Chapter 2: Postal Operations
E. Mail Distribution
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The Postal Service continues to focus on automating mail distribution operations to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The foundation of this effort is based on barcode technology, which includes generating barcoded mail, processing barcoded mail in automated operations, and adjusting the workforce as necessary to capture savings.

a. Letter Mail Automation Equipment and Software

In 2002, the Postal Service continued its campaign to improve automated processing of letter mail through deployment of additional hardware and software. New automation equipment is allowing postal operations to keep pace with growth.

During 2002, delivery bar code sorter-expanded capability (DBCS-EC) machines were deployed at three facilities. The DBCS-EC machines can process a portion of letter mail that is sorted manually today. This equipment can handle a wider range of mail than is currently possible, such as flimsy mailpieces and thick and heavy items. Deployment of all 84 DBCS-EC machines will be completed in early 2003.

Letter mail recognition rates continued to rise in 2002 as we deployed additional hardware and software upgrades for our existing multi-line optical character reader (MLOCR), delivery bar code sorter input/output subsystem (DIOSS), and remote computer readers (RCR) equipment. During 2002, we tested and deployed improvements to 346 mail processing centers under the Recognition Improvement Program (RIP), which is an incentive-based program where the vendor is paid based on percentage of the incremental performance improvements. Improvements made this year under RIP raised the letter mail encode rate to about 88 percent while reducing the error rate by 1.3 percent. Future improvements will be made under the Letter Recognition Enhancement Program (LREP), which is projected to yield an additional 5-8 percent increase in overall system encode rate by mid-2004.

A contract was awarded to deploy wide field of view (WFOV) cameras as replacements for the aging and obsolete wide area bar code readers (WABCRs). The WFOV camera system will replace WABCRs on all existing DBCS, DIOSS, and Carrier Sequence Bar Code Sorter (CSBCS) machines. This camera system will be able to read information-based indicia (IBI) codes as well as POSTNET and PLANET barcodes currently being read by the WABCR. The WFOV camera system demonstrated a significant improvement over the WABCR in reading POSTNET and PLANET barcodes during the previous year's competitive test. National deployment is scheduled to begin in 2003.

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Chapter 2 Table of Contents

A.  Public Perceptions, Customer
     Outreach and Mailer Liaison

B.  Product Development

C.  International Mail

D.  Mail Volume and Service

E.  Mail Distribution

F.  Delivery Unit Operations

G.  Stamp Services

H.  Licensing Program

I.  Commercial Sales

J.  Retail Programs:
     Building the Core

K.  Pricing and Classification

L.  Marketing Technology and
     Channel Management

M. The Internet:
     Transforming the Way We Connect
      with Our Customers

N.  Technology

O.  Operations Planning

P.  Financial Management