In continuing my mental exercise on replacing the USPS I was stuck with solving the problem of delivery and drop-off for rural America.
Especially deep rural America – where the roads are still gravel.
A I commented on earlier – Wal-Mart’s based its success on serving rural America remarkably well.1
With more than 4000 stores nationally, 3000 stores worldwide, and a highly efficient network of distribution centers – there are few organizations with the presence, passionate customer base, and logistics experience capable of competing with the USPS.
Even half a mile down a dirt road in rural Wisconsin – a Wal-Mart is still a quick 15 minute drive away. And has been for 15 years.
Let’s say Wal-Mart returned to the days of small town packaged good store.
As part of your weekly drive into town for clothes and groceries, you drop your outgoing mail – bills, personal correspondence, everything – off at the customer service desk.
For the personal correspondence – you provide an email address or phone number of the recipient and you go about your shopping.
Wal-Mart – in their characteristic price cutting manner – charges nothing for this service2.
The outgoing mail is picked up by the existing incoming delivery trucks and their first stop is the nearest Wal-Mart distribution center. Where the mail is sorted for delivery to next closest Wal-Mart distribution center to the final destination2. And so on, and so on, until it’s delivered to the Wal-Mart closest to the intended recipient.
Once at this last Wal-Mart – a email (or voicemail) is sent to the intended recipient notifying them that an item is ready for pick-up during regular business hours.
What else would that quote at the top of the post be about?
Oh, how Wal-Mart is transforming the prescription drugs market.
1. Yes, I’m aware my original question was about a competitive non-profit. I do think that’s an more interesting idea – but I landed on Wal-Mart. So let’s explore this for a moment.
2. Just like email.