A 13% growth rate in packages is elevating the U.S. Postal Service’s top line results, but is presenting it challenges in its Southern Area of operations. According to a report released by the USPS Office of the Inspector General, package deliveries per route in the region averaged 720 last year, 15% ahead of the national average and 8% higher than the next busiest region, Capital Metro.
The Southern Area comprises Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. One outpost in Texas, the Spring Valley Station, averaged 978 package deliveries over its 27 city routes.
The Southern Area and its VP of operations Jo Ann Feindt had implemented strategies to handle the heavy package burden, such as redesigning work spaces, maximizing vehicle capacity, and offering alternate delivery options for holiday. The OIG report, however, suggested more aggressive measures. Dedicated package routes, new shelving units in vehicles, and larger “next generation” mailboxes that can handle 70% of packages were among the methods suggested.
The OIG’s analysis of the Spring Valley Station package operation found that work hours—and in turn overtime pay—were greatly escalated by the high volumes. One route that averaged 34 package deliveries a day—twice the base volume—added 127 work hours per year at a cost of $8,795.