How to save USPS
The U.S. Postal Service’s projection that it will save $2 billion by going to five-day delivery sounds impressive. Who would not want to save a couple billion dollars?
A proposal from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., would not just eliminate five-day delivery but further erode USPS.
It would change delivery point modernization to “centralized delivery,” meaning a primary mode of mail delivery where mailboxes are grouped at a single location. In layman’s terms, that means no more door-to-door delivery for 85 million households.
This is another inroad to the destruction of a great institution, the U.S. Postal Service. Who is to say, a few years down the road, we are not going to be charged a lease for the cluster mail receptacles at the end of our street?
USPS is the world’s third-largest computer infrastructure, including 5,000 remote locations with satellite service. Expand that into a consumer service offering high-speed broadband. Sell products and services that are now banned: cellphones, fishing licenses, notarizing of documents. Return USPS to the banking system it was part of from 1910 until 1966.
Three bills addressing USPS issues — S 316 with 28 co-sponsors, HR 630 with 163 co-sponsors and HR 961 with 131 co-sponsors — are worth more than $2 billion in savings.
Carl Bernacky, retired letter carrier
Better contracting strategy
In a recent article in the Aug. 26 Federal Times, I was taken aback by one of the new strategies listed by Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek: Reducing contract delays, lowering pricing and using performance-based logistics, an acquisition model that rewards contractors for improving processes and delivering services faster.
Being a former Defense Contract Management Agency contracting professional, I want to offer different suggestions to save money.
First, the buying activities and contract management officers must talk. How much time is wasted to correct a faulty specification or redundant methods by the procuring contracting officer?
Buying activities should be rated on the quality of output and not just spend. Second, ask the industry where the waste is! Keep in mind that if we did things smart, the vendor would be rewarded. Third, allow the quality assurance representatives to suggest improvements to the vendor and not get hammered with the changes clause.
The use of lean processes demands a free flow of information. We ask our professionals to think, then hobble them with processes, practices, policies from yesteryear. Industry and government would both save. Vendor processes can't improve so long as our policies and practices remain in the past.
James N. Phillips
Grass Lake, Mich.