Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Apr 21 2019 12:12:04

USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

By: Ina Steiner

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United States Postmaster General Megan Brennan told postal workers of the importance of scanning packages, explaining that in order to remain competitive, the Postal Service need to provide customers with timely and accurate tracking information. Speaking in a video feature called Business Focus, she also warned carriers not to throw packages.

"We have professional letter carriers who take great pride in their work and deliver a positive experience in addition to mail and packages. But when an employee throws a package and it's caught on a home security camera, which is happening far too often, it's then posted on social media, and that hurts our brand," she said.

One mishandled package can result in multiple lost customers, she said, and backed up her warning with the proof of the harsh reality that the agency faces. 

While packages are a bright spot for the USPS as it experiences declines in First-Class mail, marketing mail, and periodicals, Brennan revealed that the rate of growth of the USPS package business declined in February compared to the prior year - something she blamed on increased competition. She didn't get specific, but Amazon has been making moves in this area.

"We compete for every package, every dollar, every day," Brenan said. "Our ability to win business or retain business depends on providing our customers with consistent, reliable service. And we need everyone to do their part."

Online sellers can only hope that her message to postal workers gets through, since items damaged through mishandling and un-scanned packages can cause problems for them.

As Brennan said, "Timely and accurate scanning are critical components to the customer experience. One missed scan can result in an unnecessary call to the call center and possibly the loss of a customer."

A reader recently shared with us an experience that highlights the unrealistic expectations of buyers when it comes to package-tracking. An order came in after 11 pm on a Monday night, and he had the package to the post office before 8 am on Tuesday morning.

However, the buyer claimed the package didn't arrive at the post office until 1 pm on Wednesday.

It was clear from reading the correspondence that the buyer was relying heavily on scanning information uploaded by the USPS throughout the package's journey, and the reader believed that eBay had exacerbated the problem with its "Guaranteed Delivery" banner on his listing.

In her recent video, the Postmaster General described a feature called Informed Delivery that could help by keeping shoppers informed about expected delivery dates - and times - assuming the USPS can improve its scanning practices. With Informed Delivery, "we are giving customers visibility for all packages arriving today," she said, "and have added a section called "arriving soon," so the consumer also knows what packages are on the way."

That message will resonate with online sellers who rely on tracking to allay the fears of customers who are eagerly awaiting their packages. Sellers also rely on accurate tracking information to prove to marketplaces that they have shipped in a timely fashion - otherwise, they risk performance penalties that can include loss of visibility of their items in search results.



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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

This user has validated their user name. by: CanBrit

Sun Apr 21 12:30:21 2019

Just recently I had a priority post shipment to Torrance, CA. It taken to the post office on April 10th. On April 12th it showed as having arrived at the Torrance, CA USPS station. Then it goes weird. What makes this worse is I'm now getting warnings from eBay because USPS packages are having late deliveries. Why is that my fault. They have the nerve to put that on our metrics as OUR problem. Idiots


Apr 12, 2019 04:07am
Arrived at USPS Facility TORRANCE, CA 90503
Apr 14, 2019 00:00am
In Transit, Arriving Late
Apr 16, 2019 03:35am
PROCESSED THROUGH USPS FACILITY LOS ANGELES, 90052
Apr 16, 2019 05:12am
DEPART USPS FACILITY LOS ANGELES, 90052
Apr 16, 2019 05:22am
DEPART USPS FACILITY LOS ANGELES, 90052
Apr 16, 2019 06:03am
ARRIVE USPS FACILITYTORRANCE, 90503
Apr 16, 2019 06:18am
ARRIVAL AT UNIT TORRANCE, 90503
Apr 16, 2019 08:32am
SORTING/PROCESSING COMPLETE TORRANCE, 90505
Apr 16, 2019 08:42am
OUT FOR DELIVERY TORRANCE, 90505
Apr 16, 2019b 11:56am
DELIVERED IN/AT MAILBOX TORRANCE, 90505

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Apr 21 12:36:21 2019

Best Service

#1 ~ US Postal Service
#2 ~ Fedex
#3 ~ UPS (I only use them at customer request)

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 13:31:40 2019

Pretty sad when they cant force a lazy postal worker to actually do their job correctly

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Apr 21 13:35:20 2019

Cameras all over the place here.
Packages have a Soft Arrival every time  :o)
Thanks USPS !

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Sun Apr 21 13:36:05 2019

"But when an employee throws a package and it's caught on a home security camera."

