With a loss of $3.8 billion last year, the US Postal Service is facing a challenging business climate. Mail volume fell to 177 billion pieces for 2009, from 203 billion a year before. Outside consultants have estimated a deficit of $238 billion in the next decade. So, the postal service is now considering
making many changes to its business, including cutting Saturday delivery from its regular service in an effort to reduce this shortfall. Eric Zorn, of the Chicago Tribune
, goes further and asks "Why stop at Saturday?
" Sure, with the advent of the digital age, less and less things really need to be sent in the physical realm. However, don't be so quick to write off the USPS. The postal service still did $68 billion in annual revenue for 2009, which is bigger than either UPS or FedEx. At 44 cents, first class mail is still one of the best deals around -- sending a 1 ounce object anywhere in the country within a few days for that amount of money is a modern marvel. Of course, considering that one-third of USPS revenue comes from advertising mail, any change to delivery windows or rates will surely generate flak from that industry. That said, the USPS has had a history of profitability, so these changes just reflect a desire to return to that state, which is good practice for any business, whether they are in the public or the private sector.