February 29, 2024

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Data Analytics Key to U.S. Postal Service Digital Transformation

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 the need for more visibility into processing and delivery issues. They cited benefits of enhanced tracking – whether through the use of GPS to track trucks and containers or the possibility of affixing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) labels to packages and eliminating the need for barcode scanning.

Data analytics are also key to delivery route optimisation. Dynamic routing using real-time analytics would be the next frontier, he told OIG, enabling better allocation of delivery resources (vehicles, drivers) and optimal vehicle loading. One international expert noted that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will be key to predictive analytics, which would also help USPS allocate human and financial resources more efficiently.

Most experts the OIG interviewed stressed the growing importance of data analytics in the past few years and in the near-term future. Continued development and implementation of tools reliant on analytics could make the Postal Service more competitive and improve the quality of the products offered to their customers.

USPS has deployed several technologies to improve its services, including advanced computer systems. As reported by OpenGov Asia, the agency uses the Edge Computing Infrastructure Program (ECIP), a distributed AI system. Each edge server processes 20 terabytes of images a day from more than 1,000 mail processing machines. The Triton Inference Server, an open-source software, provides the AI models each of the mail processing centres need.

USPS also has several other IT initiatives underway to combat those concerns. For instance, they are looking into using autonomous vehicles for mail delivery and monetising their geolocation data. A February Information Technology and Innovation Foundation report touted the use of robotics for last-mile postal delivery.

Extraordinary innovation has occurred at the USPS and the work that is occurring by building an enterprisewide AI program for the USPS can be a motivator for the U.S. federal government and commercial businesses and enterprises around the globe.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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