Providing mail delivery is central to the Postal Service’s mission. Delivery is the Postal Service’s largest operational function and accounted for approximately one-third of its nearly $78 billion in total expenses during 2008. Postal Service management is working hard to reduce delivery costs while continuing to deliver to 149 million addresses in the most efficient manner possible. Despite declining mail volumes, the Postal Service is challenged to provide cost efficient and effective service to a delivery network growing by more than 1 million addresses each year.
The mode of delivery plays an important role in determining the cost and efficiency of delivery. The Postal Service provides three modes of delivery for existing delivery points — to the door, to a mailbox on the curb, and to a centralized point that serves several addresses. Door-to-door delivery is the most costly mode and is no longer available for new delivery points. When new developments are established, curbside and centralized deliveries are the only options. Since centralized delivery is the cheapest mode, the Postal Service favors installing centralized delivery. However, the decision on mode of delivery is sometimes left to the developer.
Curbside delivery is the most widely-used mode of delivery for residential delivery points. As of September 1, 2009, there were 49 million curbside delivery points. The second most utilized mode of residential delivery is “other” which includes door-to-door. Table 1 below shows the total number of possible residential deliveries by delivery mode.
For business delivery points, the “other” mode of delivery, which includes door-to-door, is the most utilized mode with 5 million delivery points as of September 1, 2009. Table 2 below shows the total number of possible business deliveries by delivery mode.
In response to decreasing mail volumes and revenues, the Postal Service needs to make every effort possible to decrease the cost of delivery operations. Although the Postal Service’s goal is to maximize the use of centralized delivery with the developer’s input, this is not always possible. Additionally, existing costly delivery points could be converted to more cost effective modes.
What do you think?
Is the Postal Service making every effort to promote centralized delivery in new developments and convert existing costly door-to-door and curbside deliveries?
 This number includes delivery to all residential, business, and Post Office box addresses.
This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Delivery directorate.