Celebrating Independence Day

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Billings, MT, Downtown Station Retail Associate Stacie Colarchik.

To celebrate Independence Day, team members at the Billings, MT, Downtown Station adorned their office with vibrant red, white, and blue displays. The festive decorations and bright employee smiles not only greet customers as they enter the office, they also complement local 4th of July celebrations including Symphony in the Park, Festival of Cultures, Alive after Five, the Strawberry Festival and many more.

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Billings, MT, Downtown Station Retail Associate Cordell Bird.

Coloring Page Contest

Coloring page 2015 contest

Recently, Newburg, MO, Post Office Retail Associate Leann Mcnew met with a local school and proposed a coloring contest for pre-school and kindergarten classes. When the school enthusiastically accepted, Mcnew provided them with copies of the 2015 Postal Coloring Page creatively designed by Earl Musick

Students at the school added their colorful design touches to the page and submitted them for entry into the contest. Four winners were selected by customers of the Newburg Post Office. Postmaster Jim Woodman and Mcnew presented a Christmas stocking to each of the winners at the school.

“The contest provided a way for me to give back to a community that has been so gracious to me,” said Mcnew.

A Hearty Helping of Holiday Shipping and Stamps

Left: USPS Consumer Advocate John Budzynski. Right: Sycamore, OH, Postmaster Earl Musick poses with the Peanuts Gang (thanks to the USPS Augmented Reality App, available for Android and iPhones).

Left: USPS Consumer Advocate John Budzynski. Right: Sycamore, OH, Postmaster Earl Musick poses with the Peanuts Gang (thanks to the USPS Augmented Reality App, available for Android and iPhones).

The holidays are here, and so is another edition of Your Postal Podcast, filled with tips for
customers mailing gifts and greetings, along with special remembrances of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Online now at YourPostalPodcast.com, you’ll hear from USPS Consumer Advocate John Budzynski on how the Postal Service is helping customers make shopping and shipping a whole lot easier this holiday season.

Next, you’ll meet the Postmaster of Sycamore, OH, who has a very personal connection with the new “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Forever Stamps.

Both the audio and transcript versions of this holiday edition, along with an archive of previous shows, are available at YourPostalPodcast.com.

Shipper Experiences Lower Earnings During 2014 Holiday Season

Shipper experiences lower earnings

Last week, UPS released a warning about its fourth quarter results that reduced adjusted earnings below expectations. The unexpectedly lower estimate shocked investors, sending the stock down nearly 10 percent in Friday’s trading session.

UPS attributed the cause for the decrease to higher than expected peak-season expenses as well as a West Coast port dispute. In 2013, the company experienced shipping difficulties during the holiday season and sought to avoid a similar situation in 2014 by spending approximately $500 million on network upgrades. While the upgrades allowed UPS customers to enjoy higher quality service, the expenditure adversely impacted operating costs. The company also experienced less than expected volume during most of the 2014 holiday season, though the increased network capacity did assist with handling the significant Cyber Monday and Dec. 22 spike in demand.

For the 2015 holiday season, Chief Executive Officer David Abney stated in a Jan. 23 release that the company “will reduce operating costs and implement new pricing strategies during peak season.”

Given this information, customers of the firm could potentially see a temporary price increase for peak delivery days during the holiday season in 2015 to avoid a repeat of 2014’s financial performance.

USPS Delivers Record Season

 

 

2014 holiday stats

The U.S. Postal Service exceeded its holiday delivery projections this season, delivering approximately 524 million packages in December — an 18 percent increase over last year.

On Dec. 22 alone, the Postal Service delivered more than 28 million packages. This marked the most packages delivered in a single day in the organization’s history. The package delivery record was set while also delivering approximately 463 million pieces of mail.

Improving tracking and reliability for customers was a key factor in preparing for holiday delivery demand. In advance of the holidays, the Postal Service also lowered some prices for businesses and frequent shippers.

“The volume this holiday season demonstrates that retailers and consumers increasingly are turning to the Postal Service to deliver their packages,” said Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Donahoe. “We know how much our customers count on us to make sure cards, letters and gifts make it home, and I’m proud that we delivered on our promise.”

In preparation for the holiday package volume, the Postal Service enhanced its network and made adjustments to mail processing and delivery operations, including delivering packages seven days a week beginning late November. More than 20 million packages were delivered on the five Sundays prior to Christmas to keep the mail moving and networks clear. An additional 118,000 packages were delivered Christmas Day.

