The battle for shippers' parcel business heated up last month when the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced a major realignment and some important new hires from private industry.
At the beginning of July, the USPS reported that it had reorganized its service offerings into two groups: a newly integrated Shipping and Mailing Services Division, which consolidates the agency's product development and commercial sales efforts, and a Customer Relations Division.
Heading up the Shipping and Mailing Services Division will be Robert F. Bernstock, a former C-level executive with companies like Campbell Soup Co., Vlasic Foods International, and Scotts Miracle- Gro. Reporting to Bernstock will be the senior vice president for mailing services, a newly created position. To fill that slot, the Postal Service hired one of its most experienced competitors: David Shoenfeld, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at FedEx.
Stephen Kearney, most recently USPS's vice president of pricing and classification, will lead the Customer Relations Division. He will be responsible for consumer and business relationship management, external and internal communications, and pricing.
In addition, the reorganization consolidates the agency's Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) efforts under its chief operating officer. The IMB, which is expected to come online in May 2009, is intended to replace the less capable Postnet bar code.
The reorganization is the latest in a series of changes under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. That legislation gave the USPS greater pricing and organizational flexibility to enable it to compete more effectively with DHL, FedEx, UPS, and regional parcel carriers. By reaching into the private sector to recruit new leaders, the Postal Service is clearly signaling its intent to adopt not just industry's operational practices but its mindset, too.