Recent Government Accountability Office testimony to Congress stated processing capacity for First-Class Mail exceeds processing needs by 50 percent, and analysis by industry experts indicates an additional drop of 35 billion pieces in First-Class Mail by 2020. With mail volume declining, does this provide an opportunity for the Postal Service to capture savings by adopting industry best practices in its First-Class Mail processing operations?
The OIG benchmarked operations at Postal Service processing and distribution centers with commercial presort mailers to identify best practices in First-Class Mail processing. Presort mailers combine mail from multiple businesses into larger mailings that are then sorted to geographic area, and receive reduced postage prices when the mailings are tendered to the Postal Service.
Large commercial presort mailers use comparable processing equipment and similar processing operations as the Postal Service. In fact, several of these mailers are publicly-traded companies with thousands of employees who are located in multiple geographic areas. Although the Postal Service is a leader in letter processing, it could improve its operations by adopting some of the “best practices” used by presort mailers, including:
• Assessing and streamlining their network in a more timely manner based solely on the business case.
• Relying on a flexible workforce (volumes drive employee work hours, and employees cross crafts).
• Using automated or mechanized tray systems consistently to reduce the need for manual operations.
What other practices can you suggest to help the Postal Service with First-Class Mail processing, even as volumes decline?
This topic is hosted by the Office of Audit Network Optimization team.