OIG: USPS needs to do more to reduce undeliverable mail

Clipboard01In a new report, the USPS Office of Inspector General says the postal service’s effort to reduce undeliverable as addressed mail (UAA) isn’t effective, and recommends working with mailers to make better use of new technology to solve the problem:

UAA mail is costly, since it must be forwarded, returned, or treated as waste. The Postal Service spent nearly $1.5 billion handling UAA mail in FY 2014, and the mailing industry incurs about $20 billion in UAA costs annually. Continue reading

Pennsylvania rural carrier pleads guilty to theft and destruction of mail

US-Department-Of-Justi_fmtThe United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Stacie Ann Stevens, age 41, of Hanover, Pennsylvania was charged with destruction of mail in a criminal information filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg and pled guilty before Senior United States District Court Judge William C. Caldwell on March 19, 2015.

According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, between July and October, 2014, Stevens, a postal carrier, began opening greeting cards and other mail and stealing the cash and gift cards contained inside. The theft was discovered after residents complained about missing or torn mail. In October 2014, Stevens was caught on surveillance video using one of the stolen gift cards at a local store. Stevens faces one year imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000.

Stevens has resigned from the Postal Service. The Government has filed a plea agreement with the defendant which is subject to approval of the court. As part of the agreement, Stevens agreed to pay restitution to the victims.

This case is being investigated by the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General and the Carroll Valley Borough Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daryl F. Bloom.

OIG says USPS didn’t enforce security requirements for contract drivers

The US Postal Service Office of Inspector General says that USPS management failed to comply with security requirements for contract drivers, with nearly one third of all contractors lacking the required security clearances:

uspsoigPostal Service personnel, including contract drivers, did not always comply with security clearance requirements, and controls over the process were not adequate. Based on our nationwide projection, 4,502 (31 percent) of at least 14,524 contract drivers did not have a valid security clearance. Of the 4,502 contract drivers, security clearances for 2,566 (57 percent) had expired.

This occurred because management did not have sufficient controls in place to track and monitor clearances for contract drivers. In addition, management did not sufficiently oversee or otherwise ensure responsible personnel, including contract drivers, complied with clearance requirements. Further, management did not properly train personnel to obtain screening information from contract drivers. As a result, there are increased safety and security risks to the public, mail, and assets, which could negatively impact the Postal Service’s brand.

View the full report (.pdf file)

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

The USPS Inspector General has published a white paper on 3D printing and its possible implications for the US Postal Service:

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.

A new Postal Service Office of Inspector General white paper explores how the U.S. Postal Service could experience a significant boost in commercial package volume as 3D printing becomes more widespread. Most 3D printed objects are lightweight, which are exactly the type of parcel the Postal Service specializes in handling. As more businesses begin to sell 3D printed goods to consumers, they may need the ubiquitous postal network and the Postal Service’s unmatched last-mile delivery capabilities to better connect with customers. By embracing this groundbreaking technology and potentially partnering with 3D printing businesses to do printing at or near postal facilities, the Postal Service could put a compelling 21st century twist on its historical mission to serve citizens and facilitate commerce.

Read the full report (.pdf): If It Prints, It Ships: 3D Printing and the Postal Service | Office of Inspector General.

OIG: USPS needs to act on replacing its delivery fleet

Screenshot 2014-06-17 at 8.35.44 AM - EditedThe USPS Inspector General says that the USPS needs to get its act together on replacing its aged delivery fleet, which it says will only “sustain delivery operations nationwide until FY 2017”- if it’s lucky:

The Postal Service has an acquisition strategy, but has not fully developed or implemented it. The short-term plan developed in 2011 included acquiring 25,000 vehicles costing about $500 million to meet operational needs and replace some of the aging fleet. The long-term plan included purchasing the next generation of delivery vehicles beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2017. However, this plan lacked details, such as vehicle requirements, specifications, and green technology features. Despite
3 years of effort, neither plan has been approved or fully funded. In January 2014, the Postal Service received approval to purchase 3,509 vehicles to meet a contractual rural carrier vehicle commitment as a stop gap measure.

These conditions occurred due to financial constraints. Our analysis of the delivery vehicle inventory and motorized routes showed the Postal Service could
sustain delivery operations nationwide until FY 2017. On the other hand, it could experience vehicle shortfalls if there are unexpected decreases in vehicle inventory or increases in motorized routes. In addition, aging
vehicles are typically repaired when they break down, even though it would sometimes be more cost effective to
replace them.

In designing new delivery vehicles, management must consider federal fleet regulations, emerging vehicle
technologies, and fleet best practices. For example, growth in the package market could help dictate the design and technologies selected for a new vehicle.
Moreover, replacing vehicles could take more than 10 years. Thus, the Postal Service should act quickly to implement a plan to meet operational needs, achieve sustainability goals, and reduce maintenance costs.

Full report.