USPS OIG: Express or Bust

You get what you pay for with Priority Mail Express, the U.S. Postal Service’s fastest mail product. It’s not cheap, but it comes with a money-back guarantee should USPS fall short of the promised one- or two-day delivery.

The nationwide service performance goal for Priority Mail Express is 96.85 percent on time. However, it’s falling well short of the mark in the Caribbean District, which is part of the Northeast Area and includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, hitting only 87.64 percent on time over the past five fiscal years (FYs). According to our recent audit report, on-time performance was lower yet – 84.78 percent – during the period studied.

The Caribbean District had the highest amount of Priority Mail Express refunds of all USPS districts, totaling $380,000, over a one-year period — March 2018 through February 2019 — our report found. We determined the Postal Service’s processes and procedures contributed to service failures in the district.

This district certainly has its share of weather-related issues. But we found most of the challenges to be transportation-related. The district’s ground transportation schedules, used for moving Priority Mail Express, may not accurately reflect travel congestions in the area. Mail is taking longer to move between facilities than the schedules would indicate.

We also found that holding trucks at the processing facility until they were filled with mail to improve efficiency was actually hurting timely transportation and processing of Priority Mail Express originating in the Caribbean District. We also noted that the air carrier sometimes transported the mail out of the district behind schedule, perhaps contributing to service failures.

We recommended USPS evaluate ground and air transportation processes to find solutions to reduce service failures.

What’s been your experience with Priority Mail Express? Is it a service you rely on during the holiday season? (comment directly to OIG here)

Source: USPS Office of Inspector General

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