A local sportsman by the name of L.L. Bean started his business in September 1912 in Freeport, ME, by mailing out 1,000 three-page flyers advertising his distinctive rubber-bottomed boots to out-of-state sportsmen applying for hunting licenses in Maine.
The image of the auditor sitting in front of a stack of spreadsheets, with a trusty calculator at the ready, is right out of central casting. So is the investigator on round-the-clock surveillance to uncover fraud or misuse of government funds.
Those techniques have their place, of course, but today’s audits and investigations rely heavily on data analytics and risk models. At the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG), we have invested in building an analytical, evidence-based culture that depends on data to promote efficiency and effectiveness in government.
There are many ways to cut costs. Ask any company that has tried to reduce costs. Or even look at your own household situation. You can cut down on take-out dinners, cancel a vacation, or drop a gym membership you aren’t using anyway. But at a certain point, you realize some costs are just not in your control. You can’t do much about what the utility company charges you or what it costs to fix your car when it breaks down.
The same is true for the U.S. Postal Service.