Late trips occur when various conditions cause a delay in the arrival or departure of transportation beyond the scheduled times. In April 2019, Postal Service Headquarters management informed plant management to eliminate all late trips and specified that all trips should depart and arrive to their destinations on time. From July 1 to December 31, 2019, the Postal Service reported 591,140 late trips from Processing and Distribution Centers (P&DCs) to delivery units. When mail processing operations do not process mail timely or mail volume is above normal or expected levels, managers may have to call extra trips to transport this mail.
From July 1 to December 31, 2019, the Postal Service reported 176,940 extra trips from P&DCs to delivery units. Late and extra trips to delivery units can cause disruptions and increase the number of carriers returning after 6 p.m. When carriers return after 6:00 p.m., customer service can suffer, and mail collected by the carriers may be late to the P&DC. In addition, late returning carriers can result in increased overtime and penalty overtime costs.
The Philadelphia P&DC is in the Philadelphia District within the Eastern Area. The P&DC processes letters, flats, and parcels. From July 1 to December 31, 2019, it reported 13,206 late trips (third highest among P&DCs) and 1,297 extra trips (40th highest among P&DCs) from the plant to delivery units.
Our fieldwork was completed before the President of the United States issued the national emergency declaration concerning the novel coronavirus disease outbreak (COVID-19) on March 13, 2020. The results of this audit do not reflect operational changes and/or service impacts that may have occurred at this facility as a result of the pandemic.
Our objective was to assess the causes of late and extra trips at the Philadelphia P&DC.