Semiannual Report to Congress

The Office of Inspector General is tasked with ensuring efficiency, accountability, and integrity in the U.S. Postal Service. We also have the distinct mission of helping to maintain confidence in the mail and postal system, as well as to improve the Postal Service’s bottom line.

Guiding Principles for a New Universal Service Obligation

RARC-WP-15-001 - 11/17/2014

The U.S. Postal Service’s universal service obligation (USO), which establishes what mail services the Postal Service must provide, lacks a clear, comprehensive definition. The current USO is assumed to be a hodgepodge of various legal requirements and regulations that, in most cases, provide only broad guidance. For example, while public access to postal services is an important component of USO, there are no specifics about how many access points such as mail collection boxes or post offices must exist.

Revenue Protection is Vital to Postal Service Viability

Revenue Protection Rules - Management Advisory Report MS-MA-15-001 - 10/03/2014

Revenue protection is critical to posts’ survival in a world of declining mail volume. And it can be a challenge, especially given the Universal Postal Union’s estimate that posts lose 5 to 10 percent of postage revenue due to fraud, poor mail acceptance, sampling and billing processes, and unreliable revenue collection technology.

Voyager Card Fuel Program is Ineffective

Voyager Card Program – Capping – Management Advisory Report NO-MA-14-007 –  09/30/2014

Since fiscal year (FY) 2005, the U.S. Postal Service has spent more than $5.1 billion to buy fuel for Highway Contract Route (HCR) contractors under the Voyager Card Program.  But, in a recent report that summarizes prior audits of the Voyager program, we conclude it is ineffective and the Postal Service should consider alternative ways to manage fuel purchases.

Two Former Station Managers Guilty of Receiving Contracting Kickbacks

It was easy for a local landscaping company to obtain lucrative landscaping and snow removal work from two U.S. Postal Service managers; all it took was sharing the invoice proceeds with them.  A joint investigation by the Postal Service Office of Inspector General and the FBI determined that  two Postal Service managers conspired with contractors to receive bribery kickbacks by submitting over $590,000 in false and inflated invoices to the Postal Service, in exchange for a percentage of the proceeds paid to contractors.

More Transparency Would Enhance Post Office Relocation Process

Post Office Relocation Process – Audit ReportDR-AR-14-008 – 9/2/2014

The U.S. Postal Service manages nearly 32,000 post offices that offer retail services such as counter assistance, postage stamps, money orders, and Post Office boxes. The Postal Service can relocate post offices for business reasons, but must follow a specified process so the public knows about the plans and has the opportunity for input.

The Postal Service Customers of the Future

White Paper RARC-WP-14-014 - 9/29/2014

Today, rapid technological innovation means that change is almost continuous and often unpredictable. For the U.S. Postal Service, this fast-paced environment requires positioning to meet the needs of its wide range of customers as an uncertain future unfolds. To that end, our office conducted extensive research and employed scenario planning to understand what the needs and expectations of the customers of the future might be, and how the Postal Service could effectively meet those changing needs.

eCommerce Customer Registration Needs to Improve

Audit Report IT-AR-14-008 – 8/15/2014

Postal Service customers create accounts through to purchase products and services from more than 40 eCommerce applications. But is the personal information of the 24 million Customer Registration users of those applications adequately protected?

Concerns With Carriers Delivering After Dark

Audit Report DR-AR-14-006 – 07/21/2014

From fiscal year (FY) 2011 to FY 2013, the percentage of city letter carriers returning after 5 p.m. nationwide grew from 25 to 38 percent. This raises concerns for carriers’ safety and media reports suggest customers are not happy when their mail arrives after dark.

Package Services: Get Ready, Set, Grow!

July 21, 2014 (RARC-WP-14-015)

The package delivery market has been growing considerably. Between 2008 and 2013, the U.S. Postal Service experienced a more than 20 percent increase in package volume. The main reason is the growing popularity of e-commerce, particularly online shopping. American businesses and consumers spent more than $68 billion to ship packages domestically in 2013. E-commerce sales in the U.S. alone this year will top $430 billion; global e-commerce will exceed $1.5 trillion.

BSN Could Do More to Serve Largest Customers

Audit Report – MS-AR-14-005 – July 9, 2014

The Business Service Network (BSN), the U.S. Postal Service’s one-stop shop for its largest customers’ questions and concerns, could generate an additional $382 million in fiscal year 2014 by increasing customer outreach to all of the roughly 23,000 organizations the network serves.

If It Prints, It Ships: 3D Printing and the Postal Service

July 7, 2014  (RARC-WP-14-011)

3D printers build physical objects out of digital designs, usually by assembling powders, metals, plastics, and other materials layer-by-layer with tremendous precision. Because the digital designs can be endlessly tweaked and modified, 3D printing turns customers into creators and taps into the current trend of mass customization. The technology is starting to have a significant impact on the $10.5 trillion global manufacturing sector, and promises to democratize production and fundamentally change the supply chains of today.

Postal Service Should Act Now on Vehicle Replacement Plan

The U.S. Postal Service has one of the largest civilian vehicle fleets in the world, with more than 190,000 vans and other vehicles used to collect and deliver mail. But the fleet is aging and 142,000 long-life vehicles are near or past their expected service life. The Postal Service has taken a fix as fail approach to servicing its delivery fleet, even though it would sometimes be more efficient to replace vehicles when they break down. At the same time, the agency has an acquisition strategy but it lacks detail and has not been implemented due to financial constraints.