The speed of mail for Americans may never get back to levels seen before the appointment of a new Postmaster General and the global outbreak of COVID-19. The reality is setting in even as the US Postal Service raises rates
at the end of August.
"The U.S. Postal Service is signaling that widespread mail delays prevalent in 2020 and early 2021 are the new normal, setting expectations for the remainder of the year far below historical norms," according to an article in Government Executive
The publication's June 3rd headline reads, "USPS Projects Continuing Mail Delays, Setting Targets Well Below Historical Standards," and states in the article, "USPS has never recovered from nationwide mail delays resulting from operational changes DeJoy put into place shortly after taking office last year."
Government Executive's headline contrasts with the USPS's June 3rd press release
headline, "U.S. Postal Service Delivery of Mail Sees Across-the-Board Improvements as Recovery from Pandemic Continues."
But the USPS isn't even trying to return the speed of mail to pre-2020 levels. As it outlined in its 10-year plan
, the USPS will modify service standards for First-Class Mail letters and flats from 1- 3 days to 1-5 day service.
One person voiced concern about the unintended consequences of the strategy of deliberately slowing service standards: "Trying to slow the mail to save cost is so counter-productive. The faster and more accurate the mail is, the more it is used,..."
The comment appeared under a May 3rd post
on the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) website about its analysis of delayed mail volume in 2020 - both the post and the comments underneath are worth a read. (People weighed in on whether slower mail was the fault of the new PMG or the pandemic.)
While many sellers send items First Class Mail and Media Mail, most are sending packages. What will they see during the holiday-shipping season this fall?
The USPS said in its June 3rd press release that network enhancements and investments are currently underway to prepare for the 2021 holiday peak season, referencing a goal of achieving a 95% service performance delivery target.
"These initiatives include: the procurement of 138 package sorters to meet higher package volume, the leasing of 45 annex facilities within 5 miles of existing facilities to accommodate surges in demand ahead of the 2021 peak holiday season, and the completion of operational mail moves previously paused in 2015 at 18 facilities."
It's never too early to think about the holiday shopping period. Will it be a repeat of 2020, or will the USPS and shipping carriers be better prepared for the higher volume of online orders - what do you think?