"We don’t want to replicate theDeutsche Post model in believing thatpurchasing and controlling all thenetwork assets will make us successful,"says Paul Vogel, managing director ofthe US Postal Service’s Global Businessunit. "We instead believe that finding as many partners around the world as possible is a much better model for us."
This the USPS has set out to workwith post offices in the Asian region,rather than pushing them to liberalisetheir markets.
One example is the enhanced GlobalExpress Mail service, set up in July2005 by the USPS in partnership withthe post offices of Japan, China, HongKong, South Korea and Australia.
The service offers a 5-7 day, date-certain,money-back guaranteed deliveryto these countries, without hiddensurcharges, and is available over thepost office counter. "All six post officescan leverage our collective capabilitiesto better satisfy current customers andto acquire new ones," says Vogel. "Our state-of-the-art technology linking eight billion postcodes allows our customers to know exactly when the shipment will be due for delivery."
IT is an important part of the relationship."The post offices of Japan,China, Korea and Hong Kong all havea fairly sophisticated IT infrastructureand we are working with them to linkall our technologies together," Vogelsays.
The USPS has also been pushingthe use of electronic messaging fortracking mail, introducing EDI for itsinternational carriers in January 2005.It currently has links to 40 airlines andis working with the International PostCorporation to share information andset goals for electronic data collection,with the aim of eventual total accountabilityfor mail.
Otherwise, Vogel says that its strategyin the Middle East and Asia is the sameas it is pursuing in other regions ofthe world. "We’re looking to becomemore flexible and accommodating toindividual international commercialcustomers, and going into contracturalarrangements with them to provideproducts and services that make themmore successful," he says.
In the US, the US Postal Servicehas been reviewing its use of air carriersrecently, imposing more stringentrequirements on airlines that saw allthe US majors apart from AmericanAirlines and Continental exit the domesticmail business.
Though Vogel stresses that the USPSworks with a wide range of carriers andintegrators, it also has been makingmore use of FedEx, both globally anddomestically.
In the international arena, an alliancewith FedEx to provide a premiuminternational expedited service calledGlobal Express Guaranteed has beenin place since July 2004, and led to a50 percent rise in traffic in its first yearcompared to the USPS’ previous globalexpedited product.
– Peter Conway