Not even on Valentine’s Day
On this Valentine’s Day, the focus of today’s blog will be on why the Post Office has perfectly legitimate reasons for not playing nice with your student housing property. If you think you have reason to hate them, that list is likely a whole lot shorter than theirs. Its not that the Post Office actually hates your property, the problem is that its just costly and a logistical nightmare for the US Postal Service to manage mail to transient properties designated as Single-Point Delivery properties. Unfortunately, that means you are left with the burden of sorting and final delivery of mail.
They don’t have it out for you
Its also important to emphasize that while the US Postal Service is technically an independent agency that does not receive any tax revenue, it is still subject to Congressional approval. As anyone can imagine, this hinders the ability for the Postal Service to be nimble and creative to better address these types of issues effectively. Imagine being a business that has to wait for Congress to make a decision about changing your hours of operation.
Understanding makes all the difference
To get a better understanding of the issues, here are some of the issues from the Post Office:
- Transient residents - The USPS absorbs huge cost by servicing properties that experience a high turnover in residents, especially give that the USPS does not collect a fee for the forwarding of mail.
- Mail box maintenance - When the USPS provides physical mail boxes with the intent to provide full service they are required to absorb the costs associated with maintaining the mail boxes. This may include parts, repairs, work hours, name tags and sleeves, etc.
- High volume of packages - When the USPS offers full service they must attempt delivery of all packages and items requiring signature or postage to the resident’s door. In most cases delivery can not be completed because students are not traditionally home during typical delivery hours, which makes this process a very expensive aspect of service given the USPS employee is typically paid hourly for a non productive task.
- Excessive Customer Service issues - The USPS must dedicate costly resources to assist customers (in lobby, by email and by phone) for issues that are more often than not have little to do with USPS. Customers are usually trying to locate an item that is simply not yet available.
- Often inefficient modes of delivery, especially on campus - Delivery to on campus locations can be among the most costly for the USPS as there are time consuming obstacles associated with these deliveries. Delivery managers are accountable for productivity indicators such as SEI (Street Efficiency Indicator). On campus (and many off campus) student housing are among the most inefficient deliveries that have a negative impact on SEI.
- High management turn over on property - USPS supervisors and managers are generally not able to enjoy a sustained business relationships with property management staff on student housing properties due to the high turnover. This makes long term and repeat problem solving much more complicated for USPS staff.
- Storage during holiday season and summer - Most USPS facilities barely have room for normal hold mail and parcel awaiting pick up. Student housing properties can have far greater needs for storing these items during semester changes, holidays and summer months.
- Increased workload at peak times – USPS staffing does not have the ability to compensate for explosive volume increases. these increases occur at new semester starts, after holidays and other key times during the year. The increases impact entire operations and cause processing and delivery delays for unrelated properties.
- Easy operational cost recovery for USPS - When a Postmaster correctly identifies a property as SPD that Postmaster is able to recover costs compared to full service delivery. These are far reaching costs that can even multiply as a new property fills to capacity and generates more transient volume.
- Employee complement control - New properties and new deliveries quickly translate into additional line items such as staff, fuel, vehicles, etc. There is plenty of incentive for a local Postmaster to select Single-Point Delivery over full service when the property fits the criterion.
- Dollars and cents – Rural carriers are paid according to number of deliveries. A 1000-bed property equals 1 delivery for a rural route as Single-Point Delivery property. The same property as a full service property equals 1000 deliveries, which can equal an entire route in some cases. With so many budget cuts and limited capacity to adjust product and service fees, USPS makes use of whatever it can to keep solvent.
- Delivery often complicated (or impossible) during game day activities (on and off campus) - Game day and many other on and off-campus activities make delivery complicated, costly and often impossible.
Hopefully, this clarifies some of the issues the Postal Service deals with relating to Single-Point Delivery properties. Remember, its not the postman that delivers the mail that has designated your property as a Single-Point Delivery property… s/he is, after all just the messenger.
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!
If you have anything you would like to add or an experience you would like to share, please comment below.
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US Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The US Postal Solutions, Inc. companies offer mail delivery management, delivery services and package logging / package management software. For more information regarding US Postal Solutions, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.