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Stamp Distribution System Mess
The Inspector General of the U.S. Post Office says that the post office’s stamp distribution is a mess. Commemorative stamps are failing to reach many of the post offices in a timely manner for distribution after the series is issued. The report states that “Significant Improvements” will be required to the current system in place in order for the post office to effectively distribute the issued stamps.
Despite the lackluster efforts to solve the widespread problems the report states that the situation has not improved any. The report places most of the blame on a new stamp distribution program called the Solution for Enterprise Asset Management or SEAM. This program was implemented in August 2012.
The report merely confirms the concerns that many collectors have voiced to various stamp collecting periodicals and forums. A former Post Office Official has echoed the same concerns. Whether his successors will address the issues or not is not clear at the moment. Citing “proprietary or sensitive business information,” some postal officials had the Inspector General blackout their proposed resolutions to solve the issue.
One thing that can be gleaned from the report is the possibility that the troubled process of ordering stamps through a computer system known as ebuy2 which is part of the SEAM process may be retired. According to the report, postal retail offices are experiencing substantial delays in receiving their stamp orders due to shortages” at the six stamp distribution centers that currently handle stamp distributions.
The report states that postal retail units have experienced delays of 14 days or more for receipt of their stamp orders between November 2012 and March 2013. This creates significant shortages of specific commemorative and other types of stamps at the postal retail units. The precious stamp distribution program delivered stamps to the postal retail units in three to five days.
With the current system in place the Post Office is experiencing significant problems in the distribution of stamps in a timely manner. The major issue with the new SEAM system is that the Post Office failed to properly test it out before it was unveiled and put into operation.
Other issues that complicated the problem is that the system was implemented right before the start of the 2012 holiday season, prior to a new rate increase, and when over 4,000 postmasters retired and were replaced with new employees. Management was also a contributing factor too. Apparently, they didn’t communicate how the new system was supposed to be implemented. Hopefully this issue will be resolved in the near future. Don’t be surprised that the Post Office will whine for a new increase in postage rates to fix their own incompetence.
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