Saturday, February 9, 2013

USPS Admits FSS Is Losing Money

The U.S. Postal Service acknowledged this week that the Flats Sequencing System has increased the agency's operating costs.

On the same day it very publicly announced the planned cessation of most Saturday delivery, USPS released data confirming what Dead Tree Edition speculated about two weeks ago. (See So Far, FSS Is A Step Backward, USPS Data Indicate.) The data show that two of the three major types of mail processed on FSS machines – Standard (non-carrier-route) Flats and Periodicals – had experienced larger increases in processing costs the past two years than they had gained in delivery savings.

As in the case of the other major category, Standard carrier-route flats, FSS apparently caused the spikes in mail-processing costs, USPS documents added.

 “It appears that in FY 2012, FSS raised costs for these three products as compared with FY 2010 costs,” the agency said in responding to a Postal Regulatory Commission question. But the results don’t mean that the
$1.3-billion investment in the 100 FSS machines was not worthwhile, USPS indicated.

“FSS is a long-term initiative and FY 2012 is only the first fiscal year of full FSS operation,” the Postal Service's response said. “Long-term initiatives often mean additional costs (capital and additional operating costs) have been incurred while the associated savings take longer to realize.”

“Second, the large decline in flats volume has impacted FSS operations, as the lower FSS volume per 5-digit zip code has caused lower FSS productivities than anticipated. Work is underway with Engineering to accommodate the lower volumes, to thereby boost FSS productivity.”

FSS has managed to decrease delivery costs, as intended, by automating “in office” work that used to be done manually by letter carriers. But mail-processing costs have risen far more than the delivery savings have declined for all three types of mail. The USPS answers indicate that FSS is the main culprit.

What USPS officials have not indicated is whether FSS’s negative contribution is primarily from it not yielding as much delivery savings as expected or from it increasing processing costs more than anticipated – or whether they knew all along that FSS would still be a money loser at this point.

In another response to the PRC, the Postal Service also revealed that it processed 3.16 billion pieces, 58% of all flat mail, during calendar year 2012 on FSS machines. Also, the proportion of flat mail not processed on any machine dropped from 45% in 2011 to 27% in 2012.

41 comments:

New Jersey Carrier said...

any mail carrier could have told you this 2 years ago

Anonymous said...

What kills me is when they run circulars in with the FFS just to boost numbers. These circulars are already in "Walk Sequence and should be sent to the stations so the managers can better manage the overtime. To run two sets of circulars the day after a holiday keeping me out on the street until nine at night is bright to say the least....only to have no mail the next day. Remember...bulk mail can be curtailed for two days before it's consider first class. How can our supervisors manage the station when the circulars are run through the FFS so some other manager can get brownie points for boosting up his numbers?

Anonymous said...

How about when the run two sets of sequence circulars just to boost the numbers. Especially after a holiday keeping us out till nine at night. The supervisors can't manage the overtime because they ran the circulars. So don't consider those numbers accurate. The managers at the plant run circulars just to boost their numbers to look good while putting a burden on carrier managers. Remember, we can curtail bulk rate mail for up to two days. Instead of running the circulars, send them to the stations so the delivery supervisor can hold them one day and cut the overtime in half.

Anonymous said...

The only things we get in FSS are bulk rate stuff that was in route order to begin with. All that FSS does is force us to take bulk rate stuff to the street rather than curtailing it for a lighter volume day. It creates unnecessary overtime. Oh yeah, the other thing it does is shred stuff. The shredding function works quite well.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they start putting the 1st class mail in there, because it would delay it another day!

Anonymous said...

It just goes to show you that the people running this dog and pony show don't have a clue.The previous posters are all correct in their responces. Even with technology on their side they can't get it right.Easy to pas the buck when it's clerks and carriers,not so easy when it is a machine.USPS should look at its shortcomings at the top.

Anonymous said...

What FSS does is keep carriers from scamming the system. I was a carrier for 12 years & I watched my coworkers masterfully roll-back mail just to increase ot. There's also no minimum standard on casing mail so carriers would use that to either jack up ot or manufacture routes that even I could do in 4 hours. Turn about is just play.

