Audit Report – DR-AR-14-005 - March 26, 2014

It takes a lot of repair work to keep one of the nation’s largest vehicle fleets up and running. Make that 321 repair garages – or vehicle maintenance facilities – the U.S. Postal Service needs to keep its 211,000 aging vehicles in working order.

These garages must keep well stocked with a wide range of parts – everything from motors and transmissions to nuts and bolts – and maintenance personnel need to follow a number of safety procedures to protect these supplies.

We recently conducted an audit of how well stock is being managed and protected at a sample of 33 maintenance facilities in the Capital Metro, Eastern, Great Lakes, Southern, and Western areas. These five areas spent more than $207 million in fiscal year 2013 to buy vehicle parts. We found the 33 facilities generally maintained an appropriate level of parts. While some stockrooms we visited did not have the recommended supply of some parts on hand, those parts were on order from suppliers. However, we noted that physical safeguards could improve. Specifically, managers at the sites were not always aware of security risks or the procedures they should follow to protect vehicle parts. Common violations included unlocked stockroom doors, unauthorized personnel in the stockrooms, and deficient monthly inventories. We estimated these shortcomings placed vehicle parts valued at over $49 million at risk. Consequently, we made a number of recommendations to improve physical security and inventory procedures in the five Postal Service areas.

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