Updated Review of the Quality of Mail Service in Louisiana

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-05-11.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

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                              The Ronorable                  J. Benmtt.     Johnston
                              United States                  Senate        .
                              Dear       Senator            Johnston:
                                     Your P;ebruary 4, 1977, letter        requested an update of
                              our Octobet 29, 1976, report on the quality            of mail service
                              in Louisiaha.       In that report    we pointed out a number of actiorik
                              the Postal Service had taken cr proposed to imorove mail service
                              in Louisiana.        With the exception    of the installation    of a
                              letter    sorting    machine scheduled for April 1977 in ShreveDort,
                              these actions have been completed.             Rowever, mail de1 ivery
                              performance       in Louis iana under the Service’s     normal de1 ivery
                              commitments has declined        during the one-year period suboequenc,
                              to our previous review.         Delivery   performance statistics
                              comparing available        1977 data with that in our previous       report
                              indicated      that   under the upgraded commitments mail service
                              has improved for overnight         area mail and decl !.ned for 2-
                              and 3-day area mail.
                              DELIVERYPERFORMANCE                       IN LOUISIAKA
                                     First-class    mail delivery     perfortiance     in Louisiana     has
                              declined.       As you will recall,     delivery     performance     is measured
                              by the Postal Service in terms of its ability                to meet commit-
                              ments for overnight,       2- and 3-day delivery.           The Service’s
                              goal ‘is to meet these      ccrmmitments     95 percent     of the time.
                                       Using Service     reports,     we have summarized the Service’s
                              first-class      mail delivery       performance     in Louisiana    under
                              normal commitments and under the upgraded delivery                   commitments
                              of the Service Improvemsst Program.                Under normal commitments,
                              mail delivery       performance       in Louisiana     for the year endinq
                              December 31, 1976, was lower than the one-year per iOd
                              covered      in our previous      review.    The following     table shows
                              the comparison.


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                                                                        Percent          of   Louisiana          mail de1 ivered           on time
                                                                                                               (note a)
                                                                                   Year ending          l/2/76                      Year ending 12/31/76
                                                                                                                                         (note b)
                                                                         Origin                   Destination                      Or igin            Cestination
--          .-   -       -.       .r&*r-night                     .-.--. 9-5 ---                   _. s-        __ _...-__.- _._    -4-      -        -- -. g4- _ ._._---.
                                      2-day                                    94                        94                           92         l         92

                                      3-day                              ,90                  8          91                           88                    88

                                  i/The percentages    used are a composite of the performance
                                     percentages  of the nine sectional   center facilities within
                                  g/Data for the 3-month period                                                Karch 27, 1976 through                June 18,
                                     1976 was not available.
                                             A comparison of the December 31, 1976, data with that
                                      of the Southern Region and the Hation disclosed         mail delivery
                                      performance     in Louisiana   was generally  below regional   and
                                      national    performance    in overnight  area nail and always below
                                      in 3-day area mail.        Rowever, Z-day area mail performance
                                      was generally     egual to or better    than regional  and national
                                             While the table above deals with the entire   State,   the
                                      following   data shows the delivery   performance for each of the
                                      nine sectional   center facilities  i/ in Louisiana   for overnight,
                                      2- and 3-day areas.


                                      AL/ A sectional            center frlcflity      is a mechanized mail handling
                                                facility    for processing        incoming and outgoing  mail for
                                                2er ipheral    local post off ices in i: designated      service

                                                                                                                 2         .

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                                            Del ivery performance for Lou isian;
                                                sectional  center facilities
                                         for the year ending December 31, 1976 .
                                         Overnight                     2-day                              3-day
           Area              Origin         Destination      Or igin    pestindtion             Or iqin    Destinatio.
           New Or leans     91          92                      90             89                   89          go
---   --     ._ - -- .- __.- ..-. ...____------~              -- --     _- _-.-.-.- -.-   . -
           Thibadaux        90          87       -              95             97               l   85          91

           Bammond              93                  93            88           90                   85          go
                                                /        *
           Lafayette            97                  96            92           93                   85           90

           Baton Rouge          95          I       94            92           91                   89           87

           AlexanJr ia          97                  96            94           94                   90           89
           Lake Charles         95                  98            93           95                   82          91
      ,I   Shr’eoepor t         95                  94            94           93                   92          84

           I9onroe              96                  95            92           91                   84           85

                         This table shows that not all geographical           areas receive
                  the same level of service.           For example, a large volume area
                  such as New Orleans has a lower performance score ‘than many
                  of the other Louisiana      facilities.      This large volume, which
                  fails    to meet the Service’s       uoels, imoacts greatly     on the
                  state-wide    statistics  and overshadows areas where higher
                  scores    ace achieved yet the volume is generally         much lower.

