Problems with data integrity, customer service and communication are hampering the Postal Service’s move to an automated system for commercial mail, a report found.
A comprehensive plan is needed to get USPS back on track with the Seamless Acceptance (SA) program, an April 7 report from the agency’s inspector general (pdf) states. Originally slated to be finalized in September 2014, SA uses electronic documentation from the mailer, intelligent mail barcodes and scanning devices to verify that letters and flat mail meet applicable acceptance thresholds and that proper postage is collected. Mailers get a scorecard that summarizes their performance.
“Additional delays and challenges could have significant financial implications for the Postal Service,” the IG said. “We estimated $1.9 million of SA funds committed but unspent and $89.8 million in potential cost savings from the program over the next two years are at risk if corrective actions are not taken.”
Twenty-nine major mailers volunteered to participate in SA, entering about 1.7 billion pieces of mail per month, and 288 mailers participated in the program’s preparatory phase. Commercial mail accounted for 70 percent, or $47 billion, of USPS’ revenue in fiscal 2014.
The data problems stem from the agency’s struggles with linking mail flow data across multiple information systems, the IG said. About 40 issues, including undocumented pieces, incorrect sorting and weight differences, currently affect SA scorecard data, which led USPS to put the metrics on hold
The Postal Service today filed a response to Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) Order No. 2398, in which the Commission remanded proposed rates for Standard Mail, Periodicals,
and Package Services. The Postal Service’s response contains adjusted pricing and further explanation consistent with the Commission’s Order.
The scheduled implementation date for the new pricing is May 31, 2015, pending PRC approval. All competitive and previously-approved market dominant prices would be implemented at the same time, with the exception of one promotion, noted below, which will be implemented earlier. It is the Postal Service’s intention to provide pricing-implementation webinars after
the PRC has made a decision on our response. Additional information will be provided through an Industry Alert at a later date.
As indicated above, the Postal Service Governors have decided to move forward with the Earned Value promotion, effective May 1, 2015 through July 31, 2015. Registration for this promotion has been underway since March 15 and will end on April 30, 2015. This promotion allows mailers to earn postage credits based on receipt of First-Class Mail reply pieces;
the postage credit can be redeemed later this year on First-Class Mail and Standard Mail mailings. Click here for more information regarding this promotion.
All other USPS promotions are expected to move forward on their previously scheduled dates, with the exception of the Advanced and Emerging Technology Promotion, which will be delayed one month. This promotion now is scheduled to run from June 1 to November 30, 2015.
For more information regarding the Postal Service’s response to Order No. 2398, please visit the PRC’s website at www.prc.gov.
The original TV Batman swings into the latest edition of Your Postal Podcast. Adam West, who played the cowled crimefighter on the Batman TV show in the 1960s, drops by to weigh in on the Batman Forever Stamps now on sale at Post Offices nationwide and also discuss the fan mail he continues to receive at his Idaho home. Next you’ll hear about a Washington rural carrier’s unusual rescue of a trapped cat — accomplished with an assist from a friendly canine.
Read a transcript of the show here.
Beginning Saturday, some of the processing center equipment will be taken down and moved to an existing facility in Greensboro, and mail will cease to have a Roanoke postmark. All mail sent from Roanoke ZIP codes will go to Greensboro first.
“We are not anticipating any delays in delivery for Roanoke customers,” USPS spokesman Tad Kelley in an email.
But Carlton Cooper, president of the local chapter of the American Postal Workers Union, believes that this move will slow down mail in the Roanoke Valley by up to 10 to 12 days for first-class mail.
“We don’t think they can do it,” he said. “We know from talking to employees in Greensboro, they are not ready to handle it.”
Mary-Anne Penner, a career postal employee and former stamp development manager, is expected to be named acting executive director of stamp services for the United States Postal Service, two sources have told Linn’s Stamp News.
Postmaster General Megan Brennan informed members of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee of Penner’s selection during the panel’s meetings April 9-10, the sources said.
Penner will replace Cindy Tackett, also a career postal worker, who has served as acting director of stamp services for several months after the last stamp director, Susan McGowan, was moved to another assignment at Postal Service headquarters.
Asked to comment, David Partenheimer, Postal Service spokesman said: “At this time we have not made an official announcement regarding the future leadership of Stamp Services.”
While we wait – weeks now – for USPS to respond to the PRC remand of rates; while mail owners wait impatiently, unable to budget or plan accordingly, this is what the USPS files with a Federal Register notice – new mailbox standards. There seems to be no sense of urgency to fix the mess created by the inability to set rates, leaving everyone hanging in the balance, nor any dialogue or communication as to what the plan is, if there is one. Bizarre.
On April 10, 2015, the USPS announced its latest list of last minute “public” changes to the Phase II-2015 USPS Network Rationalization Consolidation list. This is the second consecutive week that the Postal Service has made last minute modifications to the Network Rationalization Consolidation list – affecting a large group of postal facilities including: Duluth P & DF, Toledo, OH, Cape Girardeau, MO , Erie PA, Gulfport MS Paducah, KY, Augusta, GA (again), Tulsa, OK and others. The listed facilities have had their move dates changed to “To Be Determined” (TBD) or “Not Applicable” (N/A) or a new move date was published.