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Return on investment: PRS adds $5 million to revenue pot

Talk about auspicious beginnings. Parcel Return Services (PRS) has generated $5 million in revenue since October when it was launched as a pilot program. PRS gives Internet and mail-order cataloguers a better way to receive customer returns. It is helping transform the way the Postal ServiceTM does business with merchandisers.

Newgistics was the first company to use PRS and has generated more than $4.5 million in USPS® revenue on volume of 1.5 million parcels. Now add Nordstrom to the mix. The national retailer was impressed by the convenience PRS offered customers.

PRS allows shippers to pick up parcels at an origin Post OfficeTM or bulk mail center (BMC), saving companies time and money. Nordstrom is using consolidator American Package Express to pick up its merchandise returns.

The retailer sent return labels to 14 BMCs nationwide. The labels contain the same unique PRS ZIP CodeTM 56920. Retail personnel are reminded that ZIP Codes with the 569 prefix are valid and shouldn't be obliterated. All PRS parcels bearing ZIP Code 56920 should be sent to the BMC for processing. Need more information about PRC? Go to

Planting the seeds of success: Internal Confirm initiative yields results

PLANET® Code seeding is an Intelligent MailTM initiative that's giving the Postal Service tools to help improve mail- processing operations.

How? Confirm® service is a USPS product that uses PLANET Codes to track business customers' mail through the postal system. Now USPS is using Confirm as an internal tool to improve mail flow and eliminate operational bottlenecks.

Internal seeding of Confirm mailpieces was implemented in January, and already it's yielding benefits. It helped the Great Lakes Area improve its 2-day service commitment for mail going from Indianapolis to Memphis. Internal seeding revealed a delay between the outgoing sort at Indianapolis and incoming sort at Memphis.

The area used the data to move mail from commercial flights to ground transportation. External First-Class (EXFC) scores improved by more than 20 points. In addition, transportation costs were reduced by approximately $80,000 a year.

Reducing costs and increasing efficiency - two goals of the Postal Service Transformation Plan.

Talking numbers: 800-ASK-USPS features voice recognition technology

Speak and you shall be heard . . . because USPS is listening. Customers calling for information on their packages via our 800-ASK-USPS toll-free number can now "talk" numbers, thanks to voice recognition technology.

When customers call to check on a Track & Confirm item - Express Mail® item, Delivery ConfirmationTM and Signature ConfirmationTM services, Certified MailTM and Registered Mail® items and international products - they will be prompted to speak the article numbers on their mailing label instead of typing numbers on the phone keypad.

The new voice recognition program supports only English at this time. Non-English speakers still need to key in the article numbers on their mailing labels. Once the application is proven successful on 800-ASK-USPS, it will be implemented on the 800-222-1811, the Track & Confirm toll-free number.

Safety Star: Omaha PDC achieves honor

The Omaha Processing and Distribution Center (PDC) and its 1,100 employees are shining brightly after achieving "Star" status, the highest U.S. government award for excellence in safety.

Omaha earned the elite rating after an audit by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), resulted in zero unabated hazards. OSHA praised the PDC for its exemplary employee involvement program and hazard reporting and correction system.

The Omaha PDC is the first government building in Nebraska to be Star-certified, and the largest Postal Service facility in the nation to receive the honor. According to OSHA, less than one-hundredth of one percent of six million worksites nationwide have achieved such recognition.


Working smarter, working safer: Ergonomics key to USPS success

USPS is working smarter and safer, thanks to the Ergonomic Risk Reduction Process (ERRP). It's a process used to identify and control risk factors, such as bent wrists, improper lifting and repetitive motion that can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. The Postal Service, its unions and OSHA are working together to implement ERRP across the country.

The Denver PDC implemented ERRP in September 2003. ERRP Site Coordinator Doug Ardourel says it has paid off big time, helping reduce the rate of musculoskeletal disorders by 35 percent. Here are some changes made by the ERRP team:

• Adjusting motor drive on the facility's bay door, making it easier to open.

• Switching from heavier, hard plastic mail trays to lighter, soft plastic ones.

• Rearranging workstations to eliminate awkward twisting and bending.

• Installing light diffusers to reduce brightness and computer screen glare.

• Purchasing headsets for employees who answer telephones most of the day to relieve neck and shoulder strain.

ERRP - it's reducing injuries and improving service.

Winning team: Detroit employees bring Diversity award

Facing a critical maintenance shortage, the Detroit Performance Cluster formed a maintenance development team to recruit employees as potential mail processing equipment (MPE) mechanics.

Talick and team members - Maintenance Operations Supervisor James Wilson, MPE Mechanic Jane Duggan and Diversity Development Specialist Alzana Braxton - developed a nine-week pilot program that trained employees to pass the MPE mechanics exam.

