on Oct 31st, 2009 in Delivery & Collection | 65 comments

In these challenging times, reducing the cost of delivery operations — one of the Postal Service’s largest expenses — could save millions. One option the Postal Service is considering is to discontinue Saturday city and rural delivery and collection services.

Saturday is said to be one of the lowest mail volume days. It’s also a day when many businesses are closed. The September/October 2009 digital issue of Mailing Systems Technology included a survey of managers working in the mailing industry. Of those surveyed, 98 percent said changing to 5-day delivery would not require a change in staffing. The survey results also indicated that most managers surveyed (81 percent) preferred Saturday as the day of the week that the Postal Service would stop delivering mail. An additional 62 percent of the managers surveyed felt that once implemented, there should be no exceptions to 5-day deliveries such as for holiday weeks or high-volume mailing periods.

Gallup also conducted polls on ways to help the Postal Service solve its financial problems. They found that 66 percent of Americans supported reducing mail delivery days from 6 to 5 days, and 66 percent also supported reducing the number of days the Post Office is open from 6 to 5 days.

The Postal Service is currently studying the reduction of mail delivery from 6 days to 5 days. Should the Postal Service consider eliminating delivery, collections, retail, and remittance services only for delivery units with low mail volume? Should the Postal Service eliminate these services for all delivery units nationwide?

This blog is hosted by the OIG's Delivery directorate.


Add new comment

changing to 5 day wouldnt require staffing changes? how would that possibly be true, at least 50,000 people would have to be either excessed or layed off. and talk about 5 day all you want but its not going to happen any time soon, instead how about telling potter to think about something outside the box, instead of just telling congress we have to do this! get a good idea and stop pounding 5 day delivery acting like its the end all be all answer. not only that but congress isnt too keen on postal math, that says in your numbers you could save 3.5 million while normal math users see about half of that being saved. think outside the box, we are moving into a new generation of postal users, 5 day delivery will just ensure we wont be here in the future.

I don't see there being an alternative to 5 day delivery, if anything it is the best option. Almost everybody I have talked to about it has no issue with it. But leave the option open to deliver first class mail to PO Boxes 6 days for those that do need that 6th day of mail. It would then make PO Box service a true "premium service", and that would justify paying for the box rental.

But also read my posts on the other thread about offering PO Boxes in lieu of delivery to those that live closest to post offices. That might not save as much money as 5 day delivery, but it will save a lot in delivery expenses.

The USPs (notice the diminishing service) needs to cut out it's reckless spending that does not help getting mail delivered. As a carrier I perform meaningless tasks every day so someone at a higher level can have a report to read. For example I have to count the mail pieces missent to my route by DPS.
For months I have consistently had over 100 a day.
Why is the problem not getting fixed? I have been delivering mail for 24 years; now I will receive 22 hours of training before I can drive a LLV. There are many other examples of where money is wasted, or spent for no reason but to create paper for someone sitting in an office to look at. As a good career employee I have no sympathy fot the management that has gotten us into this mess; only for the hard working carriers, clerks, postmasters, mailhandlers, and truck drivers that keep the SERVICE going in spite of higher level mismanagement.

5 days would rock

Let's see what kind of fireworks this will bring...

I remember long ago my first day of orientation,
which by the way has not changed a bit as recent as
two years ago.

The speakers asked the group of 60 + - a first

"What is it that the Post Office Operations
don't like the most?"

A number of inductee's replied various answers that
were acknowledged as accurate, however the correct answer was as follows..

"The POST OFFICE does not like change". We don't like
things to change". "this is the most important aspect
of your job at the USPS, to keep things the same."

With that, here's something to think about.

According to the USPS, they are a 24 Hour Clock Operation. What about delivery during other hours?
I mean, MVS operates during Tour 1, 2, and 3.
Why not deliver mail at night??? Is this simply crazy?
It's not like the LLV's don't have flashers. It's
not like they don't have interior lights? It's not like there aren't headlamps that provide ample light for delivery personnel like coal miners use? It's not
like the mail needs to be delivered during the daylight hours?
I do know there is much less traffic during hours 2300- 1930. There are literally no children out and about. Is someone going to rob the mailman of the
As a previous business owner, and Operations Manager
in a highly personnel risk exposure field, my primary
role was to execute the projects. However, it really
ended up as a responsibility of reducing the liabilities to personnel, equipment, and property.

