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Improving transportation

Continuing work that began in June 2019, the Postal Service is aligning its surface transportation network as planned to help the organization improve service performance and move mail and packages more efficiently.

“Aligning our surface transportation network will help us to better serve the evolving needs of our customers, particularly when it comes to the growing package market,” said Logistics Vice President Robert Cintron, who is leading the effort. “We have been adjusting and optimizing surface transportation for more than a decade, so we are pleased this alignment is coming together.”

The alignment has expanded the number of surface transfer centers (STCs) and added “aggregation sites” to the network.

STCs are facilities where mail and packages are received in containers for consolidation and cross-docking to destination facilities. Consolidation of containers increases trailer utilization and helps reduce the number of daily trips needed. Aggregation sites reside in existing processing facilities where mail is accepted from smaller facilities and aggregated before going directly to a destination facility, or to the STCs for further consolidation.

The Postal Service expanded its capability by adding an STC in Kansas City, KS, in September 2019 and one in Chicago in May 2020, bringing the total number to 13, allowing the network to reach processing facilities within a 14-hour driving window. Aggregation sites were added at 56 postal facilities.

The primary effect of the alignment is to consolidate mail containers and outbound transportation more effectively, improve truckload efficiency and reduce outbound long-haul network trips.

In addition, the alignment will help the Postal Service to mitigate issues associated with the current shortage of long-haul truck drivers.

As part of the effort, effective Sept. 14, approximately 7 percent of the daily trip schedules will be realigned to more efficiently meet operating plans. USPS has kept all stakeholders informed of the alignment project status since last year, including employees, unions, management associations, mailers and logistics contractors.

Election education

The Postal Service has started a public information campaign as part of its ongoing effort to educate voters on the organization’s role in the mail-in ballot process and provide them with easily accessible guidance on how to successfully use the U.S. Mail to cast a vote.

Every residential mailing address and PO Box will receive an informational mailer that includes a checklist for effectively requesting and casting a mail-in ballot. The mailer also directs voters to the Postal Service’s new Election Mail website.

For domestic voters, the website provides direct links to federal election resources, as well as links to state-specific resources that outline processes, policies and deadlines for that state. For overseas and military voters, the site provides additional information, including links to resources supporting their election participation.

For constituents who wish to vote by mail in this year’s election, USPS is providing this checklist of tips to help voters request, receive and cast a mail-in ballot:

• Start today. Give yourself and your election officials ample time to complete the process.

• Rules and dates vary by state, so contact your election board to confirm details.

• Request your mail-in ballot (often called an “absentee” ballot) at least 15 days before Election Day.

• Once received, follow the instructions. Add postage to the return envelope if needed.

• Mail in your ballot at least seven days before Election Day.

These recommendations are designed to offer general, common-sense guidance to voters throughout the nation, while recognizing that each state has its own specific rules, deadlines and requirements.

The informational mailer is one part of a multi-channel advertising campaign by the Postal Service designed to inform the public of the importance of planning ahead if they plan to vote by mail.

The campaign also includes direct mail; television, radio and print advertisements; retail signage in Post Office lobbies; and social media.

Additional information and resources can be found on the USPS Election Mail website.

Share your feedback at uspslink@usps.gov. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.

Curtain call

An Ohio postal employee’s conversation with a theater employee has led to more than $300,000 in new revenue for USPS.

Cleveland Retail Associate Glorietta Burks has a daughter who is a performer with Cleveland’s Playhouse Square, and Burks knew the performing arts center was struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.

She picked up the phone and called the nonprofit organization’s marketing director.

“I am a huge theater fan, so I asked the director how he advertises for the theater,” Burks said. “I mentioned Every Door Direct Mail, which he had never heard of.”

She explained that Every Door Direct Mail allows businesses to tailor their mailings based on ZIP Codes and neighborhoods, and filter them by age, income and other demographic information.

Burks then submitted a lead through Clerks Care, one of the Postal Service’s employee lead generation programs.

Craig Zielaskiewicz, a Northern Ohio District senior field sales representative, followed up with the theatrical organization and closed an Every Door Direct Mail deal worth more than $300,000.

“The theater was in desperate need of donations from their season ticket holders to keep running,” said Zielaskiewicz. “To keep this historic theater alive, they used USPS as a vessel to continue Cleveland’s performing arts.”

Revenue generated from Clerks Care leads is counted toward the Postal Service’s Race for a $Billion campaign goal.

The initiative — which aims to raise $1 billion through employee-provided sales leads before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30 — passed its goal in August and stands at $1.1 billion, according to a Sept. 10 ranking of all district contributions.

The Sales Blue page has more information about Clerks Care and the Postal Service’s other lead-sharing programs, which include Business Connect, Customer Connect, Mail Handlers, Rural Reach and Submit a Lead.

Share your feedback at uspslink@usps.gov. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.