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Chapter 2
postal operations

a. Retail Access

The Retail Optimization Access Management System is a geographical information system tool used to identify current postal and non-postal retail locations and to provide decision support in the placement of alternate access retail channels.

The Web-based application can generate demographic reports, market profiles, and retail expenditure reports, as well as calculate driving times. This information will assist in improving effectiveness in managing the retail network and optimizing the placement of alternate retail access locations. Deployment to the field was accomplished in May 2004.

b. Web Box Activity Tracking System

The Web Box Activity Tracking System (WebBATS) is a Web-enabled centralized database system that improves access, speed, and reliability of tracking Post Office (P.O.) Box service. It will support marketing targeted to areas with high P.O. Box vacancy rates to increase postal revenue. WebBATS provides a foundation for future expansion to include Internet access, which would allow the Postal Service to offer customers the convenience of reserving and renewing a P.O. Box online. Online rentals and renewals will be more cost effective than retail window transactions. Migration of all sites currently on WinBATS (Microsoft Windows-based) was completed in September 2004. The non-WinBATS sites will be migrated by September 2005.

5. Self Service and Alternative Access

During 2004 the Postal Service focused on improving the performance of vending equipment, deploying the Automated Postal Center, and increasing access points for consumer stamp purchases. Approximately 4 percent of retail revenue is generated from self-service vending. The Postal Service continued to emphasize increasing consumer awareness of alternative locations for stamp purchases.

a. Automated Postal Center

The Automated Postal Center is a low cost alternative to the retail counter that provides customers with convenient access up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the postal products and services customers most frequently use. Deployment began in April 2004. All 2,500 units were installed by the end of November in postal locations.

b. Stamps by Mail

Stamps by Mail service allows the public to purchase stamps through the U.S. Mail. In 2004 five percent of total retail revenue purchases were placed through the Stamps by Mail fulfillment channels. In 2005 the Postal Service will continue to communicate stamp purchase options so the public has access to postal services when, where, and how they want them.

c. Stamps on Consignment

The Postal Service offers a convenient Stamps on Consignment program, which makes stamps available through participating retailers, such as supermarkets, drug stores, and convenience stores, as well as automated teller machines through many financial institutions. Approximately five percent of retail revenue is generated from the Stamps on Consignment program.

d. Contract Postal Units

Contract postal units and other commercial agents and partners allow the Postal Service to reach customers at times when a trip to a Post Office facility is not possible or convenient. Typical locations for these units are shopping centers and local malls. The extended evening, weekend, and holiday hours of these nonpostal facilities provide Postal Service customers with expanded access. Research indicates that customers prefer to combine errands at one location. Implementation in convenience stores has begun in the Southeast Area, with expansion expected in 2005 especially in high growth locations.

e. Internet Channel:

The impact of the Internet has transformed communication and business processes and created opportunities for the Postal Service to improve efficiencies, enhance relationships, and develop new products and services. In 2004 the Postal Service continued to utilize this technology to provide products and services that meet the varied needs of business and consumer customers.

The Postal Service's Web site,, has grown into a vital channel, streamlining customer access to core products, information, and services. The continued growth of online revenue transactions, cost avoidance, and other indirect transactions has driven the total channel value to an estimated $591 million in 2004, an increase of 49 percent above 2003.