PARS on Track for Rollout This Month

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Postal Service's PARS is moving forward, according to a speaker at yesterday's quarterly Mailers Technical Advisory Committee.

The postal automated redirection system, or PARS, uses new and enhanced automation equipment and recognition technology to identify and intercept undeliverable-as-addressed letters earlier in the sorting process and automatically redirect them to the correct addresses.

Dave Williams, the USPS' manager, systems integration support, operations, said 16.1 percent of the U.S. population moves annually, generating 43 million change-of-address forms, translating into 2 billion pieces of mail "that we end up forwarding today in a highly labor-intensive environment. [PARS] is going after this segment of the workload of the postal service and will automate that process."

Once fully deployed, he said, the system will save the USPS $1 million a day.

"This is going to be the most complex system we have ever deployed in the postal service," Williams said. "This is going to change the way we deliver undeliverable mail."

PARS is being deployed in two phases. Phase one begins this month and will be completed by November, at which point PARS will be deployed at 80 computerized forwarding system sites, 49 processing and distribution centers and 15 remote encoding centers. The equipment is already in place at the postal service's National Customer Support Center in Memphis, TN. The second phase is to begin early next year.

Though the system focuses on letter-sized mail, Williams said, the USPS plans to extend it to flats and packages as well.

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