While many of our audit reports are planned in advance, from time to time we respond to situations that require immediate response. Take, for example, the reports of mail delays and wait times up to 15 hours for truck drivers in Cleveland in December 2020.
As discussed in our recently released Management Alert, Excessive Wait Times to Accept Commercial Mail Shipments at the Cleveland Processing & Distribution Center, OIG auditors examined how the Cleveland Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) handled mail being dropped at the facility by mailers. Our initial examination found gridlocked conditions on the loading docks and throughout the plant. Data showed delayed mail inventory for the October to December period running at double the rate of the previous year.
Further examination found two sources of mail congestion. First, the plant suffered a low rate of employee availability, exacerbated by a number of unfilled openings for seasonal employees. Second, a combination of poor communication and incorrect data entry from the P&DC gave USPS Headquarters an incomplete picture of the gridlock.
While the Postal Service moved to mitigate the problem, what happened in Cleveland can put the Postal Service’s brand, reputation, and customer loyalty at risk.