As Benjamin Franklin is the acknowledged Republican ancestor of the U.S. Postal Service after having served as the first colonial-era postmaster general, what would Ben say to the “suits” of the Google challenged USPS who have driven a government affiliated corporate monopoly into the economic ditch? As the extant master of fiscal frugality, I’m sure that Dr. Franklin would recommend some very simple adjustments to trim the “fat” from the budget.
1. Simplify your operation. The more complicated the scheme, the easier it is to screw up. The first step would be to fire every “efficiency expert” that has ever been hired. Obviously, if the USPS is a couple of billion dollars in the red with projected losses heading to over $6-plus billion in the coming year, then the postmaster general needs to pass out some swords for these alleged “experts” to fall upon or face criminal prosecution for expelling too much CO2 and contributing to global warming. Their forced departure saves big bucks on unnecessary payroll. Include PR lackeys, too. Their sole purpose is to provide political cover over embarrassing emetics by bureaucratic nitwits that couldn’t find their backsides with both hands. There, I just saved the USPS even more money.
2. Stop using computer models as a justification for performance workload versus labor cost containment. A computer readout is binary-coded spew, with no bearing in the real world, that is generated for non-combatant office weenies to justify their pernicious existence. When a computer can physically walk the mail up a flight of stairs, let me know. I want to see what kind of running shoes your PC wears.
Technology should be the slave of the worker not the other way around. Screw the computer paper chase, I’ve got mail to deliver.
3. Trust the USPS “Smurf Army” (carriers and clerks). They know more than management does. In my office there are three career mailmen that have a combined work experience of over 90 years delivering mail. So how does a manager whose real age is half of that work experience gainsay the wisdom of his/her betters?
4. Low-tech advertising. Put the big blue mailboxes back in the neighborhoods. They were the cheapest, most visible, physically tangible and cost effective dual purpose advertising for our bottom line. What part of “out of sight, out of mind” don’t you fathom? Management can’t exculpate the malfeasance of their business acumen because mail volume is down if management has eliminated a daily visceral reminder to the public of our services. I don’t care if there is just a single letter in that box at the end of the day as that single letter may be the difference between floating in a fiscal black sea or drowning in the red one if you get my drift.
5. Take off your power doofus necktie and use it as a headband. For 30 days every 12 months all managers, from the postmaster general to floor supervisor, must re-qualify as a grunt in the Smurf Army whether as a mailman, clerk, trucker, janitor or whatever. You will garner more respect from the troops if you participate in the stupidity of the rarefied policies that you’ve green-lighted and mayhap exercise more caution in the implementation of future stupidities. And if you can’t hang in the trenches then the USPS can save more money by delivering you to the nearest unemployment line. It works for the military.
6. We are not sexy! Ben Franklin was a known horn-dog of such renown that Bill Clinton would blush. Tap into the culture. Sex sells! Why spend $35 million to watch some guy with one testicle chase a yellow T-shirt in a French bike race (booooring!) when you could make a commercial, at a fraction of that sum, featuring box office American blockbuster “Iron Man” flying an Express Mail package through a gauntlet of bad weather, Muslim terrorists and a pack of rabid chihuahuas to its destination? When it’s delivered, have the actor take off the Iron Man helmet to reveal … ta-DA!! … actor/politician Fred Thompson dressed as Ben Franklin giving the thumbs up or maybe even Jessica Simpson (my personal choice) with the suit half unzipped.
What would you rather watch?
Editor’s note: This is part two of a four part series.
Steve Breen is currently being vetted as the next postmaster general (taxes paid) and is still the “best looking mailman in the U.S. Post Office.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org