We, The Postal Service
The Postal Service...
Who We Are, What We Do,
How We Operate
The following are among the many trademarks owned by the United States Postal Service®:
1-800-ASK-USPS®, ACS™, APC®, Approved by the Postmaster General®, Approved Postal Provider™, Automated
Postal Center®, Carrier Pickup™, Certified Mail®, Click-N-Ship®, Commercial Base®, Commercial Plus®, Confirm®,
Critical Mail®, Customized MarketMail®, Delivery Confirmation™, DineroSeguro®, DMM®, EDDM Commercial™,
EDDM Retail®, EDDM®, ePacket®, EPM®, Every Door Direct Mail®, Every Door Sampling™, Express Mail®,
FAST®, FASTforward®, First-Class™, First-Class Mail®, First-Class Mail International®, Forever®, Full- Service
ACS™, Global Direct Entry™, Global Express Guaranteed®, gopost™, IMb®, IM™, Intelligent Mail®, International
Priority Airmail®, International Surface Air Lift®, LACSLink™, Media Mail®, MERLIN®, MetroPost®, Mover’s
Guide®, NCOALink®, Netpost®, OneCode ACS®, OneCode Confirm®, Our Priority Is You™, Parcel Post®, Parcel
Select®, PC Postage®, PCC®, PLANET Code®, Post Office Box™, Post Office™, Postal Service™, PostalOne!®,
POSTNET™, Premium Forwarding Service®, Pay, Print & Ship™, Priority Mail®, Priority Mail Express™, Priority
Mail Express International®, Priority Mail Flat Rate®, Priority Mail International®, Priority Mail Regional Rate®,
PRIORITY:YOU™, Quick, Easy, Convenient®, RDI™, ReadyPost®, Real Mail Notification™, REDRESS®, Registered
Mail™, RIBBS®, Self-Service Ship and Mail Center® and Design, Signature Confirmation™, Stamps by Mail®,
Stamps to Go®, Standard Mail®, Standard Post™, The Postal Service®, The Postal Store®, U.S. Mail®, U.S. Mail™,
U.S. Postal Service®, United States Postal Inspection Service®, United States Postal Service Office of Inspector
General® and Design, United States Postal Service®, USPS Blue Earth™, USPS Change of Address™, USPS
Delivery Confirmation®, USPS Digital Services™, USPS Electronic Postmark®, USPS ePacket®, USPS Package
Intercept®, USPS Tracking™, USPS.com®, USPS®, VPO®, www.usps.com®, ZIP Code™, and ZIP+4®.
02 | Publication 99
Mission: Universal Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Myths About the Postal Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
History of the Postal Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Oversight and Governance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The Workforce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Workforce Statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Organizational Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Usage of Facilities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Field Employees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
Communication With Employees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Industry Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Competition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Growing Stronger. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Putting Customers First . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Products and Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Standard Mail Pieces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
International Package Products and Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Other Products and Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Online Products and Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Employee Engagement Programs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
April 2014 | i
Overview of Operations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Global Business. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Financial Highlights. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Operating Expenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Going Green. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Future of the Postal Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Acronyms. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Postal Facts 2013. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
A Day in the U.S. Postal Service — by the Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Area and District Maps. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
ii | Publication 99
Mission: Universal Service
Our mission is to provide trusted, affordable, and universal service to the people of the United
States. Not sure what universal service is? Keep reading to find out more. By law, our basic
function is to provide universal service at a fair price by offering postal services without undue
discrimination among our many customers. This means that the Postal Service touches every
household and business nearly every day. It has the visibility and physical presence in almost
every community to allow customers to build and maintain relationships and help businesses
grow. Everyone living in the United States and its territories has access to postal products and
services and pays the same postage regardless of location. That kind of value to our nation is
priceless. Curious about how we became the universal provider that we are today?
For more information about the history of the Postal Service, visit
Myths About the Postal Service
We know that you know better, but just in case, here are the four most common myths about the
Myth 1: The Postal Service receives taxpayer dollars.
The Postal Service does not receive taxpayer dollars. The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970,
which became law in 1971, transformed the Post Office Department into the United States Postal
Service (USPS), an independent agency of the executive branch. We rely on the sale of postage
and mail products and services for revenue, and we are required by law to cover our costs. A
small annual appropriation from Congress reimburses the Postal Service for free mail for the blind
and absentee-ballot mailing for overseas military personnel. Otherwise, we have not received
taxpayer funds to support postal operations since 1982.
Myth 2: Mail delivery is not reliable.
The Postal Service is not only punctual; it’s trusted and secure. When it comes to safeguarding
personal information, Americans continue to trust the U.S. Postal Service above all other
government agencies. According to the surveys and studies of the Ponemon Institute (the author
of the premier privacy-trust study in America, including its 2012 Most Trusted Companies for
Privacy, released January 28, 2013), the Postal Service ranked fifth in the nation in the Most
Trusted Companies for Privacy. The Postal Service strives to protect the mail and has a tradition
of high performance in on-time delivery and customer satisfaction, cutting-edge automated
equipment, and information technology. On-time overnight delivery of single-piece First-Class Mail
was at 96.1% for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. Now that’s what we call reliable!
Myth 3: The Postal Service is not environmentally friendly.
Some say that the Postal Service is not environmentally friendly, but think of the alternative: If
the Postal Service did not take responsibility for delivering the mail to residences across the
nation, then residents would have to drive to a central location to pick up their mail. It is more
environmentally friendly to have one delivery truck deliver to 300 addresses than it is to have
300 residents drive to a central location daily in their vehicles to pick up their mail.
April 2014 | 1
Even though having the Postal Service deliver the mail is the better alternative, there’s no way
around it: Delivering mail uses fossil fuels, and mail often produces paper waste. Still, the
Postal Service is greener than most people think. Our fleet of alternative-fuel-capable vehicles
includes electric, three-wheeled electric, hybrid electric, ethanol, fuel-cell, biodiesel, and propane
technology. We provide more than a half billion recyclable packages and envelopes made of
environmentally friendly materials. As long as consumers and businesses use physical mail, we
are committed to finding ways to process it responsibly.
Myth 4: The Postal Service can’t compete with the private sector.
The Postal Service’s competitive edge is its delivery network, convenience of access, and the
service it provides. FedEx Corporation (FedEx) and United Parcel Service (UPS) are not only our
competitors but also major customers. Every year, FedEx and UPS pay the Postal Service to
deliver the first mile/last mile for more than 400 million of their ground packages in residential
areas. In turn, the Postal Service contracts with UPS and FedEx for air transportation to take
advantage of their comprehensive air networks.
2 | Publication 99
History of the Postal Service
Three weeks after the battles of Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress met
in Philadelphia in May 1775 to plan for the defense of the colonies against British aggression. The
conveyance of letters and intelligence was essential to the cause of liberty.
Benjamin Franklin as the
first Postmaster General.
This marked the birth of
the Post Office
predecessor of the
United States Postal
Service and the second
oldest federal department or agency of the
United States of America.
post routes by
Pony Express began. Plans for
the Pony Express were spurred by
the threat of the Civil War and the
need for faster communication
with the West. The Pony Express
consisted of relays of men riding
horses carrying saddlebags of
mail across a 2000-mile trail.
The Kelly Act,
which no longer
allowed the Postal
Service to operate
its own aircraft to
Act signed. The act
transformed the U.S.
Post Office into the U.S.
Postal Service (USPS), a
independent agency of
the executive branch.
The Postal Regulatory
Commission was also
created at this time.
Postal Accountability and Enhancement
Act (PAEA) strengthened the Postal
Regulatory Commission’s authority to
serve as a counterbalance to new
flexibility granted to the Postal Service in
setting postal rates. Also, the PAEA
requires the Postal Service
to make uprecendented
payments of more than
$5 billion annually through
2016 to prefund retiree
health benefits (RHB).
There’s a lot more to learn about the history of the Postal Service. To read more about important
events, such as the Postal Reorganization Act and the Postal Accountability and Enhancement
Act, check out Publication 100, The United States Postal Service: An American History
1775 – 2006, at http://about.usps.com/publications/pub100.pdf.
April 2014 | 3
Oversight and Governance
The Postal Service is a unique and independent agency of the federal government. Since it is
not funded by appropriations, it is not directly subject to many of the Office of Management and
Budget’s (OMB’s) requirements for budgetary submissions. The Postal Service does, however,
follow OMB’s guidelines for federal agencies.
The Postal Regulatory Commission and the Office of Inspector General oversee everything from
our pricing and products to postal networks. The General Accountability Office oversees the
accountability of all federal agencies, including the Postal Service.
Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC)
The U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission is an independent agency that has exercised regulatory
oversight over the Postal Service since its creation by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970.
The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, enacted on December 20, 2006, significantly
strengthened the PRC’s authority. The Act requires the PRC to:
Develop and maintain regulations for a modern system of rate regulation.
Consult with the Postal Service on delivery-service standards and performance measures.
Consult with the Department of State on international postal policies.
Prevent cross-subsidization or other anticompetitive postal practices.
Promote transparency and accountability and adjudicate complaints.
Postal filings, public comments, and PRC actions can be accessed at www.prc.gov/prc-pages/
Office of Inspector General (OIG)
The Office of Inspector General plays a key role in maintaining the Postal Service’s integrity
and accountability, its revenue and assets, and its employees. The OIG’s mission is to conduct
and supervise objective and independent audits and reviews of Postal Service programs and
Prevent and detect fraud, waste, and misconduct.
Promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Promote program integrity.
Keep the Board of Governors, Congress, and Postal Service management informed of
problems and corresponding corrective actions.
Recent audits, reviews, and research reports can be accessed at www.uspsoig.gov.
Did You Know?
Whereas the PRC and the OIG are postal-specific entities, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
oversees the accountability of all federal agencies, including the Postal Service. The GAO is an independent,
nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the “congressional watchdog,” the GAO investigates
and provides Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, and
balanced. Its purpose is to improve the federal government’s performance and ensure its accountability for the
benefit of the American people. To learn more, visit www.gao.gov.
4 | Publication 99
The Postal Service requires a large workforce to deliver the mail and provide universal service
to the people of the United States. Maintaining efficient levels and an optimal mix of career and
noncareer employees is essential to achieving reliable service and financial stability.
All career employees are appointed without time limitation and receive full benefits, including
retirement, health insurance, life insurance, and more.
Career bargaining employees are represented by unions. The Postal Service has nine collectivebargaining agreements with seven different unions and management associations. Union
employees, commonly referred to as craft employees, hold positions such as clerk, motor
vehicle operator, maintenance mechanic, city carrier, mail handler, and rural carrier. Most of
these employees are represented by the following four unions, each of which enjoys collectivebargaining rights:
American Postal Workers Union (APWU).
National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).
National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU).
National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA).
Career nonbargaining positions are typically administrative, managerial, and technical. Career
nonbargaining employees serve in the field and in headquarters and headquarters-related offices.
They are represented by management associations, which do not have collective-bargaining
Noncareer employees typically hold limited-term appointments, although some appointments are
indefinite. They may be hired to provide flexibility to supplement the regular workforce. Noncareer
employees serve in several categories, including the following:
Postal support employees (PSEs).
Rural part-time: subs/RCA/RCR/AUX.
Postmaster relief and leave replacements.
City carrier assistant (CCA).
Mail handler assistant (MHA).
April 2014 | 5
Through the course of 2013, we reduced our career complement by approximately 37,000, or
7%, down to approximately 491,000 employees. These are significant changes, and they follow
an approximately 29,000 decrease in career employees in 2012.
The decrease in compensation expense is also driven by our staffing composition between career
and noncareer employees. In 2013, the increased use of noncareer labor allowed us to replace
more expensive career workhours with less expensive noncareer workhours.
Employees % of Total
Employees % of Total
Employees % of Total
Between 2011 and 2013, the number of career employees fell approximately 66,000 or 11.8%
while the noncareer employees rose by approximately 38,000 or 42.7%. Since the end of
2008, the number of career employees has been reduced by approximately 172,000 or 26%.
These reductions have been accomplished primarily through attrition and incentives to retire.
The number of noncareer employees increased by approximately 26,000 in 2013 to 127,000
employees as a result of the increased workforce flexibility available under the new collective
bargaining agreements. This increased flexibility allowed us to more efficiently manage the
workforce and reduce the average cost per work hour in 2013 below the 2012 level.
Career Employees and Total Work Hours
The benefits to the Postal Service of
the change in staffing composition
are not limited to only wage rate
savings. Since the overall wage
base is lower, as is evidenced by the
decrease in compensation expense of
approximately $640 million or 1.8%,
additional savings are also achieved
in reductions in both retirement and
health benefits, which fell 2.0% and
The net result of these changes in
work hour mix was a 1.0% decrease
in the average hourly compensation
and benefit wage rate.
The graph to the left details the
decline in the number of our career
employees and the decline in total
work hours (career and noncareer)
6 | Publication 99
The Postal Service is structured like a large corporation. We are governed by a body similar to
that of a board of directors in a private firm. The Executive Leadership Team acts on behalf of the
Board and oversees the four main levels within the Postal Service: headquarters, areas, districts,
Board of Governors
The 11-member Board of Governors (BOG) serves as the governing body of the Postal Service
and directs and controls the Postal Service’s expenditures, reviews its practices, conducts longrange planning, and sets policies on all postal matters.
The BOG includes nine governors appointed by the President of the United States with the advice
and consent of the Senate. The other two board members are the Postmaster General (PMG) and
the Deputy Postmaster General (DPMG). The governors appoint the PMG, who serves at their
pleasure without a specific term. The governors, together with the PMG, appoint the DPMG. No
more than five of the presidentially appointed governors can be members of the same political
party. The chairman and vice chairman are elected each calendar year.
Postal Service Headquarters is located in Washington, DC. Employees at headquarters and
headquarters-related facilities work to support the field and carry out the overall mission of the
Postal Service. The headquarters structure is separate from the rest of the organization; however,
certain positions in the field report to headquarters functions. The headquarters organization
chart, with descriptions of the executive’s roles, is shown below.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Patrick R. Donahoe
Officer & Exec. VP
Officer & Exec. VP
Officer & Exec. VP
General Counsel &
& Exec. VP
and Sales Officer,
VP Consumer &
VP Delivery & Post
VP Global Business
William Whitman, Jr.
VP Finance &
VP New Products
VP Labor Relations
Relations & Public
VP Mail Entry
VP Retail Channel
VP Secure Digital
AVP Eastern Area
AVP Great Lakes
AVP Northeast Area
AVP Pacific Area
AVP Southern Area
Jo Ann Feindt
AVP Western Area
Official Organizational Chart
Shading = Executive Leadership Team (8 Members)
April 2014 | 7
Executives: Roles and Responsibilities
Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer (PMG)
The PMG is responsible for managing the Postal Service and setting the direction for the entire
organization. The PMG reports to the BOG and also serves as a board member.
Deputy Postmaster General (DPMG)
The DPMG works closely with the mailing industry to help strengthen relationships and identify
opportunities to improve interactions with customers. The DPMG also serves as a member of the
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President (COO)
The COO is responsible for the day-to-day activities of employees working in facilities across the
nation to carry out our mission. The COO is responsible for mail processing, transportation, field
operations, delivery, retail, facilities, and network operations.
Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President (CIO)
The CIO oversees the integration of technology and innovation in all aspects of our operations.
Additionally, the CIO will direct the advancement of new mail intelligence, engineering systems,
information technology systems, payment technology, and corporate information security to meet
the changing needs of today’s marketplace.
Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President (CFO)
The CFO is responsible for managing the financial risks of the Postal Service as well as financial
planning, record keeping, financial analysis, and financial reporting. The CFO is the head of the
organization’s finance and planning, controller, treasury, accounting, and supply management
General Counsel and Executive Vice President
The General Counsel is charged with helping the Postal Service in all aspects of its business,
including its Network Optimization plans, price setting, and other major business initiatives.
Chief Marketing/Sales Officer and Executive Vice President (CMSO)
The President and Chief Marketing/Sales Officer is responsible for all domestic and international
products marketing, development, and management. The CMSO is also responsible for the
Postal Service Pricing, Global Business, Sales, Secure Digital Solutions, and Stamp Services
Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Vice President (CHRO)
Managing the largest civilian human resources operation in the United States, the CHRO oversees
all aspects of human resources for the Postal Service’s employees, including labor relations,
leadership development and talent management, compensation, complement staffing and field
policy, and employee resource management.
Chief Postal Inspector
The Chief Postal Inspector oversees all operations of the Postal Inspection Service, which
includes the national headquarters, 18 divisions, 2 service centers, and a national forensic
laboratory. The Chief Postal Inspector is also the chairman of the Universal Postal Union’s Postal
Security Group and reports to the PMG.
For the most up-to-date information on the Postal Service’s organizational structure, click on
Inside USPS at the top of the Blue page at http://blue.usps.gov/wps/portal.
