on Oct 26th, 2009 in Delivery & Collection | 27 comments
Providing mail delivery is central to the Postal Service’s mission.  Delivery is the Postal Service’s largest operational function and accounted for approximately one-third of its nearly $78 billion in total expenses during 2008.  Postal Service management is working hard to reduce delivery costs while continuing to deliver to 149 million[1] addresses in the most efficient manner possible.  Despite declining mail volumes, the Postal Service is challenged to provide cost efficient and effective service to a delivery network growing by more than 1 million addresses each year. The mode of delivery plays an important role in determining the cost and efficiency of delivery.  The Postal Service provides three modes of delivery for existing delivery points — to the door, to a mailbox on the curb, and to a centralized point that serves several addresses.  Door-to-door delivery is the most costly mode and is no longer available for new delivery points.  When new developments are established, curbside and centralized deliveries are the only options.  Since centralized delivery is the cheapest mode, the Postal Service favors installing centralized delivery.  However, the decision on mode of delivery is sometimes left to the developer. Curbside delivery is the most widely-used mode of delivery for residential delivery points.  As of September 1, 2009, there were 49 million curbside delivery points.  The second most utilized mode of residential delivery is “other” which includes door-to-door.  Table 1 below shows the total number of possible residential deliveries by delivery mode. Delivery Table 1 For business delivery points, the “other” mode of delivery, which includes door-to-door, is the most utilized mode with 5 million delivery points as of September 1, 2009.  Table 2 below shows the total number of possible business deliveries by delivery mode. In response to decreasing mail volumes and revenues, the Postal Service needs to make every effort possible to decrease the cost of delivery operations.  Although the Postal Service’s goal is to maximize the use of centralized delivery with the developer’s input, this is not always possible.  Additionally, existing costly delivery points could be converted to more cost effective modes. Delivery Table 2 What do you think? Is the Postal Service making every effort to promote centralized delivery in new developments and convert existing costly door-to-door and curbside deliveries?

[1] This number includes delivery to all residential, business, and Post Office box addresses. This topic is hosted by the OIG's Delivery directorate.

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I believe that they are not making the right kind of effort to promote centralized delivery. Since people tend to instictively resist change, the public needs to learn that with NDCBUs they receive superior service at a lower cost. In particular, the ability to receive parcels in a separate, locked container is immensly valuable to working people, and would probably promote more mail-order business. And...I can't tell you how many times I had to replace my old curbside mailbox/post.

the post office is a service company.

why does management and the OIG want to CUT service?

The public will hang on to the "free " door to door service. That is human nature. No one will care about the few cents increased for this service except the large mailers. This will take the act of congress to change that. All the private businesses who still do business like 100 years ago, they are all out of business long long time ago. Only Postal Service who still deliver mail door to door like 100 years still survived. Are they? Oh, no they are failing now. Don't the congress see that. Is true that it will be beginning of the end of the unions if that happens. No wonder the congress don't want to deal with this issue. The alternative is for the Postal Service return to be Postal Department and the government will take care of the expenditure. And then endless inflation.....

If we go to all centralized, for the best service they should be covered by some type of awning, ensureing their mail will not get wet, would also probibly extend the life of the mbu/cbu boxes as well.

If you have a carrier on foot making deliveries door to door deliveries, and a curbside delivery comes up. Does the carrier walk back to LLV and then drive to curbside box to make delivery?, and then countinue with the foot beat.What does that save ?

In our office this is the rule now the carriers tell the boss's where the boxs should go they go out and tell the builder and no mail starts till they go where we say they go centralized delivery just meens all the boxs together and we have them out on the sidewalk in the normal walking path the dumb ideal you would drive to the box "lazy person" and a cover over the boxs dumb idea if there is 10 boxs would you rather walk to 10 porch boxs or 10 all in one spot i know 10 in one spot will be much faster to deliver then 10 all over the place I have allways said i would deliver twice as much mail if i could walk down the sidewalk puishing a cart "like the training video" then half the mail i have now with the 3234 stairs i now do the stairs are the only bad part of the job every seioner route was bid on because there were no stairs or way less

