There’s been a lot of talk recently about the Postal Service making changes and “slowing down the mail,” using terms like service standards and service targets. Don’t understand what any of this means? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Shedding some light on this subject is the topic of our recently released report, A Primer on Service Standards.
The report explains the previously mentioned service performance measurements – service standards and service performance targets. A service standard is the number of days USPS expects it should take to deliver a specific type of mail. For example, Priority Mail currently has a one-to-three-day service standard. That means if you go to your local post office and mail a piece of Priority Mail, it should take one to three days to reach your recipient. Marketing Mail, on the other hand, should take three to 10 days. To change service standards, the Postal Service must follow certain procedures, including consulting its regulator, the Postal Regulatory Commission. That is what all the recent news is about — the Postal Service is in the process of changing its Service Standards for single-piece First-Class Mail and First-Class Package Service.
Service performance targets, relatedly, measure the Postal Service’s success in meeting its service standards. They are expressed in terms of a percentage. For example, the current service target for First-Class single-piece mail with a 2-day service standard is 87.81 percent. This means USPS’s goal is to meet the service standard for 87.81 percent of that type of mail. Like service standards, service performance targets vary by the type of mail. Unlike service standards, changes to service performance targets don’t need to be reviewed by the regulator. They do need to be approved by the Postal Service’s executive leadership and its Board of Governors. The Postal Service has said it will increase its service targets for all mail to 95 percent once it has implemented all parts of its 10-year plan.
Want to know more about these service measurements, how USPS measures their success, and how all of this relates to USPS’s planned changes? Read about it in our paper.