Managing workhours is a critical part of helping the U.S. Postal Service realize annual productivity gains, which help offset cost increases.
That’s why it’s so important postal management uses all the tools at its disposal to improve productivity. One tool is the mail processing variance (MPV) model, which measures annual mail processing performance and efficiency.
The MPV model calculates mail processing productivity by dividing the total number of mailpieces handled by the number of workhours. Management uses model results to measure the mail processing productivity of all facilities in relation to the targets set for facilities. Presumably, when a facility is falling short of its target, adjustments can be made to staffing. But you have to use the model regularly and correctly.
Our recent audit report found the Postal Service did not effectively use MPV.
Mail processing productivity declined almost 10 percent from fiscal years 2014 to 2016. According to Headquarters Network Operations management, the changes in productivity were due to mismanaging workhours and not ensuring that employees record workhours to the correct activity or operation. The MPV model is supposed to help with that.
Our audit determined the Postal Service did not use the MPV model as intended, with some plant managers using it only infrequently or not at all. Those who used the MPV model frequently and found it helpful had better productivity performance at their plants.
We noted the importance of managers using the model more frequently and of the Postal Service setting more facility-specific productivity targets. These MPV targets could include recognizing facility differences such as types of mail processed, types of processing machines used, mail volume, and facility size. These factors impact productivity and allow for easier evaluation of individual facility performance compared to productivity targets.
We also recommended Postal Service management develop an MPV model usage policy and provide training for mail processing managers to improve operational efficiency.
What other ideas do you have to improve the MPV model? What other ways could plant managers improve operations?