Therefore, environmental factors, interference by
other parties in activity areas (traffic/personnel/equipment/noise-debris-etc. all our affected operations.

Similar to carriers executing their duties.
How much accountable mail is delivered every day
anyway? Surely somebody could make these deliveries
during the day if necessary?

Crazy idea? Mmmmmmmmmmmmhhhhhhhh

Oh, and Saturday's, heck yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If Congress approves a 5 day delivery, an idea worth considering is having carriers work four 10 hour days with non-scheduled days as such.
Carrier “A” - Sat, Sun, Mon
Carrier “B” - Sat, Sun, Tue
Carrier “C” – Sat, Sun, Wed
Carrier “D” – Sat, Sun, Thu
Swing Carrier, Sat, Sun, Fri (Work “A” on Mon, “B” on Tue, “C” on Wed and “D” on Thu)

This would reduce daily overtime if mail volumes are heavy due to 5 delivery days per week or have routes adjusted accordingly.

Try this on for size! I have written to my Congressman and Senators and the pmg. Under my plan the PO continues to operate 6 days a week, but we actually go to a 3-day delivery with each carrier being responsible for 2 routes on which he would alternate days on and half of the people would get M-W-F and the others Tu-Thur-S. Your reach a point on any route where no matter how light the volume a carrier can only cover a certain amount of ground. There would at the very least a 40% reduction in manpower, Vehicles and fuel costs. On this system it would require 6 carriers to cover 10 routes, and 5 vehicles instead of 10. The public, given the choice of losing the USPS or switching to 3 day delivery, could be brought over to our side,

I suggest no city, rural or contract delivery on Saturdays. I would ensure collection boxes are collected on Saturdays. I would also ensure boxes at Post Offices are put out on Saturdays, thus, those that want Saturday Delivery would need to get a PO Box at a Post Offices. This would generate an increase in revenue through the increase in box rentals across the country.

Who said saturday mail delivery is a light day? I havent seen it. In the postal service for over 6 years now and sat seems to be one of the busyist days of the week, except for mondays. Wow just think every monday would be like a day after the holiday if implemented, not to mention the customer service and business we would lose. A lot of people don't realize that sat are a big day when carriers get to see and speak with thier customers, eliminating this would lose vital contact with the customer its self. Banks and other business have expanded services to bring in more customers, while we are trying to shrink it. Some banks are now open seven days a week, so if a customer recieves a check on sat, they can deposit that day or on sunday. And believe me, we do deliver a lot of checks on sat, along with packages and time sensitive bulk mail. As for managers agreeing with going to 5 days, they are puppets and just doing what they are told.

I can not believe the Postal Service would even consider eliminating Saturday delivery!! Wake up people!! We need to be generating revenue!!

Go to your address bar....type in Mypostoffice.com. or Mypo.com Where does it take you??? To USPS.com, WOW. We need to be utilizing the internet, not competeting against it.

Customers should be going to thier electronic mailboxes to receive thier ads from Macy's, WalMart
local grocery ads and the such. We should be collecting revenue from the retailers for these services.

Customers wanting a copy of the sale paper or catalog in thier mailbox weekly....click here.

This service could be expanded to online ordering. Order your Prada tee shirt from Saxs 5th Ave and have it shipped Priority Mail....Directly from MyPostOffice.com!!....The possibilities are endless, USPS search engine....we could be another GOOGLE!!....Let's get the revenue rolling with pay-per-click revenues!!.....let's wake up!!

5-day delivery is not only a mistake ... it is a sellout. Management is on a roller-coaster mentality. After years of bonus, bonus, bonus ... now they preach cut-cut and eliminate-eliminate. That's a shame, because the USPS has the potential to engage the 21st Century with innovation and stamina.

If I'm serving a 8.5 hours route. If go 5 days, it will increase my office hours....about 1.5 hours daily. So, it will be 10 hours work everyday. TEN HOURS WORK!!!!!!

big know it all has never delivered mail in the dark. the lights aren't bright enough, the rural carriers in their car cannot see either. you can't see the mailbox, nor the number. and this is even more dangerous for the carrier!
WAIT--- that's what the usps wants! downsize the workforce by killing off the carriers!

