In Finland, the postal service will soon be mowing lawns. You just need to provide the mower and €65 a month to get 30 minutes of cutting a week. Explaining that mail carriers had suggested the new service, the BBC said it was a grassroots movement.
Where are we going? To financially distressed postal services.
Surprises From Finland
Called Posti, the firm that delivers Finland’s mail is wholly owned by the government. However, with subsidiaries that function in other countries, they do more than a typical national postal service. Perhaps that is why they are trying to reverse the huge amount of money they lose from mail delivery with a menu of supplementary services.
Through a pilot project with a health services company, postal workers are assisting people with disabilities, helping with their meals and doing some chores. In another program they are providing security services. As for the lawns, their Director has said, “Posti hopes Finland will see great weather this summer and that our customers enjoy the hottest time of the year. This summer, we invite you to rely on our nationwide network of professionals to help you maintain your lawn…”
Our Bottom Line: Creative Destruction
I suspect Joseph Schumpeter’s creative destruction best describes the plight of national mail delivery throughout the developed world. The painful process through which an innovation eliminates jobs and technology in an existing industry, creative destruction explains the plight of the postal service. With armies of mail deliverers, sorting facilities, trucks and post offices, the USPS and other national postal services are getting bypassed by a digitized world.
These are the numbers that display annual dips in USPS first-class letter volume (over which they have a legal monopoly). The one bright spot is package delivery:
Is there any chance that home care and lawn mowing will reverse postal service financial problems?