With package delivery a growing part of the business, it’s no surprise the U.S. Postal Service has focused efforts on improving tracking and visibility for parcel services. PASS – the Passive Adaptive Scanning System used to scan packages and identify delivery routes – represents both the promise and pitfalls of major investments in this area.

The promise: This improved system simplifies scanning for parcel processing and allows clerks without any training in routing packages to sort them. Designed to scan packages at the delivery units, PASS also provides greater package visibility with these added scans. Also, PASS is an important tool in dynamic routing, a technique that arranges packages into delivery points in the most efficient and logical order for Sunday delivery.

Now the pitfall. As designed, PASS also enables clerks to identify shortpaid (insufficient) or unpaid postage on packages. But assessing and then collecting that unpaid or shortpaid postage is a manual process. Our audit of PASS found the Postal Service didn’t activate these revenue protection functions because management determined the related manual functions were too costly. Thus, the Postal Service won’t realize a return on investment on this part of the system.

The Postal Service has said it’s redirecting package revenue protection efforts into mail processing operations, rather than at delivery operations. Still, the decision not to use a key capability of PASS technology – one that was a justification for funding 1,031 of the PASS units – highlights the importance of careful planning for major investments in technology.  

What kinds of new technologies might the Postal Service explore for mail processing and delivery operations to improve its position in the competitive package delivery market?

Comments (21)

  • anon

    A single ticket is valid for 100 minutes, allowing you to switch bus lines if there is no direct service. On the metro you can switch Metro lines at Termini Station with one ticket.

    Jul 09, 2016
  • anon

    Website lists 6th Avenue zip as 29582 but packages with that zip go to Cherry Grove. Must use a zip that does not show on your website or map of zip codes. Weird

    Jan 20, 2016
  • anon

    My daughter booked an envelope from Chicago [pre paid] to come to reach her in Minnesota and it was picked up USPS on 10.12.2015 on a priority mail. it is 23rd December and it has not reached her upsetting her travel plans to visit us and deep distress for her and friends and relatives. Not getting desired help from the local post offices.

    Dec 23, 2015
  • anon

    Unfortunately, this issue falls outside of the jurisdiction of our office. As the Office of Inspector General (OIG), our role is to investigate waste, theft, fraud, and abuse within the Postal Service through our audits and investigations. Please contact the U.S. Postal Service Customer Service office either by visiting www.usps.com or by calling 1-800-222-1811

    Jan 05, 2016
  • anon

    It is so important that businesses and consumers see the benefits of package delivery systems, because all the technology in the world won't be impressive if people lose their items or get things delivered late. That said, I understand the complexities of the systems involved and that it will be some time before a truly automated and efficient process is put into place. In the meantime, most of the time it works well for the consumer. I haven't had any problems.

    Dec 09, 2015
  • anon

    While this technology is in place, it currently is not working for my current situation. On June 9, 2015, I walked into the main post office in Augusta, Ga to process a 'Pre-Paid Mailpiece Acceptance in the postal system ... w/appropriate label # issued; as of this writing, 12/08/2015, I have not received a resolve. I have gone thru all the appropriate channels in an attempt to get a satisfactory resolve. The Manager at this post office is of no help, the clerk that answers the phone tells me 'it's is out of their hand as the mail is outsourced', my response is that the postal service took it and should be responsible until it is received at the addressed indicated. I am at wits end ... There was a gentlemen ahead of me complaining that it has been too many packages that they are sending and the recipient has not received. Inspector General's site is down ...

    Dec 08, 2015
  • anon

    My package was stolen from my box. Tried creating a claim via Inspector General the site is down. Contacted the local post office manager's number was given. Phone is busy. I can't even make claim and the government pays these guys funding every year even with negative net sales. What a joke.

    Nov 24, 2015
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. If you believe mail theft was committed by a non-postal employee, please file a complaint with the Postal Inspection Service at (877) 876-2455.

    Dec 04, 2015
  • anon

    Gonna keep sending these emails till I get some satisfaction, tired of checking my package tracking number just to see it is still in ISC new York someone needs to light a fire under someone to get them to do their jobs.

    Nov 16, 2015
  • anon

    Good luck! Apparently there are a lot of storage facilities masquerading as sorting facilities, but I couldn't get OIG interested and customer service can only make the local post office respond, even though they have no involvement. They now appear to be targeting my mail, which is of course a federal crime. I am reluctant to waste any more time submitting complaints and fielding phone calls, as it produced absolutely no benefit but did lead to obvious retaliation.

    Dec 08, 2015
  • anon

    One question, does anyone at the USPS care about us your bread and butter. My answer is No.

    Nov 16, 2015
  • anon

    I have a registered package that is in ISC New York since 8 Nov 2015. Why isn't my package being delivered? I know mail is slow but this is ridiculous to say the least. Please check on item registered mail RR416546585JP if lost or stolen I need to file a claim. Not a satisfied customer at this point.

    Nov 16, 2015
  • anon

    Sent an International express package on 10/26/15 to India. The tracking number EL 125413717US. This package has not been delivered as of 11/2/15. It had a guarantee to be delivered in 3-5 days. This package sat in Newark, NJ for 2.5 days before it was sent to Mumbai. The documents in the package were urgently needed by my father who may suffer significant losses due to the poor service by USPS in delivering the contents. I went to the Beavercreek, Ohio post office and they refused to do anything in this regard. This is unacceptable.

    Nov 02, 2015
  • anon

    Hello Saroj, Thanks for your message. Unfortunately, this issue falls outside of the jurisdiction of our office. As the Office of Inspector General (OIG), our role is to investigate waste, theft, fraud, and abuse within the Postal Service through our audits and investigations. For lost or delayed mail and parcels, contact the U.S. Postal Service Domestic & International Tracking department at 1-800-222-1811 or visit www.usps.com/manage/welcome.htm for help.

