Big changes are coming to the way mail is transported between processing centers and post offices. The Postal Service has notified the unions and management associations that it’s launching an initiative called “Optimized Collections,” starting in Richmond, VA, on October 28, with potential expansion in November and January to Columbus, OH; Madison, WI; Oklahoma City, OK; and Santa Clarita, CA.
The notification doesn’t use the term, but the optimized network will employ what’s called a “milk run.” The expression comes from the days when delivering milk was a daily event, and the milkman distributed the full bottles and collected the empty bottles from a previous delivery all at the same time, and then return with the empty bottles back to the starting point.
But there’s nothing mundane about the Optimized Collections initiative. It will upend a decades-old system that involves longstanding relationships with hundreds of trucking companies, delay a significant portion of First Class mail and packages, and probably violate the statutory prohibition against discriminating against some users of the mail.