Shadow effect

Two women sit at desk and look at papers

Several Postal Service craft employees recently learned what it’s like to perform other jobs within the organization.

The employees attended a Chicago District career conference last month and were selected to participate in a “shadow day” to receive hands-on experience in other USPS roles.

The initiative is part of the Postal Service’s broader efforts to offer employees professional development opportunities.

Beverly Wilson, a mail handler, spent a day working alongside in-plant support employees.

“I learned so much that I didn’t know before,” she said.

Auburn Park, IL, Letter Carrier Tausha Bradley-Smith shadowed Customer Relations Coordinator Musette Henley.

“Tausha was a natural for the job,” Henley said. “She came right in and started answering the phones and talking to the customers.”

Bradley-Smith was happy to learn something new. “I appreciate the opportunity,” she said.

Another employee, Mail Handler LaShana Coleman, shadowed the transportation team at the Cardiss Collins Processing and Distribution Center in Chicago. She helped hang placards for drivers to scan and visited the Vehicle Maintenance Facility.

“I was shown what working there consists of on a daily basis,” Coleman said.

The experience was rewarding for everyone involved, Henley said.

“They could see where they tied into the bigger picture and … the importance of the job they do,” she said. “They were overjoyed.”

In retirement

Four USPS forms

The Postal Service will eliminate four Extra Services forms at all Retail Systems Software (RSS) sites, including contract postal units that use RSS, beginning Oct. 15.

After two successful tests, these color-coded forms are no longer required:

  • PS Form 3804 Return Receipt for Merchandise
  • PS Form 3813 Insured Mail Receipt (domestic only, $500 and under)
  • PS Form 3813-P Insured Mail Receipt (domestic only, over $500)
  • PS Form 153 Signature Confirmation Receipt

Instead of using these forms, retail employees will print Intelligent Mail package barcode (IMpb) labels at the point of sale. Only one IMpb label is needed for each mailpiece that previously required a form.

The elimination of these forms will reduce scanning issues, unnecessary refunds, claims processing by using only one barcode on mailpieces and printing and restocking costs.

Recovery heroes

USPS employees in Puerto Rico

The Postal Service is playing a crucial communications role in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Although power has been restored to only 15 percent of the island, USPS employees have been able to make contact with sick and vulnerable residents and report the information to authorities, Reuters reported this week.

“We might know the general area where people need help, but the mail carriers are the only ones who really have the exact address,” a Federal Emergency Management Agency worker told the news service.

The article, which calls employees “heroes” of the recovery, notes that letter and package deliveries are helping people on the island stay in touch with loved ones elsewhere.

The story also describes the creative methods used by residents whose mailboxes were destroyed by the storm.

One woman re-attached her box to the front of her home using a clothes hanger, while another tucked her box under her arm during a recent visit from her carrier.

Alfredo Martinez, a San Juan letter carrier, said his customers are happy to see him — including one who showed her sense of humor.

“If you are bringing me any utility bills, go away,” she said.

Need to know

Scanning snapshot. The Postal Service’s national scanning rating was 97.6 percent during the week ending Oct. 6, down from one week earlier.

Dakotas (99.14 percent) topped the districts, while Western (98.06 percent) led the areas.

To see the latest results, go to the Enterprise Analytics site and select “Scanning” on the left hand side, and then “DES 2 — Scan Performance” from the drop-down options.

Bottled water update. The Postal Service is advising facilities of new criteria for ordering bottled water in fiscal 2018, which began Oct. 1.

The eBuy2 catalog allows users to purchase 5-gallon bottled drinking water services from Nestle (MLB-CO-07-009) and DS Waters (MLB-CO-07-010) in a six-month increment through March 30, 2018.

Previously, the services were available on a yearly basis.

All Nestle and DS Waters eBuy2 requisitions should be processed and approved prior to Oct. 15 to avoid a lapse in service.

Nestle brands include Arrowhead, Calistoga, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Ozarka, Poland Spring and Zephyrhills.

DS Waters brands include Alhambra, Belmont, Crystal Springs, Hinckley Springs, Kentwood Springs, Sierra Springs and Sparkletts.

Sites not served by Nestle or DS Waters can purchase bottled water services “off catalog.”

New instructions will be provided by March 2018 for future water deliveries.

For additional information, email Purchasing and Supply Management Specialist Sijo Sunny or call 214-819-7118.

Got news for “Need to know”? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.