Package Services: Get Ready, Set, Grow!

July 21, 2014 (RARC-WP-14-015)

The package delivery market has been growing considerably. Between 2008 and 2013, the U.S. Postal Service experienced a more than 20 percent increase in package volume. The main reason is the growing popularity of e-commerce, particularly online shopping. American businesses and consumers spent more than $68 billion to ship packages domestically in 2013. E-commerce sales in the U.S. alone this year will top $430 billion; global e-commerce will exceed $1.5 trillion.

BSN Could Do More to Serve Largest Customers

Audit Report – MS-AR-14-005 – July 9, 2014

The Business Service Network (BSN), the U.S. Postal Service’s one-stop shop for its largest customers’ questions and concerns, could generate an additional $382 million in fiscal year 2014 by increasing customer outreach to all of the roughly 23,000 organizations the network serves.

If It Prints, It Ships: 3D Printing and the Postal Service

July 7, 2014  (RARC-WP-14-011)

3D printers build physical objects out of digital designs, usually by assembling powders, metals, plastics, and other materials layer-by-layer with tremendous precision. Because the digital designs can be endlessly tweaked and modified, 3D printing turns customers into creators and taps into the current trend of mass customization. The technology is starting to have a significant impact on the $10.5 trillion global manufacturing sector, and promises to democratize production and fundamentally change the supply chains of today.

Postal Service Should Act Now on Vehicle Replacement Plan

The U.S. Postal Service has one of the largest civilian vehicle fleets in the world, with more than 190,000 vans and other vehicles used to collect and deliver mail. But the fleet is aging and 142,000 long-life vehicles are near or past their expected service life. The Postal Service has taken a fix as fail approach to servicing its delivery fleet, even though it would sometimes be more efficient to replace vehicles when they break down. At the same time, the agency has an acquisition strategy but it lacks detail and has not been implemented due to financial constraints.

Protecting Mail Covers in Law Enforcement Investigations

Audit Report – HR-AR-14-001 – May 28, 2014

The outside of an envelope can be an effective tool in law enforcement investigations. In fiscal year 2013 alone, the Postal Inspection Service processed about 49,000 mail covers that were used to protect national security, locate fugitives, obtain evidence, or help locate stolen property.

But significant privacy issues govern the handling of mailpieces and the information on them. For that reason, the Postal Service and Postal Inspection Service must follow detailed procedures before allowing a mail cover.

Lack of Proper Scanning Caused Missed Savings Opportunities

Audit Report - NO-AR-14-004 - May 5, 2014

The U.S. Postal Service missed the opportunity to save more than $2 million annually in transportation-related costs in southern Florida because management did not have surface visibility (SV) system data it could rely on to identify unnecessary transportation and driver workhours, our recent audit found.

Semiannual Report to Congress

The Office of Inspector General is tasked with ensuring efficiency, accountability, and integrity in the U.S. Postal Service. We also have the distinct mission of helping to maintain confidence in the mail and postal system, as well as to improve the Postal Service’s bottom line.

Benchmarking Postal Service Retirement Benefits

White Paper – HR-WP-14-002 - May 1, 2014

The U.S. Postal Service is a labor-intensive organization; it spent about $47 billion on compensation and benefits in FY 2013, including about $6 billion for retirement benefits. As part of its effort to control personnel costs, the Postal Service has identified the need to create a new retirement plan for future employees.

Security Lapses Put Vehicle Parts Stock at Risk

Audit Report – DR-AR-14-005 - March 26, 2014

It takes a lot of repair work to keep one of the nation’s largest vehicle fleets up and running. Make that 321 repair garages – or vehicle maintenance facilities – the U.S. Postal Service needs to keep its 211,000 aging vehicles in working order.

These garages must keep well stocked with a wide range of parts – everything from motors and transmissions to nuts and bolts – and maintenance personnel need to follow a number of safety procedures to protect these supplies.

International Postal Big Data: Discussion Forum Recap

May 12, 2014 (RARC-IB-14-002)

“Big Data” — large, complex datasets combined with sophisticated, powerful analytics — is helping transform science, research, and many industries by providing a level of insights  previously unavailable at unprecedented speed. For businesses in particular – including the mail and shipping industries – the knowledge gained from the real-time analysis of vast quantities of data has the potential to spur innovation on a higher scale as well as improve efficiencies and customer satisfaction.

Like, Share, Tweet: Social Media and the Postal Service

April 21, 2014 (RARC-WP-14-010)

No doubt about it, social media has revolutionized the world of communication and commerce, radically changing the way people decide what, where, and when to buy. Accordingly, most businesses and organizations now view social media as an opportunity to reach and engage large customer audiences in ways impossible before: directly, in-real time, and at lower cost.

Enhancing the Value of Mail Follow Up: Discussion Forum Recap

April 3, 2014 (RARC-IB-14-001)

Hard copy communications, and mail specifically, are not not the relic some claim them to be.  Mail can still create a powerful connection with people of all ages. This is especially true when it is well designed and digitally interactive. Although senders pay for mail to be sent, catching recipients’ eyes determines the value of the communication. Without consumer interest in mailpieces like direct mail, catalogs, or bill reminders, the mail value chain breaks down.

Downsizing Postal Service Should Step Up Knowledge Management

Audit Report - DP-AR-14-002 - 03/07/2014

The Postal Service is getting leaner. But as it trims its workforce it is also losing some of its most valuable resources: long- term employees with extensive knowledge that is vital to running a vast organization.

What America Wants and Needs from the Postal Service

February 18, 2014 (RARC-WP-14-009)

In May 2013, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) commissioned a survey to gain insight into what Internet-connected Americans want from the Postal Service, as well as what future role it could play in their lives. The OIG recently followed up with focus groups, to determine not only what people want, but also to identify particular kinds of service they need from the Postal Service. The results are detailed in a new white paper, What America Wants and Needs from the Postal Service.

Providing Non-Bank Financial Services for the Underserved

January 27, 2014 (RARC-WP-14-007)

More than a quarter of Americans live partially or completely without access to mainstream financial services and are often forced to rely on costly services like payday loans or check cashing to cover their everyday expenses. These households spent $89 billion in 2012 just on fees and interest – an average of almost 10 percent of their income.