Successful students qualified for additional industrial electrical training. Students completing the course were given instruction in applying for and interviewing for jobs as MPE mechanics. The team made sure all employees were aware of the program and incorporated diversity training into the classroom sessions.

The Detroit maintenance development team reversed critical shortages in maintenance staffing and their program was adopted nationally. For their efforts, the team was recognized with a 2003 National Award for Diversity Achievement.

Closed captioned: Making a video? Don't forget to make it 508 compliant.

Laying down plans for producing your next USPS video? Be sure to splice-in 508 compliance.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to ensure accessibility for all people, including those who are visually or hearing impaired.

If you produce videos or award contracts for production, it's your job to keep USPS on the straight and narrow - all USPS videos must be produced closed or open captioned.

Contracts to produce USPS videos must contain a captioning provision. And, any video received from a vendor, such as an equipment training video, also must be captioned before it is shared with a postal audience. Failure to caption video can have serious legal consequences.

Think the rules on accessibility don't apply to you? Think again. Compliance with 508 guidelines is a must regardless of your audience. It's the law. And it's the right thing to do.

Titans of technology: USPS IT leadership again recognized among the best

A technology giant adds its voice to the growing accolades for the transformation of Information Technology at the Postal Service. Microsoft Corporation has named Chief Technology Officer Bob Otto an "IT hero" for reengineering USPS's technology infrastructure and services.

Microsoft notes the Advanced Computing Environment - ACE - has saved USPS some $50 million annually. Also praised are Web-enabled self-service employee applications,® and introduction of the hugely popular Click-N-Ship® service.

The Microsoft honor is given to only a handful of senior technology managers.

Administrative Services


Handbook AS-353, Guide to Privacy and the Freedom of Information Act

Effective April 15, 2004, Handbook AS-353, Guide to Privacy and the Freedom of Information Act, is revised to reflect a change in the February 19, 2004, Federal Register. The published system of records USPS 150.030, last amended in the Federal Register (64 FR 8889-8890) on February 23, 1999, describes computer logon records.

Since then, the Postal ServiceTM has automated authorizations for many of its computers and information resources using an application called eAccess. This application contains identifying information about users who request access and the access rights authorized or denied, including their computer logon ID and the level or levels of access granted. USPS 150.030 was amended in the Federal Register (69 FR 7806-7808) on February 19, 2004, to reflect the character of the system of records as now automated in eAccess. The period for public comment ended without receipt of any comments, and the amendment became effective on March 30, 2004.

Automating computer access enables the Postal Service to more effectively and securely manage access to computers and information resources. The Postal Service does not expect modification of this system to have any effect on individual privacy rights. The amendment does not change the kinds of personal information that are collected and maintained. Other information maintained about the individual relates to his or her official duty status and level of access permitted.

Summary of changes in Appendix - Privacy Act System of Records Index:

• On page 50, in Section B (Systems of Records Index), under 150.000, Records and Information Management Records, change the title to .030 Computer Access Records.

• On page 120, in the section for system 150.030 (Records and Information Management Records - Computer Logon ID Records), change the title to Records and Information Management Records, Computer Access Records, 150.030.

• On page 120, in paragraph one (System Location), replace all text with new text.

On page 120, paragraph two (Categories of Individuals Covered by the System), replace all text with new text.

On page 120, in paragraph three (Categories of Records in the System), replace all text with new text.

On page 120, in paragraph five (Purpose(s)), replace all text with new text.

On page 121, in paragraph seven (Policies and Practices for Storing, Retrieving, Accessing, Retaining, and Disposing of Records in the System), replace all text with new text.

On page 121, in paragraph eight (Notification Procedure), replace all text with new text.

On page 121, in paragraph 11 (Record Source Categories), replace all text with new text.

We will incorporate the amended notice into the next printed version of Handbook AS-353, and into the online version of the handbook, which is available on the Postal Service PolicyNet Web site on the intranet; go to; click on More References, then Handbooks.

Handbook AS-353, Guide to Privacy and the Freedom of Information Act

* * * * *

Appendix Privacy Act Systems of Records

* * * * *

Section B. System of Records Index

Part 1. General Systems of Records

* * * * *

150.000 Records and Information Management Records

* * * * *

[Revise heading of 150.030 to read as follows:]

.030 Computer Access Records

* * * * *

[Revise heading of 150.030 to read as follows:]

USPS 150.030

System Name

Records and Information Management Records - Computer Access Records, 150.030

System Location

[Replace text with the following:]

All Postal Service facilities; Information System Service Centers; Accounting Service Centers; Inspection Service facilities; and contractor sites.

Categories of Individuals Covered by the System

[Replace text with the following:]

Individuals who have access to Postal Service computers and information resources, including Postal Service employees, contractor employees, and non-Postal Service individuals.

