USPS Meets Financial Health Goal, Misses Shipping, CX Goals in FY2021

The Postal Service regulator said the agency met its goal of financial health last fiscal year, the latest sign that the USPS’s long-term financial health is improving.

However, the Postal Regulatory Commission, in its analysis of the USPS’s annual performance report for fiscal year 2021, found that the USPS is failing to meet most of its delivery efficiency and customer service goals.

The report found that the USPS failed to meet seven delivery goals, meeting only its goals for marketing mail and periodicals, even after…

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The Postal Service regulator said the agency met its goal of financial health last fiscal year, the latest sign that the USPS’s long-term financial health is improving.

However, the Postal Regulatory Commission, in its analysis of the USPS’s annual performance report for fiscal year 2021, found that the USPS is failing to meet most of its delivery efficiency and customer service goals.

The report found that the USPS failed to meet seven delivery goals, meeting only its marketing mail and periodicals goals, even after lowering the goals in light of the pandemic’s expected impact on the service.

The USPS failed to meet most of its efficiency targets for fiscal 2021, although it lowered those results from 2.81% to more than 26%.

“While it is important that targets are not so ambitious as to be unattainable, it is equally important that they serve to inspire improvement and are not set so low as to be unreasonable for the purposes of assessing whether high-quality service delivery is the target has been achieved,” the commission wrote.

The USPS missed seven delivery goals, meeting only its marketing mail and periodicals goals, even after lowering the goals in light of the pandemic’s expected impact on service (Source: Postal Regulatory Commission)

The commission’s public representative noted that this is the fourth year in a row that the USPS has declined in every category.

The USPS said its performance in fiscal 2021 was down to poor peak season performance, employee absences, reduced supplier capacity and disruptions from weather and natural disasters.

Other reports indicate that the USPS has shown improvement since FY2021. The agency’s Office of Inspector General recently found that earlier-than-usual preparations for the FY 2022 holiday season improved overall performance.

The USPS said the level of service in fiscal 2021 “was undeniably impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic” and service performance improved over the course of the fiscal year.

The USPS noted that across its 50 areas, 13 processing divisions, 13 logistics divisions and headquarters, 22 units had at least one month in fiscal year 2021 when employee availability fell below 70 percent.

The USPS said employee availability is greater for mail handling personnel than for delivery services or customer service employees.

The agency said its 10-year strategic plan has set the agency on a path to overcoming longstanding financial, service and operational challenges.

Although it fell short of most of its goals, the Postal Service emphasized its priority of elections and mail-in ballots in FY2021.

The commission praised the USPS for taking what the agency called “extraordinary measures,” such as authorizing additional transportation and overtime, to ensure the timely delivery of ballots in the mail.

“These efforts were undertaken despite the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, in support of the vital role the Postal Service plays in the American democratic process,” the committee wrote.

The commission noted that performance indicators began to show improvement in the second quarter of fiscal 2021, but said it remains to be seen “whether this represents a real improvement over the previous year or simply a return to the pattern of seasonal fluctuations that has been typical before the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Commission urges the USPS to implement the Office of Inspector General’s recommendations to better recruit truck drivers and increase the efficiency of truck travel.

It also recommends that the USPS critically reduce late trips in areas with the highest concentrations of them and develop more efficient, quantifiable ways to measure service improvements.

USPS missed six of the eight customer experience performance targets and met targets only for its business services network and its customer service center.

“The commission commends the Postal Service for its efforts to keep pace with the private sector and other federal agencies by engaging with customers on social media and using social media to assess CX and gain other insights,” the commission wrote.

“The Post Office’s efforts to respond to customer inquiries on social media in FY2021 are commendable given the small number of staff available to respond to customer questions and concerns.”

The commission recommends that the USPS hire more customer experience officers and implement automation tools to address the challenges.

The commission said USPS’ user experience goals are reasonable for fiscal year 2022.

The USPS met its goal for the total number of accidents for the third year in a row, but missed the goals for the survey response rate.

If survey response rates continue to decline in FY 2022, the committee recommends that the USPS investigate and address the root cause of the declining rate of employees completing the Postal Pulse survey.

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