OIG issues Management Alert over substantial increase in delayed mail
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG) has issued a Management Alert over “a substantial increase in delayed mail over the last several months”. The alert, issued on Thursday (13 August), warned that there is a “need to immediately address the timeliness of mail processing following the January 5, 2015, service standard revisions”.
The serviced standard revisions are part of the ongoing Network Rationalization project at USPS. The OIG set the scene in the Management Alert: “Phase I involved consolidating 141 mail processing facilities between 2012 and 2013. Under Phase II, begun in January 2015, the Postal Service planned to consolidate 82 additional facilities by October 2015.
“However, many stakeholders have voiced concerns that delayed mail is increasing and service is declining as a result of major network changes.
“In May 2015, the Postal Service’s chief operating officer (COO) announced that, in response to customers’
concerns about the need to stabilize service performance, the Postal Service would delay implementation of Phase II consolidations. However, the COO did not provide a definite date for resuming the consolidations.”
As a results of the changes, said the OIG, “mail was not being processed timely throughout the country”.
Indeed, the OIG found a significant shortfall in performance: “We found in the first 6 months of 2015 delayed processing increased by about 494 million mailpieces (a 48% increase), as compared to the same period last year.”
While the weather played some part in this trend, with a large number of winter storms disrupting the postal service from January through to March, OIG found that “service standard revisions impacted the schedules for nearly all processing and transportation activities nationwide”.
OIG added: “The impacts on customer service and employees have been considerable. There is no
longer overnight service for single-piece First-Class Mail. We found the External First Class Measurement (EXFC) scores declined by as much as 6.71% for 2-day service right after the service standard revisions as compared to the SPLY.11 Likewise, scores declined by as much as 38.60% for 3-day service right after the service standard revisions as compared to the same period last year.”
The OIG acknowledged that USPS management “has taken some steps to alleviate the service issues” . However, the OIG said it “continues to believe that no further significant national network or operational changes should take place prior to establishing criteria and stabilizing the network”.
Click here to access the full text of the OIG Management Alert.