Chapter 2: Postal Operations
L. Marketing Technology and Channel Management
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During 2002, Marketing Technology and Channel Management continued its commitment to leverage advances in technology to significantly improve the customer experience for business mailers. The organization targeted the following three areas: dramatically improve acceptance, streamline and improve the overall payment and account management process, and significantly enhance customer access to mailing and postal information.

Although the Postal Service faced a significant financial challenge during 2002, the Postal Service Board of Governors approved the capital investment required to launch the national expansion and continued development of the PostalOne! program. Deployment of this platform is critical to our Transformation Plan because it establishes the principal operating platform, provides an electronic linkage with customers, and creates a single point of access to consolidated postal and mailing information most frequently requested by the mailer. This system will also replace the aging PERMIT system and support new flexible payment and account management options and consolidated reporting recommended by the Mailing Industry Task Force.

Marketing Technology and Channel Management continued to deploy the Mailing Evaluation Readability Lookup Instrument (MERLIN), the transportation management function of PostalOne!, and the electronic Manifest Verification (e-VS) efforts that began during 2001. These capabilities represent a substantial investment by the Postal Service and have been embraced by customers as a preview of things to come.

MERLIN electronically verifies presort mailing makeup, barcode readability, tray label accuracy, meter identification, piece counts, and mailpiece characteristics, enabling the acceptance units to more effectively accept and verify discounted mail. Two hundred machines were deployed during the initial project in the Southeast and Southwest Areas and we are deploying another 1,000 units to the remaining areas of the country. We expect to complete deployment by the end of calendar year 2003.

The transportation management component of PostalOne! made tremendous improvements during the year to more effectively integrate and align customer and Postal Service business processes. They continued their focus on finding new opportunities to further reduce costs and improve service to business customers. By using this transportation feature, mail acceptance can occur at the customerís plant by using this electronic transportation assignment capability in conjunction with the fully automated Scan-Where-You-Band (SWYB) system or desktop version. Together, they result in substantial savings and greater consistency in delivery by diverting the use of scheduled air transportation of mail into the surface transportation network. The Postal Service has installed 67 systems to date and have approximately 27 systems remaining to be deployed by the end of 2003.

While Marketing Technology and Channel Management is focused on improving services by leveraging technology, ongoing training also is needed to ensure Postal Service employees know how to use these new capabilities. During 2002, Business Mail Acceptance conducted all training at the National Center for Employee Development in Norman, OK, and the William F. Bolger Center for Leadership Development in Potomac, MD, to ensure more disciplined and consistent training is provided to students. In addition, we have new training programs for business customers and acceptance unit employees to strengthen their knowledge of Periodicals mailings and MERLIN.

Moving forward, we will continue to seek opportunities to improve the customer experience, leveraging technology to better align systems and processes to further reduce costs, improve service, and make the acceptance process easier to use.

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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