It’s slightly ironic that a system centered on delivering hard copy communications has one of the world’s largest Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.
But once you consider that the U.S. Postal Service has more than 31,000 retail locations, hundreds of thousands of employees, and 8,500 pieces of automated mail processing equipment, it makes sense. USPS relies on a sophisticated IT network to link its locations, ensure communications among personnel, support administrative and mail processing functions, and deliver to every address in the nation. Nothing old-fashioned about that.
It’s no understatement to say optimal IT network performance is vital to ensuring the Postal Service can fulfill its core business functions and processes. Our recent audit report found USPS needs to make improvements to its IT network.
We noted that while the network can handle current operational requirements, it is not fully optimized for future operational needs. The Postal Service did not establish enterprise-wide performance metrics or improvement targets for network devices, and it did not monitor and resolve reoccurring network connectivity issues. Unresolved issues could impact automation equipment and force USPS to rely on more expensive manual processing practices.
We also found the Postal Service did not upgrade its circuit bandwidth even as its own internal best practices recommended. Monitoring bandwidth utilization allows IT to easily identify when a circuit in the network is overloaded. We also found management doesn’t have complete visibility into the IT network, which is necessary to efficiently manage and operate their enterprise. Visibility is gained from having detailed network diagrams and an accurate inventory of network devices, which is something we recommended in our report.
Are you surprised to learn the Postal Service has one of the largest IT infrastructures in the world? Are there areas you would recommend strengthening?