Objective

The objective of our audit was to determine the cause of mail processing delays reported at the Denver, CO, Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC).

The Postal Service reports mail processing delays when mail is not processed in time to meet its established delivery or when mail is processed but not on the dock in time for scheduled transportation to delivery units.

From October 2017 through June 2018, there were over 106 million mailpieces reported as mail processing delays at the Denver P&DC, a 57 million mailpiece (53 percent) increase from the amount reported in fiscal year (FY) 2017.

Mail processing facilities are required to complete daily mail counts and self-report processing delays and late arriving mail and enter the information into the web Mail Condition Reporting System (MCRS). When mail processing delays occur at a facility, there is an increased risk it won’t be delivered by its established delivery date.

Mail processing facilities use the Run Plan Generator (RPG) to manage mail processing operations. The RPG combines site-specific mail processing machines, sort programs, maintenance requirements, mail volume, and the rate at which machines process mail to project daily machine run plans. This assists management with meeting established clearance times (the latest time mail can complete a mail processing operation) and ensuring transportation trips depart on time.

What the OIG Found

Mail processing delays at the Denver P&DC were due to facility management and employees not using the RPG to manage mail processing operations and meet established mail processing clearance times; not removing incorrect color-code tags and applying the proper color-code tags; not staging mail in proper sequential order; and not having procedures in place to identify and report all late arriving mail in their MCRS reports.

Specifically, in the first three quarters of FY 2018, the facility has only met one of the three weekly mail processing measures seven of 39 times (18 percent) and did not meet the other two weekly mail processing measures any of the possible 39 times. Postal policy requires the development of an RPG to meet the established mail processing clearance times and for management to communicate the RPG to all facility employees. The senior plant manager stated they were working on updating the RPG and using it more frequently among facility management. The district manager stated that they are struggling to use the RPG because the prior year’s mail mix and volume was significantly different than this year’s, which has presented them challenges ensuring the RPG accurately reflects current mail volume and mix.

Of the 57 million mailpiece increase in reported mail processing delays since October 2017, 49 million mailpieces (86 percent) were First-Class delivery point sequence (DPS) letters. The DPS letters did not complete mail processing by its clearance time; however, the Denver P&DC delayed the departure of scheduled transportation trips to delivery units until the mail completed processing. Since the start of FY 2018, the Denver P&DC delayed about 8,500 transportation trips by at least 15 minutes, totaling over 8,000 hours, because of late mail processing, potentially costing the Postal Service $231,575.

While the trips were delayed to accommodate mail processing and transportation to delivery units, we were unable to determine specifically how many of those mailpieces met their established delivery days. We did note that First-Class service scores for the facility were slightly higher in Quarter 3 of FY 2018 compared to the prior year. However, on-time service at the facility was about 90 percent in FY 2018 Quarter 3, almost six percent below the goal of 96 percent.

In addition, Denver P&DC employees did not remove incorrect color-code tags, apply the proper color-code tags, and were not staging mail in proper sequential order. The Postal Service uses a color-coding system to identify when Marketing Mail arrives and when it should be processed. Staging lanes hold mail in sequential order to ensure the mail is worked in the required proper sequence. Denver P&DC managers did not verify that employees removed incorrect color-code tags, applied proper color-code tags, or staged mail in proper sequential order. Improperly color-coded and staged mail can be processed later than intended, which can delay the processing, transportation, and delivery of Marketing Mail.

Further, the Denver P&DC does not have a procedure in place to identify and report all late arriving mail in their MCRS reports. During observations, the Denver P&DC processed more than five million destinating letters; however according to the Mail History Tracking System, the Denver P&DC received over 44,000 late arriving letters from other facilities, none of which were reported in its MCRS reports. According to Postal Service policy, late arriving mail should be identified and counted at the receiving platform. The manager of in-plant support stated the facility does not have a procedure in place to identify late arriving mail but, when they know it is arriving late, the supervisors will report it as late arriving in MCRS. Unidentified late arriving mail increases the risk of mail not meeting its established delivery day.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management:

  • Update the RPG for the Denver P&DC to meet established clearance times and scheduled transportation and communicate the plan to employees.
  • Ensure employee compliance with color-coding procedures and staging of mail in proper sequential order.
  • Establish a procedure to identify and report late arriving mail.

