The U.S. Postal Service needs effective and productive operations to fulfill its mission of providing prompt, reliable, and affordable mail service to the American public. It has a vast transportation network that moves mail and equipment among about 280 processing facilities and 35,000 post offices, stations, and branches. The Postal Service is transforming its processing and logistics networks to become scalable, reliable, visible, efficient, automated, and digitally integrated. This includes modernizing operating plans and aligning the workforce; leveraging emerging technologies to provide world-class visibility and tracking of mail packages in near real-time; and optimizing the surface and air transportation network. The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General reviews the efficiency of mail processing operations at facilities across the country and provides management with timely feedback to further the Postal Service’s mission.
This report presents the results of our self-initiated audit of the efficiency of operations at the North Houston Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in Houston, TX. We judgmentally selected the North Houston P&DC based on a review of first and last mile failures; workhours; scan compliance; and late, canceled, and extra trips. The North Houston P&DC is in the Southwest Division and processes letters, flats, and parcels. The North Houston P&DC services multiple 3-digit ZIP Codes in urban and rural communities.
Our objective was to evaluate the efficiency of operations at the North Houston P&DC. To accomplish our objective, we focused on five audit areas: mail clearance times; late, canceled, and extra outbound trips; delayed mail; scan compliance; and security of registry items. We reviewed Surface Visibility Web data for late, canceled, and extra trips, as well as scan compliance for the period from August 1, 2022, to October 31, 2023. Further, we identified mail clearance time goals for the North Houston P&DC and compared them with operations shown in the Run Plan Generator report.6 During our site visit the week of September 11, 2023, we interviewed P&DC management and observed mail processing and dock operations.
USPS Proposed Resolution
Develop and implement a plan to adjust package processing to meet clearance times at the North Houston Processing and Distribution Center.
Analyze current transportation schedules at the North Houston Processing and Distribution Center and implement appropriate changes to reduce dock congestion, minimize late trips, and reduce canceled trips.
Develop and implement a process to properly identify mail in the manual letter operation unit and report any delayed mail in the Mail Condition Visualization system.
Develop and implement a plan to verify scanning at the North Houston Processing and Distribution Center is consistently completed in accordance with policy and there are enough scanners for employees to complete all required scans.
Develop and implement a plan to verify all drivers are securing trailer cargo and are using wheel chocks at the North Houston Processing and Distribution Center.
Reiterate policy regarding the use of locks and seals on trailer doors at the North Houston Processing and Distribution Center.