The U.S. Postal Service owns or leases more than 33,000 facilities with approximately 284 million interior square feet (SF). These facilities are in virtually every community throughout the country and range in size from 55 SF to 32 acres under one roof. We visited 717 of these facilities as part of 10 facility optimization audits and identified over 21 million excess SF of space. During our subsequent national facility optimization audit, we statistically projected that the Postal Service has about 67 million SF of excess space nationwide.

In addition to an abundance of space, recent audits have disclosed that there are unmanned or underused windows in post offices around the nation, as well as more workhours at retail facilities than needed based on fiscal year 2011 workloads.

The solution most often suggested for dealing with these excess resources is to consolidate and close facilities. In fact, the Postal Service is in the process of identifying both retail and mail processing facilities for closure or consolidation.

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While closures and consolidations can reduce the supply of these excess resources, there may also be opportunities to use this excess capacity to expand the services provided in local communities through partnerships with federal, state, and local governments or with private companies. Government services could be provided at post offices through kiosks or by training Postal Service employees to provide these services. The Postal Service could also offer excess window space to government agencies where their employees could assist customers.

Another possibility would be for the Postal Service to partner with private sector companies to provide non-postal services. These companies could offer services ranging from fax and photocopying to banking or other financial services. These services could also include selling commercial products at retail facilities or providing warehousing and order fulfillment services at larger facilities.

What do you think? What services would you like offered at Postal Service facilities? Are there any other potential uses for these facilities? Please share your ideas in the comment section below.

This blog is hosted by the OIG's Audit Engineering Team.

Comments (4)

  • anon

    When I look at the assets of the USPS, the branch in every neighborhood stands out. Startups and tech companies are going after the local delivery market and highlighting its value, yet n organization with that very same local ability is doing practically nothing to make a play in this space. Imagine now is the USPS created an automated package system with standardized package sizes, and retailers can rapidly drop off or have a circulating USPS transporter pick up the package based on real-time requirements. In turn all packages are consolidated and prioritized for a single delivery. National retailers could - in theory - circulate with vehicles between post offices and drop off packages at local post offices, or rely on USPS for inter-branch transportation. The main thing is that an automated and reliable package handling system be developed and installed in trucks and branches, while compatible package handlers are freely available for local merchants or third party transport fleets. IMO this could would transform the USPS into a highly profitable business. AN alternate approach would be to partner with a third-party to invest in the facilities and simply take a rent. while this is easier politically, the USPS would end up losing the value it will be creating.

    Dec 21, 2015
  • anon

    There are a number of opportunities for USPS to capitalize on their retail assets, both for private sector partnerships with private sector companies such as FedEx and Wal-Mart, as well as Federal, State and Local governments to provide co-located shared services such as government services by kiosk, in person registration sites requiring bio-metric validations, etc. One of the key ‘values’ of the USPS retail infrastructure is its pervasive footprint in every community in the US. The sheer convenience of this national network for co-located partnerships should be assigned a business value beyond the short sighted real estate valuation of the individual properties.

    Jan 06, 2012
  • anon

    Great Idea! So how about sharing some of you excess health and welfare benefits with me? The cost of basic health insurance for me is $399.00/month w/ $2500.00 deductible/yr. not including dental. This means roughly 33 hours of a single pay period for me goes to paying my premium.

    Dec 17, 2011
  • anon

    This will be a good opportunity for some local communities who are finding their preferred offices for more jobs to be given. Eureka

    Dec 06, 2011

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