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Over the past decade, technological innovation has advanced at an increasingly fast pace, creating both opportunities and disruptions in virtually every industry. The postal industry is no exception. According to the report, “Step into Tomorrow: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and Emerging Technology,” the Postal Service collects massive quantities of data on an ongoing basis. A challenge is putting this data to its most valued use to improve the customer experience. Changing customer expectations and increased competition for last-mile delivery have resulted in a demand for innovative solutions

Data-driven advanced algorithms and analytics can play a critical role in the design of these new, last-mile solutions. Postal infrastructure is, and will continue to be, supported and enhanced by the use of big data across the supply chain. The Postal Service transports millions of mail pieces and packages through its network every day.

To track where the mail is, how quickly it is travelling to its delivery destination, and identify any problems in the network, the Postal Service scans mail pieces at several points along its route. The network is vast, so the collection and utilisation of this information is best harnessed through data analytics

Data and analytics are at the heart of USPS operations, helping improve the efficiency and quality of services. They inform applications that track packages for residents and business mailers and could make the Postal Service more competitive and improve the quality of the products offered to their customers.

USPS’ Informed Visibility – Mail Tracking and Reporting service, for example, combines actual scans of mail pieces with assumed and logical scans during handling to provide near real-time data on the location of mail in the processing and delivery network and its expected delivery date.

In its research, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) interviewed industry experts and Postal Service management on the future of technological innovation in the postal industry. OIG also reviewed the USPS 10-year plan and asked international mailers and U.S. shippers to identify promising technologies.

Shipping industry representatives stressed…