The Postal Service Finally Gets it Right...In a Sense
It's time to play Follow the Bouncing Mr. ZIP. The USPS has finally gotten its way after the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved the balance of the market dominant price changes. They will take effect May 31, which is a Sunday.
For those of you who follow the finer nuances of the saga, you know the road to market dominant price changes began in mid-January, with a filing request of a CPI-capped 1.966 percent increase. Twice during the process, the PRC told the U.S. Postal Service that its proposals were problematic, some riddled with errors and simple mathematics miscalculations.
Just yesterday, the PRC green lighted the April 16 CPI Price Change amended notice. The order concluded:
"…the proposed prices for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services, as amended by the Response to Order No. 2378 and further amended by the Response to Order No. 2398, do not violate the price cap in 39 U.S.C. § 3622(d) and are consistent with, or justified by an exception to, the workshare discount limitations in 39 U.S.C. § 3622(e). The Commission also concludes that the proposed classification changes are consistent with applicable law and regulations."
Again, the prices become effective May 31. That's 23 days out.
From the standpoint of someone who does not have any skin in the mailing industry, the price "adjustment" process seems deplorable to me. Mailers now have to mobilize to implement the new rules and pricing into their jobs, some of which have already been prepared. There are plenty of other fine print details that need to be hammered out by mailers and supporting vendors.
One could point out that the marketing community and their mailing partners should have been prepared for an increase, one way or another, so the "cost certainty" argument doesn't hold water. But how about the old "the failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part" adage? It goes both ways.
There should be at least a 60-day grace period between the PRC green light and the effective date. Why should the mailing community have to scramble because the good folks at the U.S. Postal Service need a remedial course in math? One thing's for certain…with a two-month moratorium on price increases, my bet is that the USPS would be a little more motivated to correctly crunch the numbers and not have to be admonished by the PRC or asked to redo its homework, so to speak.
All we're asking for is a little professional courtesy for the folks whose advertising mail volume makes it possible for Mr. ZIP to keep his lights on.