Each year, the U.S. Postal Service network stresses to accommodate the peak mailing season — Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. Increased mail volume and operational changes during peak season significantly challenge the Postal Service’s processing and distribution network.
In preparation for the fiscal year (FY) 2023 peak mailing season, Postal Service management executed a year-round strategy to include initiatives for increasing employee complement and package sorting machines. In addition, management had peak season-specific initiatives to improve operating plan precision from the previous year and temporarily increase facility space. Furthermore, during the FY 2023 peak season, the Postal Service opened its first Sorting and Delivery Center (S&DC) in Athens, GA, and its first Parcel Delivery Center (PDC) in Brooklyn, NY.
What We Did
Our objective was to evaluate the Postal Service’s performance during the FY 2023 peak mailing season and the implementation of its peak season preparedness plan. We also conducted fieldwork at the Athens S&DC and the Brooklyn PDC to determine if the new facilities had an impact on peak season operations.
What We Found
Generally, the Postal Service successfully implemented initiatives during peak season. The Postal Service hired and converted temporary employees to career positions, deployed more package sorting machines than planned, and increased its operating plan precision. The Postal Service leased fewer temporary annexes than planned in response to lower-than-anticipated volume. This lower volume also contributed to a decline in workhours. Service performance scores increased for market dominant products, and the Postal Service reduced the average time it took to deliver Priority Mail and First-Class Packages. However, we did identify an increase in customer delivery inquiries this peak season. Finally, we found an issue with consistently delayed Post Office Box delivery service at the Athens S&DC, one of the two new facilities launched this peak season.
We recommended management (1) develop measurable targets to address increases in customer inquiries during peak season, and (2) develop a plan for on time arrival of the Post Office Box mail to administrative and remotely managed post offices at the Athens, GA, Sorting and Delivery Center.
USPS Proposed Resolution
Develop measurable targets to address increases in customer inquiries during peak season.
Develop a plan for on time arrival of the Post Office Box mail to administrative and remotely managed post offices at the Athens, GA, Sorting and Delivery Center.