1-3 Evolution of AMP

The advantages of consolidation were recognized decades ago by the Post Office Department. A variety of factors in the 1960s, including the advent of the ZIP Code system, the institution of sectional center facilities, and the nationwide deployment of mechanized equipment contributed to major changes in the procedures for processing and distributing mail. Increasing operational efficiencies and maintaining good customer service continue as important goals for today’s Postal Service. AMP provides opportunities for the Postal Service to reduce costs and/or improve service and operate as a leaner, more efficient organization.

Over the last three decades as mail processing evolved from manual and mechanized to automated processes, the AMP process evolved too. By 1978, nearly 400 AMP centers handled mail throughout the nation. The first guidelines for AMP appeared in Handbook M-82, Developing Area Mail Processing Proposals (June 1979). Handbook M-82 was replaced in May 1984 with Handbook PO-408, Developing and Implementing Area Mail Processing. In April 1995, Handbook PO-408 was re-issued as Area Mail Processing Guidelines and updates to this handbook were released electronically in 2008.

The process of initiating consolidations has evolved too. Initially, AMP was a local initiative that managers used to save money and to gain efficiencies by consolidating operations from a smaller facility into a larger facility. Advantages to this bottom-up approach include limited risk, expertise of local management about site-specific data, and ownership of consolidation. Recently, identification of consolidation opportunities expanded to include a top-down approach. This latter approach provides certain advantages including use of computer modeling, increased flexibility, and more consistent and standardized data analysis. Both AMP approaches focus on better use of Postal Service resources.