Data use is critical for all aspects of the U.S. Postal Service’s operations, including determining costs and setting prices. That’s why data systems need to be accurate and reliable.

Our recent audit report looked at the Postal Service’s Management Operating Data System (MODS), a web-enabled application that gathers, stores, and reports data on workload, workhours, and processing-machine use by operation and facility type. The Postal Service uses MODS data to anticipate mail volumes at facilities and to project workload and staffing requirements. It also uses MODS to track mail processing activities, evaluate the efficiency of facilities, and estimate staffing requirements.

In addition, the Postal Service uses MODS mail volume and workhour data in costing and pricing activities. MODS workhour data helps USPS calculate totals for many of the cost pools within its specific cost segments, such as the Clerks and Mail Handlers Cost Segment. Cost pool totals are then attributed to competitive and market dominant mail products and services. Using this data, USPS can price products and services more precisely.

We found opportunities for the Postal Service to improve the accuracy and reliability of MODS data for costing. In data we reviewed from Quarter 1 (Q1) of fiscal year (FY) 2017 to Q3 of FY 2018, we found the following reporting errors: 5 percent of workhours reported without associated mail volume; and 2 percent of mailpieces recorded without associated workhours. During site visits to 19 mail processing facilities, we found MODS reporting errors occurred due to ineffective internal controls over the use and management of the system.

These ineffective controls increase data-integrity risk and result in workhour data that does not reflect actual operational activities. We also found opportunities for the Postal Service to improve its timekeeping practices to more precisely capture workhour data at the activity level.

If you are a Postal Service employee, what opportunities have you seen to improve timekeeping practices?

Comments (2)

  • anon

    Coming from the postal inspection service and 18 year federal employee I can clearly see that mis-management, the equitable and consistent distribution of workload and the ability to utilize customer perfect principles are a major problem. In addition the law of ergonomics to keep these FMLA cases down, accountability and the structure or initial training for new hires needs to be reevaluated as well. I started my career in the in the Van Nuys California sector post office and then went on to the postal inspection service, as a police officer , working in south-central Los Angeles, Headquarters in Pasadena and the GMF Houston Texas I have some great ideas but in a new craft I have no voice. I left the post office for 18 years to raise my child so I’m back and I am available if you’d like to speak further. If you check my files I have a tremendous amount of awards and letters of appreciation. So much has changed but I’m glad to back and excited to make a difference.

    Apr 16, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Bridgette. Thank you for your interest in the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. Please visit our website and select the "Work for Us" tab on the top of the screen to view our current job openings/listings.

    Apr 17, 2019

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