Keys to success

David Garcia changes a lock in Nevada-Sierra District, where he is one of eight maintenance mechanics who change more than 3,000 locks a month.

The Postal Service is making it easier for customers to use Cluster Box Units (CBUs), the centralized collections of individually locked mailboxes that are common in apartment buildings and other residential communities.

In Nevada-Sierra District, for example, USPS is using a database to automate, simplify and streamline CBU lock changes.

This replaces an older system in which customers had to contact a Post Office whenever they needed a new or replacement key. Retail associates would then look up the customer’s address and write down the CBU location.

“The results are phenomenal,” said Field Maintenance Operations Manager Art Candalla. “Customers used to wait for months. Now it’s down to just a couple of days.”

In a typical month, eight area maintenance technicians change 3,000 CBU locks that serve customers at 25 Post Offices and stations in the Las Vegas area.

The new system sorts addresses by ZIP Code and carrier route, reducing the travel time between boxes. The system also allows retail associates to research as many as 100 addresses in the same amount of time it used to take for one manual search.

“This is a major improvement for customers,” said Area Maintenance Technician John Briley.