Technology is literally at the touch of our fingertips these days. With so much power in our hands, we also tend to expect more. For instance, many people nowadays want to know exactly where their mails are, from entry to delivery.
Today, the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) program helped bring visibility closer, and things like radio frequency identification (RFID) and global positioning system (GPS) tracking can fill in the gaps. Mail visibility allows the Postal Service to manage operation better, increase route efficiency, improve service, and even control costs.
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Mail visibility gives customers insight on mailing activities and provides them with analytics to help the drive business decisions better.
As the program matures, more customers adopt the full service, but it is still in need of work. Gaps in visibility still exist, such as the lack of communication regarding its location. This is why people use 3G GPS tracking like Trackimo on HCR trucks in order to have more visibility to customers, especially during mail transport.
In November 2010, the Postal Service initiated a limited-scope GPS program for its commercially contracted highway transportation routes, covering about 300 highway contract route suppliers. These suppliers were supposed to provide GPS tracking information every 30 minutes while hauling their mail, including location and the vehicle. However, a recent audit found that the GPS programs were only capturing limited data, mainly because suppliers were not being consistent with the reports to the Postal Office—which was not enough to successfully manage highway transportation routes.
GPS Tracking Systems
Despite the setbacks, audits still found a lot of potential for these GPS programs. If the Postal Service ever decides on expanding it, as well as report and capture data properly, it will provide them with actionable reports that could enhance data analytics, real-time alerts, fuel analysis, and even route optimization information.
GPS data reports could help figure efficiency improvements and even potentially fraudulent activity. However, if the postal service could integrate this program with other mail visibility technologies such as the IMb and other surface visibility programs, the enhancement of total mail visibility will be possible as it is “essential to transforming the business.”
The key to making this a success will be to ensure compliance from customers, as well as integration of various visibility programs in a seamless and cost-effective way.
For now, the Postal Office is still figuring out a way to integrate the GPS program to surface transportation—and there are technologies that should be considered in order to close these visibility gaps.