail tracking. If you need help interpreting, you can call your Project Manager – they should be able to help you or direct you to the right expert.
These observations are anecdotal – we are still working on longer trend analysis – so it is best to keep an eye on your mailings as they deliver. USPS has not reported official delays – these results are from our observations.
ProList offers an array of services and expertise to help you to best cope with these times. Our in-house digital solutions offer a cost-effective way to keep your direct marketing efforts moving forward under one roof for easier coordination. Our SnailWorks mail tracking solutions let you track the delivery and response of your direct mail. Our close relationship with the Postal Service keeps us one step ahead of the next challenge that may arise. ProList remains dedicated to bringing complete satisfaction to clients using technology, innovation, and hard work.