Postal Service Performance Heading into Peak Season
October 28, 2021   Dave Lewis

It could make a soul blush, the Industry Alerts coming out of the Postal Service lately, touting their endless improvements in service.  But, in truth, they have been doing well.  On-time deliveries are at a high level, even scoring by the former service standards.  That notwithstanding, the next couple of months will tell the real story as mail and package volumes ramp up.

Now that we are keeping aggregate records on overall performance, we are building a clear view of national postal performance on a large scale, with more than 600 million mail pieces included in our sampling.  We can track different classes of mail from one point to another and within SCFs.  While we are generally seeing good service, there are some challenges appearing on the horizon.  Here are some general observations as we head into the holidays:

  • Availability of pallets, trays and sleeves is limited in some areas, particularly in the Midwest. 
  • There are unload delays building in some facilities around the country, with Akron, Detroit, and West Valley, CA, experiencing delays of up to 48 hours.
  • Overall, intra-SCF deliveries (mail inducted and delivered in the same SCF service area) have held steady at about 2 days in most facilities.

Through the summer we’ve seen a couple of facilities consistently slower than the rest.  Southeastern PA, and Kansas City, KS stand out.  Frederick, MD, our headquarters city, always tends to appear among the worst on a consistent basis, but the sample is very small. 

Intra-SCF deliveries, June – October 23:

If you just look at the last week, the trouble spots raise their heads a bit more:

It’s important to note that sample size for Honolulu, South Florida, Kanas City, KS, and Anchorage were very small for the week, so don’t attach too much importance to those. 

If you are drop shipping into SCFs it is important to keep an eye on delivery times.  It is also worth noting that this does not include time waiting to get into the dock in most cases – this is induction to delivery.

The examples above are for Marketing Mail letters.  Flats for the summer are slower:

Origin inducted Marketing Mail that counts on postal delivery is a different story.  Of course, it depends on where the mail is going, but there are certain entry points that seem to show slower delivery overall:

Please forgive poor Toledo.  Somehow there were 2 letters dropped there (possibly by Corporal Max Klinger) so that kind of throws off the scale.

First-Class Mail is the class hitting the news lately, with relaxed service standards in place since October 1.  As the graph above shows, there hasn’t been a lot of impact on percentage of late mail, yet.  We have not adopted the new standards for our tracking – we’ll continue to use the old standard for consistency.

We do expect First-Class delivery to slow down as the new standards are adapted, but we’ll continue watching using the previous standards as well as the new ones.  We’ll also be reporting on average delivery times versus just what is late and on-time.  We think that is the essential measure. 

Building and analyzing this data is a new enterprise for us.  Outside of the Postal Service, it is the largest measurement of postal delivery available.  In coming newsletters, we will look at different aspects of delivery, and highlight trouble spots as they occur.  Have a question about delivery for your clients?  Contact us and we’ll get some info for you!