Mail moments of nostalgia and networking

Left: Elena Heer (L), daughter of Guernsey, WY, Clerk Jane Heer and Guernsey Postmaster  Curt Artery saddled up under the light of a full moon during a recent Pony Express ride  reenactment. Right: Author Laura Vanderkam uses personalized stationery when keeping in touch with friends and contacts.

Left: Elena Heer (L), daughter of Guernsey, WY, Clerk Jane Heer and Guernsey Postmaster
Curt Artery saddled up under the light of a full moon during a recent Pony Express ride
reenactment. Right: Author Laura Vanderkam uses personalized stationery when keeping in touch with friends and contacts.

Get an audio peek behind the scenes of a Pony Express ride reenactment on the new edition of Your Postal Podcast, online now.

You’ll also hear from the author of a recent Fast Company article on how to network with others through the mail.

The podcast is optimized for mobile listening – just go to YourPostalPodcast.com/mobile on your personal mobile device. You can also listen to the program by searching for “Your Postal Podcast” on iTunes or YouTube.

Both the audio and transcript versions of this month’s edition and an archive of previous shows are also available at YourPostalPodcast.com. If you have questions about how to access the podcast, please email us at yourpostalpodcast@usps.com.

USPS online solution saves time for small business owner

Lincoln, NE, College View Station Retail Associate Heather Bayless

Lincoln, NE, College View Station Retail Associate Heather Bayless

When Lincoln, NE, College View Station Retail Associate Heather Bayless saw a business customer lugging more than 200 packages, all without postage, into the office to mail to customers, she knew she could help improve the customer experience.

Bayless discussed online postage opportunities as well as package pickup with the customer. The business owner was intrigued by the time saving proposition and agreed to look into USPS.com. Shortly thereafter, Field Sales Representative Christy Funcke worked with the customer and walked her through the process of using USPS online solutions to prepare and mail her shipments.

The customer now takes advantage of the benefits of PC Postage and saves a trip to the Post Office by having her shipments picked up by her carrier.

Winter storms no match for determined Postmasters

Provo, UT, Postmaster Rick Brandon and Moab, UT, Postmaster Jay Stocks.

Provo, UT, Postmaster Rick Brandon and Moab, UT, Postmaster Jay Stocks.

On Christmas Eve, a snowstorm blanketed parts of Utah, giving residents a healthy collection of fresh powder to enjoy. While the storm might have dissuaded some from venturing out that night, Provo Postmaster Rick Brandon and Moab Postmaster Jay Stocks took to the road to make sure customers received their holiday cheer.

Brandon discovered that a sizeable number of packages destined for Moab didn’t make it to the Post Office in time for distribution on Christmas Eve. Without intervention, the delay would have prevented customers in Moab from receiving their special items in time for Christmas Day. Unwilling to disappoint customers during the holidays, he contacted Stocks to remedy the situation.

Stocks knew his customers would likely want their special items in time for Christmas, so he coordinated efforts with Brandon to transfer the packages into his care. The two drove great distances and met at Soldier Summit at 2:30 a.m. where Brandon transferred the 7 Priority Mail Express and 90 Priority Mail packages to Stocks’ vehicle. That morning, Stocks drove across Moab to deliver the items as local residents awoke. Customers were grateful that Stocks and Brandon went to great effort to ensure a merry day for their customers, and expressed their satisfaction across social media outlets.

“I was amazed at the service,” a local resident told the Times-Independent. “The gift itself wasn’t all that important, but to have it delivered on Christmas Day, under the circumstances, was way above and beyond the call of duty.”

Carrier Makes a Special Delivery

Council Bluffs, IA, City Carrier Richard Danielsen Jr. with Aiden.

Council Bluffs, IA, City Carrier Richard Danielsen Jr. with Aiden.

Special deliveries don’t always come in the form of letters or packages. For Council Bluffs, IA, City Carrier Richard Danielsen, Jr., the newest member-to-be in his family was somewhat more eager to say hello than he anticipated.

Richard and his wife Nikki were expecting their fourth child when the moment of arrival drew near. They made all the necessary calls and departed for the birthing center shortly thereafter. Before they had traveled four miles down the road from their home, Nikki announced that their child was on its way.

Richard pulled over to the side of the road, exited the vehicle, and ran to the passenger side of the vehicle just in time to deliver his son. They continued their trip to the birthing center afterward and were in the midst of celebrating Aiden’s arrival into the world when the couple was told that Nikki had encountered life-threatening complications during the birth that needed to be addressed. An ambulance quickly raced them to the hospital in time to correct the problem. Nikki made a speedy recovery afterward, and the couple is now enjoying quality family time with their son.

NextGen Delivery

Letter Carrier JD Kohl demonstrates the capacity of the new mailboxes.

Letter Carrier JD Kohl demonstrates the capacity of the new mailboxes.

Letter Carrier JD Kohl shows off the new NextGen mail box, part of more than 125 in an operational trial in a Broomfield, CO subdivision. Customers volunteered to have their boxes replaced by USPS maintenance at no charge. The boxes will accommodate standard Priority Mail boxes and nearly 80 percent of all parcel box sizes.

“It’s a real convenience to the customer,” said Kohl. “The box protects the package from the weather. It also may save the customer from coming to the Post Office if they aren’t home.”

Broomfield Postmaster Jamie Osborne also touts the safety and maintenance aspect. “This eliminates trips for the carrier along sidewalks and up steps to porches,” he said. “It also should save on vehicle maintenance, eliminating wear and tear on starters and transmissions.”

