on May 10th, 2010 in Mail Processing & Transportation | 15 comments
 
Recent Government Accountability Office testimony to Congress stated processing capacity for First-Class Mail exceeds processing needs by 50 percent, and analysis by industry experts indicates an additional drop of 35 billion pieces in First-Class Mail by 2020. With mail volume declining, does this provide an opportunity for the Postal Service to capture savings by adopting industry best practices in its First-Class Mail processing operations? The OIG benchmarked operations at Postal Service processing and distribution centers with commercial presort mailers to identify best practices in First-Class Mail processing. Presort mailers combine mail from multiple businesses into larger mailings that are then sorted to geographic area, and receive reduced postage prices when the mailings are tendered to the Postal Service.

Large commercial presort mailers use comparable processing equipment and similar processing operations as the Postal Service. In fact, several of these mailers are publicly-traded companies with thousands of employees who are located in multiple geographic areas. Although the Postal Service is a leader in letter processing, it could improve its operations by adopting some of the “best practices” used by presort mailers, including: •Assessing and streamlining their network in a more timely manner based solely on the business case. •Relying on a flexible workforce (volumes drive employee work hours, and employees cross crafts). •Using automated or mechanized tray systems consistently to reduce the need for manual operations. What other practices can you suggest to help the Postal Service with First-Class Mail processing, even as volumes decline? This topic is hosted by the Office of Audit Network Optimization team.

Comments

the post office machines would have plenty of mail if you would stop Presort mailers combining mail from multiple businesses into larger mailings that are then sorted at private mailing houses.

also reduce the number of EAS employees so you have a ratio of 1 EAS to 20 craft instead of the current 1 to 8.

Sirs, First, what does your or anyone elses opinion matter when the USPS summarily rejects aany opinion (see GAO) that does not agree with theirs. Second, taking more mail sortation out of the contola of oversight and away from the enforcement of mail standards is asking for more enforcement issues and irregularities than have already been encountered. The best way for the USPS to deliver the mails is for the the USPS to be in control of the mail movement

The post office could improve the efficiency of first class mail by eliminating or reducing the excess subsidies to presort houses that create postal inefficiencies.
Most of the excess mail processing capability the USPS possesses is excess capacity to process mail in the daytime and evening when it used to process all the mail that is now preprocessed. There is much less excess capacity to process additional mail at night and in the morning for next day delivery. The USPS must maintain much of this capacity to be able to meet commitments on mail that arrives at the final destinating plant late the night before delivery or early the morning of delivery. Yet this capacity is no longer efficiently used because the USPS has farmed out the processing of mail that could be done during the other 16 hours per day. The USPS has also provided discounts for creating these inefficiencies that far exceed the costs of the USPS performing this same work.

With mail volume declining, does this provide an opportunity for the Postal Service to capture savings by adopting industry best practices in its First-Class Mail processing operations?

"The OIG benchmarked operations at Postal Service processing and distribution centers with commercial presort mailers to identify best practices in First-Class Mail processing. Presort mailers combine mail from multiple businesses into larger mailings that are then sorted to geographic area, and receive reduced postage prices when the mailings are tendered to the Postal Service."

Sounds like you're already sold on the presort houses doing clerk work. Are you really asking for opinions?

BTW, is there a presort house that we could compare with that processes 35 billion peices of mail?

We actually have a 25-1 eas to employee ratio at our plant. And I am certain that those " business better models" have a much more organized and effective maintenance staff.

Presort mailers sort the mail. We get it at the plants and have to undo all their work because the carriers can't walk with a dozen different bundles of sorted mail. We run it again to put it ALL in walk sequence. Additionally this type of mail is either slick, thin or stuck together which causes Out-Of-Sequence errors which brings the wrath of our supervisors. It's all a sham. The mailer does extra work for nothing and gets a deep discount and we do extra work with no extra income.

mustang13 makes a good point, and I have seen it firsthand myself. The Valpak coupons are a good example. There are times where we were told to run them all in the DPS, and there were other times we were told to hold them out as a 3rd bundle. The mailer is getting the WSS discount even if we are undoing and redoing their work.

Also, there should be no discount for presort postcards. There are so many of them that are so thin that, if anything, they should be charged a premium, due to the fact they are notorious for throwing the mail out of sequence and creating extra work.

Black envelopes should be charged non-machinable, also, the blue check packages should be charged as a package and not a flat. Ironically, there is more handling involed now than there was in the past for these, becaus the old brown check boxes would fit into a PO box, whereas the blue "flat" check package does not.

I doubt that.

I've received a letter for 3 years after someone put it in box and forgot it

Hal, could you please define... "best practices"?

"Hal, this is Dave, please define them in strategic single sentence terms currently being evaluated for adoption into the postal processing footprint."

Hal, the ship is listing without a rudder with a hole in it's hull...

I am unable to process the current question without
more data...

Dave

Yes. The postal service can not sort post cards because our machines are junk. I am not blaming Lenny (see below). What other business is currently being fined for trying to electrocute its own employees? This is all my fault: Safety Depends on Me!

The Postal services target of SDO to craft is 1 to 25 and SDO &MDO to craft ratio of 1 to 22. I believe this is still to high. To many cooks in the kitchen bump into each other. Inefficiencies are created when there is a lack of communication between the management employees on how things are to be done. Fro example a group of employees are told by one SDO to do one thing in an operation and 10 minutes later a different SDO is taking employees out of the section to do something else they they need to be done. Now the first SDO is unaware that the work that he is counting to be done is not going to be accomplished in time, due to lack of employees in his section. Some times the second SDO doesn't seem to care as long as their section is closed out in time. We are in the communication business but we seem to have a issue with communication amongst ourselves. The other question seem to be why do we process the least profitable mail with the highest labor costs?
For example First class mail has to be cleared daily and we process it during straight time hours. But BBM is proceed at time using overtime. We need to become more efficient in processing the BBM. Due to the decline of mail volume we should not have an issue in solving this issue if management practices time management. Also if we want to know how to process more efficiently talk to the people that do the job. Listen to them and their ideas. One of the weaknesses of the Postal Service is that we have people making decisions about thing they have never done. Walking across the floor is not enough. Shur charts and graphs are nice but unless you have done the job or listen to the person who runs the machine, loads the trucks and Dispatches the mail how can we really know what is going on and how the system can be improved.

the post office machines would have plenty of mail if you would stop Presort mailers combining mail from multiple businesses into larger mailings that are then sorted at private mailing houses.The post office could improve the efficiency of first class mail by eliminating or reducing the excess subsidies to presort houses that create postal inefficiencies

Process Logic: The Presort function reduces some of the first sortation functions which the USPS plants perform. Equipment and operations have been reduced in this area over the years. But, the Presorters can not perform the final DPS function. This is where the majority of labor is saved in the delivery function. The DPS process can only occur when you have "all" the mail. Hence, only the USPS can perform this function.

Surely the drop in mail numbers must result in a much more efficient service?

I certainly agree that they should concentrate on providing a better quality first class mail service but also standard mail too.

The postal service is much needed, even though technology has developed rapidly. However the postal service is also a technology, because it has provided an efficient service to serve all customers.
I believe the current postal service can be better in service and customer trust.

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