• on Jul 6th, 2011 in Mail Processing & Transportation | 29 comments
    The Postal Service has evolved with the needs of a growing country for more than 230 years. A vast and complex network of processing facilities and transportation links was created to meet its universal service obligation. Today, the Postal Service has 260 Processing and Distribution Centers located throughout the country. This highly automated processing technology network provides incentives for its customers to presort the mail and drop ship it deeper into the network. As the likelihood of stagnant or decreasing mail volumes grows, there is a mismatch between the existing network capacity and user needs. For several years, the Postal Service has introduced plans to consolidate its mail processing plants and reconfigure its transportation network. The Postal Service has made some progress, closing all but two Air Mail Centers (AMCs), initiating and implementing numerous AMP consolidations, and transforming the Bulk Mail Center (BMC) network in the Network Distribution Centers. Despite these efforts, the fundamental question still remains: what should the mail processing and transportation network look like to meet future demand? And how many plants will be needed? A former deputy postmaster general suggested that in order for the Postal Service to be fully efficient, its footprint must be much smaller, possibly comprising 150 plants, and 400,000 employees. Another stakeholder said the current network is twice the size it should be. Are these reasonable assessments? What do you think? To learn more, read our recently released white paper "A Strategy for a Future Mail Processing and Transportation Network."

    This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

  • on Jul 4th, 2011 in Strategy & Public Policy | 3 comments
    In response to a Government Accountability Office report and a Congressional request, the Postal Service introduced its Transformation Plan in 2002. Since then, the Postal Service has seen many changes, including a new postmaster general (PMG) and senior management team. Mail volume has declined due to electronic diversion and the recession. In addition, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 changed how the Postal Service operates and conducts business. The Postal Service released its plan, Ensuring a Viable Postal Service for America: An Action Plan for the Future, in March 2010. The plan outlined cost-cutting, increased productivity, and legislative and regulatory changes necessary to maintain a viable Postal Service. In December 2010, the new PMG announced his four core strategies for the Postal Service: 1.Strengthening the business-to-consumer channel. 2.Improving the customer experience. 3.Competing for package business. 4.Becoming a leaner, faster, and smarter organization. It is a daunting task for any organization to implement new strategies. We have established an Audit Project Page to provide another opportunity for our stakeholders to comment on this issue. Click here to review – Postal Service Core Strategy Linkage. We are interested in hearing your views on the four core strategies. What is needed to ensure the success of these strategies and what outcomes do you believe the core strategies are intended to achieve? This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Planning and Strategic Studies Directorate.
  • on Jun 27th, 2011 in Mail Processing & Transportation | 5 comments
    The U.S. Postal Service has experienced a significant decline in mail volume in recent years, yet its contracted surface transportation remains largely unchanged. While mail volume dropped almost 16 percent from fiscal year 2008 to 2010, the Postal Service contracted out around 1 percent more miles of highway transportation over the same period. During the same time, the Postal Service has had considerable success minimizing the number of labor hours employees spend on mail processing. The following factors may have mitigated the effects on transportation from a volume drop: • Network Distribution Center restructuring. • Postal Service efforts to move more mail from air to surface transportation. • Postal Service efforts to sell the newly empty space to other shippers through a collaborative logistics program. Transportation represents the second largest cost component for mail delivery after labor, but the Postal Service has substantially more authority to cut contracted miles. The Postal Service could use its greater flexibility to end unnecessary contracts, alter necessary contracts, or redesign the system altogether. Highway transportation provides a strong opportunity for cost savings. What do you think of the current contracted surface transportation infrastructure? How would you adjust to new mail volumes? This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

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