For those of my readers who do a lot of direct mail, or send out lots of customer communications, the elimination of Saturday delivery and pick up is an important consideration in your document management plans. Saturday is actually one of the days big mailers like, since people are more likely to be home and the mail has a greater impact than when it arrives on weekdays. And a lot of people pay bills on Saturday. For that reason, many big mailers have suggested eliminating Tuesdays or Thursdays, which are slower mail days.
But the Postal Service has decided on Saturday, it seems, in part because it will provide greater cost savings, which is the whole point of dropping one day of service. Plus, it has less of an impact on business-to-business mail.
Here is just some of what the Postal Service has to say about Saturday delivery, in a lengthy online manifesto on the subject:
The United States Postal Service proposes to end regular Saturday mail delivery to street addresses as part of a comprehensive plan to ensure that it can continue to deliver affordable service to the American people.
Technology is reshaping how Americans communicate and conduct business. Many activities formerly done by mail are now accomplished online, and as a result, the volume of mail delivered has plummeted, from 213 billion pieces in 2007 to 177 billion pieces in 2009. Volume is expected to continue to fall to 150 billion pieces by the end of the decade.
The sharp decline in volume has profound implications for the continuation of universal mail service in the United States. The Postal Service is not funded by taxpayers. It is directed to operate as a business does, funded entirely by revenue from its products and services.
While the drop in mail volume has dramatically reduced revenue, postal costs are largely fixed because carriers still stop at each address even if that address receives fewer pieces of mail. The result is a large and growing gap between revenues and costs. Without fundamental changes, this gap will grow every year, producing cumulative losses of $238 billion by 2020.
Under the Postal Service plan for five-day delivery:
- Mail will not be delivered to street addresses on Saturday, and mail will not be collected from blue street collection boxes or Post Offices on Saturday. Also, there will be no Saturday pickup of mail from homes and businesses.
- Mail addressed to Post Office Boxes will continue to be delivered on Saturday.
- Post Offices will remain open on Saturdays. No Post Office will be closed as a result of the change to five-day delivery.
- Express Mail will continue to be delivered seven days a week.
- Outgoing mail may still be dropped off at a Post Office or in a collection box on Saturday, and will be canceled and processed on Monday.
- Bulk mail acceptance that now takes place on Saturday and Sunday will continue.
The Postal Service does not take this change lightly and would not propose it if six-day service could be supported by current volumes. However, there is no longer enough mail to sustain six days of delivery. Ten years ago the average household received five pieces of mail every day. Today it receives four pieces, and by 2020 that number will fall to three. Reducing street delivery to five days will help rebalance postal operations with the needs of today’s customers. It also will save about $3 billion a year, including reductions in energy use and carbon emissions.