Quad/Graphics Chairman, President & CEO Joel Quadracci returned to Capitol Hill last week Wednesday to urge Congress to act swiftly to put the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on a path to financial stability and long-term sustainability.
Testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Quadracci communicated the importance of the USPS to private industry and the U.S. economy while emphasizing the urgency for postal reform to reverse a crisis of confidence in future of mail delivery.
Earlier this year, Quadracci provided similar testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In both his appearances on Capitol Hill, he was the only printer and member of private industry invited to testify.
"As we know all too well, the Postal Service is losing money at a rate of nearly $25 million a day with a total planned loss in 2013 of $7.6 billion," Quadracci said in his written testimony provided in advance of last week's hearing. "This is clearly unsustainable. The constant threat of insolvency is obviously troubling for the Postal Service, but it is even more troubling for the American economy overall. Although the Postal Service is financially challenged, it is still a $65 billion business that supports a private sector economy worth more than $1 trillion, employing some 8 million private sector workers and accounting for 9% of our nation's Gross Domestic Product."
Quadracci's written testimony also highlighted the importance of a financially solvent USPS to the printing and mailing industries. "Without Congressional action.the uncertainty for our clients and the entire mailing industry will stifle volumes. Many clients may choose to move away from print only because they do not have confidence that the Postal Service will continue to be a viable option. This uncertainty can be resolved by Congress taking decisive action to show that the Postal Service will remain a strong and practical option for our marketers and publishers to distribute and advertise their products."
Among the core provisions Quadracci said are necessary for meaningful postal reform are:
• Provide the USPS with the authority to streamline its operations. The USPS has infrastructure and capacity to handle and process 300 billion pieces of mail annually. According to USPS estimates, mail volume will only be 153 billion pieces in 2013. It's important that the USPS be able to right-size its operations for the realities of its projected volumes, Quadracci said.
• Adopt a 5-day mail / 6-day package delivery schedule as part of a comprehensive reform package. Quadracci said Quad/Graphics and other mailers support a move to 5-day mail / 6-day package delivery, along with the proposed conversion to curbside and, where feasible, cluster box delivery. These changes will result in major savings to the USPS annually. "The mailing industry will make the necessary changes to adjust if five-day mail delivery is implemented as part of a comprehensive plan to ensure the Postal Service's financial viability, and with an adequate period of time (at least six months) to prepare for the change," Quadracci testified. Additionally, he noted that Quad/Graphics is already prepared to help its clients through the transition while continuing to add value.