8 | Publication 99
Executive Leadership Team
Patrick R. Donahoe
Postmaster General and
Chief Executive Officer
Deputy Postmaster General
Megan J. Brennan
Chief Operating Officer and
Executive Vice President
Chief Information Officer and
Executive Vice President
Chief Financial Officer and
Executive Vice President
Chief Marketing and Sales
Officer, Executive Vice President
General Counsel and
Executive Vice President
Chief Human Resources Officer
and Executive Vice President
April 2014 | 9
Usage of Facilities
Facilities that support postal retail and delivery operations are located in virtually every community
throughout the country. In addition to the 31,702 retail and delivery facilities that we operate,
postal retail services are available in thousands of commercial locations owned and operated
by private businesses. These include almost 4,000 Contract Postal Units, Community Post
Offices, and Village Post Offices, more than 5,700 approved shipper locations, and over
64,000 supermarkets, pharmacies, and other stores that sell postage stamps as a convenience
to our customers.
See the first table for details about facilities for our postal retail and delivery operations, and see
the second table for details
Postal-Managed Retail and Delivery Facilities
about facilities for our postal
Our larger facilities primarily
support mail processing
operations. These facilities
process millions of pieces
Total Postal-Managed Retail and Delivery Facilities 31,702
of mail on a daily basis and
prepare them for dispatch and
transportation. They may also house some of the
retail and delivery operations identified under retail Processing Facilities
and delivery functions.
As part of the ongoing efforts to improve efficiency,
Mail Processing Facilities
adjust the network as a result of lower volumes
Network Distribution Centers
of mail, and reduce excess capacity, we have
begun consolidation of operations, which has
led to a reduction in the number of facilities that
Surface Transfer Centers
support mail processing. We are currently pursuing
Airmail Processing Centers
further consolidation of mail processing facilities.
Consolidations allow for reductions in headcounts Remote Encoding Centers
and transportation costs due to efficiencies of
International Service Centers
scale in mail processing and transportation but do Total Processing Facilities
not always result in a reduction in the number of
*Amounts for 2012 have been restated to be consistent
facilities. Consolidation also results in more efficient with category reclassification made in 2013.
use of our mail processing facilities and equipment
as well as our transportation network.
10 | Publication 99
Mail Transport (Tractors and Trailers)
The Postal Service operates one of the
largest vehicle fleets in the United States,
including a fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles.
There were no significant vehicle purchases
in 2013. We utilize our vehicles for the types
of activities shown in the table to the right.
Inspection and Law Enforcement
Mail Transport (3–9 ton)
Delivery and Collection (½ – 2½ ton)
Moving the mail requires a large workforce. Postal Service field employees are responsible for a
wide range of tasks. From carriers to clerks, every employee plays an important role in delivering
Postmasters direct and coordinate the activities of workers who provide operational,
administrative, management, and support services in a Post Office, station, or branch.
Supervisors oversee the work of a wide range of employees and ensure that the mail is collected,
processed, dispatched, and delivered as required. These professionals work to maintain Postal
Service rules and regulations.
City carriers deliver the mail by vehicle or on foot. They provide reliable and efficient service, while
protecting the mail entrusted to them.
Rural carriers deliver mainly in rural areas and in designated suburban areas. They provide quality
service as they help customers and deliver mail in a timely fashion. They also perform basic
transactions, such as selling stamps, and are known as “Post Offices on Wheels.”
Mail handlers load and unload vehicles and separate all mail received from trucks and conveyors
for dispatch to other conveying units. They also move mail transport equipment (MTE) and move
mail for delivery to distribution areas.
The clerk craft includes positions such as retail associate, mail processing clerk, and markup
clerk. Members of the clerk craft perform duties such as selling stamps and other products,
processing mail on automated equipment, and distributing and forwarding mail.
Maintenance personnel maintain buildings and equipment. The maintenance craft includes
positions such as laborer-custodian, building mechanic, and electronics technician. Their
responsibilities range from cleaning postal facilities to repairing and maintaining buildings,
equipment, and automated systems.
Transportation personnel include motor-vehicle and tractor-trailer operators. They are responsible
for moving mail among facilities.
April 2014 | 11
Communication With Employees
The Postal Service communicates with employees about business conditions, decisions, and
changes through Link, a daily newsletter, and through announcements and video presentations
on its intranet, Blue. The Postal Service also provides LiteBlue, a website for employees only.
LiteBlue keeps employees connected to policies that affect their jobs. Managers in the field
regularly receive materials for employee talks, postings, and direct distribution. In addition, the
Postal Service encourages constant feedback from employees for continuous improvement.
Whether you are a Postal Service employee working in the field or at headquarters, you have
many opportunities to provide comments to your managers.
Voice of the Employee
This is another opportunity for employees to express their thoughts and opinions.
To learn more about the VOE program, visit the human resources website on the Blue page at
The U.S. economy benefits greatly from the Postal Service and the many businesses that provide
the printing and mailing services that support it. This section will give you some insight into the
size and scope of the mailing industry, the current state of the industry, and how the Postal
Service falls within that mix.
Size and Scope
The mailing industry is an important part of the U.S. economy. According to the 2012 EMA
Mailing Industry Job Study, industry participants generate $1.3 trillion in sales revenue and employ
more than 8.4 million Americans. The mailing industry is an economic engine that generates
hundreds of billions of dollars in sales, salaries, and supplies that contribute to local, state, and
State of the Industry
The mailing industry is in a state of transition due to changes and advances in technology. E-mail
has replaced First-Class Mail as the primary means of written communication, and e-commerce
allows customers to pay and receive bills online and make purchases that way, rather than in
traditional brick-and-mortar stores. As a result, First-Class Mail volume is steadily declining, and
parcel-delivery volume is increasing rapidly.
Another emerging trend is an increase in merchandise returns. In recent years, it has become
the norm for online shoppers to order several items of apparel to try on, expecting to return all
but one item. The returns dynamic will likely continue to drive the increase in package volume for
years to come. Luckily, due to its pricing, product mix, and expansive network, the Postal Service
is well positioned to become the predominant provider of return services. Read on to find out
more about the Postal Service’s role in the industry and how it plans to address the changing
dynamics in the marketplace.
12 | Publication 99
Our Role in the Industry
Electronic diversion of First-Class Mail continues to be a primary cause of the Postal Service’s
declining volume. Although a somewhat improved economy, combined with our marketing
strategies, has led to growth in the areas of packaging and advertising mail, our profit contribution
still fails to make up for the volume decline in the highly profitable First-Class Mail market.
Even as access to high-speed Internet and mobile data expands, mail remains a critical part of
the infrastructure for communication among consumers, businesses, and all levels of government.
Businesses, in particular, rely on the mail to communicate with their customers. The business-tocustomer channel includes billing statements and notifications sent using First-Class Mail as well
as advertisements and offers sent by Standard Mail. Business-to-customer mailing will continue
to generate revenue for the Postal Service in the years to come.
Along with continuing to improve its core competencies, the Postal Service is exploring new areas
of growth to keep up with changing industry dynamics. For example:
The Postal Service has developed several mobile applications that generate physical pieces of
mail, thus connecting the digital world with the tangible world.
The newest version of the Postal Service’s mobile iPhone application allows users to schedule
a free next-day package pickup and order shipping supplies at their own convenience.
You can expect many more changes and improvements like this during your Postal Service
The primary competitors of our shipping and package services are FedEx and UPS, as well as
other regional and local delivery companies. However, FedEx and UPS are also our partners —
not only do they benefit from our first mile/last mile advantage, but we also contract with them for
air transportation to capitalize on their comprehensive air networks.
Our shipping and package business
competes on the basis of the
breadth of our service network,
convenience, reliability, and economy
of the service provided. The package
and express delivery businesses are
intensely competitive and are likely to
A wide variety of communications
media compete for the same
types of transactions and
communications that historically
were conducted using mailing
services. These competitors include,
but are not limited to, newspapers,
e-mail, social networking, and
electronic funds transfers.
April 2014 | 13
The Postal Service’s revenue from shipping and packages has surged 14% during the past
2 years. To capitalize on this growth, we made major changes to our lineup of Priority Mail
products and services in 2013.
With Priority Mail, customers receive improved tracking and day-specific delivery, so they’ll know
whether to expect delivery in 1, 2, or 3 days. Also, insurance and tracking are included at no extra
charge for barcoded Priority Mail packages.
