USPS's workgroups to improve service, measurement

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WASHINGTON - Three workgroups presented their plans at the Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee Meeting, each with its own purpose. All three shared a common goal: to improve service and measurement.

The first group's task was to revise the strategic transformation plan. Linda Kingsley, USPS senior vice president of strategy and transition, said that the workgroup is in the midst of revision and that the actual document is not due for another year.

The USPS is supposed to put together five-year plans every three years. Now the group has a big challenge. It totally has to revise the plan give the new law, which went into effect in May.

"So far we have set up some strategies that revolve around intelligent mail," Kingsley said. "All in all we need think of ways to reduce costs, generate more money and improve service."

The new law accelerates the need to measure service for all classes of mail using intelligent mail. In addition, Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance is changing. Due to all of this the workgroup is resetting their priorities in the new plan.

"One challenge that we face is meeting CPI, as we now have to look at each class of mail individually," Kingsley added.

The new plan is expected to be out in November of this year.

The next workgroup talked about how it is set to identify gaps and define solutions for adoption of PostalOne by lettershops and mail service providers.

Steve Colella, one of the workgroup members, said that more companies are accepting electronic statements and therefore they must indicate status, either preliminary or final.

"Postal statements must be encoded to prevent fraud," Colella said.

Mail preparers want to be able to track and trace their pallets having as little as 200 pieces or 50 lbs. of mail. He also mentioned that spoilage has to be accounted for.

The group has made a software vendor capability matrix draft, and a final matrix is expected shortly.

The last group is responsible for advanced notification streamlined verification. Carla Siniscachi presented the group's process. The workgroup's aim is to define capabilities for streamlined notification and accessibility for First-Class Mail.

"The only way to do this is to develop and approach for First-Class Mail notification and visibility through the understanding of the processing and operations of this class mail," Siniscachi said.

Determining how advance notification data will optimize the normal day-to-day activities of USPS's systems like transportation is a first step. The group wants mailers to provide same period as last year data (SPLY).

"We also looked at destination pair, but SPLY is the most accurate to forecast volume," Siniscachi said.

Mailers were able to forecast the following two to four weeks in advance:

-- Induction date and time

-- Plant load vs. mailer drop off

-- Mail transport equipment type and average numbers

-- Type of handling unit

With this data the group is able to develop the requirements and designs for FAST for First-Class Mail.

FAST will allow mailers to provide forecasting and just-in-time (JIT) information like date, origin/destination and number of pieces.

"This type of information will be very helpful for our planning," Siniscachi said.

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