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Excerpts of Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee Meetings

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Chapter 7: Creating the Digital Postal Network: Linking Customers, Carriers, and Correspondence to the Future of the Mail (NALC covers GPS  and Intelligent Mail scanners in its March 2004 issue of the Postal Record) "Integrate facility automation efforts with the transportation network using Intelligent Mail technology, GPS and on-board computer technology so the USPS can track EVERY vehicle and communicate with them.  -Postal Commission Report

Flats Sequencing System & Delivery Point Packaging Status Update presentation (pdf) (4/17/05)


Corporate Automation Plan -- Phase II Update

August 17 2005

William P. Galligan, SVP, Operations

 Corporate Automation Plan, Phase I (CAP I) began in 1989, focusing on the automation of letters, flats and parcels.  CAP Phase II includes those three plus automated bundle processing, automated tray and container processing, longer term plans for delivery (flats automation), transportation and intelligent mail, including scanning and tracking. 

 The Advanced Facer Canceller System (AFCS) has been modified to include Optical Character Readers (OCR), upgraded ink jet cancellers, and an improved “doubles” detector.  Aging Multi-Line Optical Character Readers (MLOCR) will be replaced by Delivery Input/Output Subsystem (DIOSS) equipment in 2006, with advanced features and greater depth of sort.  The Postal Automated Redirection System (PARS) Phase I for undeliverable-as-addressed letters has been completed, and full deployment of Phase II should be completed by late 2007 (282 plants through 12 remote encoding centers).  PARS for flats is being explored and eventually may handle parcels as well. 

 The options for sequencing flats have been narrowed to one, the Flats Sequencing System (FSS).  Research and development is continuing for FSS and a prototype machine will be tested in the vendor’s plant in October 2005 and will be followed by a postal field test in the spring of 2006.  If successful, deployment could start in 2008.  A second option, Delivery Point Packaging (DPP), was ended after the Phase 1 evaluation.

 FSS would bring about several operational changes for mailers – different dropship sites, elimination of some carrier route presort, a required 11-digit barcode (or ID tags), possible elimination of detached address labels, increased 5-digit presort, standardized label placement, and rates that reflect the appropriate savings. 

 The currently deployed Automated Flat Sorting Machine (AFSM) 100 will receive two upgrades beginning in 2006 including an automatic induction system for automated feeding, and an automated tray handling system for automatic loading and sweeping of trays on the backside of the machine.

  The initial deployment of Automated Package Processing System (APPS) will be completed in 2006 and replace outdated Small Parcel Bundle Systems.  See presentation


New work group #96 will look at a new interface, the automated induction process to the AFSM 100. There is significant labor related to getting bundles and packages ready for the AFSM 100 and loading them onto the equipment. This automated induction will eliminate the need for labor (up to four individuals) and introduce an automatic feed process for the equipment. The work group will look at how to make the whole process as efficient as possible


- Integrate Flat Mail Preparation Operation into the AFSM 100

- Automate the Induction and Feeding of Prepped Flats into the Feeder/Transport System

- Preproduction Machine Installed at Southern MD P&DC

- First Article Test – Pittsburgh PA P&DC

source: August 2005 Highlights Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC)

Flats Sequencing System & Delivery Point Packaging Status Update

April 17, 2005

Thomas Day, USPS VP Engineering stated that "the Postal Service is moving along two paths to a time when manual handling of flats and letters will be minimized. One route is an integrated delivery point packaging (DPP) system, merging presorted flats and letters into a single bundle. The other route is developing a flats sequencing system (FSS) that would sort flats separately, which would reduce the time required to case the flats and save office time for carriers, now about A merged letter and flat mail stream2—3 hours a day. A contract with Northrop Grumman has been finalized to build an in-plant prototype to demonstrate that their system will work. The final sort should put the flats in a sequence that minimizes carrier handling. If that test is successful, a full-scale system will be installed in a DDU in Indianapolis for a field test. If that test works well (probably completed by mid-2006), a proposal will be sent to the Governors for approval to proceed with production at the end of 2006, with deployment in 2008."


Award Prototype Contract - Sep 04
Build Prototype                        Sep 04 – Oct 05
In-Plant Test                             Oct 05
Field Test (9 Week)                 Apr – Jun 06
Production Contract              Oct 06
Deployment                              Jan 08


The delivery point packaging strategy would produce a single bundle of letters and flats, which would significantly reduce the carrier’s route time since it would eliminate a fingering process that picks letters and flats from different containers in the vehicle. In a cost-sharing, risk-sharing mode, the Postal Service and four contractors will complete four test bed prototypes, which would be evaluated by mid 2006. After that, the most eligible version would be built and tested at a USPS site.

There are significant effects with either system, some for the Postal Service (mail would move upstream changing the flow of mail patterns, which will affect logistics, space requirements and mail management), and some for mailers (use of the 11-digit barcode, improved address quality, and possible changes in mail make-up and induction procedures).

source: February 2005 Highlights Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC)


Flats Sequencing System & Delivery Point Packaging Status Update presentation (pdf)

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