USPS OIG: Management Alert – Manual Package Counting and Conversion Factors

Audit Report – NO-MA-14-008 – 09/30/2014

“We are alerting you to this condition because it may be systemic throughout the network and could result in overstated manual package processing volumes.”

This management alert presents the results of our review of manual package counting and conversion factors at the Omaha, NE Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) (Project Number 14XG029NO000).

Strong consumer demand for purchasing goods over the Internet has driven growth in package volume in an otherwise declining mail market. The Postal Service needs to make sound management decisions based on accurate productivity and operations data to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by this growing demand for package delivery. In its 2012 Five-Year Business Plan, the U.S. Postal Service projected that package volume, which was 3.7 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2013, will grow 5 to 6 percent per year through 2017. Between FY 2009 and FY 2013, package volume increased a total of 20.6 percent.

The Postal Service uses count sheets to tabulate manual package processing volumes. These count sheets provide an estimate based on conversion factors for various types of mail containers (see Appendix A for samples of count sheets). The count sheets allow employees to more easily estimate how many packages are in a container, rather than counting each mailpiece. Employees enter volume estimates into applicable data systems using these manual count sheets.


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We concluded that Omaha P&DC management overestimated manual package volume because they inaccurately estimated container fullness and used outdated or incorrect container-per-piece conversion rates. This condition may be systemic throughout the network and could result in overstated manual package processing volumes.

via Office of Inspector General | United States Postal Service.

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