U.S. Postal Service:

Challenges to Sustaining Performance Improvements Remain Formidable on the Brink of the 21st Century

T-GGD-00-2: Published: Oct 21, 1999. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) financial position and delivery performance.

GAO noted that: (1) USPS may be nearing the end of an era; (2) during the past 5 years, USPS has made notable improvements in its financial position and delivery performance; (3) USPS has recorded positive net income and has maintained or improved the overall delivery of certain specific classes of mail; (4) however, USPS expects declines in its core business in the coming years; (5) the growth of the Internet, electronic communications, and electronic commerce has the potential to substantially affect USPS' mail volume; (6) as a result, USPS may experience growing difficulty in maintaining its position in a dynamic communications and delivery environment; (7) these developments make it imperative for USPS to resolve four long-standing performance challenges which include: (a) maximizing performance; (b) managing employees; (c) maintaining financial viability; and (d) adapting to competition; (8) GAO is highlighting the need for USPS to take action to address long-standing issues related to the quality of data used in ratemaking and recommending that the Postmaster General report to congressional oversight subcommittees on the actions taken and planned in this area; (9) in recent years, USPS has progressed in addressing various challenges and is continuing to initiate significant changes that respond to the challenges; and (10) however, as long as USPS stands on the brink of the twenty first century, time appears to be growing short for USPS to successfully address its challenges so that it can sustain and improve current performance levels and remain competitive in a rapidly changing communications environment.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has implemented the recommendation that the Postmaster General report to congressional oversight subcommittees on actions taken and planned to address long-standing issues related to the quality of data used in ratemaking, including actions taken and planned to respond to recommendations included in the Data Quality Study conducted by A.T. Kearney. The Postmaster General initiated a periodic reporting requirement by which USPS will, every 6 months, update the House Subcommittee on the Postal Service, Committee on Government Reform and GAO on USPS' progress specific to the Data Quality Study's recommendations. USPS has followed through on this requirement by providing the subcommittee and GAO with two reports in December 1999 and June 2000 on its progress in this regard.

    Recommendation: The Postmaster General should report to the House and Senate oversight subcommittees on the Postal Service on the actions taken and planned to improve the quality of data used in ratemaking, including those actions that relate to the recommendations included in the Data Quality Study conducted by A.T. Kearney.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The USPS has implemented the recommendation that the Postmaster General report to congressional oversight subcommittees on actions taken and planned to address long-standing issues related to the quality of data used in ratemaking and specify priorities and time frames for short-term and long-term actions. The Postmaster General reported that the Service had identified 37 unique action items and categorized them into four areas: 1) action items which are being implemented; 2) action items suitable for implementation in the long term; 3)action items requiring further management consideration; and 4) action items unlikely to be implemented. The Service plans to report every 6 months to Congress and GAO on progress in each of these areas.

    Recommendation: The Postmaster General should report to the House and Senate oversight subcommittees on the Postal Service on the actions taken and planned to improve the quality of data used in ratemaking, including the priorities and time frames for short-term and long-term actions.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

 

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