The U.S. Postal Service plans to replace and expand its current delivery fleet with a mix of internal combustion engine and battery electric powertrain, purpose-built Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV), and commercial off-the-shelf vehicles. As a result, the Postal Service has initiated several efforts to prepare its Vehicle Maintenance Facilities (VMF) — where the current fleet is serviced and repaired — to maintain NGDVs upon initial deployment in late 2023.
What We Did
Our objective was to assess the Postal Service’s VMF preparedness plans to maintain the future fleet of NGDVs. For this audit, we engaged a contractor to help us identify VMF preparedness and fleet transition best practices from five domestic and foreign delivery fleets and compared Postal Service practices against them. In addition, we conducted site visits at judgmentally selected VMFs in the Los Angeles, CA; Detroit, MI; Atlanta, GA; Pittsburgh, PA; and Baltimore, MD areas to understand their experiences with prior fleet transitions.
What We Found
Generally, we found the Postal Service’s initial plans to prepare VMFs to maintain the future fleet of NGDVs were consistent with the best practices of other delivery fleets transitioning an older fleet to newer vehicles. We also noted opportunities for the Postal Service to further enhance its plans as it continues updating and refining the plans prior to NGDV deployment. Specifically, we found that several industry best practices were not fully outlined in the Postal Service’s initial plans, such as defining essential technician skills and certifications, making upgrades needed to building systems, and developing a battery electric vehicle waste management strategy.
The Postal Service stated that it considered incorporating these fleet transition best practices but it was too early in the planning process to commit to additional efforts, as acquisition and distribution plans were not finalized. Headquarters management indicated they intend to implement any remaining and applicable best practices in the future. By evaluating the adoption of additional peer delivery fleet transition best practices, the Postal Service could be better prepared to maintain new NGDVs prior to deployment in October 2023.
We recommended management further evaluate industry fleet transition best practices and outline additional efforts to enhance existing VMF preparedness plans as they finalize NGDV acquisition and deployment.
Source: USPS OIG