Cover page of report.

Objective

Strong consumer demand for goods purchased over the internet has driven growth in the package market despite otherwise declining mail volume. This growing package segment provides the U.S. Postal Service an opportunity to expand services and increase revenue.

With this growth, city carriers and non-career city carrier assistants (CCA) are now delivering more packages and fewer letters to more addresses each year. To accommodate these changes, the Postal Service must adapt to this changing mail mix while maintaining service and efficiency.

The South Florida District’s package volume increased from 116.6 million in fiscal year (FY) 2016 to 131.8 million in FY 2017, an increase of 13.7 percent. This growth is a direct result of eCommerce, Sunday package delivery and grocery delivery services. In some areas, package deliveries now regularly occur early in the morning and sometimes as late as 10 p.m.

The Postal Service’s goal is for 95 percent of city letter carriers to return from street operations before 5 p.m. and 100 percent by 6 p.m. Carriers returning to their units on time helps the Postal Service meet its operational goals. In FY 2017, South Florida District city carriers and CCAs delivered about 2.8 billion mail pieces and 62 million packages to over 2.5 million delivery points on 3,876 routes. City carriers and CCAs returning after 6 p.m. in the South Florida District increased by 133 percent in FY 2017. We selected the South Florida District for review because it had the highest percentage of instances of carriers returning after 6 p.m. in the nation.

Our objective was to evaluate city carriers returning to the office after 6 p.m. in the South Florida District.

 

What the OIG Found

In FY 2017, only 58 percent of the South Florida District’s city carriers and CCAs returned to the office by 6 p.m.

Our visits to 15 randomly selected delivery units disclosed:

  • 61 percent of city carriers and CCAs in these units returned by 6 p.m. Further, these units had 64,725 instances of carriers returning by 6 p.m.
  • 11 of 15 units (73 percent) had 411 instances of carriers returning by 9 p.m.
  • 5 of 15 (33 percent) units had 88 instances of carriers returning as late as 10 p.m.

These conditions occurred in these units due to:

  • Late mail arrival and improper mail mix from all three district Processing & Distribution Centers (P&DC).
  • Improper recording and reporting of late mail arrivals and improper mail mix in reporting systems.
  • Incomplete, inaccurate, and outdated Mail Arrival Profiles and Integrated Operating Plans.
  • Inaccurate route base package volume data on city routes.
  • Vehicle breakdown and availability.

City carriers and CCAs returning to delivery units after 6 p.m. increased the district’s overtime and penalty overtime workhour costs. The South Florida District’s use of additional overtime and penalty overtime workhours resulted in about $21 million in questioned costs annually. Improving mail flow, adjusting routes and ensuring adequate vehicle availability could eliminate excess workhours after 6:00 p.m., and help the district realize a cost avoidance of $37 million annually.  

 

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management:

  • Conduct a study of district mail processing operations at the three P&DCs to improve mail flow within and between the plants and to delivery units.
  • Instruct delivery unit management to properly record and report all instances of late mail arrival and improper mail mix in the correct section in the Customer Service Daily Reporting System and Delivery Operations Information System.
  • Update mail arrival profiles and integrated operating plans with agreement by plant and delivery unit management to reflect accurate mail arrival times, mail mix and mail.
  • Develop and execute a plan to review current package volume data for city delivery units and modify route base package volumes and route values through the Route Count and Inspection process or minor route adjustments.

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Comments (4)

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  • anon

    Whenever you are a CCA in Natchez, MS 39120 and are out delivering mail after 6:00 pm management will manually clock you out and conduct an investigative interview the next day stating that you have no business being on the streets that long , when management is the one who has given the employee mail that will exceed the work hours.

    Jul 17, 2018
  • anon

    Why is it that package volume increases and wages decrease? Our starting wage is lower across all delivery systems and our top out pay is 8 years longer and still less than a starting wage at other places. And after five years of working I still get paid what new employees start out at. There is major discrimination issues with management, hostile work environments, and lots of over burden routes. The routes in our office have not been evaluated since 2012. And yet I am pressured to make 6pm when they even know my route is over 8. And you wonder why the turnover is so high? Lack of pay, advancement, surge of packages, harassment from management, and unrealistic goals and favoritism causes people to quit. I personally have been discriminated against medically, and because of my gender. But I am in a position where I need to work, even though I feel like if I go to work I will be harassed. I have seen lots of people quit because of the on going harassment, the money is not worth being treated like scum. Over burden, over loaded, we split 4 routes daily in our office max at one point was 9, this is why we are after 6pm, it is not because of "delays" we are under staffed, and can't retain cca's because of the mis-treatment. I thought becoming a regular would change the mis-treatment, but nope if anything things have become worse.

    Jul 08, 2018
  • anon

    Help with updating mail arrival profiles.

    Jul 06, 2018
  • anon

    Flexible scheduling allows carriers to begin their workday earlier. First in~First out. The later the carrier begins the day the later he/she/they finishes. Customers are shopping 24 hours a day ~ 7 days a week. The notion of being tethered to "banking hours or office hours" is extinct. Why can't carriers begin sorting/collating mail EARLY in the morning ~ like a paper route? Hire more clerks to sort packages as soon as they arrive. GPS? Tracking? I can watch my pizza being delivered live on Uber Eats. Why can't mail carriers have the same access?

    Jul 06, 2018