Express Mail was renamed Priority Mail Express to simplify our product offerings. It remains our
fastest domestic product, offering overnight delivery to most locations and includes up to $100 of
Making Mail More Competitive
The Postal Service is working with our customers in the business world to make mail more
competitive with other marketing channels.
We’re encouraging and helping businesses to make direct mail campaigns more personally
relevant, actionable, functional, and creative.
Our goal is to create:
Mail that allows people to use their smart devices to interact with it.
Mail that engages the recipient when it has been personalized with customer data.
Mail that reduces the number of steps to make a purchase online — like a postcard or catalog
that allows the user to quickly make a purchase in one or two clicks.
Mail that’s vibrant, colorful, and attracts attention.
Putting Customers First
Technology: A Tool to Serve
More Post Offices are putting technology to work for their customers. The Postal Service has
self-service kiosks in more than 2,300 locations across the nation, and in a pilot program, several
locations introduced a new generation of kiosks in 2013. Customers can use the kiosks to buy
stamps, ship packages, and send mail. The kiosks are easy-to-use and feature bright and large
touch screens, a scanner for pricing greeting cards, and a scale to weigh packages. Post Offices
continue employing technology in other ways too. Many busy locations use webcams to monitor
wait times; when the lines get too long, supervisors may dispatch more clerks to open additional
It Takes a Village
In 2013, the Postal Service opened 338 Village
Post Offices, which are located inside convenience
stores, markets, and other neighborhood
businesses. Village Post Offices offer the most
14 | Publication 99
Doe Run, MO 63637
popular postal products and services, including PO Boxes, Forever stamps, and prepaid shipping
envelopes. Often, the hours are longer than regular Post Offices, making Village Post Offices
a convenient option for customers. Forty states now have at least one Village Post Office. The
Postal Service plans to open more in 2014.
PC Postage is a service that allows third parties to provide for the printing of U.S. postage stamps
on a user’s own printer. With PC Postage, customers can purchase and print postage 24 hours
a day, 7 days a week from the convenience of their homes and offices, using USPS.com or
Online and Everywhere
Doing business with the Postal Service online has never been easier. In 2013, we improved our
retail website — USPS.com — making it easier for anyone to ship packages, send mail, and buy
stamps. We also introduced more multilingual features so customers can conduct transactions in
the language they prefer. Additionally, we upgraded our mobile application, which allows users to
find nearby mailboxes and Post Offices, track packages, and look up ZIP Codes.
Products and Services
Features and Benefits
First-Class Mail is a fast and affordable service for envelopes and packages weighing
up to 13 ounces. It’s perfect for personal correspondence, bills, and light merchandise.
Our best priced service for mail up to 13 ounces.
Can be combined with extra services to confirm delivery.
2–3 business days in most cases.
1-ounce letters from $0.49.
Picture Permit Imprint Indicia
Features and Benefits
Picture Permit Imprint Indicia provides commercial mailers the opportunity to creatively
add value to their mailpieces.
Can incorporate a logo, brand images, or trademarks along with required permit indicia
information — this provides immediate recognition of the company’s logo, products,
promotions, and brands, which could improve the effectiveness of the overall mailing.
Available for First-Class Mail and Standard Mail letters and postcards.
2–3 business days in most cases
for First-Class Mail.
$0.01 per piece for First-Class Mail letters and
postcards, and $0.02 per piece for Standard
Mail letters and postcards.
April 2014 | 15
Features and Benefits
Free Package Pickup from home or business.
Includes USPS Tracking for both online and retail purchases.
Includes up to $50 in insurance coverage for mailpieces with
Save even more with online purchases.
Includes free boxes and envelopes.
Provides Saturday delivery and residential delivery at no extra charge.
Available with Flat Rate pricing.
1, 2, or 3 business days based
on origin and destination.
Prices are based on Priority Mail subproduct and
destination, starting at $5.60 for a Flat Rate Envelope.
Expected delivery day is printed on receipt or provided at checkout.
Available for mailable items up to 70 pounds.
For details on free Package Pickup, go to usps.com/pickup.
Some restrictions apply. Visit usps.com/makingprioritymailbetter for details.
Features and Benefits
An economical way to send packages.
Allows packages that are too big for Priority Mail Express and
Priority Mail delivery.
Includes USPS Tracking.
Accommodates larger packages, up to 130 inches. Available
depending on the zone and only at retail.
The price varies by weight and destination, starting
16 | Publication 99
Available for Zones 1–4, up to 70 pounds, but only for hazardous materials, live animals, or
other items required to be shipped by ground/surface transportation.
Available for Zones 5–9, up to 70 pounds.
The timeliness of service to or from destinations outside the contiguous United States might
be affected by the limited availability of transportation.
Parcel Select Lightweight
Features and Benefits
For business customers, especially large and medium-sized shippers looking for an
economical ground delivery service.
Our best pricing on ground delivery.
Free USPS Tracking.
Available with Hold For Pickup.
Three entry points: Destination Delivery Unit (DDU), Sectional Center Facility (SCF), and
Network Distribution Center (NDC). Save money by mailing sorted parcels closer to their
The price varies by origin, destination, and
machinability, starting at $2.32.
Features and Benefits
For Commercial Plus mailers.
A sub-class of Priority Mail — great for important documents, tickets, or high-impact
Competitive price, reliability, and security.
Includes USPS Tracking.
Includes $100 in insurance coverage against loss, damage, or missing contents.
Available for automation-compatible letters and flats.
1, 2, or 3 business days based on
origin and destination.
See a local USPS sales agent for
Payment methods include approved PC Postage and permit imprint.
Features and Benefits
A cost-effective way to send educational materials.
Includes a restriction on sending video games and digital drives.
$2.53 for a single-piece.
The timeliness of service to or from destinations outside the contiguous United States
might be affected by the limited availability of transportation.
April 2014 | 17
Typical Mail Services
Mail with Extra Services (Domestic)
The following table lists the classes of mail for which the Postal Service offers services.
Key to abbreviations in the header row for the following table:
FCM: First-Class Mail
SP: Standard Post (retail only)
PM: Priority Mail
MM: Media Mail
PME: Priority Mail Express
PSN: Parcel Select Nonpresort (not at retail)
FCM PM PME
Insures an item for up to $5,000 against loss or damage. The price is based on the declared value.
3 3 3 3 3
Provides maximum security for valuable items. Customers can insure Registered Mail items for up to
$25,000 at a Post Office.
Provides information for an item’s delivery or attempted delivery, including the signature of the recipient.
Hold For Pickup
Allows the customer to pick up valuable and perishable merchandise at a designated Post Office.
Provides a delivery record showing the recipient’s signature, received by email or postcard.
Return Receipt for Merchandise
Provides proof that the customer sent an item (a mailing receipt — PS Form 3804) and proof that the
Postal Service delivered it (a postcard — PS Form 3811, showing the recipient’s signature).
3 3 3 3 3
Allows the customer to specify the people who can sign for and receive an item.
Collect on Delivery (COD)
Allows the customer to pay for merchandise and shipping upon receipt of the package. Insurance coverage
up to $1,000 is available based on the amount to be collected or the amount of insurance coverage
desired, whichever is higher.
3 3 3 3 3
Provides preferential handling for unusual shipments, such as live poultry, bees, or other mailable contents
that need extra care.
Adult Signature Required
Ensures that an adult signs for the shipment. This service requires that the person signing for the item at
the recipient’s address is 21 years of age or older. Provides delivery information as well as the recipient’s
name and signature.
Adult Signature Restricted Delivery
Ensures that the package is delivered only after the addressee or an authorized agent provides proof of
identity, is 21 years of age or older, and signs for it.
18 | Publication 99
International Package Products
Global Express Guaranteed (GXG)
Money-back guarantee to all destinations (limited exceptions apply).
Delivery in 1–3 business days for many major markets (average number of days may
Delivery to more than 180 countries.
Includes USPS Tracking and $100 in insurance coverage.
May qualify for Free Package Pickup (for details, go to usps.com/pickup).
Our fastest international shipping service, with transportation and delivery by FedEx Express®.
Some restrictions apply.
Priority Mail Express International
Money-back guarantee to certain destination.
Delivery in 3–5 business days for many major markets (average number of days may
vary based upon origin and destination).
Includes USPS Tracking.
May qualify for Free Package Pickup (for details, go to usps.com/pickup).
Affordable and fast international delivery to more than 180 countries.
For details, see the International Mail Manual at http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/welcome.htm.
Priority Mail International
Delivery in 6–10 business days for many major markets (average number of days may
vary based upon origin and destination).
Includes USPS Tracking (limitations may apply for certain destinations).