Thats a great idea Mr Zip

We have been beating this 5 day horse for years. If Potter and the governors want a new and workable idea, why not agree to going back in time to the pay level of 2007 for EVERYONE.
This would free up a vast chunk of change for the USPS. It would take the bargining unit back to before the large COLA and before Potter and the VP's pay shot through the roof. Let's see if the Executives can give a little too to keep this train on the tracks. But from the way they have been chipping away at the services and makeing it harder for the customers to use the USPS, it' clear they don't really want a fix.

forget 5 day delivery. reduce service will only destroy the usps. people want service not less. why do people pay more for cell phone services? you know, blackberry's and iphones. because they want more. increase to 7 day delivery, increase priority mail, parcel post and express mail. these products are generated by the power of the interent though sales. why do we insist on giving rivals, ups and federal express more of our business, unless thats what higher managers really want to do. destroy the usps, sell it off and then scramble to see what pieces they can pick up and profit from. this might be a stretch but who knows?

No one is saying what would happen if the USPS does go to 5 day delivery, how many more customers would cease mailing? As a postal worker, Saturdays is one of the HEAVIEST days for mail. Tuesdays are the lightest. I am not sure who is saying Saturday is light but they are not correct. An alternative is start offering more early outs to all employees. Cross train employees for maintenance jobs so those employees can retire as well. You may save $5 billion by eliminating a day of delivery, but if it costs you $5 billion in revenue, what exactly has been gained? It really seems USPS is intent on destroying the US Postal System and turn processing over to competitors.

Save 6 day delivery. Proportionally reduce the numbers of Supervisors, Managers, Postal Inspectors, and OIG staff to those reductions in the craft. Stop the "Pay for Performance" Bonuses given out to Management and Supervisors. This is a repeat of the Banking and Financial sectors, albeit they were giving out these perks while making "record" profits the Postal Service is rewarding these Managers and Supervisors while making "record" losses.
Eliminate the District level as having 2 levels is redundant and a waste. Bring back the MSC/SCF Postmaster position, and save having 5 people plus staff doing the same job (i.e., Postmaster/Plant Manager/POOM/District Manager/Senior Plant Manager).

5 day delivery question is beginning to sound like a broken record. You want to go 5 days, I have a better idea, just shut the post office down completely on day 6, 5 day delivery would discriminate against people who have home delivery. it is funny how i have never heard anyone mention that you could save ooodles more money by simply just shutting the post office down on day 6. NO employee, management, transportation, energy, cooling, heating,elctricity cost on day 6 oh what a concept. You want to cut the fat? Cut management by 90%. Is there any need for every post office to have a post master. The answer is no. we could have one post master for 5 to 10 post offices. My post master makes over 70k a year. I think his boss makes over 100k, supervisors make a boat load of money too. I hear there are way to many supervisors, all these salaries add up to oodles of money. I really think we need a common sense approach by cutting all unesessary postions that do not handle the mail. A private company would not survive and go bankrupt if the company had a high management to worker percentage as the post office does. It is time for Mr potter to act responsible and do what must be done to save the post office by cutting management positions.

Before we consider cutting Saturday delivery we must see the plan for what it is. The USPS claims it will save $3.6 Billion by cutting Saturday. The Government Accounting Office did it's own review and claimed the savings would be more like $1.7 Billion.

Postmaster General Potter ADMITS that cutting Saturday delivery will result in the loss of $600 Million in revenue as customers go elsewhere for service.

So, using the GAO numbers, the USPS will save about $1.1 Billion by cutting Saturday delivery. USPS revenue for 2009 was $79 Billion. $1.1 Billion in savings represents only 1.3% of all postal costs.

