We conducted this audit of late and extra trips at the Richmond Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in Sandston, VA, to provide Postal Service management with timely information on operational risks.
On July 10, 2020, the postmaster general announced operational changes. Specifically, the Postal Service would eliminate unnecessary late and extra trips outside of regularly scheduled transportation service. This initiative would require mail to be transported on regular routes or held until the next regular route is available.
Late trips occur when various conditions cause a delay in the arrival or departure of transportation beyond the scheduled times. 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. 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 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 cause increased overtime and penalty overtime costs.
The Richmond P&DC is in the Mid-Atlantic Division of the Logistics and Processing Operations Eastern Region and processes letters, flats, and parcels. From July 1 to September 30, 2020, it reported 7,391 late trips (fourth highest among P&DCs) and 756 extra trips (23rd highest among P&DCs) from the plant to delivery units. Our objective was to assess the causes of late and extra trips from the Richmond P&DC to delivery units.