Background

The U.S. Postal Service considers mail to be delayed when it is not processed in time to meet the established delivery day. Mail processing facilities are required to complete daily counts and self-report on-hand mail, delayed mail, late arriving mail, and mail processed after the processing cut-off time. Mail processing personnel are to complete daily mail counts by 7 a.m.

Mail processing facilities use the Mail Condition Reporting System (MCRS) to report their daily mail count, providing the Postal Service with a standardized national view of mail conditions at processing facilities. MCRS information is available to management officials at all levels for analysis, forecasting, and planning.

We judgmentally selected eight Processing and Distribution Centers (P&DC) for review based on changes in their delayed mail reported from fiscal year (FY) 2014 to FY 2016. We conducted our observations at the Brooklyn, NY; Dallas, TX; Greenville, SC; Louisville, KY; Mobile, AL; Omaha, NE; Southern Maryland; and South Suburban, IL, P&DCs in February 2017.

Our objective was to determine the accuracy of the Postal Service’s delayed mail reporting.

What the OIG Found

We found that the Postal Service was not accurately reporting delayed mail.

We determined that five of the eight P&DCs we visited did not accurately count on-hand delayed mail. Specifically, we determined that there were more than 572,000 on-hand delayed mailpieces during our two days of observations; however, the P&DCs only reported about 369,000 on-hand delayed mailpieces (or about 64 percent) in their MCRS reports for that time period. This occurred because employees were not properly supervised and trained in counting and reporting delayed mail.

In addition, P&DC management did not have procedures in place to periodically reconcile MCRS entries to actual on-hand mail volume to ensure accuracy. According to Headquarters Network Operations management, there was no formal training for conducting daily mail counts and reporting delayed mail.

Additionally, the eight P&DCs did not include all late arriving mail in their MCRS reports. According to the Postal Service’s Mail History Tracking System (MHTS), the eight P&DCs had about 1.8 million late arriving mailpieces during the week of our observations; however, the facilities only included 121,000 of them (or less than 7 percent) in their MCRS reports. We projected that nationally from March 1, 2016, through February 28, 2017, mail processing facilities underreported late arriving mail by about 2 billion mailpieces.

Further, the eight P&DCs did not report all mail processed after the established cut-off time for completing mail processing in their MCRS reports. Based on data in the Postal Service’s Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), the P&DCs processed about 7.5 million mailpieces after their cut-off time during the week of our observations; however, they only included about 868,000 mailpieces (or less than 12 percent) in their MCRS reports. This mail is not necessarily delayed; however, it should be included in the MCRS report as a processing plan failure.

Mail processing facilities are not required to report information from MHTS or EDW in their MCRS reports; however, using this information would provide P&DC management with a more accurate view of current mail conditions.

When mail condition reports are not accurate, management uses incorrect information to make decisions on staffing, mail processing equipment use, preventative maintenance, and the transportation of mail. These decisions affect the Postal Service’s ability to meet its mail service commitments.

Headquarters Enterprise Analytics management said they are planning to replace the MCRS with the Informed Visibility system to capture daily mail conditions. An initial pilot has been conducted and as of August 2017, the next pilot is on hold while the Postal Service simplifies mail condition calculations. We plan to look at the Informed Visibility system’s delayed mail reporting in future audit work.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management require formal training for all personnel involved in supervising, conducting, and reporting daily mail counts; ensure P&DC management periodically reviews the accuracy of MCRS reports; and improve the MCRS by integrating data from the Mail History Tracking System and Enterprise Data Warehouse.

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Comments (16)

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  • anon

    I'm slightly confused here. Was the audit done on the MCRS system or the employees counting the containers? I've worked with MCRS for the last 20 years. It's a 'snapshot' of volumes, and will never match machine counts (as are in MHTS, EDW, etc). Employees count and enter CONTAINERS, and MCRS uses averaged volumes to come up with a total. For example a 2 foot tall skid of letters adds ~2000 pieces to the count, whether it actually has 1000 or 4000. SO, is this report stating that the employees inaccurately entered the number and type of containers (their failure)? Or that the containers they entered didn't generate the same volumes that our electronic systems show (MCRS failure)? Also, MCRS is NOT used for anything at the Plant level. Staffing/Operations are dictated by RPG, Maintenance by eMARS, etc.. In the last few years the USPS has entered the digital age and we now have dozens of systems spitting out numbers. MCRS is a dinosaur, used mainly by the Area Offices to highlight Plants that might need attention. (Oh, and nobody's entered PLAN FAILURE for about a decade, as we were told not to bother by Area.)