Cutting Saturday delivery would result in cutting 16.7% of service while only saving 1.3% in costs.

as usual , upper level management is only seeing the idea cut craft employees numbers or pay and increasing their workload- eliminate about 40% of all managers - close all post offices below level 18 and comsolidate all post offices into one for every 5 miles -- and place managers pay back to 2006 pay grades --remove all managers who give out LOW and then lose most of t them in grievence battles - that costs too much - -- eliminate all PFP and bonus permanently - to do that we need to replace Potter and get someone in who is NOT part of the manegers coven--what we have now is far to many former girlfriend managers -- the result of the managers for the last 20 years prmoting th eir women and now we have mostly the women - who promote mostly other women -

Why not institute Part Time Regular City Carriers in more cities?

Get rid of lazy worthless management who is running the place into the ground. Hire some real management from the private sector and place all current management and 204B's back into craft.

Our small post office has 4 carriers and TWO managers. Yep, I said it, TWO managers managing 4 carriers. Yesterday three of the four carriers worked nearly 13 hours each. I don;t think we need to get rid of more carriers and carrier jobs by eliminating Saturday delivery. We need to start down sizing the managers.

I would like to see the OIG find out WHY the USPS will not support the Customer Connect Program. I agree with some of the theories about management's seemingly deliberate pattern of eliminating the services we need to increase revenue such as the 24 hour lobby machines. They were brought in to help with the lobby lines and to reduce work hours. Then, after they were very successful, they were taken out because they cost too much. According to the window clerks they were generating more postage revenue than the window. Also, we are removing more and more blue collection boxes from the street because it costs too much for the carrier to take out two ( generously ) minutes to get out of his truck and empty it ? You NEVER increase revenue by lowering your visibility. I believe that management is deliberately trying to decrease revenues to show Congress that we are going failing and " our business model is broken " as Potter has been saying for months. This, is what is called a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Postal Service should research and consider privatizing some of its enabling functions such as some of the departments in Finance, Legal, Marketing, and Transportation. With that said, the privatized functions with some tweaking could then offer their services to other government agencies in addition to the Postal Service.

They could also open privatized entities that could enhance the Postal Services business profile. For instance having banking services available in Postal retail offices could help the customer accomplish their Postal and banking chores in a "one stop" shopping style.

What is this going to do for people who have no home delivery and thier post office location is only open during the hours they work? If they shut the post office down on Saturday's I will not be able to get my mail. Is that fair for me?

The postoffice should cut the pork in their own budget. There are people that work for the Postal System that are certainly not needed. Cut them out completely and cut the pay of of everyone counter cyclicly. Managers get cut 15 percent and on down the line to where street level employees (mail delivers) see a 3 percent pay cut. That way everyone pays. The people that actually deliver the mail are the ones that will instead get screwed over and foot the bill for managements bad decisions. My grandfather had a saying: "When the company goes bad, the janitor is the first one to pay." As we have clearly seen with the recent recession, that is the truth. How many "janitors" were cut and laid off while the managers were left alone?

5 day delivery is better than a wholesale butchery of the entire service. When you need revenue, why would you shorten retail hours and reduce retail staffing, causing long lines at the counter? Talk about cutting off the hand that feeds you. Why is the USPS delivering ups parcels? UPS makes a profit for just dumping truckloads of parcels at the post office. Cut out the middleman. In rough financial times, USPS is helping UPS stay afloat by making their deliveries for them. If I charge a guy 10.00 to mow his yard and give you 1.00 to do the mowing, I have a pretty nice little mowing service. USPS, like big government, lacks in common sense. Dan

It is time for the government to step up. Tax payers bailed out the banks and auto industries. Time the government help the USPS. The USPS is a vital part of the US economy and society. Offer early outs for CSRS employees without penalties. Cutting service and closing plants and offices is not the way to fix the USPS. As suggest maybe a wage freeze as unpopular as it may be is a start.

Please explain why the USPS and its Postmaster General have 44 VPs throughout the organization. If the US is able to operate solely with one VP, why can't the USPS consolidate its upper management ranks? That is a viable option than reducing service. When was the last time a company reduced its service did its revenue increase?

This weeks' topic is Viable Alternatives for 6 Day Delivery Operations. So why did the USPSOIG include "Retail and Remittance" mail service in questions 2 and 3? Delivery Operations is distinctly accounted for separate from Retail and/or Processing.
Skew? Remember Statistics 101 and Accounting 101?
Understanding and separating Delivery Operations from Retail Operations would be a good start to brainstorming about alternatives, unless that is the questions are to generate statistics for possible targeting closure of non delivery rural post offices and/or select Associate Offices.

