The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) requires the Postal Service to measure service performance and report to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The PAEA directs that external measurement systems be used for evaluating the Postal Service’s mail delivery performance unless alternate systems have been approved by the PRC. The PRC reviews this data to ensure that delivery performance does not deteriorate under the current rate setting process and to assess customer satisfaction.

The Postal Service has approval to use a hybrid measurement system for bulk presorted First-Class™ and Standard Mail® relying on Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb) scans to measure arrival at postal facilities (start the clock) and a network of external reporters who record delivery times. The PRC has expressed concern about the accuracy of start-the-clock recordings, noting that Postal Service’s start-the-clock event was based on the first read on mail processing equipment rather than on the documented arrival time. Given limited data availability, the PRC also expressed concern that the IMb service delivery performance measurement is not representative of all presort First-Class and Standard mail. They also recommended the Postal Service continue to work to correct service problems.

The Postal Service implemented full-service IMb mailer certification procedures to ensure that mailings meet appropriate business rules. However, this certification process is not mandatory.

Do you think that the mailer certification procedures will increase the availability and accuracy of start-the-clock data?

Have you experienced problems with the certification procedures?

Are there other steps the Postal Service can take to ensure the reliability of IMb-based service performance data?

You are also invited to comment on this topic on our Audit Project Pages.

The topic is hosted by the Office of Audit Cost, Revenue, and Rates team.

Comments (1)

  • anon

    The problem with this is that it seems that there is too much emphasis being placed on a number, and it is causing more harm than good. Service and labor is being sacrificed as a result (Notice the phrase "Spend a dollar to save a dime" gets thrown around here a lot? This is a clear example of it.). The way the current EXFC and PFP/NPA systems are set up, we a having people runnning all over the place to get a single piece of missent mail to another office, for fear that it might be an EXFC test piece. Consequently, if the number is met, then the bar gets raised. This sets off a snowball effect that reaches a point that eventually makes those numbers impossible to reach. Then management starts making mandates, and creates new reporting systems that cost more money and time to meet these numbers, and we get beat up for not meeting the numbers-which in most cases is beyond our control.

    Dec 21, 2010