It's not that they throw packages which has gone on un-challenged for more than 50 years. It's now they are getting caught so it's a concern. Water seeks it's own level.

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

This user has validated their user name. by: CanBrit

Sun Apr 21 14:18:56 2019

@toolguy

I guess another situation that doesn't happen to you. It's amazing how much support you throw out there. 😒

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 15:55:10 2019

I think the PO has underestimated how great an impact ebay sellers have on them.  No sales = no shipping. I ship primarily first class - after 20 successful years on eBay my sales have come to a screeching halt due to ebay's constant disruptive kafuful.  

Then there's the economy - regardless of the garbage the the big orange guy spews from his mouth it is actually bad.  Business are folding at a breakneck speed. eBay sellers are leaving in droves.

And don't forget the thieves that are hitting the PO - Stealing the mail - take Henderson NV (google it) The post office left their security gates open - common practice - so the employees don't have to get out and unlock the gates when they come and leave work.  Thieves over several days were free to sneak into the property and remove palettes of mail withing on the loading docks over the course of several days. They have estimated they got away with 100,000 pieces of mail. Oh yes the FBI is now involved. But their not looking into the porch pirates.

Then there was the rate increase in January - did they factor that in?

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 17:14:03 2019

Working in a sectional center where the main sorting of packages is done. Throwing packages is the least of the problems. Playing catch, kickball or football are played there without cameras. Most damage to packages is done within the first 36 hours of it being in the system. Pack and wrap things tight and your chances of damage is minimize. Toss something in a bag and hope for the best, your fault.

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 19:47:10 2019

I'd be happy if they would ring the doorbell when delivering a package.  There is usually someone here, they don't have to wait for the door to be answered just ring it so the package doesn't sit there

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: Debra40 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 20:07:43 2019

Pretty sad when you can’t get your bosses to provide you with properly working equipment so you can do your job efficiently and correctly. You tell them something isn’t working correctly and they look at you like you have 2 heads. The ring scanners are garbage at times and nothing is done to get ones that work.

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: Debra40 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 20:09:58 2019

It would be nice if we were provided with equipment that worked properly. You want us to do our jobs, but the bosses refuse to spend money to get us equipment that actually works.

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: DCoble This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 21:32:58 2019

To those who are blaming the Post Office or the Mail Carriers, here are a few facts you may not know:

Specific delivery date and time is only guaranteed on Priority Express, although they DO try to meet certain timelines with other types of mail.

The USPS is currently experiencing a major shortage of personnel in all areas, especially carriers, due to a large percentage of their workforce retiring.

Carriers are generally pulling 10 to 13 hour workdays and in some cases only get one day off each week instead of two due to the shortage of personnel to cover their days off.

Finally, I find it offensive that anyone would call people who are working anywhere from 48 to 75 hours a week lazy.

If you’re going to get upset with the Post Office regarding delivery times, perhaps you should get a job there and spend at least the 90 day probationary period seeing what it’s like.

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: Shena This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 21:51:08 2019

As a former USPS employee I can tell you a carrier is not allowed to toss even a little bit any package. HOWEVER, the sorters are allowed to THROW HARD any and all packages. There are no restrictions on the sorting employees. Thats policy. If package is damaged its NOT the mail mans doing.  

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: CataTonic This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 22:06:57 2019

"Whatever's" comments are right on target. I agree. eBay's mandated GTC policy has cost the USPS $100 in lost shipping revenues this month from me alone, due to my drastic cuts in listings, and thus sales, and thus shipments, due to eBay's disastrous new mandated GTC policy.
After a long, hard, cold winter, because of the mandatory GTC policy, instead of sourcing more of my popular OOAK (one-of-a-kind) items to list on eBay, I just took my wife on an 8-day vacation, flew to Florida, and spent every day at the beach, all financed by PAST eBay sales :)
eBay may think it doesn't need that 20% of its sellers that are OOAK fixed price sellers. It may be closer to the truth that those sellers don't need eBay as badly as eBay needs them.
Many sellers can find better things to do with their time than deal with eBay's hostility toward sellers.
Due to the GTC policy, I haven't listed or re-listed a single item this month. Sure, I'll pick out the 50 best items before the end of the month, but this GTC policy has been the last straw for me.
My employer is BEGGING me to work more hours, and at good wages, too, because of a dearth of qualified employees. eBay is just a money-making part-time hobby for a lot of us. When eBay's policies take so much of the profits away from sellers, once they leave, they may NEVER come back, as their employers, spouses, friends, pets, or sunny beaches may be far more appealing than selling on eBay.
This GTC mandate is the 2nd biggest mistake I have ever seen a major corporation make. Maytag's $50M debacle with Hoover UK was the worst, and we all know what happened to Maytag.