NO other money saving scheme should even be considered until, for a start, several things take place;

- Mgmt. ranks reduce their staffing numbers in direct relation to the thousands of craft positions they have recently eliminated.
At this time, NOT ONE mgmt. position has been eliminated, but thousands of those who actually move the mail, have.
Mgmt. likes to tout a line of having eliminated x number of jobs, but those are secretarial, etc.
There were to many supervisors, etc. to begin with, and now the ratio is even more lopsided.
Micro-management is the root cause of all the Postal Services ills.

- All mgmt. bonuses should be eliminated permanently. Even with all the crying they've done about the financial state of the USPS this year, as of June of this year, $50 MILLION OF BONUSES WERE STILL HANDED OUT.

- Supervisors, etc. have to be made personally financially liable for the thousands of repeated contract violations done yearly.
Currently, there is no incentive (in fact, they're encouraged to do so) for them not to violate the contract, yet it costs the USPS hundreds of millions of dollars annually in arbitration awards given for contract violations.

None of these items get the press attention they deserve.

Most everyone on this site has been saying the same thing. Which I totally agree with. Cut management by 90% and increase some craft. In Springfield, MO we have carriers out after dark because there are not enough of them. We need career people, not TEs. They won't let the PTFs go regular, and most of them have been working overtime for over 6 months. That is only one of the many problems the USPS has.

Maybe a suggestion is for us to forward the Postal Reporter and many of the other sites we visit to our Representatives and they could read a lot of this themselves. Sure couldn't hurt. They would see that it's not an isolated problem.

Work Tour 1. We do LITERALLY the same thing every single night. Do NOT need 5 MDO's. Hell we do NOT even need a SDO. Cut back on MANAGEMENT!!!

So what if delivery is halted on Saturdays. You still have operations fully running on Sat and worst of all Sunday. Where clerks/MH are paid premium. Close down the plants totally on Sundays. I'd rather be home with my family than get paid premium. All I do is read magazines all day. Nothing moves. Hardley anyone is in the plant anyway. Its a worthless processing day.

The biggest problem I see with this plan is that even today, offices with rural delivery have great difficulty in securing a maintining a supplemental workforce in the form of RCAs (mostly). These employees give up (usually) 2-4 days a month, must always be "on call", and receive no benefits other than a decent hourly wage. If these 2-4 days get eliminated they will have no incentive at all to stay. I had a "K" rural carrier working 6 days a week for nearly a year because I could not attract a replacement for an RCA that transferred. I borrowed RCAs from other offices, carried the route myself, and even had clerks carry it so that my carrier could take Annual Leave, attend his son's graduation, etc. Until these and other staffing issues are resolved, I don't necessarily think it is a good idea.

5 day what do you do with monday holidays that puts us 3 days behind in mail delivery.
i dont get overtime i dont get paid breaks like the other crafts.cant even take a vacation cause my rca is unavailable tell pmg harry potter to cut the stupid paper pushers that create crap to justify there jobs

PLEASE! Someone please tell me what the persentage of carriers (rural and city) and what persentage of all management (Outside of the post office it's self) is the workforce of the Postal Service?

The OIG follows management's orders. They are responsible to management.
If the OIG were allowed to audit the management structure of the USPS and submit their findings directly to Congress there is no doubt changes will take place. Until than, same old, same old

eliminate as much door to door delivery as possible.
Probably 80% of suburban delivery which is now door to door could be changed to curbside, or property line
with no problem.

mail handlers, clerks and carriers have all been cut. Why has there not been cut in management jobs? It appears that no manager has be retired, jobs were eliminated but then jobs were created?

We learned this morning that we have taken back about 25% of UPS business with our flat rate parcel commercials and the white board guy will soon be history as the commercial is ineffective So why would we give back that business closing on saturdays With the flat sorters coming on line mail volume will be too heavy on Mondays already our heaviest day and once they
come on line we will have no control over overtime as we will be at the mercy of the plants.

