Like just about everything else, elevators age and break down. Just ask the U.S. Postal Service, which operates about 1,200 elevators — used to move mail as well as people — at more than 500 facilities nationwide. A little more than five years ago, the Postal Service established the Elevator Modernization Program (EMP) to improve reliability for mail processing operations and ensure industry standards are maintained. Since early 2016, the EMP has modernized 121 elevators at 53 facilities to the tune of about $146 million.
As discussed in one of our recent audit reports, we wanted to know how effectively USPS has been managing the EMP to minimize equipment downtime and repair costs. In a survey of postmasters, maintenance personnel, and first-line managers conducted for the audit, most respondents said EMP projects positively affected operations and were completed in timely fashion. But at the same time, management didn’t formally establish program level goals, objectives, and measures for elevator downtime and repair costs.
Management also neglected to assess repair costs before or after completed modernization projects to measure improvement, focusing instead on individual project metrics such as adherence to budget, timelines, and completion as well as funding close-out.
Problem is, without program level goals, objectives, and measures in place, the Postal Service can’t readily identify project level issues or effectively measure program success. However, USPS intends to conduct a program evaluation later this year and incorporate key performance indicators specific to the EMP when more projects are completed.
Have you used Postal Service elevators, either freight or passenger? Have you seen one that was out of service?