Tag Archives: usps

Accouintinks, Worse Than Eckonomix

I know I’ve quoted this old saying before, but it bears repeating:

  • If marketing runs a company, it will go bankrupt, but emerge from Chapter 11 and become profitable.
  • If accounting runs a company, it will remain solvent until the last stick of furniture is sold and the doors locked.

We currently are reaping the benefits of accounting-driven management. Actually we’re not reaping the benefits, as much as we’re feeling the pain.

Since about 2010, American businesses have been cheaping out. I’d bet we’ve all seen at least one of the following:

  • Moving manufacturing from one third-world country to another to save five cents per hundred thousand products. (Trivia fact – Did you know that American companies once had manufacturing facilities in America and these employed American workers?)
  • Maintaining low wages since the workers don’t have other obvious choices.
  • Laying workers off when business slows down.
  • Keeping the minimum wage at the absolute minimum.
  • Fighting the formation of labor unions.
  • Coming up with bold new buzzwords to recycle the same old pap. For example, Kanban was a Japanese practice to offset lack of capital and limited space. In theory, the pieces-parts needed to build a practice arrive just as they are needed. Today we call this the Global Supply Chain.

So where are we today after saving all that money? American workers are finding better jobs or better paying jobs and not returning to their old employer. Whether the minimum wage has been changed by Congress, the economics law of “what the market will bear” has affected it. The offshore manufacturing is inexpensive for a reason. Perhaps the location is prone to devastating storms like typhoons. Perhaps it relies on dirt roads that turn to mud in certain seasons. In any case, the products have not made it here, and may not for a while.

And then there’s that wondrous Global Supply Chain. Ships get bottlenecked due to the Evergiven and the Maersk Emerald getting stuck in the Suez Canal. Many ships are anchored offshore waiting for a location to offload their cargo. Container ships are great, except that you cannot unload them except where the equipment is available–which means major ports.

And the accountants responsible for this? They took their bonus checks and put them in secret bank accounts in the Caymans or South Dakota. They don’t care that the one toy your child wants will be bobbing around until March.

And last, but by far not least, as President Biden pointed out today, the supply chain is now in private hands. The US Post Office, which was once a major player, is now Louis DeJoy’s private and personal Monopoly game. Guess what? We lost.

Let’s Fix the Post Office

It's Mr. Zip! He'll fix it!

It’s Mr. Zip! He’ll fix it!

 

We really need to do something about the United States Postal Service (USPS).

1. Their business plan has been to focus on junk mail because it is more profitable in the short run. Never mind that the junk mail goes immediately from the mailbox to the trash or recycling 99% of the time, and eliminating it might be the single largest contribution to solving global warming. Think of all the carbon released making paper, delivering paper to the printer, printing the junk mail, delivering it to the post office, forwarding it from there to the receiving post office and delivering it. Oh, and don’t forget the exhaust from garbage or recycling truck that then takes it away.

How many big businesses went under because to focusing on the short term?

2. The Postal Service is closing facilities in the name of efficiency while sacrificing effectiveness. A birthday card from my house to a neighbor no longer goes 6 miles to downtown Norfolk and back in one day. All that mail now goes 105 miles to Richmond and back in two days. Did I mention how all this transportation by the USPS contributes to global warming?

Plus it takes longer to deliver.

3. The latest brainstorm for the USPS is to compete with FedEx, UPS, and the other successful package delivery systems. So how’s that going?

  • I ordered an item from Mumbai, India on August 15. The Indian postal system showed the item dropped off at the Mumbai Airport Sorting Office on August 17 and arrived in New York (7809 miles) on August 18, at which point it:
    • was handed off to the USPS
    • status on its progress is no longer available
  • I ordered another item from Ames, Iowa, USA on August 13. This item was put into the mail on August 14 and sent to the USPS sorting facility in Des Moines, IA the same day (distance, 34 miles). This morning (August 21) it departed the Des Moines, IA sorting facility after a fun-filled, all expense paid week there.

Mind you, when I ship something, I use the USPS whenever possible. If I sell something on eBay, I send it Priority Mail (2-3 days) in a “if it fits, it ships” box. I purchase the postage on-line and print out an official USPS barcoded label. I’m trying to do my part.

So, c’mon guys. Dump the junk mail and compete like you want to win.

Miscellany

Wouldn’t it seem that somewhere at some time someone who encountered a porcupine would have the quills hit just the right acupuncture point so that he wouldn’t feel any pain?

When I was a kid, after sending the two box tops and fifty cents, I’d wait seemingly forever for my treasure to arrive from Battle Creek, Michigan. Now, thanks to computers, bar code scanners and the internet I can track my package. Right now I’m tracking one that accidently went to Richmond and has been floating around over there for almost a week. (Apparently neither people nor the optical scanners read the actual address, just the bar code.) Thanks to technology I no longer have to say “I think they screwed up!” Now I can say with absolute certainty, “They screwed up!”

If you worked in a plant where the made hand sanitizer, would you need to wash your hands before lunch?

As you walk through the frozen food section of the supermarket, did you ever realize that all those microwavable meals are actually mass produced leftovers?

The US Postal Service is actively trying to attract more junk mail when we’re already inundated with spam through e-mail. All this marketing and we end up with the worst economy in years.

Does anyone have pleasant dreams about feasting on healthy foods?

Have you ever felt sorry for Bette Nesmith Graham the woman who invented white-out? A multimillion dollar industry that was wiped out by the computer? (Actually she sold the business for $47.5 million shortly before she died. For the whole story, click here.)