A USPS bankruptcy could signal the biggest adjustment for modern businesses of the past half-century. Just how possible (or imminent) is it?
Invoices, direct mail, marketing, shipping, fulfillment, personal correspondence, brochures, collection notices … even monthly bills – although digital technology has made it easier to handle some of these functions online, the USPS is still the traditional standby for almost all of them.
And yet, recent developments suggest the USPS may be one crucial step closer to disappearing altogether.
For months, the Postal Service has been discussing the possibility of only delivering mail 3-4 days a week. More recently, it was announced that the organization will default on upcoming benefit payments to the U.S. Treasury … a reality which not only puts retired employees at risk for necessary health coverage, but also signifies a major financial failure.
Those payments add up to over $10 billion in debt. Unfortunately, it only digs the USPS deeper into what seems like a bottomless pit of unresolvable debt.
The one factor the USPS has working in its favor is that it’s actually guaranteed right in the Constitution. But this latest development has analysts wondering how long the government will allow the organization to beat itself into the ground, without looking into possible provisions which would allow the bulk of transmissions to be delivered electronically, with postal carriers focusing specifically on bulk deliveries and special packages.
The main factor working against the USPS at this point is that it also mandated to be self-sufficient in terms of generating revenue and paying its own bills. The Postal Service in its current state is failing to meet that mandate, and has been for the past several years.
Consider the ongoing layoffs, the end of overnight delivery, and the rise of mass email as looming death knells for the long-term future of the USPS. In the end, it may simply transform itself from one form to another, just as it has in past decades. The key difference being that most of the USPS’s past transformations have allowed it to flourish, providing better service to daily customers. Chances are, whatever happens to the USPS down the road will more than likely signal an end to daily delivery of hard copy mail as we know it.