Enhanced Tracking and Visibility

Package tracking is one of the most important customer touch points for the Postal Service. Nearly 70 percent of all visitors to usps.com come to track a package, and a similar proportion of call volume to our Customer Care Center revolves around package status. The Postal Service is committed to improving the package tracking experience for our customers and is enhancing the language, design and functionality of usps.com, My USPS and our mobile interface to provide a truly world-class platform.

In addition to improving the user experience, we’re also developing innovative tools and technologies to improve the visibility into and performance of our shipping and mailing solutions. Collectively, these improvements will benefit the Postal Service, the mailing and shipping community and everyday consumers.

Internal Service Performance Measurement Sampling – In FY2016, the Postal Service implemented the internal Service Performance Measurement (SPM) sampling component of Informed Visibility. USPS employees use handheld scanners to scan live mailpieces at randomly selected collection and delivery points, reducing reliance on external vendor support for service performance measurement and providing valuable insight into the first and last mile. In FY2016, we enhanced the program by providing reports and tools to help monitor scan compliance and manage service performance. We reported results from the internal SPM system to the Postal Regulatory Commission for the second and third quarters of FY2016. We continue to run the new system in parallel with the legacy systems.

Bundle Visibility – Bundle Visibility was rolled out nationwide in 2016 and will provide a transparent and consistent view into the mailstream. Bundle Visibility assists in tracking mail volume as it travels through the Postal Service processing and delivery network. The business and operational intelligence created is of great benefit to the Postal Service and is a necessity to controlling costs and implementing operational efficiencies in mail processing and delivery.

Transition to the Intelligent Mail Barcode – Conversion from older barcode formats to the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) set the foundation for mailers to participate in the Full-Service Intelligent Mail option. Unique barcoding coupled with data reporting requirements of the Full- Service program provide the Postal Service with 100 percent visibility into the mailstream. Using Full-Service IMb information, a suite of service performance diagnostic tools was developed for use by field managers to analyze and improve service performance. These tools provide field managers with timely and meaningful information on potential service impacts, allowing corrective action to be taken to eliminate potential service failures.

The ability to see diagnostic data supports efforts to improve mail processing. For example, field managers are able to measure and reduce cycle time to consistently meet service targets. In addition, through container and individual mailpiece scans, field managers gain visibility into the elapsed time between each operational step in the process. As a result, incorrect mail flows and mishandlings are identified and corrected.

In FY2016, the volume of mail in measurement grew by 21 percent compared to FY2015. This was accomplished through enhanced business logic and improvement in scan compliance. Several new enhancements were added to the service performance diagnostics tool which provides greater operational visibility to field managers. These enhancements give new insight on service issues, enabling the field to systematically identify the root cause of top impacts.

Diagnostic reports allow mailers to uncover mail or documentation issues, which, when resolved, facilitate service improvements for their mail. Through the Full-Service option, mailers have access to the lowest automation rates, address correction for Full-Service mailpieces and visibility into their own mailings. The IMb planning tool, available on RIBBS, shows mailers, by induction facility, how many days it takes to accept, process and deliver their mail. It also explains service variance, allowing mailers to track on-time delivery performance and see the elapsed duration (in hours) between entry time and the first automated scan. Mailers use this IMb information to better manage their customer expectations about when the mail should be delivered and make informed marketing, financial and operational decisions.

Full-Service adoption increased in FY2016. Out of the 90 percent of IMb volume potentially eligible for participation in Full-Service, 90.43 percent was Full-Service as of September 2016 compared with 88.22 percent in September 2015. Between September 2015 and 2016, among the major mail products, First-Class flats experienced the highest increase in adoption rate (5 percent), from 72 percent to 77 percent. Full-Service adoption continues to be the highest for Presorted First-Class Mail letters/cards, increasing by 2 percent, from 91 percent to 93 percent. Full-Service Standard Mail letters increased by 3 percent, from 88 percent to 91 percent. Full-Service Periodicals increased by 1 percent, from 84 percent to 85 percent.

Through the use of service performance diagnostics tools, USPS continues to improve processes and reduce variance on service. The FY2016 commercial mail scores and the one-day service variance scores are as follows: