In its five-year strategic plan, the U.S. Postal Service emphasizes the importance of regularly maintaining its facilities. In fact, it outlines an initiative to standardize, upgrade, and realign maintenance operations across field offices to reduce operating expenses.
However, the Postal Service only established and tracked maintenance optimization planned savings at the national level and not in its seven operating areas. We looked at area performance by comparing actual fiscal year 2017 data to planned results. In particular, we looked at two cost categories: building and plant equipment and building services.
Our audit report focused on the Northeast Area and found that the area achieved savings in building services by implementing improvements in the facilities cleaning process, updating cleaning equipment, and using better supplies.
However, the Northeast Area did not save in the other cost category, building and plant equipment. In fact, the Northeast Area had the lowest workhour performance in this category for all seven USPS areas. The area used 12 percent more workhours than planned.
We found managers did not fully understand the maintenance optimization initiative, its goals, or how to achieve savings and noted that a lack of communication between Headquarters Network Operations and the Northeast Area was a key reason. Local management needs better knowledge and understanding of the maintenance optimization initiative. We also found that personnel were sometimes incorrectly assigned to building and plant equipment duties, which drove up workhours unnecessarily.
What have your experiences been in dealing with maintenance issues at your facility? What do you attribute any problems to? Do you see opportunities to optimize maintenance expenditures?