chapter 2
postal operations
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system as the Postal Service's source for the most current, correct, and comprehensive information possible.

M. Intelligent Mail

     Over the last five years, the Postal Service has been providing information about mail to its customers in product offerings such as Express Mail, Delivery Confirmation, Address Change Service, and CONFIRM services. These offerings have been well received by customers. Nevertheless, while today's Postal Service collects hundreds of terabytes of data, only a small fraction of those data can be accessed and leveraged by Postal Service employees to favorably impact the processing and delivery of mail, and by customers to better serve their business needs.

     The capture and use of real-time information has revolutionized postal products and services. In the global delivery market, "track and trace" services are becoming the norm rather than the exception. Provisioning and utilizing information about mail will become a major factor in the Postal Service's future viability and its ability to remain a significant player in the marketplace. The term Intelligent Mail is the brand name for a new service that captures and conveys information about mailpieces and aggregate of mailpieces (unit loads) in time for postal workers and customers to favorably influence their respective operations.

     The Intelligent Mail and Address Quality organization was established in January 2003 to identify and shepherd the efforts required to move the enterprise toward an Intelligent Mail system that enables decisionmaking in time frames that influence mail processing and delivery. An Intelligent Mail Corporate Plan was developed to communicate the vision, strategies, and programs required to achieve such a system.

     The following statement defines the Intelligent Mail Vision of the Postal Service:

    The Postal Service and its customers capitalize on the value of information about mail by placing an information
    rich code on mail, aggregates of mail, and business forms, enabling end-toend visibility into the mailstream.

     Three key strategies set the direction toward achieving the Intelligent Mail Vision:

  • Uniquely Identify Mail and Aggregates
  • — OneCode™ Vision.
  • Develop and Deploy Enabling Infrastructure.
  • Enhance Address Quality.
1. OneCode Vision

     For mailers participating in an Intelligent Mail program, mailpieces and aggregates of mail will be uniquely identified with a code to enable end-to-end process tracking and full visibility of mail and aggregates. The OneCode Vision strives to create one distribution code per mail type and aggregate that will also encompass or point to all relevant services - such as address change request, Delivery Confirmation™, etc.

     More than 30 barcodes can be found in today's postal environment. To achieve the OneCode Vision, the Postal Service will begin by minimizing the number of codes used through standardization and consolidation. A Coding Standardization Board was established in 2003 to provide a logical framework for coding determination and assignment, and to ensure that all coding decisions satisfy business needs.

a. Unique Identification for Letters and Flats

     Currently, the maximum length of a PLANET barcode used for CONFIRM service is 11 digits, which does not provide mailers the ability to uniquely identify each mailpiece. A 4-state barcode has about 2.6 times the information carrying capacity of a PLANET barcde (which is a 2-state barcode) of similar size. The near-term plan is to adopt a 4-state barcode to replace the PLANET Code so that mail can be uniquely identified without requiring more space on the face of the envelope. Development of a 4-state barcode specification was initiated in 2003, with testing expected in 2004.

Chapter 1 Compliance with Statutory Policies Introduction

Chapter 2 Postal Operations
  1. Public Perceptions, Customer Outreach, and Mailer Liaison
  2. Products and Services
  3. International Mail
  4. Mail Volume and Service Performance
  5. Mail Distribution
  6. Delivery Unit Operations
  7. Stamp Services
  8. Licensing Program
  9. Service and Market Development
  10. Retail Programs
  11. Pricing and Classification
  12. Technology
  13. Intelligent Mail
  14. Financial Management
Chapter 3 Financial Highlights

Chapter 4 2003 Performance Report and Preliminary 2005 Annual Performance Plan