Read full report

Comments (47)

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  • anon

    Just I want to said THANKS , my package was totally fine, perfect time, I was not really sure if my family can get my present on time, because I read all the bad reviews and comments about this facility I think if more people write a good review when the service is good this page or comments doesn't show just the bad things about the service , on my side everything was perfect more than I expected I sent from UT. to TX., thank you very much :)

    Aug 20, 2019
  • anon

    My package sat at the Denver distribution center for four days before being moved again on the date it was supposed to be delivered in upstate New York. I won’t be using the USPS for any packages in the future. This clearly is a problem that isn’t being addressed from the investigation over why this center is horrible at getting packages out on time. Where I work people get fired for not doing their job as expected.

    Aug 01, 2019
  • anon

    I have a package being sent through USPS via DHL eCommerce. It has been almost a week since DHL delivered my package to the Denver P&DC and the folks at P&DC still have not scanned my package to show they have received it. The only reason I know Denver P&DC received the package was b/c DHL has record of it, but USPS still does not. When I spoke to DHL, I was told the my package was guaranteed for delivery by today (July 30th) but that the Denver P&DC has now issued a 48 hour delay for the container in which my package was delivered. How is this even possible? How does an entire container full of mail sit in a P&DC for almost a week and there not be a record made of its location. I absolutely agree with the comments made below; there is something terribly wrong with the operation of this P&DC and it needs to get its act together immediately!

    Jul 30, 2019
  • anon

    My package tracking showed it's still "In-Transit" after departed Denver CO Distribution Center since July 20th. It has been 6 days and still showed "In-Transit." This facility needs to get their act together. Apparently, a lot of people also experienced this problem. Please FIX this facility.

    Jul 26, 2019
  • anon

    looks like the problems are not solved in the main sort facility. Dropped off mail on June 25 and accepted at a USPS retail counter and none of it was processed in the sort facility until June 29 causing all the mail to be delivered late

    Jul 17, 2019
  • anon

    Seems like nothing has been improved in Denver. Every package I've had go through here within the past couple of moths has gotten the "In Transit, Arriving Late" message. This facility needs better training, both for the management and the regular employees.

    Jun 18, 2019
  • anon

    Box went into this facility and hasn’t come out. Clearly, the problem hasn’t been fixed yet. Really wish my $210 box had been delivered on time.

    May 31, 2019
  • anon

    I know bad weather slowes down mail? But my item was recieved there on may 29. Was supposed to be on route to next facility on June 2. Still on route to next facility today june 3 and also says will be arriving late. I am glad for response. But I hope item doesn't get lost. :( I will be warning my seller about this and I will not buy anything from Denver!!

    Jun 04, 2019
  • anon

    Interesting seeing as how I’m still having the same problem right now. My priority box has been sitting in this facility for 4 days now. I’m so upset.

    May 31, 2019
  • anon

    Interesting thing I'm dealing with. My package has been bouncing back and forth from Colarado Springs, then back to Denver for almost 2 weeks now. Ships out of one, to the other, then back again. Its rather interesting but starting to get annoying, as I live out of state and can't find someone to get a hold of to fix it at the locations.

    May 25, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, April. Thank you for your message. If your issue has not yet been resolved by the USPS Office of Consumer Affairs, please file a complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint. This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    May 28, 2019
  • anon

    I’ve received the following message when tracking shipments nearly every time I’ve requested a delivery: "In Transit, Arriving Late Your package will arrive later than expected, but is still on its way. It is currently in transit to the next facility." PLEASE help this facility to do better.

