Message from the Acting Inspector General:
The Postal Service is the one federal entity that touches every American nearly every day. It delivers to 155 million addresses 6 days a week regardless of location, convenience, or expense. With nearly $69 billion in annual revenue and 154 billion pieces of mail processed, it is the world’s largest postal system, responsible for about 40 percent of the world’s mail volume.
The Postal Service provides the nation with a secure and universally accessible platform for commerce and communications. Rather than being relegated in the digital age, the Postal Service’s platform is increasingly relied on for ecommerce package delivery and secure communications. Innovation and adaptability are key to the Postal Service’s long-term success and it has taken crucial steps to improve existing products, experiment with new services, and streamline its operations.
In late 2013, the Postal Service added Sunday delivery of packages to strengthen its market position in business-to-consumer shipping and to further distinguish itself from its main competitors. Package growth is expected to remain strong as the $1.7 trillion ecommerce market continues to grow.
Data plays an important role in adapting for the 21st Century. Informed Visibility (IV) is the Postal Service’s enterprise system that uses real-time data on mail as it moves through the system to measure processing and delivery performance and provide immediate granular insight into specific mail-flows and systemic issues. IV is proving beneficial to both the Postal Service and mailers.
The Postal Service has also cut costs through network consolidation and a reduction in Post Office hours. A recent OIG report noted that the Postal Service has reduced labor costs by $10 billion over the past decade, improved productivity, and generally reined in costs – but in some cases it has come at the expense of service.
Going forward, the Postal Service needs to further innovate and optimize in this time of rapid change or face long-term risks to its financial security. However, it must be careful to consider the impact that major changes have on service, which stakeholders expect to be both reliable and affordable.
The OIG will continue to work to maintain confidence in the postal system and improve the Postal Service’s bottom line through independent audits and investigations. We will identify opportunities for cost savings, improving efficiencies, and enhancing innovation.
Over the past 5 years, OIG auditors and investigators have identified billions of dollars in potential monetary savings, cost avoidance, fines, restitutions, and recoveries. The OIG issued over 900 audit reports containing more than 1,000 recommendations for improving Postal Service operations and financial processes. The OIG completed more than 20,000 investigations that resulted in over 6,000 arrests, indictments, or informations; 3,600 convictions or pretrial diversions; and 11,000 administrative actions taken by the Postal Service.
In this Five-Year Strategic Plan for FYs 2017 – 2021, we present our strategic goals and implementation strategies, which reflect our ongoing effort to align with Postal Service and stakeholder strategies. Our three strategic goals are:
- Promote efficiency and effectiveness of postal operations;
- Foster integrity by detecting and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse in postal programs; and
- Advance OIG innovation and excellence.
The next 5 years, the OIG will continue to use data and predictive analytics to improve the efficiency and value of our investigations and audits. This approach will further enhance our proven ability to identify investigative and audit leads with a high likelihood of fraud detection, prevention, and monetary savings.
Knowledge sharing and collaboration remain the cornerstones of our approach to professional development. We value every OIG professional and will work to recruit, retain, and develop a highly skilled and diverse workforce to perform audits, investigations, and mission support operations.
Engaging stakeholders and communicating with them are extremely important to our work and mission. We will continue our outreach through various channels: our blog and Audit Asks web page, through GovDelivery alerts, via social media, discussion forums, and conference attendance. Stakeholder input is crucial as it often leads to audits on investigations, or simply helps us to better focus our work.
Operating by our values, I am confident we can continue to deliver optimal value to the Postal Service and our stakeholders. As is evident by our plan, we stand ready to support the Postal Service and Congress as they confront fundamental questions on the future of the Postal Service.
Tammy L. Whitcomb
Acting Inspector General
United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General