Chapter 4 Our Operations

Delivery point sequence (DPS) letters are sequenced by automated equipment earlier in the distribution process, and presented to carriers ready for delivery.Did You Know?Express Mail users can now get volume discounts By eliminating manual sorting of letters, DPS reduces costs, improves accuracy and speed of delivery, and contributes to improved customer satisfaction. More than 99 percent of all City delivery routes and 86.5 percent of all Rural routes receive DPS. On average, these routes receive 87.6 percent of their letters in DPS. The goal is to raise the DPS percentage to 95 percent by 2010. Automated flats sequencing began late this year at the Dulles, VA, processing and distribution center. The flats sequencing operations expanded to 10 delivery units with 263 routes by the end of 2008.

Delivery office and street productivities continue to achieve unprecedented results. The AM Standard Operating Procedures (AMSOP) program helps offices comply with standard management practices. Data show significant performance gains in offices that pass AMSOP certification audits. To date, 70 percent of target delivery offices are certified. To ensure the successful implementation of FSS, certification is now required in the delivery units that will receive sequenced flats.

Aligning staffing with workload and effective use of the City Delivery Pivoting Opportunity Model helped capture significant gains in city delivery efficiency. Organization-wide focus also helped increase deliveries per hour by 4.1 percent to 62.96.

The Carrier Optimal Routing (COR) is a computer modeling program to design optimal routes and more efficient lines of travel. Benefits include reduced workhours and vehicle costs, improved carrier safety (more compact, contiguous routes that minimize unnecessary travel), and accurate route maps that are provided by COR adjustments. Carrier Optimal Routing continues to focus on data preparation for FSS zones. Over 56 percent of zones were completed, and the route adjustment process is underway.

In City carrier operations, declines in mail volume, improved productivities, and increases in possible deliveries drive the need for route adjustments. By adjusting or consolidating routes, the Postal Service was able to absorb delivery point growth without significant increases in the number of routes. As a result, the number of deliveries per route increased to more than 535.7 from 530.3.

Rural and Highway Contract Route (HCR) delivery is less costly than City delivery service. Although growth remains strong in Rural routes, the latest Rural count in Spring reduced more than 116,000 workhours per week due to dramatic volume declines. The table below shows the number and change in City, Rural, and HCR routes.

Delivery Routes by Type

End of Year

Change from FY07







Highway Contract Route






Carrier Pickup

Customers can submit a free Package Pickup request online at to have prepaid Express Mail, Priority Mail, International Mail, and Merchandise Return Service packages picked up the next delivery day as part of the carrier’s normal route. This year, the Parcel Return Service was added. Customers can enjoy the convenience of pre-printed, pre-paid labels and the ease of scheduling a free pickup. This convenient service grew over 20 percent in volume as more customers used Click-N-Ship and PC postage.

Resources and Support

Supply Management

The Postal Service attributed over $870 million in cost benefits to supply chain management activities during 2008. These benefits include cost savings, cost avoidance, and revenue generation activities. Efforts focused on delivering these benefits by working collaboratively with business partners to optimize asset management, standardizing and streamlining processes, supporting sustainability, and enhancing supplier relationships and diversity.

significant contracts

The terminal handling services re-competition resulted in awards to nine suppliers with a total value of over $580 million. By using a new system that manages electronic solicitations and technical evaluations, and combinatorial pricing to optimize the network, the Postal Service will achieve a savings of $70 million over six years. These awards increased direct spend to small businesses.

A contract was awarded to replace the existing Advanced Facer Canceller System (AFCS) with state-of-the-art technology, which will eliminate issues involving AFCS retirement over the next 10 years. Through aggressive requirements analysis and system evaluation, the Postal Service was able to reduce costs by more than $10 million.