    Apr 11, 2019
  • anon

    I shipped 3 Priority Mail boxes from 07727 to 92626, on 04/06/2019. 1 box "delivered" 1 day early on 04/08/2019. The other 2 boxes were diverted to Denver Co facility and have not moved since. This is the second time that tracking results were: "In Transit, Arriving Late Your package will arrive later than expected, but is still on its way. It is currently in transit to the next facility." Each day the same results, just a different date. Eventually, the other shipments arrived 1 week LATE. I expect the same results for these two "wayward" boxes! What the heck is happening to the Postal Service? Things used to move to a great schedule. And no refunds for delivery that is up to 7 days late.

    Apr 09, 2019
  • anon

    I have lived all over the country and this is the worst mail system ever. I used to get mail from California to Connecticut faster than I do here. Snail mail takes about 3 weeks to arrive from Cali. Why don't they overhaul and get new staff ? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    Apr 09, 2019
  • anon

    What really should be happening is an overhaul of the system. Management/employees that continue to fail to fallow procedures should be disciplined and/or terminated. Here is the status of my package even as my seller was mailing the package via Priority Mail: March 27, 2019, 10:41 pm Processing Exception, Other Delay DENVER, CO 80266 Your shipment has potentially been delayed due to emergency or other conditions at 10:41 pm on March 27, 2019 in DENVER, CO 80266. March 27, 2019, 10:26 pm Arrived at USPS Regional Origin Facility DENVER CO DISTRIBUTION CENTER March 27, 2019, 9:26 pm Processing Exception, Other Delay AURORA, CO 80046 March 27, 2019, 9:11 pm Accepted at USPS Origin Facility AURORA, CO 80046 March 27, 2019, 5:14 pm Processing Exception, Other Delay AURORA, CO 80015 March 27, 2019, 4:59 pm Shipment Received, Package Acceptance Pending AURORA, CO 80015 March 27, 2019 Pre-Shipment Info Sent to USPS, USPS Awaiting Item

    Mar 28, 2019
  • anon

    Your package was moving along just fine, the warning for potential delay was added as a precaution due to external situation. Not necessarily actual delay.

    Apr 06, 2019
  • anon

    Things certainly haven't gotten any better since this report. I've had a number of packages go through Denver on their way here to California, and every one of them was delayed there for days. OIG should have recommended that the USPS reduce the amount of mail going through Denver until they get their act together. The amount of time it would take to reroute around Denver would certainly be less than going through it at this point.

    Mar 13, 2019
  • anon

    I just filed an OIG complaint yesterday as well re: the severe delay of my mail. Three months later, friends and family are just now (March) receiving their Christmas cards!! Not only is this embarrassing but completely ridiculous! Obviously, the Denver USPS haven’t learned from their audit last year and didn’t take their advice on how to improve their process. Of all of the places I’ve lived, including overseas, this is the worst postal service I’ve ever experienced. Very disappointed.

    Mar 12, 2019
  • anon

    They still haven’t gotten it together, I have a time sensitive package that is missing. Or stolen! From this facility and people wonder why usps is such a crock!!

    Mar 10, 2019
  • anon

    I have had minor issues such as this and lost mail with Jacksonville Florida and Chicago's regional facilities. It is still ingoing

    Mar 06, 2019
  • anon

    I mailed on February 5 a registered letter to the Colorado Department of Revenue. As of today February 14 it has not been delivered. USPS tracking shows that the letter is still in transit and is held up in the Denver CO Distribution Center. If the Denver Distribution Center can't deliver it, at least send it back to us, so we can forward to the Colorado Department of Revenue by another way.

    Feb 14, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Emory and Heidi. Thanks for your message. We are an independent agency of the Postal Service and unfortunately can't help with delayed mail or packages. Please file a complaint directly with the Postal Service at https://emailus.usps.com/emailUs/iq/usps/request.do?forward=emailUs. Just choose the tab marked "Where is My Package" or "Where is My Mail."

    Feb 14, 2019
  • anon

    My rent check is routinely getting lost, or delayed, whether priority mail, or metered mail for the past several months now. It's hit or miss that it will arrive when it's supposed to, which makes my relationship with my landlord stressful, and is really unacceptable. I'm not sure what to do anymore to make sure my rent arrives on time. It's been anywhere from a few days to a couple of WEEKS late. I mailed it metered mail on Monday January 28th. The receipt said it would be there by January 31st. It's February second and it still has not arrived.

