Mobile Opportunities - Smart Services for Connected Consumers

RARC-WP-15-015 - 08/31/2015

Mobile devices seem to get more popular every day. As of April 2015, almost two-thirds of American adults own at least one smartphone, according to Pew Research. Perhaps not surprisingly, e-commerce is also growing. As more and more people find they enjoy the convenience of not just browsing but also shopping via their phone or tablet, businesses are increasingly aware they need a mobile strategy to complement their everyday website operations.

Enhancing Cybersecurity

IT-AR-15-008 - 07/17/2015

Since the cyber intrusion in 2014 that compromised Postal Service data, management has made important strides in enhancing the security of its systems. But there is more work to do to align the structure, operations, and resourcing of cybersecurity functions with industry best practices in areas such as governance and incident response.

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Retail Systems Software Deployment

FT-AR-15-008 - 07/21/2015

The Postal Service is replacing its retail point of service software with new Retail Systems Software (RSS) that is meant to help retail associates at post offices give customers prompt, accurate, and consistent service. But our recent audit found that RSS controls were not always in place or effective and system problems were not always fixed promptly.

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An Internet of Postal Things

RARC-WP-15-013 - 08/03/2015

The Internet of Things refers to interconnecting networks of physical objects embedded with digital sensors that can collect, transmit, and act upon a wide variety of data. The Office of Inspector General, in conjunction with IBM, examined how this technology could be applied to create an Internet of Postal Things (IoPT) that could increase efficiency, lower costs, generate revenue, and improve customer service.

Enhancing the Value of Mail-The Human Response

RARC-WP-15-012 - 06/15/2015

Advertising mail accounted for over $20 billion — or 31 percent — of the U.S. Postal Service’s total revenue in fiscal year 2014. However, marketers have increasingly numerous choices of media available to them in today’s rapidly growing digital world. Understanding physical ad mail’s unique qualities and how people respond to them could enable the Postal Service to identify potential new opportunities to maintain and enhance this critically important source of revenue.

Postal Service Could Save Lease Costs by Using Market Rates

SM-WP-15-002 - 05/12/2015

The U.S. Postal Service spends more than $800 million each year to lease 23,000 buildings across the country. We took a closer look at the leases in the Eastern Area, one of seven postal areas. We found the Postal Service could potentially shave off $2.2 million out of $111 million in annual lease costs in that area by renegotiating 77 leases that are due to expire over the next 2 years. 

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New Technology Could Help Reduce UAA Mail

MS-MA-15-006 - 05/01/2015

Undeliverable as addressed (UAA) mail is costly for the U.S. Postal Service and the mailing industry. Efforts to get a handle on the problem have been unsuccessful, as evidenced by the 2.1 percent increase in UAA mail from fiscal year (FY) 2011 to FY 2014. The Postal Service, mailers, and consumers all share responsibility for UAA mail.

Examining the Road Ahead for Postal Financial Services

More than a quarter of households in this country either don’t have a bank account, or have an account but also rely on often expensive alternative financial services like check cashing and payday lending. These underserved households are looking for more affordable options, and the U.S. Postal Service may be able to help.

Functionality Issues Cause RSS Delay

MI-AR-15-002 - 03/13/2015

The U.S. Postal Service is replacing its existing retail point-of-service software, including software used in self-service kiosks, with a new Retail Systems Software (RSS). We recently took a look at this program and found that during pilot testing there were a number of functionality issues, such as screen freezes. Also, we found some help desk employees need more training and did not always provide timely responses.

We concluded the RSS deployment schedule is too aggressive because of limited pilot testing of the technology.

Package Returns and Forwarding Present New Revenue Opportunities

MS-WP-15-001 - 03/09/2015

The package delivery market is an important and growing segment of the U.S. economy, with businesses and consumers having spent more than $68 billion in 2013 to ship packages domestically. As part of this package activity, goods sometimes need to be returned to the merchant or forwarded to a different address. The domestic returns business is worth an estimated $3 billion annually and will likely hit $4 billion by 2016.

Modes of Delivery and Advertising Mail Customer Engagement

RARC-WP-15-009 - 04/20/15

Delivery to curbside mailboxes or neighborhood cluster box units costs less than delivery to the door. But do curbside and cluster box delivery result in a lower level of customer engagement with mail? To find out, the Office of inspector General (OIG) asked the market research firm InfoTrends Inc. to conduct a survey of 5,000 postal customers. The OIG then asked Professor Michael Bradley of George Washington to analyze the survey data to determine how customer engagement with advertising mail varied by mode of delivery.

Rethinking Assumptions

Considerations in Structuring Estimated Liabilities – White Paper FT-WP-15-003 – 01/23/2015

The U.S. Postal Service is required to prefund its long-term pension and retiree healthcare liabilities. These liabilities, currently estimated at almost $404 billion, are based on assumptions that are highly uncertain and changeable. Our recent white paper evaluates these assumptions and other considerations and shows the retiree-related liabilities are closer to being fully funded, or could even be overfunded, when certain assumptions are reasonably adjusted or considered.

Will The Check Be in the Mail? An Examination of Transactional Mail

RARC-WP-15-006 - 02/09/2015

By now, it’s fairly common knowledge that digital communications has cut into First-Class Mail volumes. But does this necessarily mean people always prefer to communicate digitally? To find out, we looked at the trends and customer preferences for one particular mail segment – transactional mail, which consists primarily of household bills and payments.

Estimating the Value of the U.S. Postal Service Brand

RARC-WP-15-005 - 01/28/2015

A corporate brand is a mix of tangible and intangible elements, from a company's name and logo to expectations and attributes that consumers associate with a particular product or service. A certain car manufacturer, for example, may make people think of luxury and reliability. A particular retailer may immediately bring to mind everyday goods at low prices.

The U.S. Postal Service has a corporate brand, too. Its attributes include reliability, convenience, value, and tradition, among other things.