January 17, 2022   Dave Lewis

The USPS and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Week      

Huh??  After gushing on how well the Postal Service was recovering from its peak season, and sharing the data on two great weeks, this happens??  In most categories, the Postal Service registers it lowest on-time performance since….well, since we started doing this in May.  How could performance get so much worse, so fast?  One theory is, that it didn’t – it just never really got that good. The prior two weeks were distorted by the two holidays within a week.  We don’t count holidays.  Here is what we do when a week comes in so far off:  We check volumes, make sure they’re normal.  Check.  We make sure there isn’t some area creating disproportionate problems – didn’t see one.  Check.    I guess the big question is:  Is this week an anomaly, or were the last two?  We’ll see.

How bad was it?  First-Class Letters were on time 69.04% of the time based on previous delivery service standards, a decline of more than 18 (!) points from the prior week, worse than the depths of the peak season against the old standards.  Against the new standards, First-Class letters were on time 89.53% of the time.   This is one time when the old and new standards diverged.  A lot of the First-Class letters were just a day late against the old standards, so this may just be lower expectations coming home to roost.  First-Class flats were miserable against any standard, on time just 68.3% of the time against old standards, and 83.3% of the time, vs the new 2021 standards. A lot of the flats we saw were more than five days late. 

Marketing Mail Letters were on time 94.24% of the time, which we will qualify as a “meh” performance.  Marketing Mail Flats were delivered on time 94.04% of the time, still pretty darn good.  So, there’s a little silver lining for you.

Average Intra-SCF delivery time was 2.40 days for Marketing Mail letters, 2.25 days for Marketing Mail flats.  About 10% slower than the week before.

Slowest SCFs for Intra-SCF letters, delivery week of 1/10: (10,000 pieces minimum)

  • Baltimore, MD:             6.09 days 
  • Memphis, TN:               5.77 days
  • Inglewood, CA:             5.27 days

The fastest:

  • Grand Forks, ND:          1.00 days
  • Los Angeles, CA:           1.45 days
  • San Diego, CA:             1.46 days

A letter from California to Maryland, on average, took:
·        First-Class:           3.58 days
·        Marketing Mail:   12.79 days

Chart of the week:

Jan 17

There you have it.  Yuck.  Is it a statistical anomaly?  Omicron? Truck shortage?  Sunspots?  This is why people track mail.