The U.S. Postal Service developed an overarching Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan that allows essential business functions to continue when there is a disruption of normal operations. In support of that plan, the Postal Service developed the Retail Systems COOP (Plan) to provide a methodology for continuing retail operations in the event of a complete Retail Systems Software (RSS) system failure or power or network outage. The Plan ensures that field retail operations provides a limited scope of products and services with minimal customer service impact if retail systems automated functions become unavailable. In fiscal year (FY) 2021 post office retail revenue was over $13 billion.
What We Did
Our objective was to determine whether field offices properly managed retail activities in the event of a disruption to RSS normal operations. We visited top retail units from all four Postal Service areas based on FY 2020 walk-in revenue data.
Field offices did not always properly manage retail activities in the event of a disruption to RSS normal operations. Unit personnel did not always maintain required forms, support resources, and equipment to implement a manual process during an RSS system failure or power or network outage. In addition, unit personnel did not always contact appropriate personnel when an RSS system failure or power or network outage occurred. Further, they sometimes allowed Delivery Operations to take the lead by deploying the overarching Postal Service COOP even though it did not specifically include retail procedures.
This occurred because there is no required training for headquarters, district, and unit personnel regarding their retail continuity responsibilities. Further, headquarters personnel did not adequately review, update, or distribute the Plan to field offices. As a result, the risk of revenue loss caused by future disruptions to retail operations increases.
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Source: USPS Office of Inspector General