    Dec 16, 2015
  • anon

    I'M GOING TO MAKE UP A WORD - HORRIBLEST - IF YOU CAN BE. MAILED BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER OR END OF AUGUST..IT'S NOW NOVEMBER..WHERE'S MY PACKAGE. IT WENT FROM OAKLAND TO A TRANSFER STATION IN BELL GARDENS...PEOPLE IN THE CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT CAN'T EVEN FIND IT WHEN ENTERING THE TRACKING NUMBER I HAVE....SO LONG PACKAGE. IT SEEMS THAT USPS IS TRYING TO FORCE PEOPLE TO SHIP PRIORITY OR EXPRESS. AFTER SPEAKING TO THE MAIL CLERK - SHE MADE IT SOUND LIKE SENDING IT REGULAR MAIL WAS A LAY-UP. ONLY 2-3 DAYS AFTER EXPRESS/PRIORITY. AGAIN - REGULAR MAIL - BOX TO REACH DESTINATION BY SEPTEMBER 3 THEN IT WENT TO SEPTEMBER 8. TODAY IS OCTOBER 31, 2015. MAYBE THE 31ST IS A HOLIDAY, AS WAS THE 5TH THE 8TH - PICK A DATE. OH YES, SOMETHING I ALMOST FORGOT...I SEND MY SON IN TEXAS AN OVERNIGHT PACKAGE. HE DIDN'T GET IT. I SENT IT PRIORITY MAIL...IT GOT THERE BEFORE THE OVERNIGHT. MAYBE USPS IS TRYING TO BRING BACK THE PONY EXPRESS - EXCEPT THE OLD GRAY MARE JUST AIN'T WHAT SHE USED TO BE IF YOU READ THIS BEFORE SENDING YOUR PACKAGE....TWO WORDS...FED EX....THAT IS IF YOU WANT IT TO GET TO THERE. BUT USPS REGULAR MAIL AND OVER NIGHT DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!

    Oct 31, 2015
  • anon

    The USPS should consider using drones for package delivery or a system works in the same way.

    Oct 31, 2015
  • anon

    Interesting to me that some post cards mailed from Old Town San Diego and post marked June 6 2015 arrived in PA within a week, while others did not arrive until Oct 29, 2015. I understand postcards do not receive priority mail, but 20 weeks, 5 days (145 days )... A whole new meaning to "snail mail".

    Oct 30, 2015
  • anon

    It's going on a week now. I am beyond frustrated. The incompetence of the USPS are unreal. This is the last time I will ever voluntarily go to them

    Oct 29, 2015
  • anon

    I run a small business,.... I have to take my packages for an online business to a different town, Further than the nearby POST OFFICE,.. to get Proper Tracking and scanning... 100% Cudos to USPS Lindale, TX!...at Least One P.O does a good Job... . but Tyler,tx... M.L, King BLvd Main POST Office!.... after 2 meetings with Local Post Master General of the Tyler MLK office!..... ,.. Today,..after over 2 years of problems getting my business packages scanned and tracked.... and 2 years of complaints, lost/stolen packages,... no tracking at all or not until Delivered! Clerks Refusing to Scan my boxes and REFUSED TO give a reciept... then say,... after package LOST!.... YOU NEED A RECIEPT! Covering up the Failures of some offices by the Negligent managers, workers..... UNDERMINES... THE HARD WORK OF THOSE USPS EMPLOYEES and Locations THAT DO CARE ABOUT GOOD SERVICE! I sell across the USA.... More Complaints than atta boys! I hear from other Business men! ... but GOOD JOB! Lindale ,Tx USPS POST OFFICE! GREAT JOB!.... and Appreciated! and I am still Fighting Tyler M.L. KING BLVD Main Post Office Clerks to Post Master..... NEVER CALL ME A LIAR!..TRYING TO TELL ME HOW I NEED TO RUN MY BUSINESS AROUND THEiR FAILURES!.. WHEN I HAND, PROOF OF ETHICS ISSUES TO HIM!... FACE TO FACE! HE BLAMES ME FOR USING THE OUTSIDE BOX! and NEEDS TO KEEP THESE ISSUES UNDER ROOF!... CAN "T FIX STUPID! SO I GO OUT OF TOWN TO MAIL MY OVER 2000 packages a year!.... OH WELL! at Least ONE USPS OFFICE IS GOOD! what else can we expect! it is not the ignorance of managment,....but SMART MEN, ignoring the problems under their Control!! ETHICS CALLING A CUSTOMER A LIAR! BY A TEMPORARY POST MASTER GENERAL! HE HAS BEEN REPORTED! NOW TO SEE IF THE REST OF USPS IS WORTH THEIR STAMPS! HOPE THIS GETS SOME ATTENTION as with my Complaints going around this road block! THAT IS COSTING ME MONEY! and MY BOTTOM LINE!! WHAT DOES IT TAKE,... TO DO A SIMPLE JOB... SCANNING A BOX ,.. AIN"T BRAIN SURGERY!

    Oct 28, 2015
  • anon

    imagine that, the Postal Service lied again!

    Oct 26, 2015
  • anon

    It appears a bait n switch was done with the justification. How's that possible? You may not need additional technology if the DAR justifications are followed through. Not following through just sounds like laziness.

    Oct 26, 2015

Recent Comments

  • 18 hours 42 min ago
    In most of these comments, I have noted that people are upset with USPS as an overall company and do not take in the underlying factors that will cause your package to arrive late (as said in the...
  • 18 hours 45 min ago
    Hello, Natyisha. Thanks for your message. For employee misconduct, we recommend filing an online complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form by selecting the "Contact Us...

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