Service standards workgroup to make recommendations to USPS

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WASHINGTON รป The Service Standards and Measurement Workgroup of the US Postal Service is working to compile recommendations by the end of August to improve the agency's service through measurement.

One area the group is investigating is the structure and services of Intelligent Mail. While designed to enable large mailers to follow the progress of mail through the many stages of processing all the way to delivery, the product has not reached its full potential capturing, according to Postal Services Consulting President Kathy Siviter, a workgroup member.

"Measurement is a hard discussion, as it is still in the piloting phase of Intelligent Mail. We need to pursue Intelligent Mail aggressively," said Siviter at this month's Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting. "We are in the process of testing and there are still some things we don't know."

Regardless, Siviter supports Intelligent Mail where it is a viable solution as it is inexpensive, accurate, and offers a wealth of actionable data that can help decide what service changes need to be made.

One recommendation that the workshop group plans to make is that mail with quality issues should not be included in performance measurements scores. However, the data surrounding this problematic mail should be captured in order for the USPS to make service and system improvements.

In addition, the workgroup recommends that the USPS aggregate data in one report so it can manage business and add value to the mail process.

"Business rules should be documented and verified as appropriate," Siviter said.

She also said the workshop plans to recommend that transportation analysis use more sophisticated tools and technology.

"We will also be making recommendations on mail flow and the distribution process," said USPS Manager of Pricing & Policy Jeff Lewis, another member of the workgroup.

Lewis said that workgroup wants an ongoing review of service standards.

"We expect good changes can come of these reviews," he said.

The revision of service standard has a high priority within USPS. The Service Standards and Measurement Workgroup has been having ongoing monthly meetings where there have been recommendations for new laws, reviews of the USPS program plan and consultation.

The next steps are figuring out the best ways of implementing the service standards set by the USPS and PRC.

By October 2007, the workgroup hopes to publish a proposed rule on service standards in the Federal Register notice for the commission. A final rule is set to be published December 2007.

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