30 million

Informed Delivery has reached 30 million subscribers, another milestone for the free online feature.

Customers who subscribe to Informed Delivery can digitally preview their incoming mail and manage their packages from computers, smartphones and other devices.

Businesses and other organizations can use Informed Delivery to add interactive content to the notifications that consumers receive. When a customer clicks on this content, he or she is taken to the company’s website to receive offers, coupons or more information about the firm’s products and services.

“Informed Delivery demonstrates that mail still has real value in the digital age,” said Gary Reblin, the Postal Service’s product innovation vice president. “As the number of subscribers increase, the more businesses use the service to add interactive content, which boosts postal revenue.”

The feature has continually evolved to meet subscribers’ changing needs since its national launch in 2017. 

Earlier this year, customers used Informed Delivery to complete their 2020 census questionnaires online, and USPS began testing email notifications to some subscribers within 20-30 minutes of the time their mail is actually delivered.

To keep growing the Informed Delivery user base, the Postal Service offers initiatives such as Inform 5, a program that encourages employees to tell at least five consumers each day about the feature.

 The Informed Delivery Blue and LiteBlue pages have more information.

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

A ‘selfless’ leader

Postal Service employees are remembering Mike Spates, a beloved USPS retiree who died Aug. 28 at age 77.

Spates joined the organization as an operations records analyst in 1972 and served in a variety of roles during his 37-year career, including managerial positions in delivery, retail, processing, transportation, pricing and stamps.

Under Spates’ leadership, the processes for walk sequencing mail were integrated into USPS delivery units, marking the introduction of delivery point sequencing.

He also served as a mentor to many employees, including Acting Engineering Systems Vice President Linda Malone, who said Spates helped pioneer the concept of employee engagement many years before its use became widespread.

“Mike understood the power of connecting with his people — understanding who they are and most importantly inspiring them to be a better person and postal worker. When I was a newbie — fresh from the field and new to headquarters — Mike showed me the ropes, as he did with all new employees,” Malone said.

She also recalled his emphasis on using data in operational decision-making.

“Mike’s leadership style and his commitment to allowing the data to determine actions needed has resonated with me throughout my career. I am sure that his legacy will continue,” she said.

Before Spates retired in 2009, he served in two high-profile roles. First, he was named chief of staff to Postmaster General John Potter, then was appointed consumer advocate and vice president.

As Spates climbed the ranks of the organization, he maintained a common touch, even traveling to Fayetteville, TN, to pay tribute to a USPS custodian when the mayor proclaimed a day in the man’s honor.

In addition to his postal career, Spates served as an instructor in the U.S. Army and taught at the University of Maryland’s College of Business and Management, where he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

He was survived by his wife, daughters, grandchildren and other relatives.

“Mike was the kindest, most charitable and selfless man, who so many admired,” his obituary stated. “His wonderful sense of humor and quick wit will be forever remembered by all who knew him.”

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

Gift card savings

USPS is offering savings on Mastercard card purchases at select Post Office locations this month.

From Sept. 5-18, customers and employees will receive $2 off the purchase fee of Mastercard gift cards valued at $50 and $100.

Variable load gift cards are excluded. No coupon is needed.

Time for a reboot

To help mark National Preparedness Month in September, the Postal Service wants employees to keep their technology updated in case of an emergency.

Mobile phones, computers and tablets can be lifesavers if disaster strikes, but only if they are reliable and work properly.

Poor battery life and outdated operating systems can render mobile phones and computers useless just when you might need them the most.

Here are a few technology tips:

Always keep a fully charged back-up source on hand to power your mobile devices. If an emergency occurs and you don’t have a power source, save battery power by minimizing device use or operate the device on low power mode.

Keep your technology up-to-date by downloading upgrades to operating systems. If upgrades are no longer possible, it might be necessary to buy new technology.

• During an emergency, communicate by text messages instead of phone calls. Texts are more reliable because they require less bandwidth.

• Follow trusted government agencies and weather apps to stay up to date. These resources offer official and accurate information before, during and after a disaster.

Remember to keep your contacts updated and synced across all of your channels in case you have to quickly to get information and give updates.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov site has additional tips.

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