• on May 24th, 2010 in Post Offices & Retail Network | 60 comments
    In the past 18 years, the Postal Service has reorganized its field structure at least three times. In 1992, the Postal Service reorganized its field structure from five regions and 73 field divisions into 10 areas and 85 districts. From 2002-2006 the Postal Service changed its field structure to nine areas and 80 districts, and adjusted again in 2009 to eight areas and 74 districts. Under the current structure, area offices ensure headquarters directives are implemented, and district offices are responsible for managing major functions within a specified region of an area, including day-to-day management of subordinate post offices and customer service activities other than processing and distribution. The Postal Service believes the most recent consolidation will provide an annual cost savings of approximately $100 million.

    Other organizations have streamlined their management structure, whether looking to utilize new technologies or just save money during difficult economic times. For example, United Parcel Service recently announced it was reducing its U.S. regions from five to three and its districts from 46 to 20, and Walmart announced it was reducing its regions from five to three. What do you think of the Postal Service’s field structure? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Keep in mind that Pushing the Envelope will not publish comments that contain personally identifiable information, so please don’t include any names in your story. This topic is hosted by the Office Audit Field Financial – West team.

  • on May 17th, 2010 in Products & Services | 23 comments
    “If it fits, it ships.” If this sounds familiar, you probably heard it from the Postal Service’s Priority Mail® Flat Rate advertising campaign broadcasted on TV or radio. The Flat Rate option offers a simpler way to ship — whatever fits in the flat rate box or envelope (up to 70 pounds) ships for one rate to anywhere in the United States. There is virtually no weighing or calculating. The packages reach their destinations in 1 to 3 days. Normally, Priority Mail prices are based on weight and destination. To increase overall package revenue and market share, the Postal Service launched a highly-integrated, national marketing campaign in May 2009. The campaign is still running as of May 2010. To promote the benefits of Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes, the campaign uses TV, direct mail, print and digital advertising, retail point of purchase, and more. Postal Service management shared the campaign messaging with employees through a May 2009 direct mailing. These are two of the recent Priority Mail Flat Rate TV commercials: •Clowns AdvertisementMail Man Advertisement

    Has Priority Mail added value to your shipping needs? What kind of value? Prior to using Priority Mail Flat Rate, were you using a major delivery service such as UPS or FedEx? Specifically, what caused you to switch? If you have not used Priority Mail service, what would you consider the most important reason for not using the service? This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Office of Audit Field Financial - West team.

  • on May 10th, 2010 in Mail Processing & Transportation | 15 comments
    Recent Government Accountability Office testimony to Congress stated processing capacity for First-Class Mail exceeds processing needs by 50 percent, and analysis by industry experts indicates an additional drop of 35 billion pieces in First-Class Mail by 2020. With mail volume declining, does this provide an opportunity for the Postal Service to capture savings by adopting industry best practices in its First-Class Mail processing operations? The OIG benchmarked operations at Postal Service processing and distribution centers with commercial presort mailers to identify best practices in First-Class Mail processing. Presort mailers combine mail from multiple businesses into larger mailings that are then sorted to geographic area, and receive reduced postage prices when the mailings are tendered to the Postal Service.

    Large commercial presort mailers use comparable processing equipment and similar processing operations as the Postal Service. In fact, several of these mailers are publicly-traded companies with thousands of employees who are located in multiple geographic areas. Although the Postal Service is a leader in letter processing, it could improve its operations by adopting some of the “best practices” used by presort mailers, including: •Assessing and streamlining their network in a more timely manner based solely on the business case. •Relying on a flexible workforce (volumes drive employee work hours, and employees cross crafts). •Using automated or mechanized tray systems consistently to reduce the need for manual operations. What other practices can you suggest to help the Postal Service with First-Class Mail processing, even as volumes decline? This topic is hosted by the Office of Audit Network Optimization team.

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