OIG: Delayed Mail Surged In 2015, But Getting Better

WASHINGTON, DC — The USPS Inspector General (OIG) reports delayed mail surged 51% in 2015 after new delivery standards were implemented, according to a new audit released this month.

And the OIG says that despite improvements, delayed mail “is still a problem for specific Processing and Distribution Centers serving certain urban and rural customers. In Quarters 1 and 2, FY 2016, the top 10 processing facilities with delayed mail had about 247 million pieces of delayed mail, or almost 30 percent of all delayed mail nationwide. These 10 facilities in CA, CO, IL, MD, PA, NJ, NY, and TX process mail for about 13.7 million delivery addresses.”

But the Postal Service disputes the conclusions citing “significant concerns with this OIG audit report’s content, analysis, and tone.”

Click to read the OIG’s report.

The OIG says the Jan. 5, 2015 implementation of network changes that adjusted overnight First-Class Mail service delayed mail processing reports to jump 51% percent versus the prior year period. Service scores for two-day mail dropped 7% and three-day mail dropped 34%.

Yet the OIG recommends the Post stay the course on its network plan and fend off calls in Congress to restore service standards.

The OIG said the USPS has taken measues to improve delivery: “The Postal Service has taken significant steps to reduce delayed mail, notably deploying quick response teams based on Lean Six Sigma processes to determine causes and establish corrections.”

“Subsequently, the Postal Service reported delayed mail processing decreased by about a billion pieces (or 54 percent) for the period October 2015 through April 2016, compared to the same period in FY 2014. First-Class Mail service scores have significantly improved since the initial decline and are within about two percentage points of April 2014 service scores,” the OIG reports.

“Based on this improvement, we believe the Postal Service should not revert back to its prior operating window,” the OIG said.

In response the Post questioned the OIG’s use of dated service performance metrics and does not believe the OIG’s non-statistical mailing test of service is valid.

The use of non-statistical data “implies relatively large margins of error,” the USPS said in its reply.

“The Postal Service has rebounded from early FY2015 service issues and now has record service performance. After incurring expenses to improve service, additional savings are being realized,” the USPS states. “Total savings and cost advoidances achieved to date are significant, and the rationale for for savings provided in the case still remain valid: by consolidating operations and equipment sets, economies of scale can be realized, leading to efficiency gains.”

“The exclusion of these relevant material facts from the OIG report creates the impression that challenges with service that have been resolved continue to linger.”

Read the full report here.

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