USPS expands sorting technology to flats

The Postal Service today announced two new technology contracts and that it received approval to expand mail-sorting technology to flats from only envelopes.

USPS renewed its contract with AT&T Corp. for local voice and networking services. The one-year contract is worth $12 million.

AT&T will provide local voice services to postal offices in 13 states including Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Nevada.

The Postal Service also awarded a $10 million contract to SteelCloud Inc. of Herndon, Va., for production servers as part of the service's Flats Recognition Improvement Program (FRIP).

Finally, the Postal Board of Governors approved the expansion of the Flats Sequencing System program to help letter carriers put mail in order before delivery.

The equipment is designed to sequence at a rate of 16,500 pieces per hour or about 280,500 pieces per 17-hour day, officials said in a release.

USPS tested the equipment earlier this year in Indianapolis' mail processing annex. The organization now will put the system into preproduction at a mail processing facility in Dulles, Va., for one year starting in August 2007.

'Delivery is our largest cost, accounting for 43 percent of all expenses,' said Walt O'Tormey, USPS' vice president of engineering. 'That combined with our costs to serve almost two million addresses each year, means we must pursue every opportunity to improve our efficiency.'

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