As a former mail carrier and a current customer I see no advantage of cluster boxes. Many reason why I hate them as I will list a few. As a carrier I had 101 aprtments in which evry single apartment had its own cell on my case to sort the mail ( this was the best way to sort the mail because it was in sequence and knew who was on hold , had forwards and vacants or has a Post Office Box). Managents clueless idea was to take some thing that worked perfectly and made it worthless. Now for cluster boxes as a carrier you put all mail for an individual cluster box in one cell in no order so now you have to sort all this mail on the steet. Anyone from the north will tell you that this method sucks in the winter Instead of being at a box less than a minute now you may be at a box for 5 minutes because nothing is in order. Try that on a overcast 5 degree day. In the summer every one is waiting on their mail so instead of getting in and getting out , oh no, lets make the customers wait while we sort all this mail. One of the most moronic things I have seen in the Post Office BUT NOT THE MOST MORONIC>

As a letter carrier that serviced a business route I can only say that the businesses are better served with door to door delivery. That is how you establish a rappor with your customer. That is how Customer Connect is successful. Having a face to face with your customers. Management seems to have forgotten the thing that made us successful in the first place. SERVICE!

We could save billions of dollars per year by not delivering any mail at all!

OK, then how will you get your bills, checks, invoices, packages, or whatever.....stupid statement.

I have mentioned this a few times before, by why can't the Postal Service just give customers a no-fee post office box in lieu of street delivery? They can re-establish the old rule that stated that if you lived within a certain distance from an office that you had to get a PO box there. Based on the numbers I saw a while back, the savings would come to a little over $100 per delivery point each year. The PS would save a ton of money if they did this. You would lose the revenue from the PO Box, but that would be more than offset by the savings.

In most cases, there are plenty of PO Boxes already available in the small level 11-13 offices that can be used. It would increase productivity in the small offices-using them more to their full potential, and also save the expense of installing and maintaining CBUs.

I find it strange that the justification for paying for a PO box is that the PS has to maintain them, change locks etc, but don't CBUs require the same maintenance?

With the volume dropping year after year, maybe the Postal Service could look into combining rural routes. Actually build them back up, so that the carriers are doing a fair days work for a fair days pay. I don't understand why the Postal Service is paying some of these folks to work 41 hours per week and some are working as little as "who knows" maybe 27.

While centralized delivery may, in most suburban and rural areas, be a viable solution, in an urban enviroment it lacks security, convenence and degrades the service to the customer. In the city I deliver entire NDCBU's have been stolen. Mail thieves can now rob multiple boxes in one stop with out ever approaching the homes.

Ever wonder why people do not like sending packages stateside or receiving them from overseas with you all. Because with all the technology of today you can not tell them where there package is. And when you call it's like oh well nothing I can do is the answer you recieve. Sorry I would rather pay a little extra and have someone be able to track my package even when it is the back of a truck. If it was not for companies still sending bills and Junk mail, you all would have to go find a real job.

Actually, I had a conversation with my supervisor the other day about this exact subject....he told me we can track all these packages...but the higher up managers will not give any extra time for the clerks to do this.....seems to me we would get alot more business if they did get the extra time, and thus what would more than pay for the extra time the clerks spend .

I agree. We currently have two rural carriers in my office that need to work a 6th day, just to get a full week's pay. The third rural carrier maintains her income and is an officer in the Rural Carrier's Union. I am a city carrier whose route has been reduced to part-time with 945 delivery points. The only full-time city carrier's route is 825 delivery points. These are the facts; therefore, I am very interested in NDCBU's coming my way!
Thank you for this opportunity to expose what I know.

The USPS is one of the most well managed systems in the US today. They deliver around 203 billion pieces of mail a year and do well to keep things in check at all times.

I don't believe that for a second!...We have one of the most top heavy systems in the country, and one of the most MISSMANAGED systems as well.

The reason USPS doesnot use modern technology like FEDEX to track Parcels and other services such express mail,etc. someone decided to accept low bid and USPS Exec.s do not really care about service to the public they just want to make their high three and bonsus. If the OIG/Postal Inpection Service really did their job . They would really investigate management and not bury their heads in sand .

Amen to that!

The delivery confirmation system is not meeting our customers' needs. We keep getting mandates about having to make "arrival at unit" scans and "Stop the clock" scans all in the name of "better visibility". This is not giving customers what they want. Customers don't need to see that we made 4 scans once the package arrived at the office, they want to see all the steps BETWEEN point A and point B, so they know when they can reasonably expect their package.

No centralized delivery is NOT smart.
A large part of what we are percieved to be doing is carefully handling the mail. That percieved care is what makes a business unique.

UPS tracks its packages beautifully..the notion is ..even though its done electronically..is your package is unique and special.