    Feb 02, 2019
  • anon

    I have served over the past three years as a relief data collection technician at the Springfield MO P&DC, covering the WebMCRS and LCRS reports on weekends; until reading this report, I had no idea that late-arriving First Class letter mail needed to be counted as, well, late-arriving. I will pass this along to the regular clerk in this position.

    Jan 29, 2019
  • anon

    You should be doing this in Ybor, Florida !!!! It's taken 8 days for my Priority mail.

    Jan 18, 2019
  • anon

    Denver hasn't gotten any better. I mailed a package on Monday 1/7, from Ft Collins to Lenexa, KS. According to the tracking info, it has entered the Denver distribution center 4 times since I mailed it. What is the problem?

    Jan 11, 2019
  • anon

    It is a shame what has happened to the USPS. There is absolutely no accountability in their system, from Distribution Centers to local Post Offices. They have routinely lost packages that arrive at the Denver CO Network Distribution Center and have no way of tracking where the packages were lost or stolen by USPS employees. Every other shipping Company (Fed-Ex, UPS, etc) has ways to expertly track your package, the USPS only shows it "in transit" 10 DAYS AFTER IT ARRIVES at Denver sorting facility. It's a shame that vendors still utilize USPS for package shipment, they seem to only be able to handle the junk mail which flows freely through their system and gets stuffed into my mailbox.

    Jan 11, 2019
  • anon

    My package has been sitting at the Denver facility since the 21st.

    Dec 29, 2018
  • anon

    It was not until moving to Denver that I ever experienced problems sending or receiving mail. It never happened even once before, not even in the comparatively much larger Los Angeles market. It began with a letter sent by a friend from Tuscon, Arizona containing concert tickets which took ten days to arrive on the day after the concert. Next up was a shipment of artwork in a tube box which vanished before it left for Los Angeles. It was found two weeks later. Then there was the package I had sent to my work address to avoid having it stolen from my front porch. It nearly got returned to sender marked as "no such address" despite all of the other mail we received that day with the same address. There is a problem in Denver.

    Dec 26, 2018
  • anon

    My package from springfield mo. Went to Denver processing center, left Denver, now 2 days later says it is back in Denver...supposed to go to Boise

    Dec 23, 2018
  • anon

    I have started to request different carriers due to this one sorting facility in Denver. I had a critical tool spend 2 week arriving and departing over and over with days in-between from this one location. I'm now watching for shipment origins passing through this location and black listing that whole branch of the network. I got a package there right now, supposed to be delivered today, guess that will be about a week late.

    Dec 21, 2018
  • anon

    My package left Detroit Michigan and arrived in Denver on 12/20. It was supposed to be delivered to Thornton on 12/20. This is the tracking message I received: "December 21, 2018 In Transit to Next Facility I had the same issue last year, and the presents did not arrive until after Christmas. The Distribution Center, depending on routing is less than 20 miles from Thornton. Will this package be delivered before New Years Day?

    Dec 21, 2018
  • anon

    Our Priority Mail Christmas package has been at the Denver Co, Processing Center since 12/13/18. The post office from which it was mailed said that apparently it is sitting on a conveyor belt and going round and round, recording each time, but not put on the appropriate route. Our tracking information says on 12/17/18 that it was "In Transit". That was 3 days ago. From what our post office can tell, it is still somewhere in the Processing Center.

    Dec 20, 2018
  • anon

    I dropped off my package on December 10, 2018 at the Arvada Post Office for delivery in Newport News, VA. I was told it would arrive by December 17, 2018. When I checked the tracking history I found that my package was still in Denver until December 18. Now I get a message saying that it will be delivered later than expected but I have no idea where it is since the tracking only tells me that it's on it's way to the next facility. No mention of where that facility is. I shipped this in plenty of time for delivery before Christmas and this is inexcusable! I will NEVER ship with USPS again! With UPS it always gets to VA in three or four days like they say it will.

