Amidst the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic, Louis DeJoy might have the most important job in America. In a time of Americans sheltering in place and staying at home, the US Postal Service has banded the nation together by delivering mail and packages to consumers in every part of the country. While other parts of the economy have suffered, the Postal Service’s mix of affordable rates and commitment to universal service has been the engine behind the recent eCommerce surge. Also, the Harris Poll recently identified USPS as the most essential organization in America during COVID-19. Despite its importance, however, USPS is still on shaky financial footing. Still, there is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Officially assuming the role of Postmaster General this week, Louis DeJoy might be the magic bullet that leads USPS back to financial stability.
Unlike Predecessors, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Boasts an Accomplished Business Background
Unlike previous Postmaster Generals, Louis DeJoy comes from outside the Postal Service’s ranks to fill its leadership role. However, this appointment from outside the USPS inner circle isn’t without merit. DeJoy previously served as the chairman and CEO of New Breed Logistics. In that role, he helped transform a small, family-owned transportation company into a nationwide provider of highly engineered, technology-driven, contract logistics solutions. Eventually, New Breed Logistics went on to employ more than 9,000 people under DeJoy’s leadership. New Breed merged with XPO Logistics in 2014, with DeJoy serving as CEO of XPO Logistics’ supply chain business. He then retired in December 2015 as CEO, and joined the XPO Logistics board of directors. He served in this position until 2018.
With his extensive background of success in the for-profit logistics sector, DeJoy holds the necessary perspective to lead USPS back to profitability.
DeJoy Recognizes the Critical Need for Accessibility and Universal Service
Of course, the main challenge USPS faces is how to continue providing universal service while adjusting its business model to turn a profit. Despite his accomplished background in the private sector, DeJoy recognizes the need that USPS fills for Americans—individuals and small businesses alike. As such, he isn’t ready to compromise the organization’s promise of universal service for the sake of profit. Instead, he will focus on reaching a solution that reaches both ends of the spectrum.
In a video he recently recorded for the entire USPS organization, DeJoy said the following:
“Over the past several months, the importance of the United States Postal Service has been more apparent than ever. We are critical to our national economy, and millions of small businesses and their employees. And we are the face of the federal government to millions of Americans who count on us to deliver information, Census forms, and mail-in ballots. This is why the National Security Counsel rightly identifies us as a critical government service.”
DeJoy’s Trajectory for Success
In the same aforementioned video, DeJoy listed the following goals he will focus on during his tenure as Postmaster General:
- Create a viable operating model that ensures the Postal Service continues fulfilling its public service mission
- Identify new and creative ways to fulfill the USPS mission
- Continue to be a diverse and supportive workplace where people can have opportunities for promotion, enjoy a great quality of life, and count on a secure retirement
- Maintain the Postal Service’s standing as one of the most trusted and respected entities in American government
- Communicate to policymakers and the American people about the Postal Service’s work, its unique role, and the obstacles it face
Package Services are DeJoy’s Best Asset as Postmaster General
Embracing package services and growing this part of the Postal Service’s business will be the key to ensuring the organization’s future. As it currently stands, package services are the Postal Service’s fastest-growing revenue source. USPS touched on this fact in their recently-released Five-Year Strategic Plan.
When one looks at the big picture, this data point is no accident. USPS provides all Americans with access to universal service, affordable rates, and reliable delivery. This level of access applies to any and all Americans. An individual living in rural Hawaii can ship at the exact same rates as someone living in Manhattan. As a result, USPS has become the premier shipping carrier for small eCommerce businesses across the country, no matter where they may be headquartered.
Thus, in the era of digital commerce, USPS has become the great equalizer, and a monument to equal opportunity. USPS levels the playing field for small businesses to have a fair chance at success…and small businesses make up the backbone of the American economy. By giving small eCommerce businesses a chance to thrive, it’s not just a win for the Postal Service. It’s a win for the United States economy as a whole.
Moving Forward with Both Eyes Open
DeJoy steps into his role as Postmaster General in an era of major change for the organization. In fact, his time helming the Postal Service may be marked by perhaps the most change it will ever see. Mail volumes are down, though package volumes continue rising. Legislation requiring the pre-funding of future employees’ benefits is yet to be repealed. Still, DeJoy is optimistic about the future of USPS, yet fully aware of the challenges ahead.
“Yes, the Postal Service faces a number of challenges. But we will meet them together, and I am truly excited for the work ahead,” he said. “We stand on the shoulders of the men and women who built this institution, who grew it, and who maintained it. We pledge to them—and I pledge to you—that we will continue to make the United States Postal Service a great institution worthy of its standing.”