“The dedication and resolve of our employees is commendable,” Donahoe said. “They adapted and delivered heavier-than-ever volumes of packages. They worked extremely hard, many of them braving harsh weather. I’m honored by the commitment they demonstrated this holiday season.”

The Postal Service is continuing to anticipate holiday volume through January as consumers use the mail to return holiday gifts. Merchants and retailers can take advantage of several return services, including Priority Mail Returns Service, to help customers make their returns easier. Consumers with gifts to return can pack items in Priority Mail packaging, which comes with insurance and tracking, and is available free at Post Offices or online.

Time is Running Out – Send Those Holiday Packages Soon

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Are you still looking to mail packages to lucky recipients for Christmas? If so, you should plan on doing it soon.

Tomorrow, Sat. 20, is the last day to send items via First-Class Mail and Priority Mail through the Postal Service to ensure arrival by Dec. 25. If you miss that deadline, there’s still an opportunity to make sure packages arrive by Christmas, but only through Priority Mail Express mailed no later than Dec. 23.

To help packages arrive at their destinations in a timely manner, follow these easy tips before sealing the box:

  • Print addresses clearly and include all address elements, such as apartment numbers and directional information (ex: 123 S Main St. Apt. 2B)
  • Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box. Customers should include the new batteries in the original packaging.
  • Place a card inside the package that contains the delivery and return address. This ensures the package can be delivered or returned should the mailing label become damaged or fall off.
  • Never guess a ZIP Code. NO ZIP is better than a WRONG ZIP.
  • Include both “to” and “from” information on packages – and only on one side.
  • Do NOT reuse mailing boxes – they weaken in the shipping process.
  • Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Priority Mail and Priority Express boxes are free at the local post office.
  • Leave space for cushioning inside.
  • Stuff glass and fragile, hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.

Shipping Companies Could Refuse Packages This Holiday Season

Shipping companies could refuse packages

A slowly recovering economy and intense competition could prompt business to ramp up their sales promotions this holiday season. While this has the potential to increase spending by consumers tempted by irresistible deals, some might find that getting items delivered to their homes may have to wait until after the holiday rush.

FedEx and UPS both announced plans this year to work with major businesses to ensure a smooth, timely delivery flow. Last minute sales, however, could add unanticipated pressure to shipper delivery networks. This might have the potential to adversely impact operations and reduce delivery fluidity. If such a situation occurs, it could become necessary for the two shippers to increase the cost of their package services, and perhaps even prompt them to refuse the business if it threatens to overwhelm the network.

If their delivery networks suffer a repeat performance of last year’s delays, both shipping companies may find themselves with the tough decision of introducing higher shipping charges specifically for the holidays in 2015. This could cause online shoppers to abandon their shopping carts at checkout when faced with higher than expected shipping charges, and might even result in an unexpected revenue decline for businesses during their most profitable time of the year.

As the holiday season progresses, only time will tell if advanced preparation by UPS and FedEx is sufficient to handle actual volumes this year.

Happy Presidents’ Day!

Presidents day 2014

UPS Warns of Fourth Quarter Problems

UPS warns

United Parcel Service warned investors this past Friday that earnings for the fourth quarter of 2013 would be less than anticipated.

The company blamed the shortfall on unexpected levels of online purchases coupled with a “surge of last-minute orders,” as well as weather challenges in December and a shortened peak holiday season. The company stated that they delivered more packages on December 23 than ever, realizing a 13 percent increase over the previous year. UPS also said that the “year’s highest delivery day occurred six days later than expected and was 7.5 percent greater than planned.”

These results further demonstrate that online shopping demand in the United States is not only growing rapidly every year, but at a pace far greater than those companies charged with providing delivery services anticipated.  

UPS releases their financial results next Thursday at http://www.investors.ups.com/.

Why do you think online shopping is surging at a faster rate than some have anticipated?

Make Holiday Returns a Snap with Priority Mail

Shipping Value and Peace of Mind

Did you or someone you know receive a gift this holiday season that wasn’t exactly what you were looking for? Do you plan on returning it to get something else? Take the hassle out of returns this winter with Priority Mail from USPS.

Priority Mail offers a flat shipping rate with zero surcharges, $50 of insurance included, up to 11 tracking scans for transparent visibility during shipping, and day specific delivery. Besides offering great value, Priority Mail packaging products can also be ordered online at USPS.com for free and delivered directly to your home. You can also print postage online and have the Postal Service pick up the package at your home when it’s ready to go – without any additional fees.

When it comes to holiday returns, and all other package deliveries, there’s no greater value and commitment to superior service than America’s U.S. Postal Service.

  • 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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