From a printer's perspective, I would say the USPS should continue to deliver the mail ... HARD COPY mail. But as mail volumes continue to decline, the USPS is trying to find new business opportunities and revenue streams. Some have said that the USPS needs to keep up with the times and develop a digital strategy.
Interestingly enough, the USPS just announced that Paul Vogel has agreed to move from his current position as Chief Marketing & Sales Officer to the newly created position of President, Digital Solutions. Taking Paul's place as CMO will be Nagisa Manabe, who was most recently Vice President, New Growth Platforms at Coca Cola. I expect that we will get more information related to the strategy of this new structure and what it will mean to postal customers in the very near future.
Regardless of whether you think the USPS should stick to hard copy mail, or develop products and services related to digital, banking, insurance or whatever, the time to lay the foundation for the next 20 years and beyond is now.
As Congress continues to debate postal reform legislation that is critical to get the Postal Service back on solid financial footing, stakeholders and interested parties will be discussing the long-term future of the USPS. It will happen at this year's PostalVision 2020 Conference in Washington, D.C., on June 12-13.
As the press release promoting the conference states: "PostalVision 2020 is an annual conference designed to create a dialogue between postal regulators and digital innovators about the long-term future of the United States Postal Service." At the inaugural conference in 2011, over 150 stakeholders convened to discuss the challenges facing the USPS and the possible digital, regulatory and business solutions that could move the organization forward.
Quad will be participating on a panel representing various segments of the mailing industry. The discussion will focus on the importance of maintaining a viable USPS, and what we are doing to incorporate a multichannel approach to add value to printed products and the mail. Other sessions will include presentations and discussion from the folks that make policy, set prices, and create products and services. The attendee list includes:
· Pat Donahoe - USPS Postmaster General
· Paul Vogel - USPS President, Digital Solutions
· Ruth Goldway - Chairman, Postal Regulatory Commission
· David Williams - USPS Inspector General
· Frederic Rolando - President, National Association of Letter Carriers
· Jeff Jarvis, author of Gutenberg the Geek, Public Parts and What Would Google Do?
· Congressional Staff
Since the majority of our printed product is distributed and delivered through the mail, we feel compelled to stay involved in all aspects of ensuring that we have a viable Postal Service. Whether it's mailing requirements, mail preparation, transportation, technology, pricing, legislation, or determining the future of the Postal Service, we want to be part of the solution. I would hope that everyone else that has a major stake in printed product and the USPS would feel the same way.
The conference provides an environment for open discussion for all attendees. It's an opportunity to make a statement to other attendees and those on Capitol Hill that print is alive and well, but changing in a good way. It's no time to let others decide your future. I hope you'll join us at PostalVision 2020.
For more information, visit www.postalvision2020.com.
Joe Schick is director of Postal Affairs for Sussex-based Quad/Graphics Inc.