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Pushing the Envelope Blog

Shoring Up Local Operations

Date: 04/17/23 | Category: Post Offices & Retail Network

The U.S. Postal Service delivers in virtually every American community, and it’s vitally important that local operations are effective. That’s why our Field Operations Review Teams travel to all parts of the country to make sure the Postal Service follows proper sorting, delivery, and safety procedures in local areas.

Recently, Congressional stakeholders alerted us to mail issues in Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE. In response, we sent our teams to two processing plants and six delivery units in those two cities. There, we evaluated the efficiency of the plants and examined mail delivery, customer service, and property conditions at the delivery units.

During our visits to the two plants, we noted around 100,000 pieces of delayed mail, mostly because of a broken machine at the Philadelphia plant. We also determined the Philadelphia plant had over 70,000 late, cancelled, or extra trips in fiscal year 2022, and we observed two safety and security issues at the Wilmington plant. At both plants, we determined employees were not always scanning outbound mail containers as required.

At all six delivery units, we saw delayed mail and found packages that were not scanned properly. We also noted that employees were not scanning all incoming trucks as required. Finally, we found serious safety, security, and maintenance issues, including a large opening in a dock roof, potential mold, an inoperable toilet, and more.

We made 15 recommendations to address these issues, and management agreed to all of them. All recommendations for the delivery units and most for the plants have been closed. You can view open recommendations for any of our reports on the Open Audit Recommendations page. Once all recommendations for a report are closed, it is removed from the list.

How are local operations in your area? Do we need to visit your town next?

Leave a Comment

Your Name
Sandra Scott
May 5, 2023
Your Comment
I understand that USPS is experiencing the same labor shortage as the rest of the economy. Until 2 years ago I reliably received mail daily. In the last year there are many days where there is no delivery in our neighborhood if our delivery person isn't working. My suggestion would be to have 3 day per week delivery. Very little mail is so urgent it needs to be delivered daily. If time is of essence, expedited delivery could be purchased. Neighborhoods could be on a M, Wed, Fri schedule or a Tu, TH, Sat schedule. This would require half the number of delivery personnel. There would then be a better chance of reliable delivery.

Sandy Scott
Your Name
Mike Oxlong
Apr 23, 2023
Your Comment
Following Kathy Redd's insightful comment, there needs to be (a) a clear and easy mechanism for customers wishing to convert their existing door delivery to curbside / CBU delivery to do so and (b) a financial incentive for them to do so commensurate with the savings involved for the USPS. A lot of people would do it if you simply offered them $50 in cash and complimentary installation of the new mailbox; the savings would pay for that in a year or two.

Yes, there will be some holdouts against voluntary buyouts of existing walking routes, but not so many that significant savings couldn't be realized this way, and voluntary conversion sidesteps political risks of mandatory conversion. That can come later once fewer people have door delivery.
Your Name
Kathy Redd
Apr 17, 2023
Your Comment
If you really wanted to save money you would stop the walking routes. The unions will reply saying the delivery has already been set and that you can't change them but if there are safety hazards then you absolutely can change them. Carriers have been shot at on their walking routes. How much money did it cost for all the ca-17's submitted that were a direct result of shootings, slips trips and falls, dog bites, etc. . You have to pay hospital bills, sick leave overtime and perhaps new employee training. I know there are safety issues daily on those routes so there is no excuse whatsoever to keep walking route. Yes initially it will cost more but when the changes have been implemented then it will be an enormous cost savings. The USPS continually promotes mangers that have inspection teams coming into their offices because they won't control their carriers. Unless there is a significant amount of new sudden growth or new sudden vacancies (tornado) then nobody should have to come into their office to fix their routes. An inspection team costs the units thousand of dollars and then before you know it the failing manager gets promoted to a bigger office and then destroys that one. The insanity continues on and on and the customers are the wants taking a shot in gut for it. Thousands of people sell online these days and postage prices are out of this world and it is a direct result of failed leadership. When I say failed leadership that includes anyone above the failed manger that allowed it. What about all the level 18 offices that were supposed to get audited after the two year wait to see if they still qualified for that level or to see if they should have been downgraded to a 6 hours office. Nobody did anything and these offices, even ones that went below the threshold are still an 18 and they should be a 6 hour office!!! Then the APWU smelled blood in the water and they insisted that the 18 offices per union contract, had to have a clerk to do the work. So now instead of a 6 hour office (which many should be) paying $32,000.00 you have a Postmaster making $75,000.00 and a clerk making $50,000.0, how in the world can you justify that? Please stop wasting money and fix the problems with non performing managers.