This report presents the results of our self-initiated audit to assess the management of Highway Contract Route (HCR) irregularities due to contractor failure at the Columbus Processing & Distribution Center (P&DC), in Columbus, OH.
Late trips occur when various conditions cause a delay in arrival or departure beyond scheduled times. Late trip reason codes may include late processing, mail processing, contractor failure, and equipment failure. When trucks are late due to contractor failure, dock expeditors choose the reason code in the Surface Visibility (SV) Web scanner to generate Postal Service (PS) Form 5500, Contract Route Irregularity Report. The Administrative Officer (AO) is required to review the irregularities reported and the supplier’s comments in Section 2 of PS Form 5500, consult with the contractor, and take appropriate corrective action. Contractors can be assessed penalties or terminated if deficiencies are not corrected after notification by the Postal Service.
In April 2019, headquarters and area management informed plant management that the goal was to have no late trips; therefore, all trips should depart and arrive to their destinations on-time. Our fieldwork was focused on late trips that occurred prior to March 31, 2020. 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.
The Columbus P&DC is in the Ohio Valley District of the Eastern Area. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, the Postal Service reported 2.1 million late trips nationwide due to contractor failure. From October 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, the Columbus P&DC had the second highest number (10,948) of originating late trips due to contractor failure for P&DCs. The average time a trip was late was 43 minutes. There were 41 contractors with originating late trips due to contractor failure at the Columbus P&DC. Two contractors accounted for 61 percent of the failures.
Our objective was to assess the management of HCR irregularities due to contractor failure at the Columbus P&DC.