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Postal Service’s Fleet Mismanagement Proves Costly

The United States Postal Service has struggled to cut its financial losses through efforts like expanded same-day delivery and the digitization of its services. But according to a new USPS Inspector General report, the Postal Service is wasting millions on the mismanagement of its fleet services.

In a new report released by the Inspector General late last month, officials found that the USPS could have saved $22 million though more efficient operation of its 316 vehicle maintenance facilities. In 2014, the USPS posted its vehicle maintenance expenses at $1.1 billion.

According to the report, the USPS missed performance targets intended to assess the effectiveness of its vehicle maintenance program. Reports said the USPS services more than 211,000 vehicles and has contracts with commercial garages to repair and maintain them. But according to the IG, the USPS is missing the mark, and is paying the price.

In one instance, the IG found that work order hours found to be more than the timecard hours cost the USPS 11 percent of its maintenance labor costs, far exceeding the goal of 3 percent. The Inspector General did not hold back in its evaluation of the USPS’s fleet management.

"These conditions occurred because of management’s lack of oversight in monitoring mechanic work hours, as well as not reaching the work hour targets due to administrative and supervisory vacancies,” the report concluded. Fixing these shortcomings could save the USPS $21.8 million every year, according to the IG.

Reports said that the USPS has disagreed with the IG’s findings on how much money it could save through making certain changes, but added that the Postal Service has suggested alternate ways to improve the fleet system, including establishing a new fleet management group that prioritizes the reduction of undistributed work hours and labor.

This isn’t the first time that the IG has found significant shortfalls in the performance of the USPS. In a report released last December, the IG found that the USPS’s experiment with Sunday deliveries for the holiday season led to an extra workload and worn-out workers, which in turn actually cost the USPS more than $350,000 a year.

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