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: notigg This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 22:22:35 2019

speaking as an employee I see a few priblems with the POstmaster general saying this. loss in packages has nothing to do with a carrier getting caught on camera tossing a parcel. it's because amazon has been aiming all along to become even more of a bohemoth and deliver their own parcels. i see more and more amazon drivers every day delivering in my city (and they do things we at usps would never do like drop a parcel from their car into someones driveway and leave). think about it for a minute... when you order on amazon you arent really given a choice of what company delivers your item.

the next problem is honesty. either the post master general is being dishonest or they have no idea how their company works. we dont have famcy conveyor belts that carry parcels to the back of lined up trucks like ups. what do we have? we have a large room with several hampers spread out in some order and a few clerks who stand and pull parcels off a pallet and throw them 10-30 feet into a hamper. either tell customers the truth and quit the whole charade about package throwing or singlehandedly walk everybsingle parcel to its container. or a third option would be to create a "fragile" service you can pay extra fornto have something handled with extra care. one of those 3 options.

lastly, giving customers a delivery window forntheir packages is going to cause more confusion and complaints from customers than if itndidnt exist. why? because its a fools errand. its not possible. if a routenisbdivided up because its vacant then the time will be wromg. if thebparcel was one of the numerousbones thrown to the wromg hampersnroute on a daily basis then the time will be wromg. if an express mail causes the carrier to deviate and do the route in a different order the time will be wromg. if the weather or some special circumstance happens that changes the order of the route the time will be wrong

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: Suchalady This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 22:44:47 2019

I am a current mail carrier and the PMG knows that the PSE stand in one spot and literally THROW THE PACKAGES! I am 100% honest with my customers and let them know. I have also complained to my postmaster about it bc I don't appreciate my customer's packages bring thrown, being smashed and I definently don't appreciate being blamed for it. And mail carriers are not lazy. Thank your mail carrier the next time you see them bc we go thru alot more than anyone can imagine.  

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: Wrag This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 23:06:26 2019

I receive packages almost every week. From all over the U.S. and China. I use informed delivery. My biggest problem isn't throwing my packages my mail carrier is great. The biggest problem I have is the Atlanta post office. They.  Seem to always send packages out on wrong truck or have many times sent them back to the sender. I have watched my packages arrive at Atlanta 2 and 3 times. I'm 1 hour from Atlanta but it has taken me longer to get it from Atlanta as it did to get to Atlanta from China. It has to be the worst post office in the USPS system.

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Apr 21 23:08:40 2019

@Suchalady

I have an ice chest on my front porch next to a milk crate.

I put my out going packages in the crate and my carrier picks them up daily.

Oh yea, the ice chest. A note on the lid says: Cold Drinks for USPS, Fedex & UPS delivery persons.

I try to keep a water, a soda and a juice inside at all times. . .

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Sun Apr 21 23:10:59 2019

Package tossing isn't isolated to postal carriers, those videos pick up drivers from commercial shipping carriers too. It's good to spread the message about the porch cams - the PG is right - one incident portrayed on social media can give everyone a black eye and can make it seem like a bigger problem than it is.

For postal workers who are visiting this page, thanks for all your hard work. I personally have an outstanding carrier, he looks out for us and is THE most hardworking individual I know, all the while spreading smiles throughout the neighborhood - no matter how harsh the weather. Truthfully, I've never had a bad carrier.

Perminate Link for USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad   USPS Boss on Packages: Scanning Good, Throwing Bad

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 21 23:42:43 2019

Had to come back and check the comments - one thing I'd like to point out is that ebay beats sellers over the head on shipping delays. They keep saying my items are guaranteed delivery dates even though I have opted out 2x's now. This winter has been the worst in a long time. Some mail could simply not be delivered on time. Yet ebay holds the sellers feet to the fire in a situation we have absolutely no control over.  If I ship my item within 24 hours and I have the receipt in hand from standing in the postal line just like everyone else "I" have done my job. Why am I now responsible for the carriers performance? Is eBay god now? They hold the crystal ball? It's just another ridiculous demand from the king. I'm almost ready to dump ebay after 20 years. I've built up my inventory on my own venue to 3,000 items - I guess GTC might just be the final push

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