Background

The Harrisburg Processing & Distribution Center is in the Central PA District of the Eastern Area. During fiscal year (FY) 2019, it manually processed 86.9 million letters, 11.4 million flats, and 1.6 million parcels. Mail is processed manually when its dimensions or address quality prevent it from being processed on mail processing equipment. It is much more cost effective for mail to be processed on mail processing equipment. In FY 2019, the average productivity for parcels processed on mail processing equipment was 278 parcels per hour while the average productivity for manually processed parcels was 74 parcels per hour.

We selected the Harrisburg P&DC for review based on our analysis of manual parcel productivity as measured by the Management Operating Data System (MODS). The Postal Service uses MODS data to plan workload, project workhours and mail volume, track mail processing activities, evaluate the efficiency of facilities, and estimate staffing requirements. In addition to its operational uses, the Postal Service uses MODS workhour data to calculate totals for many of the cost pools within the Clerks and Mail Handlers Cost Segment. Postal Service management and the Postal Regulatory Commission rely on accurate and precise product cost estimates to set postal prices and to reliably determine whether revenue for products and mail classes cover attributable costs. The Harrisburg P&DC’s FY 2019 manual parcel productivity of 7,898 mailpieces per hour was significantly higher than the national average productivity of 74 mailpieces per hour.

Our objective was to assess the manual parcel processing operations.

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