May qualify for Free Package Pickup (for details, go to usps.com/pickup).
A reliable and affordable way to send mail and packages up to 70 pounds to over
180 countries. Plus, online purchases may receive up to 13% off the Post Office price.
Not available for Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes or Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes.
April 2014 | 19
First-Class Mail International
Can be used for letters, postcards, and large envelopes.
Delivery time varies by destination.
Delivery to more than 180 countries.
Our most affordable international service for letters, postcards, and large envelopes.
Weight Limit: 4 pounds.
Value Limit: $400.
The Global Forever stamp can be used to mail a postcard or 1-ounce letter-size mailpiece
anywhere in the world, regardless of when the stamp was purchased and how prices change
in the future. To help distinguish the difference between the domestic and international forever
stamps, the international version will always be round and will always bear the words “Global
Other Products and Services
At self-service kiosks, customers can purchase postage, mail letters and packages, or renew a
PO Box using a debit or credit card.
Most self-service kiosks are located in Post Office lobby areas with 24/7 access. Customers can
drop off mail items or purchase shipping and mailing services including Priority Mail Express,
Priority Mail, and First-Class Mail, as well as extra services including USPS Tracking, insurance,
Certified Mail, and Return Receipt (in electronic or paper format — available only when purchased
with insurance over $200 and Certified Mail).
To fit in a self-service kiosk drop off box, an item must not exceed 20-3/8" x 15" x 12".
Every Door Direct Mail
Every Door Direct Mail from the Postal Service is designed to help reach every home, every
address, every time. Now it’s even easier using our redesigned tool!
Customers can map out target areas, select a delivery route using demographic data (e.g.,
age, household income, and size), choose a mailing drop off date, and pay online — all from a
computer. Also, customers can create mailings up to 30 days before they plan to mail them.
When customers are on the move, the Postal Service offers a range of delivery services designed
to fit their lifestyle and budget:
20 | Publication 99
Premium Forwarding Service Residential (PFS-Residential).
Change of Address.
Fees for PFS-Residential: The customer must pay a $16.00 enrollment fee when signing up,
and weekly installment fees of $17.00 are processed as recurring payments. The first recurring
payment is processed on the start date, and subsequent recurring payments are processed each
Wednesday until the requested end date.
Did You Know?
In addition to providing
Service Residential for
customers who want
their mail forwarded to
a temporary address,
the Postal Service
forwards 2 billion
pieces of mail each
year at no extra cost to
customers when they
Any material accepted for mailing at First-Class Mail or Standard Mail postage rates that is
mailed for political campaign purposes by a registered political candidate, campaign committee,
or committee of a political party is classified as a political campaign mailing. This type of mailing
normally uses the address of a candidate’s campaign committee or the committee of a political
party as the return address. Do not confuse political campaign mailings with official mailings by
members of Congress under congressional franking privileges.
An individual or organization recognized as such by the appropriate governmental election control
authority is considered to be a registered political candidate or party.
The term “qualified political committee” is defined as follows:
A national committee of a political party.
A state committee of a political party.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
The National Republican Congressional Committee.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The term “national committee” means the organization that, by virtue of the bylaws of a political
party, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of that political party at the national level.
The term “state committee” means the organization that, by virtue of the bylaws of a political
party, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of that political party at the state level.
As of June 26, 2012, and in an effort to improve internal tracking of political message mail,
the U.S. Postal Service expanded the use of Tag 57 to include political message mailings from
Political Action Committees (PACs), Super-PACs, or other organizations engaged in issue
advocacy or voter mobilization. We want to ensure that this volume receives visibility within the
U.S. Postal Service mailstream. (The DMM remains unchanged. Eligibility rules remain unchanged.
Expanded use of Tag 57 is for operational purposes only.)
Online Products and Services
Click-N-Ship is the perfect online tool for occasional shippers or home businesses that ship
several times a week. From a home computer and printer, the customer can pay for postage and
print labels. It has everything customers need to make shipping simple and fast.
Click-N-Ship For Business
Click-N-Ship For Business is an ideal solution for higher-volume shippers. This free downloadable
software for the desktop helps customers manage shipments, compare prices and delivery times,
print postage-paid labels, and a whole lot more.
April 2014 | 21
Promotions and Incentives
Businesses can enhance the way they interact and engage with consumers through mail. The
Postal Service promotes the best practices for integrating direct mail with mobile technology, and
offers promotions and incentives to help businesses continuously invest in their future.
Employee Engagement Programs
Besides offering a wide range of products and services to our customers, we work to strengthen
employee-customer relationships through our Employee Engagement Programs. Listed below are
the main programs.
Business Connect is the Employee Engagement Program for postmasters, station/branch
managers, and supervisors designed to prompt discussion with customers about our products
and services. The program encourages postmasters to generate revenue and strengthen
Customer Connect is a partnership between the National Association of Letter Carriers and the
Postal Service. The program encourages letter carriers to leverage their business relationships
with customers by identifying new business opportunities and encouraging customers to meet
with sales representatives.
Rural Reach is an umbrella of opportunities that allow rural carriers to better serve their customers
while growing revenue in the small to mid-sized customer base. With Rural Reach, rural carriers
can submit leads, initiate discussions with customers, and share product information with
Overview of Operations
Our facilities are an integral part of the Postal Service’s daily operations. They reside in virtually
every community throughout the country. Along with the retail and delivery facilities that we
operate, private businesses support us at thousands of commercial locations. Supermarkets,
pharmacies, and other stores sell postal products as a convenience to our customers. Our larger
facilities are primarily responsible for the support of mail processing operations. These facilities
sort millions of pieces of mail every day while preparing them for dispatch and transportation.
The 24-hour clock is a process that ensures mail is collected, processed, distributed, and
delivered. Each process indicator of this clock is an essential ingredient to service performance.
By successfully carrying out these processes, the Postal Service standardizes operations
22 | Publication 99
and provides improved service to its customers. Managing these
processes effectively results in reduced costs and efficient operations.
The 24 Hour Clock Indicators and Service Goals
The 24-hour clock has eight key indicators, as follows:
1. 80% cancellation by 2000.
2. 100% Outgoing Primary cleared by 2300.
3. 100% Outgoing Secondary cleared by 2400.
4. 100% Managed Mail Program (on-hand) cleared by 2400.
5. 100% Mail Assigned to Commercial Air/FedEx by 0230.
6. 100% DPS 2nd Pass cleared by 0700.
7. 100% Trips on Time (0400–0900).
8. 100% Carriers returning by 1800.
The latest 24 Hour Clock Indicator data is available from the Service
and Field Operations Performance reports at http://blue.usps.gov/
opsplanning/24hourclock/24info.htm — once there, click on Daily
Report, as shown in the highlight in the image to the right.
How a Letter Travels
After customers deposit letters into a collection box, mailbox, or Post
Office Box, a Postal Service employee removes them from the box
and takes them to the Post Office where he or she works.
Those letters, along with the mail collected by other carriers at
the same Post Office, are placed on a truck and taken to a mail
Culling and Postmarking
Postal workers send letters, flats, and small parcels that need to be
cancelled to the opening unit (Operation Number 010), which rapidly
separates letters from large envelopes and packages.
After the letters are separated, they are sent to an AFCS, which
orients letters so that all addresses face the same way and are right
side up. Next, it applies a postmark to each letter with the date and
the location where sorting was performed. The cancellation lines
are there to ensure that stamps are not reused, thereby protecting
In an effort to protect Postal customers and employees, the AFCSs
are equipped with Biohazard Detection Systems. Please see the
following page for more details.
Source for photograph:
April 2014 | 23
USPS Biohazard Detection System (BDS)
The Postal Service is
committed to the safety
of its employees and
customers. To help
counter the threat of
anthrax in the mail,
the Postal Service has
developed a Biohazard
Detection System (BDS)
that will detect anthrax
in the mail with high
reliability. The system
is designed for the
highest possible level
of detection. The BDS
is the first system of
its kind and does the
It performs a rapid,
on-site DNA test for anthrax and provides immediate on-site notification.
The DNA test is conducted in a cabinet linked to a “site controller” computer, which provides
an alert if anthrax DNA is detected.
Scanning and Lifting Images
Every letter gets a unique identification called an ID tag that consists of a series of fluorescent
bars imprinted on the back. The address on the front of each letter is scanned by an optical
Images of letters that could not be successfully read are transmitted to a remote encoding center
for further analysis.
All letters are placed in trays and moved to a Delivery Bar Code Sorter (DBCS) for additional
processing or final sortation process.
