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OIG Suggests USPS Should Track Delivery Failures Nationwide

OIG Suggests USPS Should Track Delivery Failures Nationwide

Thanks to USPS Informed Delivery, people can check each day to see what’s scheduled to arrive in their mailbox. That lets them see if a mail carrier skips their house on any given day. But that’s not something the Postal Service seems to track.

According to the USPS Inspector General (IG), the USPS does not identify the number of undelivered and partially delivered routes nationally.

In a blog post on Monday, the IG explained that an “undelivered route” means no homes or businesses receive their regular daily delivery, and on a “partially delivered route,” only some customers experience no delivery. There may be various reasons behind non-deliveries, it said, such as severe weather or unavailability of carriers.

“As we note in our recent audit report, one tool estimates potential route and delivery point failures but can’t identify undelivered routes,” it said.

“We did, however, find opportunities for USPS to leverage existing tools and technologies to identify the actual number of undelivered and partially delivered routes. For example, the Postal Service could integrate delivery operations data with Informed Delivery.

“Also, data on delayed mail and undelivered and partially delivered routes could be used to notify customers of delays and service outages in near real-time.”

The IG said notification of service interruptions was important in order to provide world-class, universal mail service.

For those unfamiliar with Informed Delivery, the USPS explains it on its website (where anyone can sign up for an account) as follows:

“Informed Delivery is a free service from USPS that shows you preview images of incoming mail, as well as status updates about your incoming and outbound packages. You can see those notifications in a morning Daily Digest email, or at any time via the dashboard from your phone, computer, or the USPS Mobile® app. Informed Delivery also has other features that make tracking and receiving your packages easier and more convenient.”

The USPS has an image of every single piece of mail going to every address and can show it to every single addressee through the Informed Delivery consumer-facing portal, which demonstrates the USPS has all the data it needs to track non-deliveries.

The Postal Service is charged with delivering mail to every address on over 233,000 delivery routes across the country six days a week. As the USPS Office of Inspector General said, “When you run a large operation or business, it’s just as important to know what isn’t getting done as well as what is.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

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