The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 required the Postal Service to establish and report on service standards, or timeliness goals. The Postal Service considers these standards to be one of the primary operational goals against which it measures performance. The Postal Service uses an internal system to capture mail information and report on the percent of mail that met timeliness goals. The data is also used to identify and correct service issues and for customers to track timeliness of mailpieces. However, mail can be excluded when it doesn’t comply with Postal Service business rules. The more mail included in measurement, the more representative the measurement is overall, enabling the Postal Service to have the best operational data possible to help its goal for delivering mail timely to the American people.
What We Did
Our objective was to evaluate the progress made to reduce mail excluded from service performance measurement. We interviewed and surveyed judgmentally selected Postal Service facilities and commercial mailers with high rates of mailpiece exclusions.
What We Found
The Postal Service developed several initiatives to reduce the amount of mail excluded from measurement. However, mail excluded from measurement has remained largely unchanged ranging between 23-27 percent over the last three years. The biggest challenge to reducing the amount of mail excluded from measurement is the awareness, ability, and willingness of mailers and the Postal Service to identify why mail was excluded and take corrective actions. We surveyed 10 mailers with large volumes of mail exclusions and five said they do not take action to resolve mail exclusions.
We identified opportunities to improve the current initiatives and include more mail in measurement. Specifically, management was not identifying and tracking defect codes for why mail was excluded and did not communicate exclusion information to mailers and postal facilities with high rates of exclusions. Without working to increase mailer engagement, the Postal Service will continue to limit its progress to reduce mail excluded from measurement.
We recommended management: (1) explore incentivizing mailers to resolve exclusions; (2) communicate and provide training to Full‑Service mailers on the online portal and exclusion tool, and on how to identify root causes and resolve mail exclusions; (3) track, identify, and record defect codes and root causes; and (4) determine the feasibility of providing exclusion information at the mailpiece level.