Applying a Barcode and Sorting
Applying a Barcode
Mailers apply an Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb) to the front of letters and flats. The IMb combines
tracking and routing information into a single barcode. The barcode consists of tall and short bars
and enables each unique mail piece to be tracked until delivery.
The IMb identifies the next processing plant; the machine reads the barcode and sends each
letter into a bin for a specific range of ZIP Codes.
Transportation to Processing Plant
The letter is placed in a tray with other mail for the ZIP Code range and taken to the mail
processing plant that serves the Post Office, station, or branch that will deliver the letter. The
destination of a letter can range from a few blocks to thousands of miles from where it originated.
As a result, the Postal Service employs a wide variety of transportation modes.
24 | Publication 99
Delivery-Point Sequencing (DPS)
At a plant or mail processing facility, letters in the tray are fed through the Delivery Bar Code
Sorter (DBCS). The DBCS is a multilevel, high-speed barcode sorter that separates mail in carrier
walk sequence, eliminating the need for sorting at the delivery unit. Carriers transport letter trays
of sequenced mail directly to a vehicle for delivery to the customer. The DBCS can also sort letter
mail to carriers in sector-segment sequence via a two-pass operation.
First Pass: During the first pass, mail is fed through the DBCS and organized according to the
order in which it will be delivered, by street address. All of the first stops are put together, all of
the second stops are put together, and so forth, regardless of route.
Second Pass: After the first pass is complete, the mail is fed through the DBCS for the second
pass. The trays must be fed into the DBCS in the order in which they were placed during the
first pass. In the second pass, all mail is placed in its correct carrier route. In other words,
the first pass is used to group the mail according to the order of stops. The second pass
organizes all of the stops by carrier route.
Transportation to Delivery Post Office
Next, all the mail for this carrier is taken by truck to the Post Office, station, or branch in which the
carrier works. The carrier loads trays of mail into a motor vehicle.
Delivery to Addressee
The carrier drives to the street where the letter is to be delivered, parks safely, and loads his or
her satchel with the mail to be carried to each house or business. The carrier delivers the letter to
the specific address.
Letter Mail Flow
The following diagram displays the mail flow for a letter traveling from San Francisco, CA to
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA,
delivery Post Office
April 2014 | 25
How a Package Travels
Packages are processed on the following kinds of mail processing equipment (MPE):
Automated Package Processing System (APPS): Combines state-of-the-art mail-sorting
technology with proven mechanical subsystems to produce an automated package and
bundle sorting system. The equipment includes automatic package singulation, package
address recognition, and online remote video coding.
Automated Parcel and Bundle Sorter (APBS): Sort bundles and small, single mail pieces into
a series of bins from a centralized induction point. It consists of an endless chain moving over
two sprockets, one at each end of the machine. A series of carrier cell assemblies is attached
to this chain. Mail pieces are placed on the carrier cells in the induction area and “spun off” the
carrier cells into containers in the sort area.
Small Parcel and Bundle Sorter (SPBS): Processes bundled flats, irregular parcels, and
machinable parcels. The SPBS is equipped with a scanner to read tracking barcodes, but
manual keyers are required to sort each item.
Linear Integrated Parcel System (LIPS): Sorts small parcels and flat bundles into Mail Transport
Equipment (MTE). LIPS is an operator-paced machine that offers a low-cost alternative to the
SPBS — ideal for sites with space constraints. This system can be configured into a two-tier
or dual induction system.
Parcels that do not fit the dimensions for processing by automated equipment are processed
All parcels are processed in accordance with the following mail flows:
Outgoing (originating): These are parcels that originate within a facility’s local service area
but are destined for delivery outside of it. They are processed by an outgoing primary-sort
program that separates them to the 3-digit ZIP Code prefix. Parcels that are destined outside
the local service area are scanned and dispatched via surface or air transportation to the
destination mail processing facilities. Local mail, called turn-around mail, is separated and
flowed to the incoming operation, where it is processed for delivery.
Incoming (destinating): These are parcels destined for delivery within the service area of a
facility, regardless of their point of origin. Parcels are scanned and sorted to 5-digit level and
are dispatched to the delivery unit for final distribution and delivery.
First Mile/Last Mile
During your career at the Postal Service, you’ll hear these phrases frequently: first mile and
last mile. That’s because the first-mile and last-mile concepts provide the Postal Service with
opportunities to increase its revenue by capitalizing on its greatest strength: its existing delivery
The Postal Service has more retail locations than any other shipping company. We call this the
first mile, because we can accept packages at more locations than any of our competitors.
We also have the most door-to-door delivery service points in the industry. We call this the last
mile, because we deliver to more homes and businesses than anyone else in the world.
Our Competitive Edge
Our expansive delivery network, along with the partnerships we’ve developed with competitors
such as UPS and FedEx, creates opportunities for nontraditional revenue growth. Our competitors
26 | Publication 99
save money by allowing us to pick up and deliver to some of their first- and last-mile delivery
points. We make money by collecting and delivering mail with minimal processing. See the
example below for further information about the first-mile and last-mile concepts.
Scenario: FedEx has to deliver a small package to a home in Chester, Montana.
FedEx knows that it would be extremely costly to send a truck to Chester, MT, to deliver a
single package. In fact, FedEx would probably lose money on the transaction. Thus, FedEx
decides to pay the Postal Service to take the package the last mile, since the Postal Service
is required by law to deliver mail to every address in the nation. As a result, the Postal
Service collects revenue from FedEx and incurs no additional costs.
Which of the following is not part of the Postal Service fleet for mail delivery?
None of the above.
The answer is “G. None of the above.” The Postal fleet ranges from employees using their own
private vehicles to employees delivering mail on foot or a bicycle, and, in the Grand Canyon, by
mule. In addition, our contract partners use air, highway, rail, and water transport to move the
mail behind the scenes. Together, the Postal Service and its transportation partners travel nearly
8 billion miles each year to ensure prompt and reliable mail delivery to every mailbox in the nation.
The Postal Service is continuing its long-term strategy of becoming a premier world-class global
logistics services provider by enhancing international mailing products, creating new bilateral
contracts and strengthening existing bilateral contracts with partner postal administrations
worldwide, and aggressively marketing its global services to customers throughout the United
States and abroad.
First and foremost in these efforts are the goals of increasing net revenue for the organization and
providing the highest service standards possible. Due to current international conditions, USPS
Global Business is also offering its fullest cooperation in areas ranging from customs compliance
to export trade regulation in an effort to promote international security measures which protect
American interests while fostering international commerce.
April 2014 | 27
Ongoing Bilateral Agreements
In the Asia/Pacific region, bilateral contracts with the postal administrations of China, Hong
Kong, and Singapore were renewed during 2013, and a new contract with the Republic of Korea
(South Korea) is expected to start in 2014. Other bilateral agreements either signed during the
year, under review, or in the renewal process pipeline include agreements with Canada, Australia,
Germany, Vietnam, Norway, and the Netherlands.
First-Class Package International Service Click-n-Ship
Efforts to make international mailing easier and more customer-friendly continue unabated within
the Postal Service. During this fiscal year, the Postal Service introduced First-Class Package
International Service Click-n-Ship, which allows customers to mail lightweight packages (under
2 kilograms) to over 180 countries. Customers can purchase this service online. The new option
joins the existing international Click-n-Ship services for Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) mail,
Priority Mail Express International, and Priority Mail International.
Priority Mail International Regional Rate Box
The Postal Service introduced a new service called Priority Mail International Regional Rate
Box, which is a complimentary service to the USPS Domestic Regional Rate Box. It encourages
heavier shipments, and customers appreciate the convenience of flat rate pricing and free
packaging supplies. This product is both e-commerce compatible and cost-effective.
Improved Customs Border Protection Manifesting System
As a provision of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) of 2006, all Priority
Mail Express International, Priority Mail International, and First-Class Mail International parcel
shipments that require a customs form must be entered into the U.S. Customs Border Protection
Manifesting System (CBPMAN). The two electronic forms relating to this process have been
streamlined to reduce customer wait time and to create greater efficiencies at the retail sales
level. The United States Postal Service is leading the way to ensure that all existing measures of
international security are promoted and maintained in order to protect and promote global growth
New Commercial Outbound ePacket Service
At the beginning of the fiscal year, the Postal Service launched a commercial outbound ePacket
service for First-Class Package International Service items weighing up to 4 pounds. This
service, available to commercial mailing customers only, targets the rapidly growing lightweight
cross-border ecommerce market segment by providing electronic tracking to select destination
countries. We will expand the service to additional countries throughout 2014 and beyond.