Categories of Records in the System

[Replace text with the following:]

This system contains identifying information about computer users and the corresponding authorizing managers such as name; logon ID; employee identification number, unique identifier, and/or Social Security number; work-related information such as job title, BA Code, finance number, and work telephone number and address; the application(s) that the user may access; and the level(s) of access granted. Additionally, the system contains information related to contractors such as verification of status of contractor employee, screening and/or security clearances.

Authority for Maintenance of the System

[No changes.]

* * * * *


[Replace text with the following:]

To ensure access to data and/or files of computer systems is limited to authorized individuals through the use of computer security access control systems. Used by computer security officers in maintaining access controls, and by postal inspectors and authorized personnel in monitoring compliance with access rules. The logon IDs are also used as a positive user identifier in resolving access problems by telephone.

Routine Uses of Records Maintained in the System, Including Categories of Users and the Purposes of Such Uses

[No changes.]

* * * * *

Policies and Practices for Storing, Retrieving, Accessing, Retaining, and Disposing of Records in the System


[Replace text with the following:]

Automated databases, computer storage media, and paper.


[Replace text with the following:]

Name, logon ID, employee ID, and unique identifier.


[Replace text with the following:]

Paper records, computers, and computer storage tapes and disks are maintained in controlled-access areas or under general supervision of program personnel. Computers are protected by a cipher lock system, card key system, or other physical access control methods. Computer systems and electronic records are also protected with security software and operating system controls, including logon and password identifications, firewalls, terminal and use identifications, and file management. Online data transmissions are protected by encryption. Access to these records is limited to authorized personnel. Contractors must provide similar protection subject to a security compliance review by the Postal Inspection Service.

Retention and Disposal

[Replace text with the following:]

Paper records are retained for 1 year after computer access privileges are cancelled and then destroyed by shredding. Electronic records are updated as corresponding access requests are superceded or cancelled, and are deleted 1 year after access is cancelled.

System Manager(s) and Addresses:

WASHINGTON DC 20260-1500

WASHINGTON DC 20260-2100

Notification Procedure

[Replace text with the following:]

Individuals wishing to know whether information about them is maintained in this system of records should address inquiries containing full name and logon ID, employee identification number, unique identifier, and/or Social Security number to the following.

For hard copy PS Form 1357, Request for Computer Access:

• Individuals assigned to Headquarters should submit requests to the following address:

WASHINGTON DC 20260-0001

Individuals assigned to other facilities should submit requests to the head of the facility that manages the information systems.

For electronic records to access Postal Service computers:

Send requests to the following address:

RALEIGH NC 27668-9500

For U.S. Inspection Service computer access records, send requests to the following address:

ARLINGTON VA 22201-3036

Record Access Procedures

[No changes.]

* * * * *

Contesting Record Procedures

[No changes.]

* * * * *

Record Source Categories

[Replace text with the following:]

Individuals requesting and/or approving access to Postal Service computers or information resources and Postal Service personnel charged with information systems security responsibilities.

* * * * *

- Consumer Affairs,
Chief Privacy Officer, 4-15-04

Hiring Postal Service Contractors - Who Needs Clearance?

All individuals who provide contract services to the Postal ServiceTM - including contractors, contractors' employees, subcontractors, and subcontractors' employees - who have access to occupied Postal Service facilities and/or to Postal Service information and resources (including Postal Service computer systems) must obtain clearance from the Postal Service, as stated in Administrative Support Manual (ASM), Section 272, Personnel Security Clearances, before they can receive access.

Retired or former Postal Service employees who have never received a security clearance must obtain one, according to ASM guidelines, before they can be re-employed with the Postal Service as a contractor.

Retired or former Postal Service employees who previously held sensitive or top secret clearances and have not been separated from the Postal Service for more than 6 months will be processed as if they were receiving a clearance update. They must submit PS Form 2066, Updated Personnel Security Questionnaire, and PS Form 2181-C, Authorization and Release - Background Investigations. After approval, their security clearances will be reinstated and they may begin employment with the Postal Service.

If retired or former Postal Service employees have been separated from the Postal Service for more than 6 months, or if their security clearances have been expired for more than 6 months, they must obtain clearance, as outlined in the ASM, before they can be re-employed with the Postal Service.

Clearances for Temporary Services Contractors

Temporary services contractors provide short-term support services (e.g., custodial, secretarial, casual, and administrative services). If a Postal Service manager is considering using eBuy to hire temporary employees, he or she must remember that it takes at least 60 days to process security clearances. Headquarters should seek input from the field on the need for seasonal employees, including how many employees will be needed, when they will be needed, and for how long. This will assist the contractor and the Inspection Service in processing clearance packages.

