USPS will roll out sorting devices for mail transport and delivery

USPS will roll out sorting devices for mail transport and delivery

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

The Postal Service next month will begin rolling out a $73.4 million smart parcel- sorting system.

The contract awarded to Lockheed Martin Corp.'s federal systems group in Manassas, Va., calls for the installation of 42 Singulate, Scan and Induction Units (SSUIs) at 21 bulk mail centers by July 2002.

The units will align, measure and sort bar coded parcels of up to 21 inches in length, reducing labor costs by $24 million annually, the Postal Service estimated.

'We started development by approaching it from the labor standpoint. We wanted to automate the' parcel-sorting system, said William J. Dowling, the service's vice president of engineering. USPS tested prototypes at its Dallas and Pittsburgh bulk mail centers.

All the bulk mail centers will use an assembly line system to process the parcels.

Lockheed Martin's systems will organize parcels into a single-file line so the SSIU's Omni Scan Tunnel can read all six sides to find and capture the bar code. The Fixed Mechanization Process Control System, the Postal Service's standard system for bulk mail data collection, will then weigh and sort the parcels to determine transportation route and other delivery requirements.

The centers will store the parcel data locally in Oracle8 databases on servers running Microsoft Windows NT. Local USPS employees and remote Lockheed Martin personnel can access the raw data, said Paul Malagari, Lockheed Martin's SSIU program manager.

Each center will be able to use the data to control and monitor operations by closely watching workflow, he said. The system will help the centers better deal with overloads and underloads by identifying trends related to parcel size, Malagari said.

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