Delivery Operations – Undelivered and Partially Delivered Routes

Background

The U.S. Postal Service delivered over 129 billion mailpieces on more than 233,171 routes in fiscal year (FY) 2021. The Postal Service’s goal is for carriers to deliver all mail along their assigned route on the scheduled delivery day. However, there are situations where mail may not be delivered on a route for a particular day due to the unavailability of carriers, severe weather, or other reason. Routes are “undelivered” when all customers on a route do not receive daily deliveries and are “partially delivered” when only some customers do not receive daily deliveries.

What We Did

Our objective was to assess the Postal Service’s management of undelivered and partially delivered routes. We summarized previous OIG audits that identified delayed mail results from FYs 2021 and 2022, conducted observations of delivery operations at 12 selected sites, analyzed data, and interviewed Postal Service officials.

What We Found

The Postal Service has tools, including Delivery Condition Visualization, Non-Delivery Survey, Mail Rotation Dashboard, and a Daily Triangulation Report, that identify delayed mail on delivery routes; however, these tools do not identify the number of undelivered and partially delivered routes nationally. Further, the Postal Service’s National Delivery Intelligence tool, which identifies assumed undelivered routes, does not provide the actual number of undelivered routes. These tools are limited due to technology constraints and reliance on the manual recording of delayed mail by delivery unit management, which is often underreported. As a result, the actual number of undelivered and partially delivered routes is unknown.

The Postal Service has opportunities to leverage existing tools and technologies to identify the actual number of undelivered and partially delivered routes. This could include integration of delivery operations data with Informed Delivery to eliminate failures to manually report delayed mail. Data on delayed mail and undelivered and partially delivered routes could be used to notify customers of delays and service outages in near real-time. Notification of service interruptions is important to inform customers and provide world-class, universal mail service.

Recommendations

We recommended management finalize system enhancements to identify undelivered and partially delivered routes and enhance processes and tools to notify customers of delayed mail and undelivered and partially delivered routes.

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