The U.S. Postal Service utilizes Address Management System (AMS) data to correctly deliver mail to approximately 49 million rural addresses nationwide. The nation relies on the Postal Service to maintain accurate addresses to enable effective commerce and ensure customers receive quality service. It is critical to have correct and current address information so mail can be processed through automation to reduce delivery costs and to ensure rural carriers are provided with accurate route information to expedite the delivery of mail to customers. Carriers help maintain address quality by observing address changes on their routes, noting them in their edit books, and submitting them to delivery unit management for verification.
What We Did
Our objective was to assess the Postal Service management of AMS for rural routes. Specifically, we determined whether the process for maintaining delivery points and other route information is timely and accurate. We limited our review to rural routes due to the recent implementation of the Rural Route Evaluation Compensation System, which relies on delivery point data from AMS.
What We Found
We found delivery unit management did not ensure edit books were submitted timely for maintaining delivery points and other route information. However, edit book submissions improved since updated policy was issued in December 2022. Additionally, we found rural carriers were not adequately trained on the edit book process. Further, delivery units did not conduct annual route inspections, which are critical to the accuracy of edit books and AMS. Finally, we noted limited use of the electronic edit book submission application and other automated edit book processes, which have the potential to reduce the amount of time it takes for address information to be updated in the AMS. The timely submission of address changes is critical to the success of maintaining the AMS and enables accurate mail sorting and efficient delivery of mail to customers.
We recommended management (1) develop an oversight process to hold unit management accountable for timely edit books and revise policy as needed; (2) develop comprehensive edit book training for new rural carriers and periodic refresher training for all rural carriers; (3) develop an oversight process for unit management to complete route inspections annually; (4) develop a plan and update policy to require electronic submission of edit book updates, and; (5) determine the feasibility of developing an all–electronic edit book and develop a plan and update policy to require the use of the electronic edit book, if feasible.