USPS OIG – How Institutions Change
August 4, 2021 (RISC-WP-21-006)
- As the Postal Service experiences disruption in its industry, it can learn from the experiences of organizations that navigated change in their markets.
- The OIG researched the experiences of organizations in three disrupted industries to identify strategic takeaways for the Postal Service.
Over the past 20 years, digital diversion of communication, growth in ecommerce, changing customer needs and expectations, and new sources of competition have transformed the mail and parcel industry. In this white paper, the OIG researched public and private organizations with similarities to the Postal Service that managed to adapt and succeed in other disrupted markets. We highlighted specific insights from these case studies that can be informative for the Postal Service as it sets its strategies for the future.
First, we studied Amtrak’s experience in the passenger rail industry, which has experienced large changes in customer demand and expectations. The Amtrak case study illustrates the importance of developing and committing to a clear strategy that can both guide internal decision-making and help the Postal Service pursue stakeholder support for legislative reforms and other strategic goals.
Second, we examined the home video rental industry, which experienced a dramatic disruption due to advances in technology, the rise of the Internet, and evolving customer expectations. The experiences of Netflix and Blockbuster reinforce the importance for the Postal Service of anticipating and quickly preparing for change in its industry, as well as addressing consumer discontent before it becomes a larger strategic problem.
Finally, we looked at how brick-and-mortar retailers responded to the rapid rise in ecommerce through strategies aimed at maximizing the value of their physical retail locations. Enhancing the in-store experience, finding ways to leverage physical proximity to customers as an asset, and omnichannel approaches to commerce have allowed retailers to meet changing customer expectations.