    Sep 20, 2017
  • anon

    I sent a package from Honolulu, HI to Mechanicsburg, PA on Friday, 8 September 2017. As of date, the tracker continue to read "In Transit to Destination". The tracker reported "Departed USPS Regional Facility, Honolulu HI Distribution Center Sep 09,2017 12:20am". However, it does not report "Arrived at USPS Regional Origin Facility". USPS to investigate. I'm crossing my fingers that the package is found and forwarded on to its receiver.

    Sep 14, 2017
  • anon

    Donna, do you know how you mailed it? Priority mail or standard mail? Standard mail to/from Hawaii is sent via ship, and that typically takes three to four weeks.

    Sep 21, 2017
  • anon

    Right now I have 2 package's that just where at the St. Louis, MO distribution center. The next stop should have been my post office in Sesser, IL about 100 miles away, that's usually how it goes down, well one makes it to Sesser the other one went straight to Detroit, MI last night! The postal system would save fuel if it didn't always have to re-route my packages back to St. Louis, just to send back on a second try for Sesser, it's shows the ineptitude of the Postal system. One time they routed one all the way to Miami, FL back up to NY City then back to St. Louis then to me and this was a priority mail package from Texas. Mail is too expensive for the crappy service you get.

    Sep 08, 2017
  • anon

    2 weeks no mail

    Aug 26, 2017
  • anon

    I feel the postal service is not sending my mail even though they say it has been sent. I am not receiving my expected mail. Sincerely, Allizabeth.

    Aug 25, 2017
  • anon

    Its sad when I mail a greeting card to my granddaughter from Mich to KY and August 5th and its August 24th and she never got it? When I call they say well maybe it went in the wrong direction. So no Birthday gift for her this year...Im beyond pissed.

    Aug 24, 2017
  • anon

    I sent mail through post office on July 17th to India through regular mail Usually I sent through priority mail but some employee there misguided me to send through regular mail to India and it will gonna reach within 2weeks It's more than a month I don't know where my mail is I called so many times to Usps they said can't scan it I don't know wat to do It's my first time sending through regular mail and I can't claim they said can't scan nothing It has some important documents

    Aug 24, 2017
  • anon

    I use to like our mail lady but I think she is getting away with her delivery. my bills are getting to late I call the companies and copy has to be mail again ,lately not even commercial or junk mail received and what ever I am expecting not come .Sorry I like her but my mail is first and I thing she need to be check .She said she assort the mail before delivered something going on with those assorted mail. would you please take care of this delicate mater want my mail regardless if junk mail specially the bills on time, as I use to.

    Aug 18, 2017
  • anon

    you should be investigating winona, mo and the mail routes/processes from here. today is just another of our normal lack of service. again pay for ur 'better' service, and still can't get my mail delivered. not on time, and no real status, or updates. our mail is sent to wrong addys regularly, lost in shpg/transit most the time, received wet, mangled, and very often opened. there are numerous addys and occupants given the same addresses, etc. I currently have a priority mail pkg somewhere in limbo, and have had it take over two weeks for priority mail to make it where it normally should take two days. right now, my two day pkg is already on day four, and has the status 'update' showing it going back to what it showed 2 1/2 days ago, instead of anything real.

    Aug 17, 2017
  • anon

    And I'm suppose to get a FAIR Mail count??? After all these years I gave the Post Office???? I'm suppose to trust these management clowns???? These managers are the worst of the worst! They hide behind hard working employees, only to lie, cheat and steal!!!

    Aug 15, 2017
  • anon

    If you are an employee and you have mail in the office intentionally not being delivered because of Management's decision, what is the proper method of reporting that? Does that go through the OIG Hotline or does that need to be reported to the US Postal Inspection Service?

    Aug 15, 2017
  • anon

    Dear Chris, Please file a complaint with our Hotline (the red button at the top of the page) so we can look into the matter for you. Thank you!

    Aug 16, 2017
  • anon

    My husband has literally had to pick up our mail each week because we have construction being done on our street & probably will for over a year. My husband has literally had to go & pick up our mail. He does not get off til 4:30 p.m. & they also close at the same time, which means he has to ask his boss to leave early just to get our mail. This is unacceptable because we have bills to pay. This woman that delivers our mail refuses to put it in one of your buckets once a week & put it on our porch, but she is still delivering mail to others on our street. This is not right & needs to stop. I have also found that we are missing mail, which I think is being stolen. We have never had this problem til we moved to Skiatook with any postal service.

    Aug 14, 2017
  • anon

    Hello Karen, The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (800-275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service on their website. If you feel that a postal worker is committing mail theft please submit a complaint via our Hotline so that we can look into the matter for you.

    Aug 15, 2017
  • anon

    Why does it taken so long to receive mail from the San Francisco Distribution Center? The last update I got was on the 10th of August and no further updates. Package is suppose to arrive tomorrow (8/17/16). How do we get a hold of a person at this distribution center? What steps are being taken to ensure efficiency?

    Aug 15, 2017