Friday, February 8, 2013

Post Office Closings

Recently, due in part to lack of congressional (i.e. House/GOP - the Senate/Democrats passed a bill that the House ignored) the US Post Office decided to end Saturday delivery.

Now, I don't have a problem with deciding to move from six days a week delivery to five.  It makes a lot of sense.

I do object to ending SATURDAY delivery.

If you need something right away, you next day it - or better yet, you messenger it.

The regular (First Class) mail is no longer used for extremely time sensitive materials.  It is still fairly fast, and we can expect stuff to get done in 2-3 days of work(source).

Assume for example that it takes 3 days - as in Monday mailed, arrive on Thursday.  Mailed on Tuesday arrives on Friday.  But mailed on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday (3/5 days), then there is an extra two day gap, and 3 days becomes 5 days.   If you drop it in the mailbox on Sunday, it gets there 4 days later.  If you drop it in the mailbox on Saturday it gets there 5 days later.

Net Net:  Two days a week it is 3 days, one day it is 4 days, and four days a week it is 5 days.  Average travel time is 4.28 days

Now assume that instead of ending Saturday delivery, they instead choose to end Wednesday (or Thursday) delivery.

If you drop it on any day except for Saturday, it gets there in 4 days.  If you drop it on Saturday it takes 5 days.

Net Net:  Average time is now only 4.14 days. Yes, it is only a slight gain, but you also gain consistency.

Now this does make scheduling postal employee's time more complicated.  In effect, you can't simply give them a normal work week.  But they don't get that right now.   We are not creating more complex postal work schedules, we are simply not simplifying it as much as we could.

The question is, do we want to help the postal employees service or do we want to help their customers.

The US Post Office choose to help the employees instead of their customers.

There is another issue -  Next day delivery.

UPS and Fed Ex offer next day delivery service 6 days a week (Saturday delivery is included free for FedEx, may cost additional for UPS)

So the Post Office will be providing one less day.  Clearly for Next Day service, giving up Saturday delivery is preferable to giving up Wednesday. But honestly, either way, the post off is turning itself into a second-tier player in the Next Day delivery business. 

I personally think they should have given up Wednesday.  It's better for the standard 2-3 day delivery business they are famous for, and either way they have screwed themselves on Next Day service.

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