Mailers Council’s Bob McLean on the Next Steps in Postal Reform
A little more than a week ago, what might be the last pre-reform rate case went into effect. And this case took a strong stand on correcting prior ills throughout the various classes; larger, heavier and irregular-shaped mail saw a significant rise in rates that some said better reflected their true cost to process for the U.S. Postal Service. However, such steep increases handed down at the last minute in a rate case are exactly what mailers are hoping to avoid under postal reform.
Target Marketing interviewed Bob McLean, executive director of the Mailers Council, an Arlington, Va.-based organization that represents marketers on postal policy and legislative issues, on the subject of postal reform for its special report on paper and production, which will be featured in the June issue of the magazine. The following Q&A is based on that interview, but also includes McLean’s thoughts on the challenges still facing the U.S. postal system that ultimately will become the mailer’s burden.
Target Marketing: What is the current state of affairs for the USPS?
Bob McLean: The biggest change for them is the rate process. But to take a step back for a second, there are more than a dozen studies required by the postal reform act. Some of these are to be carried out by the Postal Service, many of them by the Postal Regulatory Commission and one of them jointly, which will determine the new rate setup. Some of them will be done by the GAO, and some by the FTC. And all of them are to be reviewed with the oversight of Capitol Hill … The two biggest of all these studies are … the one [that involves] coming up with a rule for the new rate process and another one that is very important to mailers, [which] is the requirement to create a system for delivery standards and measurement systems to see if [the USPS is] meeting these new standards. That’s huge for mailers, because right now we do not have a structured performance measurement system for most of the classes of mail that most mailers care about.