Expansion countries have high growth rates in the ecommerce market, and we expect to see
continued volume and revenue growth into 2015.
Enhanced First-Class Package International Service
Recently, Global Business enhanced our service to Canada by providing tracking on First-Class
Package International Service (FCPIS) items mailed with online generated shipping labels. This
new feature reaches lightweight cross-border shippers and businesses in the general public,
including ecommerce-related businesses. Even more recently, the Postal Service expanded
this service to an additional 13 countries, representing approximately 90% of all of our online
generated FCPIS volume. We expect to see growth for this product into 2015.
28 | Publication 99
USPS International Merchandise Return Service (IMRS)
In 2013, International Merchandise Return Service (IMRS) became available to customers for
returns from Canada and Australia. IMRS is a trackable inbound return service for merchandise
weighing up to 66 pounds. It utilizes the online generation of “no postage necessary” shipping
labels and customs declarations. The IMRS solution simplifies the return process for the overseas
buyer by eliminating the need to pay postage when tendering the return package to the overseas
post. The buyer simply applies the label to the package and tenders it to the post, and the U.S.
merchant is charged when the product arrives at the USPS delivery Post Office. We anticipate
increasing volumes and additional participating countries throughout 2014.
Global Direct Entry (GDE) Wholesaler Program
The Postal Service first entered the inbound ecommerce arena by formally launching the Global
Direct Entry (GDE) Wholesaler Program in the third quarter of 2012. Similar to the long established
Postal Qualified Wholesaler Program, the GDE Wholesaler Program requires commercial
wholesalers, who work closely with Global Business and customers, to collect shipments from
overseas locations, transport them to the U.S., clear them through U.S. Customs, and enter
them into the domestic USPS system for delivery. The wholesaler must ensure that the shipments
are prepared in accordance with all applicable requirements and are manifested and labeled in
accordance with the service type being used.
There are stringent requirements that a wholesaler must satisfy in order to be certified by the
Postal Service, approved to enter into the GDE Wholesaler Program, and listed in the International
Mail Manual (IMM) as one of the select few participants. FY2013 revenues for GDE Wholesaler
Program exceeded $4 million.
The Postal Service maintains a list of GDE wholesalers and makes the list available on
USPS.com, updates it periodically, and distributes it upon request to any person who indicates
a need for an international consolidator for inbound international shipments. (The direct link on
USPS.com is https://www.usps.com/ship/approved-postal-providers.htm — scroll down to
“Global Direct Entry® (GDE) Wholesalers.”)
The diagram to the right
summarizes the life of
a letter that originates
in the United States but
is destined for a foreign
Postal Service International Service Center
The ISC prepares your letter so it can be moved to its foreign
destination by a contracted commercial airline.
You place your letter,
which is destined for a
foreign country, in your
mailbox. The letter is
picked up by your letter
SFO, San Francisco
letter to its final
LAX, Los Angeles
The process for delivering
inbound international mail
The commercial airline
Postal Service Domestic
is the exact reverse of
moves your letter to its
the process for delivering
foreign destination, where
your international letter to
it is accepted by a foreign
the nearest International
mail. A foreign postal
administration picks up a
letter bound for the United States and delivers it to an International Service Center via commercial
airline. The International Service Center processes the letter so that it can be turned over to Postal
Service domestic operations for delivery to its final destination.
April 2014 | 29
In 2013, driven primarily by growth of 8.0% for Shipping and Packages,
total revenue including the change in accounting estimate increased
$2,095 million or 3.2% compared to 2012. Without the impact of the
change in accounting estimate, revenue growth would have been
1.2%. As can be seen from the graphs, First-Class Mail and Standard
Mail provide the vast majority of our revenues, despite trends away
from hard copy to electronic media. Combined, these two categories
totaled $45,067 million in 2013 and represented almost 68% of our total
revenues, before the change in accounting estimate. With consideration
of the change in accounting estimate, the categories represent almost
67% of revenues for the year. However, by taking advantage of market
changes and developing innovative services, we have been able to grow
our Shipping and Packages service to $12,515 million for 2013. These
services have grown to approximately 19% of our revenues, both before
and after consideration of the change in accounting estimate.
2013 Mail Revenue
2013 Mail Volume
Operating expenses of $72,128 million in 2013 decreased 10.9% from $80,964 million in 2012
due primarily to reductions in retiree health benefit expenses and workers’ compensation. In
2013, expenses related to a single scheduled payment to the Postal Service Retiree Health
Benefits Fund (PSRHBF) of $5,600 million that was due, compared to two payments that were
due in 2012. Workers’ compensation decreased in 2013 primarily due to the impact of the fair
value adjustments for Workers’ Compensation required by changing interest rates. Compensation
and benefits expenses also decreased by almost $1 billion, driven by work hour reductions and
a decrease in the average hourly compensation and benefits rate. Compensation and benefits
expenses have decreased every year since 2006.
In contrast, total operating expenses in 2012 increased by $10,330 million, or 14.6%, from 2011
due to the passage of P.L. 112-74, which changed the due date of the scheduled PSRHBF
prefunding payment of $5.5 billion originally due by September 30, 2011, to August 1, 2012,
which with the previously scheduled prefunding payment of $5.6 billion due by September 30,
2012, resulted in $11.1 billion of RHB expense in 2012. Excluding the impact of the PSRHBF
prefunding expense, operating expenses in 2012 would have been $770 million less than in 2011.
Retiree Health Benefit Premiums
Compensation and Benefits
Total Operating Expenses
(Dollars in millions)
30 | Publication 99
The Postal Service is saving green by going green. We’ve decreased energy use at our facilities
by 34% since 2003. We did this through a combination of energy audits, by improvements to
facility infrastructure, and by engaging our employees through Lean Green Teams. The same
approach has resulted in a 38% reduction in water consumption since 2007. Since 2008, we’ve
also cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 9.9%, or 1.3 million tons. This is roughly equivalent
to removing 270,000 passenger vehicles from the road each year. We’ve diverted 48% of solid
waste to recycling. This generated savings of $25 million in reduced waste hauling and $23.8
million in revenue.
The Postal Service works with the communities we serve to reduce our impact upon the
environment. In 2013, through a collaborative effort funded by Onondaga County NY, a “green
roof” was installed at the Colvin-Elmwood Post Office in Syracuse, NY. The roof will reduce the
amount of contaminants in storm water runoff flowing into the city’s municipal water system.
The Postal Service also seeks to assist our customers in achieving their own environmental
initiatives. We launched USPS Blue Earth Carbon Accounting to allow our commercial customers,
who use either PostalOne! or eVS, to get reports as to the carbon emissions resulting from their
mailings on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. The results achieved by the Postal Service, as
well as our effort to assist our customers, allow us to fulfill our goal to provide reliable, affordable
mail delivery with minimal impact on the environment.
Future of the Postal Service
The following text is excerpted from the transcript of the National PCC Keynote Address delivered
by Postmaster General/CEO Patrick R. Donahoe on September 18, 2013, in Minneapolis, MN.
ne of the most important things we can do is talk about how mail is changing today —
and — how it will be changing in the future. Technology is going to reshape the mailing
industry in some very positive ways. We have to build excitement about these new uses of
technology and give people fresh reasons to think about the power of using mail.
There have been tremendous changes occurring across all marketing channels — especially
electronic media and digital forms of communication. We have to talk about how mail is
evolving — and — we have to make sure that we are quick to adopt new technologies. Over the
past year, I’ve been speaking about four key areas of opportunity that capture some of the most
The first has to do with making mail more personally relevant.
The second area of opportunity relates to making mail more actionable.
A third area of opportunity is about making mail more functional.
And the fourth idea is this: We need to make mail more creative.
There are tremendous opportunities to drive growth if we make decisions as an industry and if
we quickly adopt best practices. That’s why the Postal Service is investing in digital solutions and
looking at new product platforms like secure digital messaging. It’s all about investing in the future.
April 2014 | 31
Here is a list of acronyms used in this publication. For an up-to-date list of postal acronyms, refer
to Publication 32, Glossary of Postal Terms, at http://about.usps.com/publications/pub32.pdf.
