Flats sequencing contract awarded: Northrop Grumman to build new system

The Postal Service awarded Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation an $874.6 million contract to build a sophisticated system that will sort flats — large envelopes, magazines, newspapers, catalogs and circulars — in the order in which they are delivered.

The Flats Sequencing System (FSS) — designed in collaboration with Postal Service engineers — will sort mail in delivery sequence at a rate of 16,500 pieces an hour and allow letter carriers to start delivering mail earlier in the day.

A pre-production FSS will be installed and tested in Dulles, VA, in August, and nationwide deployment of 100 systems will begin in summer 2008.

Last year, the Postal Service delivered 53.2 billion flats, consisting of 8% First-Class Mail, 17% Periodicals and 75% Standard Mail pieces.