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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Black Friday and Small Business Saturday shopping may be behind us, but the shipping from those purchases has just begun. 

Last holiday season, the United States Post office handled a record-breaking 1.1 billion packages.  Most were delivered on time, but there were a few snags that resulted in thousands of disappointed customers at Christmas. 

This year the Post Office has made improvements.

“You can always watch game film and learn from it.  That’s what we did,” Mark Inglettt, Strategic Communications for the Post Office said.

The review resulted in sweeping changes for the post office this year, including hiring more workers, increasing transportation and obtaining new robotic machines. 

“We have added 112 new processing machines throughout the country.  They can process up to 32 hundred packages in an eight-hour shift.  We’ve leased 46 annexes throughout the country, all within five miles of major processing facilities so that ensures smoother transportation and no bottlenecks,” Inglett said.

One reason for the upgrades: the 75th Post Master General of the United States is implementing a sweeping new plan. 

“Louis DeJoy has come up with a “Delivering for America” plan.  New machines, improved transportation, annexes and more people.  We are ready,” Inglett said.

Even with the best laid plans, there’s always a possibility of a wrench in the system.  This year’s unknown comes with anything that is shipped from overseas and then delivered by the Post Office. 

Inglett said, “The overseas issues and backlogs on the bays are things we can’t control.  Once that mail gets into our network, we are confident that we are going to get it home for you.” 

Some of the burden of getting packages delivered on time lies with the consumer.  The Post Office encourages people to ship early and use 24-hour automated kiosks to cut down on lines at the Post Office branches. 

The Post Office’s website offers a “Click and Ship” option where people can create their own shipping labels and mail directly from home.

Shipping deadlines are also posted on the site.  Ground service needs to go out by December 15th.  First Class should to be mailed by the 17th, and priority mail must be sent by the 18th to insure on-time Christmas delivery.