Anonymous said...

To the previous poster: Oh yeah, you were a carrier for 12 years - but apparently you never heard of the 18 and 8 casing standard.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but if supervisors were doing their jobs carriers couldn't scam. don't invent a shotty system to punish all just for the actions of the few.

annonymous said...

someone needs to tell the northeast district acting manager of operations this since they want to hold weekly dois drill downs and berate the postmasters about % to standards when anyone that ever delivered mail knows that the fss is the dumbest idea ever

Anonymous said...

fss was going to lose money it takes carriers longer on the road making walking carrier three bundles is absurd and they kept saying volume is declining then why make such a big purchase. they cut routes in offices cause of these machines then end up putting routes back in cause they took too much goi back to old ways have supervisor manage in offices instead of detracts trying to micro manage and let the workers do there there jobs cause with no bosses the work gets done

Anonymous said...

this is a standard on casing mail 4 ft and hr but its up to the supervisor to monitor the mail and supervise period

Anonymous said...

Texascarrier said...
What FSS does is keep carriers from scamming the system. I was a carrier for 12 years & I watched my coworkers masterfully roll-back mail just to increase ot. There's also no minimum standard on casing mail so carriers would use that to either jack up ot or manufacture routes that even I could do in 4 hours. Turn about is just play.

Thus speaks a manager posing as a carrier.

Anonymous said...

You wrong carriers work ....obvisiously you couldn't handle it because you don't do it anymore....I have been carrying for 24 years and FS$ is the stupidest thing the PO has done so far.....and they have done alot of things that cost like having postmasters who make over 100000 to follow carriers to try to save a few minutes...

Anonymous said...

the plant numbers are not the station numbers
CRAZY!!!
They work indipendenty
disconect is the word and the carriers are the ultimate "VICTIMS"

Anonymous said...

texascarrier-wow. sell your brothers an sisters up the river much?? bet ya never carried FSS. Sure. I average 4 trays of FSS. 5 on Mondays. 8 after a holiday. BS. DOAS ALWAYs shows me over 8 hrs, Supervisors say "those #'s not real...yeh, only when I show over 8. Totally accurate when I have undertime. You are a disgrace to carriers.

Anonymous said...

3:56 PM, most carriers are still on the street. Your ignorance has revealed you. We don't have FSS in my office, but I can tell you as a 26 year P&L (park and loop for you) carrier, that if management were doing their job, this would NOT be going on.

Anonymous said...

How about this; Give the customer a huge discount to presort the mail, and then run it through the FSS machine WHAT! How can a "Company " operate by giving double discounts???

671787fc-7382-11e2-b470-000bcdcb471e said...

They claim that the FSS has saved in-office time and decreased operating costs. However that is a bold-faced lie or spin on the truth at the minimum, since FSS has led to increased street time as carriers are forced to deal with a crap product on the street, which has increased the amount of time spent on the street organizing the mail, so that it can actually be delivered. The carrier is not taking a product directly to the street, which he can just deliver without any additional handling. In other words, all they've done is shift where the time is accounted for.

614 Carrier said...

Whoever sold the FSS to the Usps had to have the best sales pitch ever!! Im developing Carpal tunnel from that BS!!! not to mention forced OT on these longer routes...IDIOTS

Anonymous said...

FSS has the ability to sort letters as well. Why not just soty all ourf mail into one bundle and be done with it? DPS and everything.

Anonymous said...

Here is great idea, have your supervisor show you your expectation for the day your office and street time, then have him/her add 10000 pieces to dps and 10000 pieces to fss then add 5 sequenced mailings to your volume for the day and run the dois expectations again, it will state that your time is exactly the same!!! how is that possible we just added 45000 pieces of mail to your count? The worst part id Districts and Area Management know about this and ignore it.

Anonymous said...

