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Chapter 4 Our Operations


The PLANET Code seeding program continues to measure performance between each plant. Specific attention was placed on the greatest areas of opportunity (e.g., more seeds were used between plant pairs with the highest volume/lowest performance). Seeding proved especially useful this year helping pinpoint the causes of certain service issues in Chicago. PLANET is short for Postal Alpha Numeric Encoding Technique. The PLANET code is used primarily to identify and track mail for services such as CONFIRM.

Integrated Data System

The Integrated Data System (IDS) continuously collects data from all processing equipment within a facility. It improves productivity and reduces costs by allowing multiple applications to leverage collected data to better manage equipment performance. The IDS also serves as the central data exchange and repository source for Surface Visibility and the Inventory Web Service, which will provide near real-time mail inventory data to FSS.

Material Handling

The Integrated Dispatch and Receipt (IDR) program combined the acquisition of machines for dispatching and receiving operations with integrated tray transport systems to reduce labor hours associated with these activities. More than 200 postal processing facilities received up to 10 different types of IDR equipment that automated functions associated with letter tray and flat tub preparation. While deployment of the IDR program was completed in 2007, additional equipment will continue to be available to the field in 2008.

A new generation of high-speed tray sorters is being deployed to automate letter tray sortation at large plants and transportation hubs. The Postal Service has also developed specialized de-palletizing equipment for trays to be deployed in conjunction with high-speed tray sorters. New equipment is being developed to automate the sorting of bulky items.

The Powered Industrial Vehicle Management System (PIVMS) enables safe and efficient management of powered industrial vehicles, such as forklifts and tugs. PIVMS was deployed at 71 sites and additional installations are underway at six more sites. Significant workhours, equipment, and maintenance costs have been successfully reduced. The primary focus of 2008 is to replicate success in these locations and continue deployment to new sites.

Biohazard Detection Equipment

The Postal Service uses a fully contained, automated Biohazard Detection System (BDS) to protect employees and the public from potential contamination. Initial deployment of BDS equipment was completed in November 2005. BDS Dual-collection (BDS-DC) systems conversion began in August, and 13 sites were completed. This conversion allows one BDS cabinet to connect to two Advanced Facer Canceller System (AFCS) machines, reducing consumable expenses without sacrificing efficiency. These conversions will continue in 2008. The excess cabinets from the BDS-DC program will be utilized in the BDS-Flats program. The contract for the BDS-Flats program was awarded in August with deployment expected to begin in February 2009.

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