                          ‘Our earlier    report discussed     delivery   performances    under
                  the Service Improvement Progrclm- a program which eliminated
                  airmail     and upgraded service      commitments     of first-class    mail.
                  we reported       that Louisiana’s    success     in meeting test commitments
                  was slightly       lower than its success in meeting           normal commitments.
                         Del ivery performances    under the upgraded comm i tments
                  have improved for overnight       area mail and declined     for 2-
                  and 3-day area mail. The following        table compares delivery
                  performances     detailed  in our October    29, 1976 report    with
                  more recent data.



                               Percent of Louisiana mail delivered
                                     on time under-- Lhe Service
                                    Improvement Program   (note  a!

                                                As detailed   in                          Accounting
                                                 our 10/26/76              6.               period 4
                                                    report                                  (note b)
--   _ _          - . .- ___.-.^_. .-----Orig-in             Destination------          Origin;       - Destination-   - 1 _ --
       Overnight                            09                       94.        .          94                94
        2-day                               ;2                       90                    88                85
        3-day             .            II   07                       92                    86                09

       i/The percentages’ used are a composite of the performance
          percentages  of the nine sectional center facilities  within
       k/January     1, 1977, to January 28, 1977.                                  Data for      other
          accounting    periods was not available.
               Two other comparisons were made with the data available
       for the Service Improvement Program.        First, Louisiana    data
       was compared with that of the Southern Reqion and the Nation.
       Hail delivery    performance was equal to national     and below
       regional   performance for overnight    areas and generally     below
       regional   and national   performance for 2- and 3-day areas.
              Second, the available   data was compared to the same
       period last year.     This cornpar ison showed that mail delivery
       performance    for overnight  areas was equal to last year’s
       performance while the 2- and 3-day areas were below last
       year’s performance.
              Service officials      told us that as a result        of the
       cancellation    of some dir transportation          to New Orleans,
       mail destined for the New Orleans State Distribution                Center
       was not arriving      in sufficient   time for processing        in order
       to meet delivery      commitments.    The officials       said that,
       in all probability,      delivery   commitments will have to be
       revised downward because of the reduction              in air service.
              %~vfsing delivery
       Louisiana’s    delivery
                                  commitments downward should help
                                performance  statistics but will not                                                      .

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                    improve service.    What. the acticn  will  do is pro*Jide postal
                   patrons with a better      idea of how lc;sg it will take for their
                   letters  to be delivered.
                        In October, we reported   0:: several  actions    the Service
                   had taken or proposed t_o impxove mail gerv&cp_ _inJoeuis iana.                       - -
                   We recently- askW;We  ‘Seryice   for the status     of those act ions.
                             We were
                                   informed that to help alleviate       the crush of
                   mail              at New Orleans,
                              arriving                9 percent   of the 2- and 3-day
                   mail has been diverted      from Hew Orleans to Shreveport.
                   This represents      mail destined for Louisiana    from all states
                   in the Southern, Region except from the following         zip code
                   Locat ion                                First     3 digits   of   ZIP Code
                   Plor ida                                             320-339
                   Oklahoma                                             730-749
                   Wobile, Alabama                                      365-366
                   Part of Tennessee                                    370-372; 382-385
                   Part of Mississippi                                  3691 387-397
                           Service       officials       also informed us that the capacity
                   of   letter      sorting math ines at Baton Rouge and ShreveDor t
                   is _being increased.               A six-position      machine in Baton Pouqe
                   was expanded to 12 poa i tions,                  This change combined with a
                   similar      conversion performed earlier               increased capacitv      33
                   percent.         Shreveport scheduled converting               an eight-oos;  t ion
                   letter      sorting      machine to 12 positions           for Anril    1977, to
                   go along with the 120position                   machine already in place.
                   This .will       increase       capacity    by 20 percent.
                           Although the machine capacity              will   increase   in both
                   cities,     mail processing    at Baton          Rouge and Shreveport      will
                   remain virtually       unchanged except           for future plans to process
                   city    secondary   mail on the letter            sorting    machines instead
                   of manually.       This change should            result   in increased nro-
                   ductivity      in that both cities    will          be able to process more
                   pieces per hour.


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                                  AS requested   by your staff, we did         not      obtain    formal
                            agency comments.     If we can be of further             assistance,,     please
                            let UJ know.

                                                             Sincerely      yours,

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                                        __-..---.-..-        Victor      5. Lowe