Contract Officer Representative
Community Post Office
Contract Postal Unit
Advanced Facer Canceller System
Accounting Help Desk
Account Identifier Code
Carrier Sequence Bar Code
Account Number Control Master
Automated Parcel and Bundle
Delivery Bar Code Sorter
Associate Post Office
District Finance Manager
Automated Package Processing
Detached Mail Unit
Deputy Postmaster General
American Postal Workers Union
Accounting Service Center
Automated Teller Machine
Area Vice President
Employee Assistance Program
Executive and Administrative
Equal Employment Opportunity
Employee Identification Number
Employee and Labor Relations
Bulk Business Mail
Bar Code Reader
Bar Code Sorter
Biohazard Detection System
Bulk Mail Center
FEDSTRIP Federal Standard Requisitioning
and Issue Procedures
Business Mail Entry Unit
Flats Facer Canceller System
Board of Governors
Finance Number Control Master
Business Reply Mail
Freedom of Information Act
Business Service Network
Financial Performance Report
Flats Sorting Machine
32 | Publication 99
Cost Ascertainment Grouping
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Human Resources Officer
Generally Accepted Accounting
Chief Information Officer
Government Accountability Office
Chief Marketing/Sales Officer
Grievance Arbitration Tracking
Global Express Guaranteed
Change of Address
Collect on Delivery
Chief Operating Officer
Highway Contract Route
Heating, Ventilation, and Air
Intelligent Mail Barcode
Intelligent Mail Device
Incoming Mail Processing Center
Investment Review Committee
Information Service Center
Journal Entry Voucher
Labor Distribution Code
Linear Integrated Parcel System
Learning Management System
Letter Sorting Machine
Material Distribution Center
Managed Mail Program
Main Post Office
Mail Transport Equipment
Mail Transport Equipment Service
Maintenance Technical Support
National Association of Letter
National Association of
Postmasters of the United States
National Budget System
National Postal Mail Handlers
National Rural Letter Carriers’
Processing and Distribution
Postal Career Executive Service
Performance Cluster Code
Postal Identification Number
Post Office Express
Point of Service
Postal Regulatory Commission
Plant-Verified Drop Shipment
Postage Validation Imprinter
Remote Bar Code System
Revenue, Pieces, and Weight
Stamps by Mail
Stamp Distribution Office
Scanning and Imaging Center
Subject Matter Expert
Small Parcel and Bundle Sorter
Same Period Last Year
Self-Service Postal Center
Time and Attendance Collection
Thrift Savings Plan
Unit Finance Number
United Parcel Service
Universal Postal Union
United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
Officer in Charge
Office of Inspector General
Vehicle Maintenance Facility
Office of Management and
Voice of the Employee
Village Post Office
Office of Workers’ Compensation
April 2014 | 33
Postal Facts 2013
Postal Service superlatives — everything you’ve ever wanted to know — and more!
Post Office Fun Facts
34 | Publication 99
Highest: Alma, CO — 10,578 feet above sea level.
Lowest: Death Valley, CA — 282 feet below sea level.
Coldest: North Slope of Alaska — Barrow (99723) and Wainwright (99782).
Hottest: Death Valley, CA (92328).
Wettest: Mt. Waialeale in Hawaii, near the Kapaa Post Office (96746).
Driest: Death Valley, CA (92328).
Northernmost, 48 contiguous states: Sumas, WA (98295).
Northernmost, 50 states: Barrow, AK (99723).
Southernmost. 48 contiguous states: Key West, FL (33040).
Southernmost, 50 states: Naalehu, HI (96772).
Easternmost, 48 contiguous states: Lubec, ME (04652).
Easternmost, 50 states: also Lubec, ME (04652).
Westernmost, 48 contiguous states: La Push, WA (98350).
Westernmost, 50 states: Adak, AK (99546).
Most Centered, 48 contiguous states: Lebanon, KS.
Most Centered, 50 states: Belle Fourche, SD.
Oldest in the same building: Hinsdale, NH — since 1816.
Largest: James A. Farley Post Office, New York, NY — 93,000 square feet.
Smallest: Ochopee Main Post Office, Ochopee, FL — 61.3 square feet.
Most Extraordinary: Peach Springs, AZ — has walk-in freezers for food destined for delivery to
the bottom of the Grand Canyon by mule train.
Most Subterranean: Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, MO — located in a limestone
cave 150 feet underground. It is the Postal Service’s only facility located in an underground
environment. The consistent, year-round temperatures and humidity levels in the caves allow
the stamps to be maintained in mint-quality condition. The underground facility also keeps the
inventory and employees safe from snow, flooding, winds, and tornado activity common in the
Most In Need of a Bridge: Point Roberts, WA — can be reached by car only by driving through
British Columbia, Canada. Only a boat or float plane can travel directly there.
Just the Fun Facts
Most Common Post Office Name: Franklin is the most common name with 29 locations.
Greenville is second with 28, and Clinton, Springfield, and Washington are tied for third with
Most Common City Name: Franklin is the most common city name with 31 locations. Clinton
and Washington are second with 29 each. Arlington is third with 28. Chester, Georgetown,
Madison, and Salem are tied for fourth place with 27 each.
Most Common Street Names: The five most common street names in the country are Main,
2nd, Maple, Oak, and Park — in that order.
Longest Main Street: The longest Main Street in America is located in Island Park, ID
(83429) — it’s 33 miles long.
Most Unusual Delivery Method: Mule trains in the Grand Canyon, AZ.
Another Unusual Delivery Method: Boat in MI. The JW Westcott is a 45-foot contract mail boat
out of Detroit, MI, that delivers mail to passing ships in the Detroit River. The JW Westcott has
its own ZIP Code — 48222.
Another Unusual Delivery Method: Dock- to-dock delivery on the Magnolia River in AL.
A 17-foot contract mail boat delivers to 176 dock-side mailboxes on a 31-mile stretch of the
There are nearly 42,000 ZIP Codes in the country.
The lowest-numbered ZIP Code is 00501, a unique ZIP Code for the Internal Revenue Service
in Holtsville, NY.
The highest- numbered ZIP Code is 99950 in Ketchikan, AK.
The easiest ZIP Code to remember is 12345, a unique ZIP Code for General Electric in
The longest rural delivery route is Route 081 in Mangum, OK. The carrier travels 187.6 miles
daily and delivers to 240 boxes.
The shortest rural delivery route is Route 016 in Santa Clarita, CA. The carrier travels 2 miles
daily and delivers to 531 boxes.
The Postal Service moves mail using planes, trains, trucks, cars, boats, ferries, helicopters,
subways, float planes, hovercrafts, mules, bicycles, and feet.
The Postal Service receives 89% of its retail revenue from 10,000 of its nearly 32,000 postaloperated retail locations.
April 2014 | 35
A Day in the U.S. Postal Service —
by the Numbers
Each day the Postal Service picks up, processes, and delivers millions of letters and packages.
No single operation in the world comes close to this level of connectivity to so many households
and businesses. Listed below are some of the numbers for just 1 day in the life of the United
States Postal Service (numbers are averages):
■■ 222.2 million
■■ 180 million
— dollar amount paid to Postal Service employees in salaries and benefits.
■■ 523 million
— mailpieces processed and delivered.
■■ 22 million
— mailpieces processed each hour.
— mailpieces processed each minute.
— mailpieces processed each second.
■■ 217.3 million
■■ 267 million
— pieces of Advertising Mail processed and delivered.
— packages picked up through Package Pickup.
■■ 4 million
— miles driven by letter carriers and truck drivers.
— letter carriers who deliver mail entirely on foot: The USPS Fleet of Feet.
— address changes processed.
— addresses added to our delivery network.
3.6 million — people who visit USPS.com.
2.9 million — dollar amount of online stamp and retail sales at USPS.com.
■■ 1.7 million
— Click-N-Ship labels printed.
— money orders issued.
■■ 1.5 million
— dollar amount spent on postage for Click-N-Ship labels.
— passport applications accepted.
— pieces of First-Class Mail processed and delivered.
36 | Publication 99
— dollar amount of revenue received.
— dollar amount spent at self-service kiosks in Post Office lobbies.
— tax dollars received for operating the Postal Service.
Area and District Maps
Overview of Areas
The Postal Service separates the country into seven geographic areas. AVPs are responsible for
maintaining operations and providing customer service, and for processing and distribution in their
respective regions. The AVPs link the areas to headquarters as they report to the COO on the
Executive Leadership Team. The Postal Service has reduced the number of areas as advances in
networks and production efficiencies have allowed for consolidation. Each Area contains multiple
districts within its borders.
Maps of Areas and Districts
The map below shows the Postal Service’s seven geographic areas, and on the following pages
are maps showing the districts in each area.
April 2014 | 37
Great Lakes Area
Capital Metro Area
38 | Publication 99
April 2014 | 39
© 2014 United States Postal Service
40 | Publication 99