Hundreds of letters a year go through our office with "hand cancel" or "Do not bend" written on them. The perception is that we actually look at and handle the mail... that we care... the reality is its all automated, and most letters aren't seen until delivery.

The intangibles are what makes things special to people.

If you continue to put up clustered boxes.. people will care less and less about mail. If its delivered to the home.. it becomes special.
Think of the places where you spend a great deal of money... do they shuffle you around in an automated fashion... or do they cater to your unique needs... take the time to speak to you... develope a rapport.

First class continues to decline.. the volume continues to decline.. if our percieved handling of the mail declines with that, we are simply expediting our own demise.

We should have cost cutting.. but put a focus on the handling of letters in commercials.. the care given to delivering a special card from a child to a grandmother. A from your house to ours to theirs approach.

I think when we changed postmarks shapes we gave a computerized look to a personal thing.. the more we automate our character.. the more people won't care.

setting up huge boxes to deliver mail... just making things more and more impersonal.. Do you want that in the service you recieve.. you don't you'll shop elsewhere...and so will go the letters we handle.

I agree the postal service was of great importance years ago, but as previously stated by others, if they don't know where your mail is, they can't help in tracking it, and if they keep loosing your items, then why are they so important?? I have had 2 items lost, or disappear while in transit by usps in the last 2 weeks and finally went direct to the Inspector's General's office to file another complaint for assistance. I say, "is this the service they advertise?" It is no wonder the business has slowed down.. At least the competitors are able to get items delivered and are easily tracked and don't disappear into thin air. The quality of service is worth a little more expense to assure delivery of items.

Quality, not quantity will help save usps. A customer's trust is hard to regain once lost and the negative experiences are the ones people talk about!

I miss the old means of sending mails especially on Holidays, I love to receive a hard bound copy of the old Christmas postcard especially the musical postcard, it is more meaningful since the one sending it give effort for it by writing it by hand and mailing it to post office

Yes, the mission is great.

I would offer the following suggestion to the 20 billion dollar shortfall in the USPS: DO SOMETHING TO FIX IT!! After a year of studying whether to drop Saturday delivery, a decision still cannot be reached? That is beyond belief. Not only should Saturday delivery be dropped, M-F delivery could be modified to every other or every third day. Although we are historically accustomed to 6 day a week delivery, it is NOT necessary to conduct our lives. What makes more sense: receiving our mail less often, or paying a dollar for a first-class stamp? The labor costs of operating the USPS would go down if only one-third or one-half of each days' mail gets delivered. Another idea that deserves serious consideration is reducing the number of rural post offices. Mountain, WI has one. Lakewood, WI is 13 miles north and has one, Townsend is another 5 miles north and has one...each one of those communities has about 250 residents. This scenario is ubiquitous in rural areas and is totally unnecessary for citizens to have a high quality of life. With a 20-billion dollar shortfall and a 20% drop in business, it makes sense to me to cut your expenses by at least 20%. I have made two suggestions and I'm sure there are many more worthy of consideration. PLEASE think about something more constructive than raising the cost of postage until no one can afford to send anything thru the mail.

What about Single Point Delivery mode (SPD)? This is the ultimate savings capture mode yet it is not even mentioned above. Postal Operations Manual 631.52 provides the language that allows the USPS to make a single delivery to student housing building (on or off campus) and provide no further delivery to individual boxes or units. There are also numerous memorandums and additional language that support SPD. This mode of delivery is not even known to exist by most local Post Offices and as a result they waste untold amounts of money servicing student housing properties. In addition to the cost of sorting and delivering there are such additional functions as forwarding of mail, storage of parcels for pick up and high volumes of carrier mark-up mail due to the transient nature of residents on student housing properties.

Single Point Delivery is not enforced by the USPS in a uniform manner across the country. There are certain local Districts that do identify and pursue SPD mode but they are the minority by far.

With the USPS searching to save money with minimal negative impact to existing service this matter should receive more attention. Even if the USPS started today and applied this to all new student housing properties the savings would be more than most could calculate annually.

Every day there are local Post Offices that agree to provide full delivery service to student housing properties even though the language clearly exists otherwise. How can this be in this time of extreme focus on efficiency and operational savings? I am amazed that SPD is not pursued nationwide in an effort to aid the efficiency of the USPS delivery units.

Where does the OIG stand on this Single Point Delivery mode as a cost control measure?

Thank you.