Background

A distribution and routing (D&R) tag is a self-adhesive barcoded label attached to a handling unit, which is a piece of mail or a sack that contains multiple mail pieces. Proper preparation of handling units includes removing old tags before applying new ones and verifying that tags are accurately formatted and legible.

The U.S. Postal Service is contractually required to pay an additional relabeling fee of [redacted] per handling unit for [redacted] to replace D&R tags when units arrive at a [redacted] facility and tags are missing or illegible. Handling units with unreadable or missing D&R tags are redirected to a designated area where [redacted] employees conduct the relabeling process. From fiscal year 2019 to 2021, [redacted] created about [redacted] D&R tags, and the number of relabeled tags has steadily increased year over year since 2019.

What We Did

Our objective was to assess the Postal Service’s distribution and routing relabeling process at [redacted] facilities. To assess the process, we conducted observations and collected D&R tag samples at the [redacted], interviewed and solicited information from Postal Service officials, and analyzed D&R tag payment data.

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