The Industrial Study and Package Delivery

Guest post by Older and Wiser.

Older and Wiser is a rural carrier.

Click below to see all of Older and Wiser’s Guest Posts.

This is how I see it!

Home, home on the range - Where the deer and the antelope play - Where seldom is heard a discouraging word …

Well boys and girls, today’s discouraging words that are seldom heard is Industrial Study, that black hole of information where carrier interest goes in, but no news ever comes out. A previous blog of mine took the NRLCA to task about the lack of information about the study, but I am also realistic that since the study has started there would be little news until the study is completed. My concern was the union’s ability to translate our actual work in the field to what the three engineers should be evaluating. I will talk about one of these concerns in this blog.

When we think of the 30 seconds allotted for the delivery of parcels, the tendency is to focus on the actual LLV to door process, but there are a number of steps that take time and the engineers must be made aware of the entire series of actions that takes the parcel from post office to the customer’s door step.

First of all, what about the time it takes to process the packages before we load them? My first step is to move the parcels to my case. There is no room in my office to process them where the parcels were scanned in by the clerks. Then, whether we mark packages, sort them in route order, put the small ones in trays, whatever methods we use, it all takes time. Then we need to load our packages onto our carts/skids/bins to start the loading process.

The loading of the parcels is part of the loading time during the count, so there is no need for the Industrial Study to account for this time.

Now we are out on our route and time to deliver parcels. We all remember the last contract and how we carriers lost a lot of evaluation time when the USPS convinced the arbitrator that it was very efficient to deliver mail in an LLV. It’s time for the NRLCA to press for a new evaluation when it comes to using an LLV and packages. It shouldn’t take an industrial engineer long to see the inefficiencies of delivering parcels in an LLV. Just take a look at a UPS or FedEx truck and you see what a package delivery vehicle should look like. You see a truck that has an aisle where you can walk upright and shelves which help in putting the packages in a logical, linear fashion. The best way to test this out would be to load up an LLV with trays of DPS, trays of FSS, trays of raw mail and raw flats, trays of boxholders and then a number of packages. Drive around for 10 minutes to let things move around a little bit and attempt to find packages where they’ve now shifted to.

Next, try to locate the different trays of mail as you need them. I think it is extremely important that the extra time to move around non-parcel equipment is not lost because the parcels are the cause of this extra time. My trays of mail etc. are on the floor of the LLV with the parcels on the mail. I often have problems removing the trays with the packages on top. Parcels topple over blocking the trays and mail falling out of the trays because of the weight of the packages on top are a couple of difficulties I experience. Time is wasted moving parcels around to access the trays.

Do you leave all your parcels in the rear of the LLV or move as many of them as you can to the front? Either way you do it, there is time involved to handle that process. Now we are ready to deliver a parcel to a customer.  I will leave this time allotment for the industrial engineers to figure out. Before they figure out the time to deliver, though, the engineers need to get some guidance from the USPS as to the proper procedure as to door delivery. I looked over the PO-603 and there was no procedure for it. Do we affect a UPS type of delivery? That is do we knock on the door and leave the package (non-signature) and return to the truck? Or do we knock and wait to see if a customer answers the door and deliver the package and their mail. What is the choice? Is it “quick and dirty” or more of a customer service approach to package delivery? It takes more time for a customer service delivery, but the engineers need to know which method the USPS prefers so the proper time can be assigned for the selected type of delivery

So, let’s review the time it takes to deliver a parcel:


  • Move parcels from waiting area to carrier’s case.
  • Process the packages (mark with a card, put in order in trays, etc.)
  • Load the parcels into a cart or other conveyance.
  • Load into LLV – This time is accounted for in Loading Time.
  • Time needed to access non-parcels (mail trays) with packages on top or blocking the non-parcels
  • Time needed to move each parcel forward for easy access or time needed to go to back of LLV to find and retrieve an individual package.
  • Time to actually go from LLV to the door and return to the LLV after delivering the package based on USPS desired procedures


This is what we deal with on a daily basis to deliver a parcel. We only want to be fairly compensated for the work that we do – All of the work.

Guest post by Older and Wiser.

Older and Wiser is a rural carrier.

Click below to see all of Older and Wiser’s Guest Posts.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I hope you are right. But I am sceptical as to outside influence. Money and power do the talking these days.

I'd LOVE to have someone "unbiased" watch me. I used to "run" back in the day, but after 30+ years and the ridiculous time standards we now have, on top of all the parcels, I go in and do the job by the book, at the same pace, no matter how long it takes. When the boss asks why it took so long, I ask him if he needs glasses. I tell him, "I can explain it to you….. but I can't comprehend for you". The other carriers in my office are still running to "beat" the evaluation. I sympathize… Read more »

Go to your. State convention or your regional meeting such as SWAC so you can ask your national board members about the time study. Yes they will be riding with carriers or following them in all kinds of weather and situations. Get inform before you knock this study. What if you are one of the ones they watch. Are you going to cut corners to get back early or are you going to deliver as per the 603? We ourselves at times are our own worst enemy in this fight for the pay we deserve. Believe it or not.

The 1.82 all came about as a joke. I was told by someone that knew this as a fact. When it came up the contract was being discussed by union and management, and management when out to drink and discuss the way things were going. One of them came up with this some what bright idea of the 1.82 thing. They laughed and joked about, and knew they wouldn't except it. Well as the story goes, they presented it as a joke and guess what the union excepted it as I was told with no fight. Believe it or not?

Touche! Are you willing to share that better system with the less fortunate?

Finally I think someone understands! Yeah. Keep this up and we may get somewhere.

