Could Coronavirus Deal a Fatal Blow to the U.S. Postal Service?

Could Coronavirus Deal a Fatal Blow to the U.S. Postal Service?

The U.S. Postal Service’s financial health may be too fragile to fight the coronavirus.

The volume of first-class mail, the agency’s main source of revenue, has been declining for years, and the coronavirus has accelerated the downward trend. At a time when people are increasingly ordering online, one might think that the surge in package deliveries would offset these losses. Unfortunately, debt obligations tied to pre-funding retiree benefits 75 years into the future have made it impossible for the USPS to remain solvent. Should it get bailed out like so many other organizations?


Video Spotlight: COVID-19 and the USPS


This post is based on the NBCNews article, Could Coronavirus Deal a Fatal Blow to the U.S. Postal Service?, by A. García-Hodges and H. Talbot, April 15, 2020, and the YouTube video, The Impact COVID-19 Is Having on the US Postal Service, by WGN News, April 16, 2020. Image source: BassittART/E+/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Besides the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, what are the reasons why the USPS experiences chronic, financial problems?

Guidance: The reasons include: decreasing volumes of first-class mail due to the rise of email; universal service to all urban and rural Continue reading

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JIT Risks in the Food Supply Chain

JIT Risks in the Food Supply Chain

The just-in-time supply chain for grocery store replenishment depends on transportation of food items from around the globe.  Shipping is primarily used to move food items. COVID-19 restrictions have slowed down the movement of goods dramatically.

Most grocery stores carry limited days of inventory and depend on transportation systems all working on time.  The pandemic has exposed a major flaw in just-in-time systems: no extra inventory in the system.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the CNN article, Can’t fine what you want in the grocery store? Here’s why, by Hanna Ziady, April 2, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Tada Images/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1. Discuss the limitations of the just-in-time supply chains.

Guidance: The major limitation discussed in the article is a disruption with transportation systems.  Without reliable transportation, just-in-time is not possible.  Students may also note that having little safety stock at distribution centers closer to retailers is another concern. Continue reading

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