Survey of the U.S. Postal Service's Area Mail Processing Program

GGD-79-20: Published: Dec 22, 1978. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 1978.

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GAO assessed the Postal Service's Area Mail Processing Program. This is a program designed to reduce labor costs by consolidating mail processing functions.

Presently, Postal Service management lacks the proper data to determine how successful or unsucessful area mail processing has been. Plans for area mail processing do not accurately project potential achievements, and without post-evaluations, management does not know the realistic accomplishments of the program. Each of the Service's five regions applies different criteria and calculations when justifying area mail processing plans. The Service's guidelines for planning and implementing area mail processing do not specify the type of information that should be included in a plan, such as (1) mechanization needed, (2) detailed volume and productivity figures, (3) transportation scheduling changes, and (4) vacant positions for excess employees. Also, the guidelines do not establish a standard methodology for calculating the costs or savings attributable to area mail processing. As a result, estimated savings are inaccurate, leaving management with a false impression as to the benefits and accomplishments of the program.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Service should provide its management with a sound basis for approving area mail processing plans while at the same time providing realistic estimates. GAO recommends that the Postal Service revise the guidelines for planning and implementing area mail processing to clearly specify the factors that should be included in an area mail processing plan and establish a standard methodology for calculating the costs or savings of area mail processing. Further, GAO recommends that the Service require post evaluations to identify problems and take corrective actions to realize full program benefits.

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