Have you ever been working on a project and come across something that you realize needs immediate attention? That happens to us occasionally, usually during an audit, and it can prompt us to issue a Management Alert right away.

For example, while conducting fieldwork for our International Mail Operations and Performance Data project, we found significant operational delays of international outbound packages across all five of the U.S. Postal Service’s International Service Centers. Specifically, Postal Service data showed nearly 2.9 million outbound packages had insufficient advance electronic data (AED) between January and August 2021. AED encompasses information such as sender, receiver, package contents, weight, and value. We also found significant processing delays of export packages with insufficient AED — some held at the respective ISCs for several months.

At the time we made these findings, the peak mailing season (November through January) was fast approaching, and it was important for USPS management be made aware of these problems as soon as possible. We therefore issued Management Alert — International Export Package Advanced Electronic Data, separate from the audit report we are currently working on. We detailed the issues we had found and noted the measures the Postal Service had already taken to try to address insufficient AED. We added, however, that USPS could do more to reduce instances of insufficient AED and thus avoid delays. Postal management agreed with our findings.

Do you have any experience with mailing international packages and AED? If so, what was it like?

IMPORTANT – PLEASE NOTE: Complaints about the Postal Service – including lost, stolen, or mishandled mail – that are unrelated to the content on this page will not be posted. Please visit the Contact Us page for information on where to file formal complaints with our agency or the Postal Service.

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