    Dec 19, 2018
  • anon

    Hello, Vicki. Thanks for your message. Please file a complaint directly with the Postal Service at emailus.usps.com/emailUs/iq/usps/request.do?forward=emailUs. Just choose the tab marked "Where is My Package" or "Where is My Mail."

    Dec 19, 2018
  • anon

    please I have been tracking my package and it always says in transit more than two months is it lost?

    Mar 12, 2019
  • anon

    This is an on going issue which never is nor has been properly addressed nor solved! Why can those upstarts like UPS and Fedex etc. Handle the volume they do while year after year the USPS fails to do what they publish?! While you make many "claims" to do this or that, such as your websites and email and contact published web links, most are sub par and redundant...if they work at all! Lets be honest, you don't care, don't want to know about problems, and have such a warped and antiquated idea of quality service that you just don't care...as long as you get a pay check. The forms and tracking you "supply" are a joke! You guys are broken and should quit pretending to have the integrity let alone procedural ethics to compete let alone deliver quality service. My package should have taken 3 days! It is going on 7 tomorrow! Not even Amazon takes 7 days to deliver a 1/2 pound parcel 1200 miles!

    Dec 23, 2018
  • anon

    And once again it is the 19th of December I have 4 usps priority boxes that have gone to this facility. One sent from Massachusetts which got to denver with its partner box however it was sent back to mass then to New Jersey and is still in transit back to denver to then be sorted once again to come to olney springs. A box I sent from olney springs to my sister in washington was mailed out saturday 12/15 usps priority last update left from olney springs it is now not even say it's in denver. A third usps priority sent from georgia to me went from georgia to denver then denver sent it to montana and know it is being resent back to denver. An order that was sent from gerber in south carolina is sitting in denver with no update either. What the heck is going on in this facility this is very poor care of packages and it honestly sounds like things are getting worst. Rather then your investigation doing a bit of change at all!! I will never again go through usps and refuse to allow anyone else send I'll pay the extra money for ups and fed x

    Dec 19, 2018
  • anon

    Packages are continuing to be posted as "in transit to the next facility". Estes Park is an hour and a half from Denver. Not 5 days from Denver. The trucks from Denver to Estes park are later and later in the day, therefore, they miss any hope of their deliveries being able to be sorted by our mail carriers and any hope of mail/packages being delivered promptly to our boxes or notices being left for pick-up. Should it take 7 days for Priority mail from Phoenix?

    Dec 17, 2018
  • anon

    I mailed a package to my daughter on 11/24/18 from Sun City Center,FL. I paid $18.00 for two-day delivery to Denver,CO. After five days, I tracked the package and the message said the package was delayed, but it was on its way. The package finally arrived on 12/3/18 and was torn open, contents exposed, dirty (as if it had been run over), and no apology or explanation given. I am looking to be reimbursed the $18.00 shipping fee.

    Dec 14, 2018
  • anon

    Hello, Janice. Thank you for your message. We understand receiving a damage package is disappointing and frustrating. You can file a claim with the Postal Service at www.usps.com/help/welcome.htm

    Dec 17, 2018
  • anon

    Not to mention, the "Late" trips are only part of the problem. Many trips are actually launched empty with no mail on them as to not show up on the reports. More importantly, many Plants launch "extra" trips which are not tracked at all! This is simply a way to circumvent the system and cheat. What is alarming is that it is known and ignored. Plant Managers are rarely held accountable by Area VP's. Sad but true.

    Dec 11, 2018
  • anon

    The write up is just scratching the service. The Denver center is a mess. In conversations with my local post office who have gad the misfortune of visiting Denver confirm the mess. When I track packages that I mail, they normally get delayed in Denver or DO NOT get scanned at all for several days. USPS created these disater center for first class mail but somehow manage to move the 'garbage' mail in timely basis. But, I must say there are otherncenter with the same problem. A current package destined for SW Colorado from Kansas City is in Des Moines!!! Going East, OOOOPS....

