Strategic Goal: Improve Service

2010 Results and 2011 Goals

Single-Piece First-Class Mail

Service for all three categories of Single-Piece First-Class Mail was affected by unusually severe weather-related issues, including severe flooding in the Northeast and Midwest, and record-breaking snowfalls throughout the country. Successive snowstorms in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states were so severe that the federal government was shut down for an unprecedented 4-1/2 days. For all categories, performance recovered in the second half of 2010, resulting in record performance for Quarters 3 and 4. Details on the measurement system are below.

Improvements over 2009 were mainly due to an increase in process improve­ments and actionable data at all levels of operations including equipment performance, mail flows, and transportation. They include extensive process controls, strict adherence to dispatch and transportation schedules, and aggressive efforts to root out errors and reduce process variability.

Consistent with continuous improvement, the 2011 targets have been increased. The Postal Service has reached record levels of service performance and further improvements will be incremental, driven by more effective use of data about mail in process from Intelligent Mail and increased automation, such as the Flats Sequencing System. Managers will also continue to use Lean Six Sigma, value stream mapping, and other tools to uncover new opportunities to improve service predictability and reduce variability.

To better understand the implications of these results, the following table highlights that most Single-Piece First-Class Mail has an overnight service commitment, and only a small percent is beyond 3-Day:


Service Standard

2010 Volume (millions)

Share of total Single-Piece First-Class Mail

















Single-Piece First-Class Mail / Overnight

2010 Plan

2010 Result

2011 Plan




Overnight was delivered 96.36 percent on-time within the service standard. This is one-quarter of one percentage point below the target. Performance was superior to the score of 96.2 percent achieved in 2009. This level of service was maintained despite significant weather impacts and work hour reductions. Consistent with continuous improvement, the 2011 target increases to 96.65 percent.


Single-Piece First-Class Mail / 2-Day

2010 Plan

2010 Result

2011 Plan




2-Day was delivered 93.71 percent within the service standard in 2010, which is 0.4 percent below the target and slightly better than 2009 performance.

Because more transportation is required for 2-Day service, weather in the first two quarters had a more pronounced impact than it had with Overnight. The target for 2-Day increases to 94.15 percent for 2011.



Single-Piece First-Class Mail / 3-, 4-, and 5-Day

2010 Plan

2010 Result

2011 Plan




92.44 percent of 3-, 4-, and 5-Day was delivered within the service standards in 2010, roughly 0.4 percent below the target, while superior to 2009 performance.

The impact of the weather had a greater impact on 3–5 Day than on the other categories. The target for 2011 is 92.85 percent.

Express Mail, Priority Mail, and Parcel Select

On-time and scanning performance for these services are included in the corporate goals. Express Mail, Priority Mail, and Parcel Select are competitive products. Service objectives and performance for competitive products are not reported publicly.