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Fri Nov 18 2022 09:47:03

Reading the Tea Leaves as USPS Preps for Peak

By: Ina Steiner

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The USPS completed its installation of 137 new package-sorting machines ahead of the holiday mailing and shipping season, meeting its goal of expanding its daily package-processing capacity to 60 million, it announced on Thursday.

In May, the Postal Service had said it expected to receive about 40 million packages on its busiest days during the peak season and said it would be ready to handle 50 million packages a day. 

In yesterday's press release about achieving its new capacity goal, it did not say how many packages it now expects during its busiest peak days, but it is hiring 8,000 fewer seasonal workers than it had announced just 3 weeks ago on October 28 when it said it was actively hiring an additional 28,000 seasonal employees ahead of the holiday season.

Government Executive was on top of the news - it reported on a hearing before the Congressional House Oversight and Reform Committee that took place on Wednesday and noted that the Postmaster General had announced the change in seasonal hiring last week. "A spokesman said the workforce stabilization effort has made the higher number unnecessary," it reported. 

Executives told lawmakers at Wednesday's hearing that the Postal Service was well positioned to deliver mail and packages during the peak holiday season this year, even as, in the words of Government Executive, it is falling short of some goals and significantly scaling back its staffing levels. Gov Exec also noted the 20,000 number was far lower than the 45,000 seasonal workers the USPS had sought to hire last year.

The publication also noted the USPS has less space to process packages, citing a report from the USPS Inspector General that accompanied Wednesday's Congressional hearing.

One key question that remains unanswered - is the USPS expecting fewer packages than it had expected this year? A lot has changed in a short period of time, including statements from postal customers like Amazon which cited an uncertain fourth quarter due to macroeconomic challenges, and as layoffs hit the tech and ecommerce sectors.

Just like retailers and online merchants, the USPS and other shipping carriers must be ready for surges during the holiday season without knowing with great certainty how consumers spending might shift. Merchants are left reading the tea leaves, looking for signs of what lies ahead in the all-important peak season.



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by: GetAGrip This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 18 10:10:13 2022

The real question is " Will they deliver the mail to the right address or will they deliver it on the next street "

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by: LDWCallsOut This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 18 12:24:05 2022

USPS in my experience is pretty decent about delivering packages to the right address (mine) during the holidays.  I've never celebrated ''Commerce Day'' gift giving, but I love a sale opportunity to grab something I like for a bargain price.  During the past two years -- during the pandemic -- both FEDEX and UPS delivered BIG boxes to me that were not addressed to me.  A real PITA because I had to arrange a pickup for something that I had no part in purchasing.  Nobody has time for that.  

Yes, USPS has its problems, but so do all the carriers.

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by: terry55 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 19 09:14:34 2022

What did they expect, cut 40% of packages with surcharges, increase rates for the season and inflation as high as it is, its a no brainer. They should cancel the rate increase in Jan. since they'll spend less on seasonal workers.  

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by: Stone Cutter This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 20 20:49:24 2022

*** 8000 is nothing ****

As retail data begins to shrink, hotels and the airline industry say that vacation plans have increased significantly for this holiday season. Since the peak of Covid, consumers continue to spend heavy on “experiences” rather than on general merchandise.

The postal services employs approximately 700,000 full time and part time employees. For the postal service to decrease staffing by 8000, isn’t much of anything.

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by: flybuy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 21 10:45:34 2022

I have never had an issue with deliveries. I do remember in the beginning of Covid-19 when there was so much uncertainty and confusion, the people doing mail delivery worked until midnight. I saw this with my own eyes. Many who could afford to retire did. I have seen the local post offices with all newer employees. There are a few of the older employees but not many. So they have to go through a learning curve but my personal experience has been good.

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by: toastedmutt This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 22 11:42:34 2022

Count me among the thousands of sellers who had to deal with very angry buyers last year whose USPS item tracking stopped for days (even weeks) at some sorting facility location, did not arrive by the estimated delivery date, was delivered to the wrong address or never arrived at all.  Not as bad as during the height of the pandemic but I again lost money and merchandise due to the failure of USPS to deliver what I paid them to in a timely manner.

I closed my ecommerce businesses from Dec 10 through Dec 25 last year and still had to deal with lost and misdelivered packages shipped in November and early December.

I will close again this year and hope for the best. Looking forward to the vacation and will spend some time updating and adding new merchandise for Spring.  



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