I've worked for the Postal Service for 33 years as a carrier and Union Steward. The people who run the Postal Service have never carried mail or have a knowledge of what the job entails. The few who have moved into upper mgmt. are cosigners who do not speak up when decisions are made not to the best interest of the system for fear of losing their positions. Common sense dictates that the best way for the Postal Service to save money is to decrease field time not office time. Carriers have always spent between 2 to 3 hours in the office and 5 to 6 hours in the street. therefor you have a 2 to 1 cost savings advantage by cutting field time. You also limit the amount of time a carrier can be injured since injuries occur in the field not in the office. Increasing the bundles of mail a carrier has to deal with in the field automatically increases his/her chance of injury also more bundles one has to carry the longer it will take in the field and the more a carrier is likely to be distracted from hazards such as dogs, holes in yards and etc.. You have to carry mail to understand the nuances of the job. If carriers were allowed to case dps and walk sequenced mail it would cut field time in more than half in a lot of cases. And only increase case time by about a half hour to 45 minutes if that. However you have to understand the nature of the job to know this and mgmt doesn't listen to carriers. They make the job harder and expect quicker results. Common sense dictates that carriers do not want to be out in the streets in 90 degree heat or freezing temperatures and will therefore tie out the mail in such away as to be time limiting and cost effective. It's just plain old common sense. Instead mgmt. harass carriers about nothing and then deviate from their assignments while accusing carriers of deviating.

Omar Ramos said...

I have been a carrier since 2006 at the beginning of the prefunding to our benefits and the infancy of fss.The increased pressure to save in office and street is intense and the discipline imposed by management ridiculous. I have now seen 3 carriers fall victim to removals in the past year and management has now come up with the idea to incite discipline for expanded office time, as opposed to expanded street. What a waste and our office was not selected for fss. In some way or another my office was bypassed for another and management is imposing its frustration out on the carriers for their shortcomings and the scare tactics imposed are truly comical.

Anonymous said...

I used to be a steward, and don't understand how another steward thinks it will only take 45 minutes to case 12 trays of fss and 6 trays of dps. It would be easier and preferred to case it and reduce street time, but unless you backstop each delivery you are not going to save that much delivery time. I have heard of places where they only go out with 4 or 5 feet total, but thats not in my area. 12 fss, 6 dps, 4 cased plus circ's as a 4th bundle on our mounted rte's.

Anonymous said...

what they wont "fix" or acknowledge is that if I have multiple businesses at 1 address( labeled a.b.c or 1,2,3) and apartments labeled A,B etc. at 1 address it cant put them in proper order. thus I am sorting mail on the street and well I am not in a hurry. Also the forwards are not removed properly so if a "sub" is on the route there is a good chance that mail gets delivered and delayed. so people when there is mail at your empty house go to the local office and yell at (mis) management. The more they screw it up the more I get paid.


Anonymous said...

I drive a CRV truck on a drive and deliver route. The truck gets horrible gas milage, I fill up the gas tank about 2 times a week @ about $50 a pop. Having me sort mail in the street adds about an hour street time more than if I had it all together in one bundle. If I had more case space, instead of less, it would add maybe 20 mminutes more office time.The PO would save 40 minutes a day on me and an hour a day (at least, more on heavy days) of running a gas guzzling truck. It adds up.

Anonymous said...

As long as the postal service has these same morons running this place,they will always be broke,it's an absolute joke at best!

Anonymous said...

`injuries are up with fss. my office we went years without injuries now 1 a week. also the quality of mail is a disgrace . ripped,shredded,mangled these are daily .office time 1 hour on street for 8plus hours. Mondays mail at end of route might not get delivered. yeah this is a great system, NOT !

Anonymous said...

So the USPS spents billions on FSS, the machines themselves require a building the size of a football field to house, the machines break down, shred mail, increase OT and decrease customer service and still the USPS brass refuses to admit its a losing proposition....BRILLIANT When FSS first started implementation I knew it would not work, my thought was instead spend the money to replace our gas guzzling 20 year old ricketty fleet with hybrids and electrics. I fill my tank 3 times a week, trucks are always in the shop for repair. But, alas I'm just a dumb carrier and postal management doesnt want or need my opinion.

