The customer goes online and chooses a face mask from those listed on the USPS Web Page and places an online order. Their order goes direct to the factory making the mask of choice where it is filled within minutes or less and dropped in the on-site USPS bin that is picked up several times a day. The USPS then delivers the order to the customer. The USPS could enhance its revenue stream by charging a very small fee for advertising on its Web Page
Background: For the last maybe five years I have, for the most part, limited my substitute teaching to AP and Honors Economics, Government, History, Physics, and Environmental Science. These are subjects where I can wing-it; take that late call where I know that there will not be a lesson plan. On my way in I thinking of subject matter related questions. I begin by asking the class where they are, then go Socratic asking questions that require that they apply what they have been studying. History took the longest to figure out the applied; I’ve shown some of how I do the History here at AB. I seldom lecture, don’t feel that I have to teach the subject matter; do want to help both the teacher and the students.
High Schools, desperate for ways to help their students succeed, can be too quick to fall for the buzzword economic solutions such as Entrepreneurship, Free Markets, … and offer them as panaceas without much justification. Both Entrepreneurship and Free Markets get my attention. If the students bring either of them up, I open it up to discussion then segue to innovation by pointing out that all Musk and Bezos did and are doing is asking how it should be. Something that they as students could do. The huge success Musk and Bezos enjoy comes from successfully implementing the changes. Walmart had asked the question of how it should be; Bezos saw what Walmart had done and asked the next logical question in re brick and mortar. I bring the class around to what’s next. I’ve no doubt that Bezos has fully realized that his warehouse model is already antiquated and that the next step is direct from factory as in my USPS example, that’s the way his mind works. Sorry Jeff, this time it goes to the USPS.
There is “always” going to be inventory somewhere whether it is in the warehouse, in transit from China (were it is being made), or coming off the line and falling into that bin, and getting picked up 1-2 hours later by USPS. I work to cut that throughput time and inventory in the processes at the plant and in transit, etc. I am not the high end guy who consults to MNC management.
It took me a moment to decide what you were talking about. 🙂
Being the junior guy in a company, I was sometimes stuck with doing the odd jobs which to the more senior (TIG) people did not want to do and included going to one of the local high schools in Madison, Wisconsin. They were looking for someone to talk about inventory control, a topic I knew a bit about having my CPIM and CPM and having consulted about it to various companies. In college I had worked with the SCORE program. More recently, I was talking to college students about travel in Asia and other places and how not to be the ugly American.
The topic of inventory is not exciting, not as exciting as designing a part as an engineer or being in sales and making that big sale. It can become more of interest if you can do an analysis of why their are issues. However, this (LSS) was beyond the scope of what you might talk about to high school students over 40 minutes. I would bring about 20 overheads which I had used in APICS seminars when I was doing such, some of which were rather cartoonish. Still they were serious enough to get the point across.
If you wish to be an entrepreneur selling a product or assembling one, inventory was important as it is cost and can be a stagnant burden if you have too much of it. Too maintain interest, I would also bring some of our product to show them what we made. This would catch their eye as it was things such as Zappetites, Lunchables, bacon, baloney, hot dogs, etc. Ask a question or answer one and I would offer one up as a reward. The teacher would refrigerate it for them. It was fun and I was asked back several times.
My old Econ Prof has me back at Loyola a couple of times a year.
To your point, the USPS could do such. They did do banking at one time which would now work well in places were banks will not locate. They could offer up a catalog of items which could be provided for a cost and postage thereby maximizing their bottom line. The companies could hold the inventory and ship direct for a minimal up charge. If you are a minority, having such a service would help as the resource usually will not locate in minority areas.