The U.S. Postal Service uses Area Mail Processing (AMP) guidelines to consolidate mail processing functions and increase productivity through more efficient use of equipment, facilities, staffing, and transportation. These consolidations are intended to reduce costs and maintain quality service.
The Postal Service conducted an AMP feasibility study for the Rock Springs Customer Service Mail Processing Center (CSMPC). It partially implemented the AMP on April 18, 2015, by moving all of the CSMPC’s originating (mail sent from it) and part of the destinating (mail delivered to it) operations to the Salt Lake City Processing and Distribution Center and Auxiliary Service Facility. Management indicated they did not move all destinating operations to Salt Lake City because there were no positions available for some employees within a 50-mile radius of the Rock Springs CSMPC. In addition, on May 27, 2015, the Postal Service announced plans to delay consolidations based on operational considerations to ensure it would continue providing prompt, reliable, and predictable service consistent with its published service standards. The Postal Service plans to resume consolidations in 2016.
This report responds to a request from U.S. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming to review the consolidation. Our objectives were to determine whether a business case exists to consolidate the Rock Springs CSMPC mail processing operations and assess compliance with established AMP guidelines.
What the OIG Found
A business case exists to support consolidating the Rock Springs CSMPC. We estimated the partial consolidation should save the Postal Service about $1.6 million annually, which is $237,122 more in savings than the Postal Service estimated. We found the Postal Service overestimated management workhour and maintenance savings but underestimated transportation savings. In addition, we found the Postal Service did not include the CSMPC’s automated flat volume in the AMP feasibility study. This could also impact the savings identified in the AMP feasibility study.
Following the partial consolidation, productivity increased at the Salt Lake City facilities and the CSMPC. We also found the Salt Lake City facilities have adequate capacity to process additional mail volume from the CSMPC and no Postal Service career employees lost their jobs due to this partial consolidation. Further, there was no significant impact on carriers returning after 5 p.m. and AMP guidelines were generally followed.
However, we found the consolidation did impact the local community in Rock Springs. Specifically, there were changes to collection box times although the AMP feasibility study stated there would be no changes. Collection box times are now up to 2 hours earlier than before the consolidation. In addition, since the consolidation, service scores have generally remained below the national average in Rock Springs.
What the OIG Recommended
We recommended management re-evaluate management workhour, maintenance, and transportation savings and determine and document the impact from excluding the automated flat volume from the CSMPC AMP feasibility study during the first post-implementation review.
We further recommended management ensure collection box times are appropriately analyzed and accurately reflected in all AMP feasibility studies and adjust transportation and other operational requirements to ensure it meets service commitments in Rock Springs.