OIG finds problems with handheld scanner deployment

mddThe postal service is spending close to a half billion dollars on new Mobile Delivery Devices (MDD). The Office of Inspector General recently reviewed the programs implementation and found problems:


Mobile Delivery Devices (MDD) are new handheld scanners that allow U.S. Postal Service letter carriers to track package delivery in real-time. Package visibility is essential for the Postal Service to be competitive and also to support package growth.

Between September and December 2014, the Postal Service deployed 75,386 MDDs to letter carriers at a cost of $149 million. It began Phase 2 deployment of 188,000 MDDs in February 2015. Management plans to complete Phase 2 deployment for $349 million in September 2015, for a total deployment of 263,386 MDDs.

Our objective was to assess the deployment plan and functionality of MDDs.

What The OIG Found

We visited 40 sites and interviewed 92 supervisors and 154 letter carriers in the Capital and Northern Virginia districts and found that Phase 1 MDD deployment was adequate and ahead of schedule. However, we found three common functionality issues: screen freezes, laser beam reader freezes, and insufficient battery life. Letter carriers used ineffective or inefficient workarounds, often counter to operating instructions when MDDs did not work as designed. In addition, we found the MDD training program needs improvement and the Critical Parts Center processes eBuy2 and help desk-requested MDDs and accessories without ensuring the parts actually need to be replaced or are not covered by warranties.

Inadequate MDD functionality, training, and spare parts management can cause mail and service delays, which may reduce customer satisfaction and prevent the Postal Service from becoming the shipper of choice. In addition, the MDD program has an added expense of over $255,000 because of purchasing items for spares or replacements that were under warranty.

What The OIG Recommended

We recommended management establish controls to ensure all MDD functionalities are operating, evaluate current MDD training, and establish controls for processing MDD eBuy2 and help desk requests to ensure there is an actual need for replacement and equipment is not under warranty

  • Mailman030

    We just received the new scanners in the past few weeks and the only training that we received was when the supervisor told us that they work the same as the old ones. Of course the supervisor is a CCA 204B that has only been around for 6 months and was up for removal for missing MSPs the week before he became a boss, so I’m not sure if he knows how the old scanners worked or not.

  • jujubee

    maybe if all the district geniuses that sit in front of computers all day would get off their duffs and go into the field an actually try something to see if it works this would be such a radokowitz situation

  • E.A. Ess

    Wait till the brainiac brings you in the office to discuss your missed scans. Maybe ask him to give you training, haha, because he won’t be able to.

  • http://postalnews.com/ hollywood

    I remember the decades where we cased all our mail and didn’t have scanners . I know I’m old and retired but those are my memories , time for another beer .

  • BigBob

    Lemme guess – the CCA 204B’s mommy or daddy is a PM somewhere.

  • Cliff Clavin

    I’ve always thought nobody at L’Enfant Plaza headquarters knew how to use a calculator so they could figure up how much money they are spending on equipment and/or labor.

    Take a guess how much EACH of these MDD “devices” cost? $500? $750? How about a thousand apiece? Are we getting there yet?

    Let me get my calculator, and like Jethro Bodine, we’ll do some cipher’in.

    OK, let’s add up how much these things will cost, and how many will be deployed so we can get an average price tag.

    Lessee… $149 million. That’s 149 followed by 6 naughts, or $149,000,000 and nosense. Now, we add $349 million. That’s 349 followed by another 6 naughts, or $349,000,000 and again, nosense. This comes to a total of $498,000,000 or nearly 1/2 billion $$$$$ like the story says.

    They are deploying a total of 263,386. Of course, they will have to have many more of them around to replace the ones that will quit working, or will be lost, stolen, and broken. For now, let’s stick with the 263,386 – the minimum number needed.

    Here it comes – $498,000,000 / 263,386 units = $1,890.76 average cost for EACH scanner deployed. I am amazed the USPS trusts me with such a pricy toy.

    I hope the salesman threw in the cradles and software for free to sweeten the deal, or did those cost extra?

  • sLiM_mC_sHaDy

    Stop, How could there possibly be any problems with the roll out of anything by the postal service?

  • James Martin

    ok people go out and spend $500 bucks on a cellphone that will last a year. The post office goes out and buys scanners with a 10-20 year lifespan that need to work in extreme temperatures and get dropped daily. Doesn’t sound too unreasonable to me.

  • TeflonPalin

    And we started an hour earlier, before they employed all the machinery to sort the mail faster!

  • riduculoussteve

    the training consisted of the Westchester District POM and Delivery Programs Manager yelling to get eerything installed during a daily useless telecom

  • Bob

    I remember those days I’m also old and retired, guess I’ll have another beer as well?

  • BigBob

    Yes. The mail was sorted, get this, BY HAND, overnight by a whole bunch of USPS workers called ‘Clerks”.
    The mail was sorted to the correct routes (for the most part), and we were out the door by about 9 or 10 AM. Amazing.

  • Paul

    We got absolutely NO training. We were told they operate pretty much like the old ones and it would be intuitive once we started using them.

  • ruralcarrier01

    Actually, the “district geniuses” in two districts went out and tested several scanner models with dozens of city and rural carriers for weeks. The carriers were surveyed for their opinions and all the data was sent to Washington for the selection of the new scanner.

  • Mike

    Training?? What training??? They said we dont know how they work but we heard its like the old one so just use them

  • didyewvote

    he needs to promoted to POOM

  • Ben

    Insufficient battery life is the biggest understatement ever. Unless the weather is 70 degrees and above, the wind and cold zap the battery like its not even there. Why on Earth would letter carriers who work in cold, snowy, and windy weather often for at least 5 months each year. These scanners are such a joke at least the old ones could hold a charge for more than 5 hours a day.

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  • whatever

    Funny but we had less “lost pkgs” then too…hmmmm

  • whatever

    Yup what happened to the 18mnth rule that you had to be in your assigned craft 18 mnths before you could do anything else….hmmmm

  • whatever

    Yup u got it right