Because there is nothing timed "on the street" management views all that time, as free time. DPS? FSS is the same, even worse, but to management, out of sight out of mind! I take it that this study views the entire day as time worked, and that is a shock to management!!!

I am really curious too, to see how handling DPS, is going to be timed differently. They took away office time because of DPS but didn't take into account that it takes longer in the car to deliver it. I think this study is going to be a win for us.

From what our local and state union reps are telling us is that the PO is not happy with the study, even their own engineer…and that most things are going in favor of the union, mainly once we leave and are on the street, which is where we are going to gain a good amount of time I believe…….but you also have to remember, if this package delivery goes national over the next couple years on Sunday(Walmart is getting in on this also), you will loose time during count, because you will have less parcels, and I can assure you… Read more »

THANK YOU GIVES ME HOPE 🙂 Cause right now I'm ready to quit .

Not a perfect memory but perhaps a better…keep up the good work

We didn't trade anything it was decided for us ! And I can drive those miles a lot faster than I can serve all those extra boxes. Same job same pay. They get extra Ema also not fair. They get 2 min per box, time for the miles and the gas for more miles. not fair


Come on folks…..When they are all different sizes and shapes. When you get 150 to 200 a day. When they just don't want to stay the way they were loaded in the truck…… yeah, you do, unless you have a perfect memory, like Peter.

Yes I do NEED to mark my parcels. I have a 100 mile route. If I miss a parcel from not marking it, I can be miles down the road before I come to my next parcel delivery. At that point I have to turn around, backtrack, and deliver the parcel. That takes time that is not in my evaluation.

over 18 years, but over 200 parcels a day……. I wish I had a route I could remember which third of my route didn't have a parcel. (oh, and no llv either) But, the PO-603 requires marking

But, you are on an "L" route. You traded more mail, more boxes to keep from driving more miles. The beauty of a short mileage route is, on a light day, there is no way for the long mileage route to be back before you! They have to drive those miles no matter.

NO ! We would get that time added under "loading time"

There is a lot more going into the time study that what you or I realize. Yes, they are out and about with carriers, in the office, on the route, true rural, suburban, way out in the sticks, close into town, highway, country roads, in the hot of summer or cold of winter (or soon will be), they're covering or will cover it all. I understand everyone being jaded about past studies because it included management trying to gerrymander the results, but give these guys a chance. I have talked with people who personally know the chairman (I have family… Read more »

I agree that more time needs to be allotted for parcels too large to fit standard mailbox or ndcbu….but the idea about marking parcels…..come on folks…..if you have an llv…and have been on your route for …say…2 years… you really need to "mark" your parcels?

I don't expect much from this "Industrial Study". Where is this "Industrial Study" taking place, behind some closed doors in D.C. with people who haven't done a route in 20 years? Wild guess. Maybe they should ask the rural carriers across the country who are actually doing the job for some input. Driving an LLV in 2" of snow up a 3% grade and stopping every 75' gets old quick. Oh, that's right! The LLV was tested in perfect conditions in the desert. Let's hope this "Industrial Study" considers all the facts and every aspect of the job, parcels, DPS,… Read more »

i believe the p.o. is in the process of splitting the parcel delivery side of the business away from the rest. the first inkling of this slipped out when the details of 5 day delivery included delivering parcels over a certain weight(it was either 1 or 2lbs) on saturday; they already have the ability to generate dedicated routes from the arrival scans and planned to put shelves in the llvs; they also decided a time allowance. separating the parcels from the rest of the mail makes privatization easier. parcels are profitable and the rest…not so much; no other business wants… Read more »

Am I to assume, from what has been said here so far means, that we have conceded that only items required to be taken to the door will receive parcel credit?

I am sure there are many more such examples we could come up with if we put our minds to it. My biggest pet peeve is that I only get paid 1.82 minutes per box and it takes me far longer to deliver my route which is 38.3 miles than one of the routes in our office that is 78 miles long and that person gets 2 minutes per box. So they get paid more per day than I do but get done 1 1/2 to 2 hours earlier than I do EVERYDAY!!!!!!!! There is something WRONG with this picture.… Read more »

Also the time it takes to fill out a 3849 if they are not home and there is no carrier release. Then the time it takes to reload it in the truck and take it back in the po. And then time to mark the name and date on it and put it on the notified shelf.

It really makes no difference whether the Parcels are sorted on the street timelike city carriers or in the office like rca carriers. either way they have to be sorted and it takes time it’s simply a numbers game for management

What is interesting to me is that city carriers are not allowed to sort their parcels in the office. They clock to the street and then place the packages in order in the LLV. Rural carriers, OTOH, are not allowed to sort parcels when they load them. They must be in sequence before they leave for the street. So, which method is better?

The only way they can truly understand what we do is to train three days and deliver the mail themselves. We all do not have LLV s and they have added so many boxes to us now that we can’t get all the parcels in our personal vehicles anymore some are making several trips to deliver. Walk a mile in our shoes and then you can truly understand what we do.

While I agree with the spirit of the post, I feel it should be pointed out that this is an Engineered Study. The people that have been selected have no tie to the postal service, or the NRLCA. They are certified engineers. As such, they have a tremendous responsibility to their industry to ensure the study is conducted completely, thoroughly, and without outside influence. The study is all encompassing. They will look at every possible scenario, every possible measurement. It is the most thorough look at carrier functions ever undertaken. I have every confidence that the study itself will be… Read more »

You left out the fact that we have to know our customers. Do we leave the parcel or leave a 3849? Do we have to look it up on the 4232 or do we have their wishes memorized. Do we have to check the parcel to see if it says the mailer wants it left. All those are issues we have to deal with on a daily basis.