The U.S. Postal Service plans to close or consolidate about half of its 461 mail processing facilities during the next two years or so. Judging from a newly released after-action review of one recent downsizing, a bumpy road lies ahead both for postal employees and customers.
The review, released today by the Postal Service’s inspector general, examines the consolidation of the Frederick, Md. Processing and Distribution Facility with the Baltimore Processing and Distribution Center between last October and January. Long story short: Service suffered and costs were higher than expected.
One big mistake was scheduling the move during the Christmas mailing season (what were USPS execs thinking?) and it didn’t help that a couple of key management positions went vacant around the same time, according to the report. Although service rebounded fairly quickly, one hopes the Postal Service picked up a few pointers on what not to do.
While we’re on the topic, incidentally, the first phase of the new consolidation push was supposed to get under way this week after the American Postal Workers Union failed to win an injunction from the Postal Regulatory Commission. The Postal Service plans to consolidate 48 plants by the end of next month. Everything then goes on hold through the end of the year, both to avoid disruption to mail balloting for the November election and–yes–this year’s holiday season.