How Does USPS Coordinate Their Vehicles?


The United States Postal Service handles 20.2 million mailpieces every hour, or 484 million each day. That’s 336, 649 mailpieces every minute or 5,611 per second, not including money orders, emails, and other postal services. With this vast number of mail to be picked up, transported, sorted, and delivered, how does USPS stay on top of their game?
The answer lies in the agency’s Transportation Management Shipping System. This system is an advanced dispatching software that allows businesses to direct their route of mail and make use of the most efficient transportation modes possible.
From production to distribution, this transportation management shipping system follows each package until it’s delivered to the addressee. With the system’s ability to scan labels, measure weight, and tag automatically, thousands upon thousands of mailpieces can easily be processed in seconds.
This system makes the mailing process easy, efficient and consistently flowing. Dispatching, in particular, is much quicker since the transportation system can quickly capture the mailpiece’s mail type, destination, and carrier with a single scan. Aside from simplifying the process, this feature makes the status of the mail known from start to finish, as well as protecting customers against fraud and tampering.
Click here if you want to learn more about dispatching.

How does the mail process work?

To know how mail carriers are coordinated, it’s probably best that you understand the mailing process from start to finish.
When you put a piece of mail in your mailbox or public collection box, mail carriers pick it up on their route and then take it to the post office. From the post office, all the mail is collected and then transported to a processing plant. At this point, USPS coordinates its transport vehicles via a comprehensive transport plan, which makes use of the vehicles in the most efficient manner.
After the mail is dropped off at the mail processing plant, each piece of mail is separated by shape and size by a machine. These machines also put the boxes in the position where the addresses are right-side-up for easy scanning. Then, your mail gets a postmark and cancellation lines are printed on stamps to prevent anyone from using them again.
This is where the scanning process begins. Using an optical scanner, the machine scans the address on each piece of mail. Simultaneously, a bar code is printed on the mail. This bar code represents the zip code of the address. Using this bar code, the mail is then sorted further into smaller categories.
The last processing plant is responsible for sorting the mail by carrier and the order of delivery. This process makes the whole process of actually delivering the mail to their respective recipients much easier and efficient, which won’t be possible without USPS’s scanner tech and dispatch software.

How does USPS coordinate their vehicles?

The mail process starts as soon as you put your mail in the mailbox or public collection box. Now that you know how the mail process works, it’s time to ask a more specific question: how does USPS coordinate their vehicles?
The answer is pretty simple. First, USPS vehicles have routes that they follow every day to pick up and deliver mail. This is why you almost always see the same mailman in your neighborhood, and possibly even the same Amazon delivery guys and the like. However, the process may not be the same with priority mail and first-class mail. For these types of mail, USPS uses FedEx in order to improve its service without increasing the price.
Why FedEx, you ask? Back in 2001, FedEx and USPS formed an alliance that still upholds to this day. In this agreement, FedEx paid $126 million to USPS to use the drop boxes at post offices. In turn, USPS paid FedEx $6.3 billion to gain access to FedEx’s national air transport network.
As mentioned before, USPS’s scanning technology makes it easy to sort and dispatch mail. Vehicle routes are all planned out and coordinated, so each piece of mail gets dropped off in the most efficient order. Due to the sheer volume of mail, the coordination process is done automatically by the scanner. However, if the machine cannot read the address on the mailpiece, it has to be manually sorted.
Tip: make sure you write your recipient's address clearly and legibly so you won’t experience delays with your mail.

The future for mail carriers

With the ongoing development of technology, a future with automated mail carriers will probably come sooner than we thought.
Delivery companies, including the USPS, are looking into autonomous vehicles (AV) technology. If you don’t know what an autonomous vehicle is, it’s a vehicle that is either partially or fully able to drive itself without a human. Needless to say, AV tech opens up a wide variety of opportunities for the logistics and mailing industry. Moreover, it can help improve the safety of mail delivery and help reduce the costs of fuel.
While there are still some roadblocks in the research of AV tech, its potential to change delivery and transportation industries is said to be possible within the next decade or so. Given that there are possible issues with operational and financial risks, the pros seem to be outweighing the cons so far.

Mail tracking

While we’re on the subject of AV technology, it’s also worthy to note a recent innovation in the logistics and delivery industries: dispatch track or mail tracking. Just a few years ago, if you were expecting a package, there was no way you could track where it was unless you call the post office. Today, you can check where your package is at any time of any day--a pretty big leap if you ask anyone who’s experienced the old ways before.

Conclusion

There are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to mail processing, dispatching, and vehicle coordination. Nevertheless, this article is a brief breakdown of what happens to your mail and how USPS gets it from Point A to Point B safely and efficiently.

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