Responsibilities of the Contracting Officer and Contracting Officer's Representative (COR)

When they receive completed sensitive and non-sensitive security clearance forms, the contracting officer, the COR, or their designee must review them for completeness and forward them to the following address:

MEMPHIS TN 38161-0008

Individuals requiring a non-sensitive or sensitive clearance may begin work when they receive notification that their non-sensitive or interim-sensitive security clearance has been granted. The contracting officer, the COR, or their designee must authorize the issuance of an identification badge (PS Form 5140) to the contract employee. Identification badges will not be issued before the security clearance has been granted. In some instances, the Inspection Service may grant clearance, on a case-by-case basis, to contractors who are required to start immediately. The Inspection Service will not grant such an exception, however, unless it has received the completed certifications and clearance package.

Contact the Inspection Service Forms Line (for security clearance forms only) at 901-747-7712. The Inspection Service does not provide PS Form 5139, Non-Postal Service Temporary Employee, or PS Form 5140, Non-Postal Service Contract Employee.

- Safety and Security,
U.S. Postal Inspection Service, 4-15-04

Customer Relations

Mail Alert

The mailings below will be deposited in the near future. Offices should honor the requested delivery dates. Mailers wishing to participate in these alerts, for mailings of 1 million pieces or more, should contact Business Service Network Integration at 703-292-4041 at least 1 month preceding the requested delivery dates. The Postal ServiceTM also offers electronic Mail Alerts via ADVANCE. For more information, see the ADVANCE Notification & Tracking System Technical Guide on the Internet at or contact the National Customer Support Center at 800-458-3181.

Title of Mailing Class and
Type of Mail
Number of Pieces (Millions) Distribution Presort
Catherine's Mother's Day First-Class/
4/23/04-4/27/04 1.0 Nationwide Barcoded, 3/5-Digit Mail-Well Services, Memphis, TN
The Sportsman's Guide,
May Main
4/26/04-4/30/04 1.0 Nationwide 3/5-Digit, Car-Rt RR Donnelley, Lynchburg, VA
- Business Service Network Integration,
Service and Market Development, 4-15-04

Click-N-Ship Contest

Contest Dates

April 1, 2004-June 30, 2004


The Click-N-Ship® contest is underway. The contest goal is to increase Click-N-Ship awareness and usage nationwide. Areas, districts, and Post OfficesTM will compete nationally for awards using two measurement criteria:

Highest Click-N-Ship Revenue April 1-June 30.

Highest Dollar Increase in Revenue Over Baseline (the baseline is equivalent to each office's combined total Click-N-Ship revenue for the months of January, February, and March 2004, as reported in Web EIS).

Award Structure

The Click-N-Ship contest will provide awards based on six levels of competition. The two winners at each level will receive a plaque and public recognition through such sources as NewsLink, Direct Line, the USPS® blue page, executive conferences, and so forth. In addition, winning districts and Post Offices will receive the following dollar awards.

Level Eligibility Awards
1 Area offices -
2 District offices $5,000
3 PCES - 26 Post Offices $2,000
4 24-22 level offices $1,000
5 21-18 level offices $500
6 15 and below offices $200

Use dollar awards to recognize employees for their efforts during the Click-N-Ship contest period. Winning offices have the discretion of determining how to spend the money and will be encouraged to supplement the awards as needed (or as their budgets permit). Suggested activities include the following:

Employee Appreciation Day.

Employee breakfast/luncheon.

Tickets to sporting event.

Gift cards (i.e., books, restaurants, etc.).

Postal ServiceTM apparel.

Award Rules

Activities will be funded by a Headquarters-approved eBuy request, and all awards must be used by the end of fiscal year 2004.

If an office qualifies for both award categories, we will give one award to the office with the second highest revenue within the same contest level.

In the case of a tie, Headquarters will conduct a drawing to determine the winner.

- Advertising and Promotion,
Marketing, 4-15-04


Enhancements to Toll-Free Number

On April 1, 2004, the Postal ServiceTM began testing a new voice-recognition program for Track & Confirm calls that are received through 1-800 ASK USPS (1-800-275-8777). Customers who call this toll-free number requesting Track & Confirm information receive prompts to provide the article numbers from their mailing labels by speaking the numbers instead of entering the numbers by pressing the buttons on the telephone. The new voice- recognition program is for Track & Confirm inquiries only and is not available for other options such as scheduling a pickup or ordering supplies.

After we conduct a complete analysis of this test, we will extend the new voice-recognition program to the Expedited and Package Services support line at 1-800-222-1811. The toll-free number for Expedited and Package Services supports inquiries for domestic and international Express Mail®, Confirmation ServicesTM, Certified MailTM, and Registered MailTM items. Customers can also use this number to schedule a pickup or order supplies, although the voice- recognition program will not be available for these options.

The new voice-recognition program supports only the English-speaking option at this time. Customers choosing the Spanish-speaking option will still enter their article numbers from their mailing labels by pressing the buttons on their telephone.

- Product Information Requirements,
Product Development, 4-15-04