• on Oct 26th, 2009 in Delivery & Collection | 27 comments
    Providing mail delivery is central to the Postal Service’s mission.  Delivery is the Postal Service’s largest operational function and accounted for approximately one-third of its nearly $78 billion in total expenses during 2008.  Postal Service management is working hard to reduce delivery costs while continuing to deliver to 149 million[1] addresses in the most efficient manner possible.  Despite declining mail volumes, the Postal Service is challenged to provide cost efficient and effective service to a delivery network growing by more than 1 million addresses each year. The mode of delivery plays an important role in determining the cost and efficiency of delivery.  The Postal Service provides three modes of delivery for existing delivery points — to the door, to a mailbox on the curb, and to a centralized point that serves several addresses.  Door-to-door delivery is the most costly mode and is no longer available for new delivery points.  When new developments are established, curbside and centralized deliveries are the only options.  Since centralized delivery is the cheapest mode, the Postal Service favors installing centralized delivery.  However, the decision on mode of delivery is sometimes left to the developer. Curbside delivery is the most widely-used mode of delivery for residential delivery points.  As of September 1, 2009, there were 49 million curbside delivery points.  The second most utilized mode of residential delivery is “other” which includes door-to-door.  Table 1 below shows the total number of possible residential deliveries by delivery mode. Delivery Table 1 For business delivery points, the “other” mode of delivery, which includes door-to-door, is the most utilized mode with 5 million delivery points as of September 1, 2009.  Table 2 below shows the total number of possible business deliveries by delivery mode. In response to decreasing mail volumes and revenues, the Postal Service needs to make every effort possible to decrease the cost of delivery operations.  Although the Postal Service’s goal is to maximize the use of centralized delivery with the developer’s input, this is not always possible.  Additionally, existing costly delivery points could be converted to more cost effective modes. Delivery Table 2 What do you think? Is the Postal Service making every effort to promote centralized delivery in new developments and convert existing costly door-to-door and curbside deliveries?

    [1] This number includes delivery to all residential, business, and Post Office box addresses. This topic is hosted by the OIG's Delivery directorate.

  • on Oct 19th, 2009 in OIG | 10 comments
    Pushing the Envelope officially launched on October 14 last year. Since that time, the blog has posted more than 49 topics including this one and more than 1,700 comments. Some topics have been more popular than others, and those covering issues of interest to Postal Service employees have generally received the most attention. For example, the following topics were the top five in terms of page views.
    1. 1. The OIG Wants to Know How You Feel about Sick Leave
    2. 2. Silly Rules
    3. 3. Nationwide Wage Uniformity
    4. 4. Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service
    5. 5. Brainstorm Ideas Part 2

    But many of the less popular topics have also generated valuable debate about the Postal Service, its operations, and the postal industry in general. The OIG has even used reader comments and the results of blog polls in reports (for example, see Retail Technology Strategy — Automated Postal Centers and Financial Reporting Information Under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006.

    As we start our second year, the contributors and editors to Pushing the Envelope would like to hear more from you on what you want from the OIG’s blog. What do you like about the blog? What can we improve? What topics would you like to see? Let us know what you think.

    This topic is hosted by the OIG's Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

  • on Oct 13th, 2009 in Strategy & Public Policy | 15 comments
    When the topic of competition for the Postal Service comes up in casual conversation, the discussion usually involves FedEx or UPS. However, packages are a relatively small part of the Postal Service’s business. Certainly, these firms are direct competitors, but are there other competitors for Postal Service business? What alternatives compete with each of the various Postal products? What, if anything, can the Postal Service do to better compete in each product line? This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

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