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USPS OIG – Scanning Compliance and Oversight of Dock Operations

April 16, 2024

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » Office of Inspector General OIG


The U.S. Postal Service is working to leverage technology to improve visibility and tracking of mail and packages in near real time for the Postal Service, its customers, and mailers. As it moves through the surface transportation network, mail and packages are assigned to a container equipped with barcodes. Surface Visibility provides real-time scanning of barcodes and reports mail movement from origin to final destination allowing the Postal Service to measure its performance. Oversight of scanning processes performed by logistics and processing employees helps ensure all scans are performed accurately. Scanning accuracy is critical to achieving real-time visibility and providing the Postal Service with a competitive market advantage and long-term stability within the mailing industry.

What We Did

Our objective was to evaluate Surface Visibility scanning compliance and oversight of dock operations. We analyzed scan data for six required Surface Visibility scans for fiscal year (FY) 2021 through FY 2023 and observed scanning operations and interviewed Postal Service personnel at nine processing facilities.

What We Found

While the Postal Service has improved scanning compliance since FY 2021, we found the Postal Service has an opportunity to further improve scanning compliance and oversight of scanning operations. Specifically, we found some scans were not consistently performed. This occurred because employees did not always follow scanning policies and procedures, or record completed scans on placards. Additionally, management did not always review scan data or spot check placards to ensure required scans were performed.

We also found the evaluation of scanning performance was not aligned to the responsible logistics and processing groups. This occurred because the Postal Service data used to determine scan compliance could not be separated by service type and the processing group was not evaluated on all scans under their area of responsibility.

Recommendations and Management Comments

We recommended management reissue scanning policy, identify and correct scanning deficiencies, and evaluate the current scanning visibility performance metrics. Management agreed with all three recommendations and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) considers management’s comments responsive, as corrective actions should resolve the issues identified in the report. The Postal Service’s comments and our evaluation are at the end of each finding and recommendation.

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