Close all post offices that are PO Box sections only. I see hundreds of small post offices that have less than 100 po box customers. What a waste of money and resourses.

I resubmit this because it is the answer, especially as volumes continue to drop. Nothing that I have heard anywhere comes remotely close to the impact this would have.
I have written to my Congressman and Senators and the pmg. Under my plan the PO continues to operate 6 days a week, but we actually go to a 3-day delivery with each carrier being responsible for 2 routes on which he would alternate days on and half of the people would get M-W-F and the others Tu-Thur-S. Your reach a point on any route where no matter how light the volume a carrier can only cover a certain amount of ground. There would at the very least a 40% reduction in manpower, Vehicles and fuel costs. On this system it would require 6 carriers to cover 10 routes, which is actually a 50% reduction from the 12 required today, and 5 vehicles instead of 10. The public, given the choice of losing the USPS or switching to 3 day delivery, could be brought over to our side. Of course there are other logical cost cutting moves they can make such as eliminating Park & Loop delivery wherever possible.
5 day delivery has little impact when compared to the Logical 3-Day Delivery System.

Before throwing the baby out with the bathwater, there are MANY cost saving measures that should be taken.

First and foremost,the USPS needs to recognize that Ben Franklin is no longer PMG, and a lot has changed. In this day of real time data transfer and all the rest of the high tech stuff, not every office needs a postmaster! Most small offices level 18 and below would be adequately staffed by clerks, many offices would not even require a full time one. Talk about waste, fraud and abuse! Many of these small office postmasters get paid 8 hours to sit in the office and sleep, do their own private business on PO time (like selling real estate) or just not showing up at all.

Why pay 8 hours a day to staff an office that "earns" 4 hours? Change the regs, keep the post offie open, staff it with a clerk, and have a central "postmaster" or the MPOO oversee the operation. An FT postmaster is not needed anywhere under level 20.

I suspect that numerous USPS employees submit responses to the USPSOIG polls with self-serving responses to "save" jobs. The USPS should (must) implement 5-day delivery - sooner not later. My initial suggestion is that 5-day delivery shouls be phased in by District as normal attrition occurs. Eliminating Saturday delivery incrementally will be the least disruptive. We have significant turnover in non-career employees, despite this fact, the USPS continues to employ a significant number of non-career employees in delivery operations (City and Rural). As attrition occurs in City and Rural delivery operations, local management should determine which route(s) the 6-day delivery should be ended. Factors in determining which routes to end 6-day delivery could be a) volume; b) type of delivery (d-2-d, mounted, cbu); c) customer base (business, residential). While ending 6-day delivery all at once might be desired, it would create a situation where too many non-career employees would not be needed and would result in an impact on the economy. Alternatively, if there were a Carrier retirement incentive we may be able to reduce carrier complement sufficient to warrant ending 6-day delivery sooner without impacting the economy by laying off the non-career and significantly reducing PTF hours. Finally, the USPS needs desparately to create new business through services and products. Why is the USPS not in the Product Fulfillment? Product Fulfilment is a good fit for our organization. There would be jobs answering phones for the employees with physical limitations and other jobs with reduced physical demands to fill small boxes with product for shipment.

Our service sucks. Our management has never done the job of carrying mail. We are doomed.

wait and see all the new injuries and worker's comp claims this is all going to cause.
You'll have city and rural carrier's bodies going out faster than ever. First you automate everything you can, shove them out on the street fast, fast. How can a 50 yr. old carrier repeat the same motions day after day as it is? Now, shove more volume at them by going 5 days a week. Seriously, how long can a city carrier do that before their knees give out on them? Or shoulders? There will be no light days for your body to have a break. Just go, go go.
Also, our 2 route office has a PM who sits on the phone or computer with the heat set on about 80 degrees all day while we are out on the street. Do you really think one of OUR days should be eliminated?

Why is it that no fat is being trimmed from the beast...I mean management fat? Every carrier knows what their responsibility is. Every clerk knows theirs. At our station you have the manager there and two supervisors. For what? I'm convinced that if no management was there the mail would still get delivered. Our manager is only there for three to four hours a day but I assume he still gets his full pay regardless. They want to save costs but they feel like they're not part of the problem it's us. We're doomed.