    Dec 10, 2018
  • anon

    Better check on the routes from Nashville as well. I have a check that goes away every December from the Brentwood Post Office. This year we were able to track it to the Ohio Mail Processing unit. It has been 2 weeks. This was first class mail certified. So yes there is a tracking number. Employees at the Brentwood Station told me they dont know how mail gets to ohio. There was alos no supervisor available. I was told that there was so much lost mail. This sure makes me wonder about that facility. I sure wish you could help and prevent and stop this problem.

    Dec 10, 2018
  • anon

    Well, I'm in the metro Denver area, and I can say with great certainty the USPS here has a lot more problems than the few you've come to conclude. First class letters are delayed, packages are delivered badly damaged, thefts occur often, carriers are overworked and under trained, threats are made not to deliver mail if the box is full but that one day a week marketing stuff that ends up in the trash 90 percent of the time which completely fills a standard mailbox will always be there without fail. The Amazon contract isn't helping. The USPS certainly did not think their priorities through when they took it on. Less people to carry a doubled/tripled/quadrupled load wasn't smart, just to try and make a lot of money over UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Whatever was in that contract, well, it screwed us, the people who actually use and need the USPS service. I've also seen other reports about the fudging of numbers to meet those carrier deadlines - you know, the ones that say a carrier has to be back by a certain time? Scanning "no access" seems to be a commonplace occurrence to avoid penalties up the line to save time, and the delivery was never even attempted at all. I have to stay at home due to medical and financial reasons, and I am always aware of when I need to have a delivery. I've had more than one instance happen when my delivery was scheduled and didn't arrive due to "no access" or some other excuse like "unable to get a signature" or some other ridiculous excuse when I've been sitting no more than five feet from the door awake and waiting. You want some real suggestions to pass along? * Hire more carriers. * Hire more sorting clerks. * TRAIN them all properly. * Re-evaluate routes. * Have dual routes - one for delivering first class mail, the other strictly for packages. * Pass some of the costs on to the marketers and Amazon contractors, instead of the customers. If USPS couldn't afford the delivery on these items, why did they take on the contracts? * Clean house. Supervisors and managers and district leaders are passing the buck an awful lot. The carriers are worked 10-16 hour days, often for weeks at a time without time off, and the managers are pulling the lax and lazy shenanigans. Try hiring working managers. * Find out why tracking will show packages circling all over the country instead of where they are supposed to be going, and sometimes disappearing from the "system" all together. * Remind the USPS what they are about - delivering mail. USPS was never meant to be a for-profit agency padding officials' pockets, never meant to be a specialized package service like UPS and FedEx. If they can't do the job anymore, maybe it is time to privatize (though I'd rather not see that happen, as rates would skyrocket in a private for-profit business). At one time, the USPS was a respected government agency. It is not anymore. It really is time for the USPS to look closely within and deep to its mission and to get back to its true purpose.

    Dec 07, 2018
  • anon

    While I understand your findings, the problem still exists. I constantly have mail bounce all over the state after it arrives at the denver facility ( I live 1 mile away ). I BELIEVE that there are way too many of your employees are on drugs and you should be testing them more frequently without letting know ahead of time which IS your current standard.

    Dec 01, 2018
  • anon

    Once again boys and girls you dug up some fascinating information. Too bad you don't realize what it is. Golly Gee the plants had problems....But you have facts which show that these problems slide downhill and wreak havoc on the post offices who are the plant's customers. To cite your own report. ....8,500 transports to post offices were delayed by over 15 minute...42% of all transports from the plant were delayed... So product is delayed at post offices and carriers get out late. Dedicated carriers rush to get all the mail delivered and sometimes cut corners. Accidents happen...And carriers do not get back before dispatch and your, ever so important, 24 hour clock is screwed up. Management doesn't want to hear anything but make dispatch. Well you can't get blood from a stone. So how about you immediately follow the chain of this audit and see how the plant's screw up screw the folks down stream... See how much OT city carriers get....See how many rural carriers get into 2080 problems. Correlate accidents at post offices with dates that deliveries were late. In other words you started a job, now finish it. And then you will have a real audit. ..ps... wonder why postal pulse figures are so bad? Folks are tired of situations like this and nothing is ever done to truly correct it.

    Nov 28, 2018