Anonymous said...

when fss came out our PM 1st said office time should be about 1/2 hour at least..far from it,3rd bundle daily is a hassle especially if 1 bundle is inside your satchel along with parcels, spurs and outgoing mail, the yellow fss trays suck, just a waste of plastic, they didnt get carrier opinion when this nightmare was 1st implemted and now we all suffer, and to have our saturday delivery, get cut off..pitiful , when cased mail is fused into the fss mail at the office that 10-12 minutes at the office saves me 25-30 minutes on the street, now multiply that by 100 carriers.

Anonymous said...

USPS has been losing BILLIONS for many years and instead of fixing the main problems they would rather raise the price of postage, this is similar to how our current government works, they raise taxes instead of fixing the real issues of why they are overspending such as: High salaries, Firing bad workers, convert ALL pensions to 401K model, Increase employee contributions to healthcare & pension(401K) benefits while decreasing USPS contributions, Close down post offices, Stop Saturday service - the last two, they have been promising to do for a couple of years but have no done a thing! USPS's financial model is not sustainable and they have made NO CHANGES during our poor economic times, we are still in a recession! The economy has forced the private sector to layoff employees, reduce salaries, lower contributions to benefits, close offices or go bankrupt. In the past 10 years how many layoffs, lower salaries, closed offices has USPS done? It's a racket and only the politicians are getting bribed to keep it going.

Anonymous said...

only a matter of time before the Company goes completely belly up.

Anonymous said...

Posted by Annoymous:
I have also been a carrier for 29 years and a former 204b. I have seen both ends of the spectrum. I can tell you that no-one works harder than a mail-carrier. And If you don't believe it. Try walking in our shoes just for one day. Management has gone from bad to worse. They are puppets on a string and completely spineless. They could give a rat's ass about their employees. After, 29 years I thought I had seen it all. But each day It gets worse. I agree the FSS sucks. NOT a good choice. But thats par for the course. Management still thinks that the crappier( if that's a word), you treat your employees the better they will perform. NOT AND NEVER.
Try treating your kids or a family member the way you treat your employees and see how much you get out of them. They are disgusting human beings.

Anonymous said...

Goldilocks!!! As a mailhandler in a carrier annex this was my nickname for the FSS machine.We had a two page list of diferent types of flats that couldn't be flowed back to the FSS site,this one had too much plastic,this one was too thick,this one is too skinny,this one has an insert,this one has no mailing address,hence the name. The FSS will never be profitable until the PO gets the mail uniform from the mailers ,this will never happen,imo.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that fss is a joke. As a rural carrier for over 20 years I have always used the one bundle system. Everything was cased. So, on the street it was generally 2 or 3 seconds at a box. With fss 10 to 12 seconds is the norm. When management was asked about using more fuel, they said no, because same number of stops and miles. Seems to me, 10 extra seconds at 600 boxes means almost 2 hours longer on the street. Unless the llv is running on water more gas is being used. Times that by all routes and delivery expense is at the mercy of gas prices. You wonder how they ever got in leadership positions. The need is to put all routes on the evaluated system, using the one bundle system and let us do our jobs. Rural carriers are pretty much self managed, so if everyone was on the same system labor delivery costs would basically fixed. that would mean less management personel would be needed, because it would be " This is your route, do it". Savings all around. But I'm just a rural carrier, so what do I know. Plus I don't see management volunteering a pay cut. They just want to squeeze and squeeze the ones that do all the work. At least that's how it is here in Florida.

Anonymous said...

Some places they put 1st class flats on it

Anonymous said...

the only thing fss does to save money is cutting clerk hours. as a ptf clerk my hours have gone down the drain. 2005 i averaged 45 hours a week. now its around 25 if im lucky.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments that I read in this blog. My route is heavy on flats .Holiday season I had 25 fss trays.We can complain as much as we can but the question is what we can do about it.Can we have at least the option to case these flats,since they are in order?

Anonymous said...

Did they let you case DPS so you would not have a third bundle or a funky sized composite bundle

Anonymous said...

No minimum casing standard.??? It has been 18 -8 since I was hired 16 years ago.