Message from the Inspector General
For almost 240 years, the United States Postal Service has provided the nation with a secure, universally accessible platform for commerce and communications. The Postal Service has built a brand that customers, suppliers, and employees trust to protect the privacy and security of their information, whether it is their mail or electronically stored data maintained in a computer database. In 2013 the Postal Service ranked as the nation’s fifth most trusted company and the most trusted government agency.
The Postal Service is an enormous, complex operation, currently handling 40 percent of the world’s mail volume. However, that world is rapidly changing, as electronic communication poses both threats and opportunities to the postal enterprise. The $1.5 trillion e-commerce market has not reached its full potential; participants are still working to improve trust and enhance associated logistics, return services, payment, and security.
The Postal Service has responded by improving existing products and services, experimenting with new services, and streamlining its operations. But continued innovation and optimization in such times of rapid change is critical to ensure the Postal Service’s long-term financial stability. It sells postage on line and through self-serve kiosks, and offers flat rate Priority Mail pricing and simplified mailing services such as Every Door Direct Mail, which allows businesses to reach customers without the need for names or addresses. Over 170,000 Intelligent Mail devices enable real-time package tracking for customers. If its experiment as the provider of the digital Federal Cloud Credential Exchange platform succeeds, the public will be able to securely access online government services at multiple agencies without the need for digital identification for each service. To reduce costs, the Postal Service has reduced hours in post offices, consolidated processing facilities and reduced delivery routes, despite the growth in delivery points.
The U. S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General has, and will continue, to identify opportunities for cost savings as well as innovation. A January 2014 OIG study suggesting the Postal Service offer nonbank financial services to some 68 million financially underserved Americans has received unprecedented attention in policy circles and in the popular media. Over the past five years OIG auditors have identified billions of dollars in potential monetary savings and our investigators identified $1.5 billion in cost avoidance, fines, restitutions, and recoveries as defined by the Inspector General Act and reported to the Office of Management and Budget. We issued over 1,500 audit reports containing more than 1,100 significant recommendations for improving Postal Service operations and financial processes. We completed more than 20,000 investigations that resulted in over 6,000 arrests, indictments or informations, 3,800 convictions or pretrial diversions, and 10,600 administrative actions taken by the Postal Service. Preserving the integrity and security of the Postal Service has been, and continues to be, a top OIG priority.
In this Five-Year Strategic Plan for 2014–2018, we present our strategic focus areas and implementation strategies. Our strategic focus areas align with the Postal Service’s strategic goals – preserving reliable and affordable universal service and implementing comprehensive transformation for a long-term sustainable future – articulated in the Postal Service’s April 2013 Five-Year Business Plan. Our plan is focused on supporting the Postal Service and Congress as they confront fundamental questions on the future of the Postal Service.
The next five years, we will continue use of digital analytics to improve the efficiency and value of our investigations and audits. We will apply increasingly complex predictive analytics to scrutinize the large volume of information on Postal Service operations. This approach will further enhance our proven ability to identify investigative and audit leads with a high likelihood of fraud detection, prevention and monetary
We will continue to focus on our knowledge centered work environment and professional network collaboration to enhance the value of each of our professionals. Our executives, managers and staff meet regularly with stakeholders, and we have enhanced our collaborative environment using social media tools. We have held discussion forums on such topics as big data, eGovernment, and enhancing the value of mail. These efforts ensure that knowledge we gain about the Postal Service is retained regardless of changes in our workforce and that we are in tune with the needs and interests of our customers and stakeholders.
We will provide even more value than we have in the past, leveraging our resources with technology and effective knowledge transfer programs. We also recognize that continuous hiring, retention and development of high quality employees, and keeping our employees fully engaged with challenging work, is essential to our success. Operating by our values, I am confident we can continue to deliver optimal value to the Postal Service and our stakeholders.
David C. Williams