A USPS film crew recently documented delivery to the new boxes, which are only in four locations across the country.

Dress Finds its Way Home

Supervisor Dwight Porter with PCAs Bob Anderson and Jim Barr.

Supervisor Dwight Porter with PCAs Bob Anderson and Jim Barr.

Recently, Information Systems Supervisor Dwight Porter received an unexpected call at home. The owner of a local bakery in Dexter, IA, had contacted Porter’s daughter, an employee at the bakery, and asked to speak with her father. When he took the call, the owner explained that one of her customers was in a state of panic. She had ordered a christening dress for her 3-year old daughter from Hawaii for an event that was scheduled to take place the next day. Package scans indicated that the item had remained at the Post Office for 5 days, but was never sent out for delivery. Porter took the customer’s contact information and assured her that he would look into the situation.

When Porter looked up the tracking number, he found that the package had been looping in the distribution center for 5 days due to a bad label.

Porter went to work trying to locate the package. After extensive sleuthing, and assistance from members of his team including Process Control Assistants Jim Barr and Bob Anderson, the search for the missing dress came up empty. Undeterred, Porter and Anderson searched sorting machines responsible for handling Dexter parcels and discovered the missing parcel in a mail cart.

When Porter personally delivered the package to the customer, she expressed her gratitude and gave him a greeting card that read, “Your caring and willingness to help a perfect stranger is such a blessing. The world needs more people like you! Thank you.”

“Other postal employees ask me all the time, ‘You’re the IT supervisor. Why do you have to deal with the customers?’” said Porter. “I usually tell them I don’t have to. I do it because it’s the right thing to do. But our customer said it best in a text message to me later.”

“You made a difference in our lives today!” texted the customer. “Thank you so much!”

Packages in the Air

Packages in the air

Many companies such as Amazon and UPS are currently testing drone delivery options as a means to ship packages in the future. Jumping on the technology bandwagon is a certain post office that could soon be delivering packages via drone to isolated areas.

GeoPost, the express parcel delivery operation of France’s La Poste, recently completed testing of a new prototype delivery service using drones. The six-bladed aerial vehicles are designed to handle up to 9 pounds of cargo carried up to a 12-mile radius from the point of origin. The drones are fully automated and don’t need a human pilot for real-time navigation, though humans will monitor flight operations from control stations.

While tests were successful, citizens in urban areas aren’t likely to see drones flooding the skies just yet. GeoPost currently plans initial delivery only in isolated areas and for emergency use.

To see a GeoDrone in action, click here.

Groceries Delivered

Groceries delivered

Global interest in the grocery delivery business is heating up. Many businesses, including Postal Services around the world, seek to provide the convenience time-starved customers crave by slowly adapting their infrastructure to provide this service. The expanded source of potential revenue has recently prompted a major postal provider to join the lineup of those vying for a piece of the market share pie.

Joining forced with Irma, a segment of the second oldest grocery chain in the world Coop Danmark group, Post Danmark is hoping to enjoy the lucrative fruits of delivering groceries to the Denmark community. Besides offering the postal organization an additional source of revenue, the new partnership allows Irma to expand its delivery coverage area to a larger part of Denmark beyond where the company was able to deliver on its own.

Delivery times for groceries range from 1 to 2 days at a cost of $8.80 to $10.59 depending on location. Grocery items packed in special containers are transferred from Irma’s distribution warehouse to Post Danmark’s distribution centers across the country. A carrier then delivers the container directly to a customer’s doorstep.

Demand for grocery delivery service has helps Irma realize an 80 percent increase in online sales this year alone. Its new partnership with Post Danmark will greatly enhance the grocery chain’s ability to delivery items to its customers without a large capital investment in infrastructure and delivery vehicles to satisfy customer needs.

Do you think demand for grocery delivery services in the United States could eventually translate into a significant source of revenue for the Postal Service?

Priority Mail Delivery Map

Delivery map

Postal Service customers have more Priority Mail visibility than ever before with the Priority Mail Delivery Map.

By typing in an origin ZIP Code, an individual can visually identify the estimated length of time it will take to send a Priority Mail package to a destination.

To access the delivery map online, go to: https://www.usps.com/priority-mail/map/.

Parcel Lockers Open for Business in Seattle

Seattle Letter Carrier Berhane Solomon scans a parcel destined for an Amazon.com locker.

Seattle Letter Carrier Berhane Solomon scans a parcel destined for an Amazon.com locker.

Online retailer Amazon.com has launched a pilot program for parcel pickup at 12 sites throughout the Seattle, WA, area. One of the key’s to Amazon’s success in this venture is its strong partnership with the Postal Service.

When Amazon.com customers choose a secured locker site for delivery of their purchases rather than a home or place of business, their parcels are sent to the postal delivery unit nearest the locker of choice. Packages are then delivered to the appropriate locker location and scanned by the carrier via an access terminal in the front of the unit. The locker system accepts the delivery and a door on an appropriately sized locker unit opens automatically for the carrier to place the item inside.

A customer can retrieve the package from a locker by scanning the number or barcode received online. Upon receipt of the code, the corresponding locker door automatically opens, giving a customer access to the parcel.

The new system is designed to enhance both the convenience and speed by which Amazon customers receive their packages.

  • Hello, I'm Benny the Blogger: I'm the world's most famous postal employee. My hobbies are snappy quotes, kite flying and publishing. I was born Jan. 17, 1706, but don't call me old.

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