This report presents the results of our audit of efficiency of operations at the Philadelphia Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in Philadelphia, PA. We conducted this audit to provide U.S. Postal Service management with timely information on operational risks at this P&DC. We selected the Philadelphia P&DC based on a Congressional request from Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. and Representative Dwight Evans. The Philadelphia P&DC is in the Chesapeake Division; and processes letters, flats, and parcels; and services multiple 3-digit ZIP Codes in urban and rural communities.
Finding #1: Delayed Mail
Philadelphia P&DC management reported 41,631 delayed flats on October 25, 2022, and 57,868 delayed flats on October 26, 2022, due to the breakdown of an automated flat sorting machine.
Why Did it Occur
Incomplete preventative maintenance was a contributing factor to the automated flat sorting machine breaking down. We determined the Philadelphia P&DC did not complete preventative maintenance to meet the 95 percent goal from April 2 to September 30, 2022. During this time, the completion rate of scheduled preventative maintenance was 47.38 percent, which included a 69.37 percent completion rate for the automated flat sorting machine. Management attributed the incomplete preventative maintenance to vacant positions, inadequate training, and failure to adhere to the scheduled preventative maintenance window.
Finding #2: Late, Cancelled, and Extra Outbound Trips
We determined that the Philadelphia P&DC had 45,399 outbound late trips, 22,690 outbound cancelled trips, and 5,423 outbound extra trips in FY 2022.
Why Did it Occur
Vacant Postal Vehicle Service (PVS)11 driver positions caused these late, cancelled, and extra trips. Although, the Philadelphia P&DC had 230 PVS drivers on the rolls, compared to the total earned complement of 233 PVS drivers at the end of September 2022, they had an additional 16 drivers who were not reporting to work or were not on approved leave. Management stated that it was challenging to complete the process to remove employees from the rolls. When management does not remove inactive drivers from the employee rolls, the P&DC is unable to hire replacements. Furthermore, replacement PVS drivers would increase available employees to decrease late, cancelled, and extra trips. Additionally, management stated that there is an extended hiring process, which makes it difficult to fill vacant positions timely.
Finding #3: Load Scan Compliance
Philadelphia P&DC employees were not performing container load scans consistently before dispatching mail. Specifically, for FY 2022 scanning compliance for load scans17 was 83.71 percent and overall scan compliance was 88.23 percent as compared to the Postal Service scanning goal of 92 percent.
According to the Mail Condition Visualization application, we determined that the Philadelphia P&DC had 48,713 containers of delayed dispatch, the 33rd highest (of 192) in the Eastern region from October 2021 to September 2022. Delayed dispatch provides a count of containers that do not meet the transportation schedule necessary to meet service standards. When load scans are missed, containers are counted as delayed dispatch in the Mail Condition Visualization application.
Source: USPS OIG