Background

Excessive delayed mail adversely affects U.S. Postal Service customers and harms the organization’s brand. The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) Performance and Risk Information System model identified the Central PA District as having significant delayed mail volume. Analysis of delayed mail during fiscal year (FY) 2014, Quarter (Q)1 and Q2 identified the Harrisburg Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) as the plant most at risk for delayed mail, compared to similarly sized facilities.

Our objective was to determine whether the Harrisburg P&DC processed mail on time.

What the OIG Found

Although it has made improvements, the Harrisburg P&DC had difficulties processing its mail on time.

In FY 2014, Q1 there were 98 million pieces of delayed mail. The level of delayed mail decreased to 61 million pieces in Q2 and 16 million pieces in Q3. We attributed this improvement largely to a lower volume of mail processed in Q3. The addition of 113 employees in Q2 and Q3 also contributed to this improvement.

Despite the FY 2014, Q3 improvement, there are still areas at risk that could make it difficult for the Harrisburg P&DC to process mail on time. For example, the Harrisburg P&DC has a June 2013 facility operating plan that does not reflect recent consolidation activity. An up-to-date operating plan would reflect changes in processing operations and give management an overview of the amount of mail projected to be cancelled. In addition, there were not enough maintenance employees in FY 2014, Q3, which put operations at risk. Of the authorized 189 maintenance positions, 64 were vacant, resulting in less preventative maintenance and equipment breakdowns. Equipment was down for nearly 4,000 hours for mechanical reasons in FY 2014, Q1and Q2, an increase of 12 percent over the same period last year.

Finally, additional supervisory employees are needed to ensure adequate oversight; nine of the 26 authorized supervisor and two of three manager, Distribution Operations, positions were vacant in FY 2014, Q3.

Delays in processing resulting from these areas at risk could cause late mail delivery that could negatively impact service performance.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended the senior plant manager update the Harrisburg P&DC operating plan and fill maintenance and supervisor vacancies to authorized levels.

Comments (4)

  • anon

    I sent a letter out on sunday night to a prisoner in dauphin county prison harrisburg p.a. he had not recieved the letter. Im just wondering why that is.

    Feb 09, 2018
  • anon

    You have some serious issues at the Harrisburg, PA post office. I have never experienced such an erratic, disfunctional performance of duties anywhere else. Absolutely horrible. Some person or persons (employees) are either very disgruntled or apathetic, I’m guessing. Harrisburg is like a black hole of the postal service. Once mail arrives there, there is no telling what it’s fate will be. Could be a day, could be a month, before it resurfaces again. Take a hard look, if you are overseeing this operation. It needs some heads to roll. Or you cou just reopen some of the neighboring facilities that you shut down in years past. Perhaps you are pushing too much mail through this one center? Whatever the answer is to this mystery, it is an embarrassment at present to what should be a pride of America, the U.S. MAIL.

    Jan 20, 2018
  • anon

    I sent a letter to Hanover, Pa. from Gardners, Pa. over a week ago. It is still in Harrisburg office. What is taking so long?

    Aug 08, 2017
  • anon

    Saturday I sent a "priority mail" to my mom in Newmanstown pa. today is wed and she still hasn't gotten it it is sitting in Harrisburg center according to the tracking system. why is it taking so long to get from middle river md to pa??? Harrisburg got the package Sunday so it should have gone out early MondayI wish I had the tracking number with me but it is in the car next time i'll use UPS, and this is why you are losing money!!

    Apr 12, 2017