Need to reschedule a package delivery that’s in route? Not a problem. Want your medication refill at your door just a few hours after renewing the prescription? Can do. Order a shirt online and get it that same day: Check.

Thanks to coordination and optimization technologies, these abilities are increasingly available to consumers. And more are on the horizon. Our newest white paper finds the U.S. Postal Service has an opportunity to expand its use of these technologies to enhance its offerings and satisfy the growing expectations of customers, especially around package delivery.

Coordination and optimization technologies are mathematical algorithms, data analytics, Internet of Things sensors, machine learning, and software platform technologies. In short, they are the information technology engine that powers many of the innovations we see in the logistics industry, such as same-day deliveries by independent drivers (think crowd-shipping) or retailers’ ship-from-store strategies in which a consumer places an order online and the retailer ships the good from the closest store.

Like most players, the Postal Service already employs cutting-edge coordination and optimization technologies. For example, it uses optimization software for Sunday parcel delivery known as its Dynamic Routing Tool. The software selects from millions of possible routes and determines how each carrier should drive that day’s route to speed up delivery time. The tool even provides turn-by-turn instructions.

In our paper, we discuss possible new postal applications of coordination and optimization technologies to expand the USPS’s delivery capabilities and improve products and services. Ideas include:

  • Same-day pickup and delivery in rural and urban environments.
  • Customized delivery time-windows — say, within an hour or two — for parcel delivery.
  • Collaborative same-day urban deliveries that might combine postal carriers and on-demand delivery companies.
  • Giving retailers and small delivery companies access to the Postal Service’s parcel lockers.
  • Leasing underused parts of postal buildings to ecommerce merchants or other delivery companies for a fee.

What technologies do you think will most help the Postal Service remain competitive in last-mile delivery? Which of the applications above, or others, should the Postal Service consider testing first?

Comments (5)

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  • anon

    Mail delivery in my area (zip 28422 and surrounding) has become very slow and undependable since January of 2018. Priority mail takes 5 days (marked 2 day ), first class mail within the same zip takes at least 2 days, first class from out of state can take 2 weeks. Very unhappy with the current state of delivery.

    Dec 06, 2018
  • anon

    hi everyone. it is great site. thanks for all.

    Oct 13, 2018
  • anon

    Thank you for improving the quality of the postal service. I have seen faster deliveries and better service since 2017. I will continue to support the Trump administration because the executive positions in our government are now staffed by competent people with a mission to take the inefficiency out of government services. The initiative to improve delivery time via speeding up the transport of mail from planes once landed was a major win for we the people. From the Inspector General's Office to the VA, Americans are seeing a new level of service and people are being held accountable. I just wanted to take the time to thank you for the excellent work.

    Sep 26, 2018
  • anon

    This won’t work since the post office refuses to deliver packages now. They can’t ring a doorbell. This is not good. 60637

    Sep 10, 2018
  • anon

    Where are the vehicles to come from we don't even have enough to cover our routes daily What about the route adjustment process What about supervision hiring non career would be crazy as they don't even count toward supervisory workload credits

    Sep 10, 2018

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