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The customer satisfaction survey process is measured independently by The Gallup Organization through a contract with the Vice President and Consumer Advocate. The CSM-R national results (see Table 2-2) showed a sustained CSM-R score of 93 percent for overall performance ratings for the first three quarters of 2004. Postal quarter IV showed that 94 percent of all residential households rated Postal Service Overall Performance as excellent, very good, or good, an all-time high.
For CSM-B, National Accounts reported another high score of 94 percent in postal quarter IV. These business customers are the Postal Service's largest revenue customers and are managed by National Account managers.
Premier Accounts reported an overall performance rating of 93 percent for postal quarters l, ll, lll, and lV of 2004. These are large revenue generating business customers, managed by local account representatives.
Preferred Accounts reported an overall performance rating of 92 percent for postal quarters ll, lll, and lV of 2004. Preferred and Preferred Plus Accounts are all other business customers not identified as National or Premier Account companies or sites. Preferred Plus Accounts are commercial customers with varying revenue assigned to Account Representatives for business development. Preferred Accounts are typically small commercial organizations, managed by the local Post Office.
1. Automation Activities
The Postal Service continues to automate mail distribution operations to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The foundation of this effort is barcode technology, which includes barcoding mail, processing barcoded mail in automated operations, and adjusting the workforce as necessary to capture savings.
a. Letter Mail Automation Equipment and Software
In 2004 the Postal Service continued to improve automated processing of letter mail through deployment of additional hardware and software.
Letter mail address recognition rates continued to rise as additional hardware and software upgrades were deployed for the existing multi-line optical character reader (MLOCR), Delivery Barcode Sorter Input/Output Subsystem (DIOSS), and remote computer reader equipment. Improvements were deployed to 346 mail processing centers under the Letter Recognition Enhancement Program (LREP). LREP is an incentive-based program where the vendor is paid based on the incremental performance improvements achieved. Improvements made this year under LREP raised the letter mail encode rate to more than 90 percent while reducing the error rate by 1 percent.
Another enhancement currently under evaluation introduces an additional database that is expected to improve sortation to the finest possible depth. Pilot testing was completed in September 2004, and deployment is anticipated to begin in mid-2005. Future improvements are projected to yield an additional 2–3 percentage point increase in the overall system encode rate by mid-2005.
In 2004 funding was approved for two optical character reader (OCR) enhancement projects: Advanced Facer Canceller System (AFCS) OCR upgrades and replacement of MLOCR machines with new DIOSS Expanded Capability (EC) machines and DIOSS kits for existing DBCS equipment.
The AFCS OCR project upgrades all existing AFCSs with optical character readers. These upgrades will be deployed in 2005.
The DIOSS EC machine is a further advancement of delivery barcode sorter (DBCS) technology that will include OCR and input/output subsystem capability. This allows automated processing of mail that currently requires manual distribution. Deployment of 395 of these systems, 217 kits to modify existing DBCSs, and modifications to all existing DIOSS and Combined Input/Output Subsystem (CIOSS) systems, is expected to begin in 2006. During the deployment, 646 MLOCRs will be removed from service.
These two projects reduce mail handling and will therefore increase productivity and decrease labor costs. In addition, updating from the 20-year-old MLOCR technology to the current DBCS technology will enhance reliability and maintainability.