Chapter 2: Postal Operations
E. Mail Distribution
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Current cost-reduction initiatives focus on maintaining critical systems and replacing obsolete ones.

a. Transportation Information Management Evaluation System

The Transportation Information Management Evaluation System (TIMES) is a computerized data collection and reporting system designed to assist management in measuring transportation efficiency. The system provides the Postal Service with performance and utilization data used to improve scheduling, planning and cost tracking of highway contract routes (HCR) and postal vehicle service. The TIMES application allows the Postal Service dock clerks to collect data about the arrival and departure of mail truck transportation and to communicate real-time information to other Postal Service processing facilities. A receiving facility can view information about mail contents of its incoming transportation to make appropriate staffing adjustments. TIMES reports generate information to measure data input, transportation and utilization performance and is currently operational in approximately 502 processing and distribution centers, airport mail centers, and hub and spoke program facilities.

b. Dedicated Air Tracking System

The Postal Service Air Operations group controls the consistency of the movement of mail on postal dedicated aircraft through several air networks including the Daytime Dedicated Network (DNET) and the Christmas Dedicated Networks (CNET). The Dedicated Air Tracking System (DATS) provides the Postal Service with the information and tools to monitor air and truck operations within these dedicated air networks, to supervise air cargo contractors involved in moving the mail, and to supply accurate and timely reports to Postal Service management. DATS allows users to track and manage mail from either a hub or point-to-point (PTP) network perspective.

DATS provides real-time operational data that allows users and managers to manage the transportation of mail and to review the current day’s operations. The information and automated tools provided by DATS assist users in ensuring that service standards are achieved, dedicated aircraft are used effectively, and operational alerts are dealt with on a timely basis.

DATS is capable of managing dedicated Postal Service air networks 24 hours a day, every day of the year, providing a wealth of timely operational information to all levels of postal management. It represents the latest in computer technology and provides the Postal Service with a solid foundation for further improvements in the management of its dedicated air networks.

c. Surface Air Management System

The Surface Air Management System (SAMS) replaced the Air Contract Data Collection System in 2001 as our new mail-assignment engine. SAMS provides the ability to assign mail to indexed surface and air routes, and to allocate capacity by mail classes, and track manifests online. The system also provides an individual routing assignment, with unique serial identification for each item presented for dispatch. The routing assignment and serial number are barcode printed on a self-adhesive dispatch and routing tag, which is applied to the item being dispatched. The dispatch and routing tags are scanned, providing visibility for sacks, trays, and large parcels as they are handed-off to transportation suppliers until delivery back to the Postal Service at destination. This data is used for internal quality and performance monitoring and contractor compliance measures.

d. Surface Air Support System

Since deployment in 2001, the Surface Air Support System (SASS) has integrated scan data received from transportation suppliers with existing transportation systems and has ensured service performance accountability and accurate payment verification. With SASS, the Postal Service created a central visibility database to receive assignment data from SAMS and scan data from Postal Service facilities and from our transportation suppliers. In 2002, the Enterprise Data Warehouse became the repository for data flowing from the SASS database. The data warehouse will also serve as the reporting tool for SASS data, giving the Postal Service better data regarding service performance for transportation suppliers, as well as information regarding mail transported on a specific flight, truck, or train.

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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