• on Oct 14th, 2008 in Post Offices & Retail Network | 66 comments

    The Automated Postal Center (APC) is a self-service kiosk typically placed in Post Office lobbies to provide customers with a convenient alternative to the full-service counter. APCs offer customers a wide range of postal products, services, and information.

    Based on the user’s direction via touch screen and PIN pad, APCs can weigh and rate letters, flats, and parcels up to 70 pounds. APCs dispense variable rate postage in any denomination for Express, Priority, First Class, International (under 1 lb), and Parcel Post Mail. APCs also provide customers the option to purchase Delivery Confirmation, Signature Confirmation, Insurance, Certified, and Return Receipt services. APCs allow customers to print Express Mail forms and perform ZIP Code lookup. APCs accept debit, credit, and EBT cards for payment and generate a receipt.

    Many APCs are available 24 hours, 7 days per week. There are 2,495 APCs in use today. In its Strategic Transformation Plan, the Postal Service set a goal to double the percent of retail transactions conducted at alternative channels, such as the APC. However, in many cases consumers avoid the APC, and continue to come to the retail counter for transactions.

    • What would motivate you to use the APC kiosk or the internet to purchase Postal products?

    • What other service options could make it easier for you to mail a letter or package?

    We invite you to join our discussion by clicking the "Comments" link below.

  • on Oct 14th, 2008 in OIG | 29 comments

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    The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG) plays a key role in maintaining the integrity and accountability of America’s postal service, its revenue and assets, and its employees. The USPS OIG achieves its mission of helping maintain confidence in the postal system and improving the Postal Service’s bottom line through independent audits and investigations. Audits of postal programs and operations help to determine whether the programs and operations are efficient and cost-effective. Investigations help prevent and detect fraud, waste, and misconduct and have a deterrent effect on postal crimes.

    With $73 billion in revenue, the Postal Service is at the core of a $900 billion mailing industry that employs more than nine million people. The 800,000 employees and contractors of the Postal Service comprise the largest civilian federal workforce in the country. The employees of the Postal Service impact every American on a daily basis.

    We are sponsoring this blog and related discussion forums to facilitate an ongoing dialog on relevant issues affecting the U.S. Postal Service. We intend to gather and enrich ideas from a large number of perspectives to address emerging issues and attack critical challenges facing the U.S. Postal Service. We will also use this tool to explore complex Postal issues that are sometimes misunderstood.

    We invite participation from Postal Service employees and customers, other Inspectors General, as well as colleagues from international posts and their audit and investigative organizations. Our goal is to add further value to the U.S. Postal Service. We want to hear from you!

    • What are some critical challenges facing the Postal Service that you would like to see us explore through this blog?
    • What could the Postal Service do to improve its service to you?
    • What could the Postal Service do to increase its revenues?
    • Do you view the Postal Service a business or a public service, and why?

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