Today, I am in my ninth week as Postmaster General. I am grateful to everyone who has welcomed me, and I am thoroughly impressed by the dedication and commitment you have shown since I started June 15.
Last week was extremely busy for all of us with the announcement that we are restructuring into three operating units. I purposely timed the announcement with my first open meeting of the Board of Governors to set the stage with public statements emphasizing that we are developing a strategic plan to achieve operational excellence and financial stability. Our plan will be based on facts and data, and together, we can systematically roll out this plan and position ourselves for future success.
Let me be clear about the reasons behind our restructuring and the need for our plan. Our financial condition is dire. Ongoing declines in mail volume, a broken business model that Congress and the Postal Regulatory Commission have failed to act upon, and the crippling economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic have all combined to bring us to where we stand today. Our critics are quick to point to our finances, yet they offer no solution. On the other hand, our restructuring and the plan we are developing provide a path to our transformation into a financially stable organization. I repeat again how excited I am to take on these challenges, with your support, to improve the Postal Service and better serve our nation. Together, our leadership team and I are taking aggressive and professional actions to ensure a successful future for the Postal Service.
In order to transform and remain a self-sustaining, mission-focused organization that continues to serve the American people, we must make a number of significant changes that will not be easy, but are necessary. We must re-establish fundamental operating principles and then adhere to them and run on time. It is the only path to consistent, affordable service and it is foundational to our future aspirations and objectives. As you know, we began those efforts right away, as it was imperative for us to strengthen these disciplines immediately by running our trips with mail and packages according to established schedules.
I congratulate you on substantial improvements in our on-time dispatch schedule, which reached 97.3 percent, up from 89.8 percent. We also have reduced extra trips by 71 percent — a tremendous achievement. This means more mail is being moved to its intended destination on time and on schedule than in quite some time. And we accomplished this in a cost-effective manner. This marks the beginning of our journey toward world-class performance necessary for us to compete and be sustainable.
Unfortunately, this transformative initiative has had unintended consequences that impacted our overall service levels. However, recent changes are not the only contributing factors. Over the years we have grown undisciplined in our mail and package processing schedules, causing an increase in delayed mail between processing facilities and delivery units. We are working feverishly to stabilize this, so that all mail and packages moved for the American people and businesses can benefit from this new cost and schedule discipline. This will increase our performance for the election and upcoming peak season and maintain the high level of public trust we have earned for dedication and commitment to our customers throughout our history.
I also firmly believe that the realignment we announced last week will ultimately help us to stabilize and improve service and provide positive forward momentum as we work to transform our business. We needed to provide greater focus on the core aspects of our business, and the new structure allows that, with clearer lines of authority and accountability. While it will take some time to get the new organizational structure fully in place and achieving our expected levels of high performance, we are confident that it is the right alignment and that it was a change that needed to be made. As I said in my first video message to you, “I am decisive, and … when I see problems, I work to solve them.” I ask you to bear with me while we work through these changes to transform for the better and continue to provide the excellent service for which we are known.
During my remarks at the Board of Governors meeting, I stated that I accepted the job of Postmaster General fully committed to the role of the Postal Service as an integral part of the United States government, providing all Americans with universal and open access to our unrivaled processing and delivery network, as reflected in the mission statement that the board adopted April 1. I repeat that statement here, because I meant it.
I fully embrace six-day delivery of mail and packages as one of this organization’s greatest strengths. I plan to invest in tools and equipment for our workforce to continue to provide the nation’s most trusted public service. I accept the responsibility that the governors gave me to maintain and enhance our reputation and role as a trusted face of the federal government in every community, and I intend to work with postal executives, management associations, managers, union leadership, and our craft employees to do everything I can to put us back on a financially stable path.
Together, I am confident we will chart a path forward that allows us to fulfill our critical public service mission in a financially sustainable manner. I look forward to the challenge, and I know we are up to it.