Archive for August 6th, 2010

OIG Audit on PostalOne! Outage

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New audit posted in Reading Room on the FY2010 PostalOne! outage and the impact on USPS –

excerpts from the report:
“The February 2010 PostalOne! outage impacted mail acceptance operations and revenue collection efforts nationwide. Although the Postal Service implemented a contingency plan during this period, the Postal Service was not adequately prepared to manually support operations during such an extended outage.

Further, the Postal Service’s reliance on a system that has frequent interruptions in availability could impact successful remediation of an existing significant deficiency related to business mail acceptance (BMA).

The Postal Service did not have effective alternative action plans to ensure that key mail acceptance controls were in place and followed during the outage or to minimize the impact to its customers. While the Postal Service implemented a set of manual procedures, commonly called a contingency plan, these procedures did not sufficiently take the place of business controls that depend on a functioning PostalOne! system.

In addition to the impacts on key BMA operational controls, some customers indicated they incurred additional costs to complete manual processes in the absence of PostalOne!. Further, customers expressed a concern that the PostalOne! system, as well as other applications feeding into the system, may not be able to process the volume of transactions input by customers and clerks. Thus, customers and clerks may
have difficulty processing postage statements timely during increased volume periods.

Management stated that the manual processes implemented worked as intended. However, the Postal Service incurred $355,107 in additional employee overtime and contractor costs for inputting the backlog of postage statements and restoring the PostalOne! system to service. We consider the additional costs of $355,107 to be funds put to better use. See Appendix C for details of the monetary and non-monetary impacts. Finally, the extra costs customers incurred may have negatively impacted the Postal Service’s customer relations (goodwill).

While we recognize the need to schedule interruptions in system availability for maintenance and software upgrades, we found that from March 2009 through March 2010, 36 of the 90 interruptions (40 percent) in the PostalOne! system were unscheduled and prevented clerks from posting statement data to the system.

Postal Service executives told us that since March 1, 2010, the PostalOne! system has been available 99.7 percent of the time. However, we could not substantiate this statistic because management did not provide supporting documentation.
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Be sure to review the full report.  Mailers and mail owners had been asking for a contingency plan long before this extended outage, and were told not to worry, that everything would be fine.  However, saying that does not make it so.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 6th, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Posted in USPS