Can the biggest factor that caused the downfall of the U.S. Postal Service be the one thing that might save it?
While first class letters and other services have dropped in numbers, the number of packages shipped by Amazon via the USPS has increased. A spokesperson for the U.S.P.S. stated recently that the package delivery business is growing on an almost daily basis. With internet retail picking up popularity and fuel costs going out of sight, more companies are shipping via the Postal Service.
In an experiment to gain some of the revenues going to private shippers such as Fed-Ex and UPS, the Postal Service began offering same-day delivery service to online retailers in selected areas. The service, called Metro Post has started out small but was met with great enthusiasm. The service comes at a time when Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer is looking for a way to increase its delivery fleet and do cheap same-day delivery.
Amazon’s plan for delivery domination? Erect million-square-foot warehouses near the country’s largest cities so that when an order is placed, it can be boxed up and sent out the same day on a wide scale. The expanding of Amazon’s physical infrastructure has been kept pretty much out of the public eye. The plan will require a transportation infrastructure to go along with it that won’t just consist of USPS trucks moving faster, it has to restructure the logistics framework as well.
The way things work now, the order is put together at a distribution center then turned over to the shipper who in turn feeds the package into their own system. This generally means the package has to travel to another distribution center before heading out for delivery. All that work isn’t fast enough for same day. To accomplish that, the package has to go directly from Amazon’s center to the customer. Enter the under worked USPS drivers and vehicles.
The optimistic logic of this so-called “shared economy” just might be exactly the boost the in dire straits the flagging U.S. P.S. needs. Granted the postal service has a bit of work to do before they become the top choice for Amazon since the pilot program has been limited to a maximum of 200 packages a day. However, since there would be no need to hire extra drivers or put more trucks on the road, there is a good possibility that the test might just turn into a permanent arrangement.