Postal & Parcel Industry - Assurety Consulting & Solutions

October 17, 2010by Team Assurety


1. Digital Supply Chain – Strategy to Implementation

Problem Statement: A futuristic digital supply chain needed to be developed for the US ecosystem to enable efficiencies, cut costs, provide end to end traceability, and development of digital products and services for consumers. Idealliance is a non-profit owns all data specifications that enable business transactions between the parties within the US mailing and parcel ecosystem. There was a need to hire a company that understands both sides of the equation, i.e., commercial industry (mailers, shippers, consolidators, e-tailers, marketplaces, logistics companies) & the USPS for first and last-mile development of a future digital supply chain specification.

Solution: Industry-wide data governance, web services, and micro-services development, b2b Data Specification development, (Mail.dat and Mail.XML).

Services from Assurety: Technical Strategy, Functional leadership and industry, and Postal process and technology knowledge, Data Governance, B2B design development of data specifications, Technical collaboration with industry and USPS stakeholders, Change management process implementation, Communications (External and internal).

Technologies: Web Services, Oracle, Java

Client – Idealliance

2. Last-Mile Dynamic Routing – Parcel Cost Avoidance

Problem Statement: Only silo-ed dynamic routing existed for one data source for parcels, whereas parcels were manifested and data was also sent to the USPS through Mail.dat and Mail.XML and there was a consulting need to develop a single platform for last-mile dynamic routing that can support all b2b data specifications and optimize parcel returns management.

Solution: New Integrated Data Structures and APIS

Services from Assurety: Provided business and technical consulting to assess, identify and map from multiple data sources a single interface control to support last mil dynamic routing and returns service optimization for parcels by mapping Mail.dat and Mail.XML to the Shipping Services File which required a deep understanding of the business, data, and extensive data translation and transformation needs.

Technologies: Oracle, and manual ETL design and oversite of development and leading the testing.

Client – MEPT

3. First Failed Attempt Delivery Cost Avoidance

Problem Statement: USPS loses at least $3 for every first failed delivery attempt and there are millions of failed attempts per year causing the USPS several hundred million dollars per year and failed first attempt costs. USPS cannot contact anyone who has not opted in for communication and there is a need to support delivery decisions driven by AI and pattern development.

Solution: Develop a predictive Analytics AI platform that develops patterns on delivery profiles of households and using social media handles, operations data, weather data updates the delivery profiles of addresses optimizing transportation and delivery routes and saving on transportation and fuel costs.

Services from Assurety: Consulting, Complex algorithm development, Custom Software Engineering and data sciences, AI development.

Technologies: IBM WebSphere Java, Oracle, SAS Algorithm development. Using Java and Oracle platforms and feeding the coding to the MPE.

Client – USPS Digital Product Innovations under Marketing

4. Digital Transformation of Commercial Channel

Problem Statement: Paper driven postage, verification acceptance, entry, induction processes. Lack of visibility about customers, products, and service usage and very high cost of manual processes and manual workflows.

Solution: Discover/ Assess, Design, Develop, Implement, Maintain a truly enterprise platform processing over 30 billion rows of data and millions of transactions per day to process and upload b2b data, validate the data, calculate postage, debit customer accounts or invoice and adjust payments, use the data to verify the mail and automate verification of mail, push data downstream for induction validation, scanning and revenue assurance processes and support price and classification changes of all commercial products and services twice a year.

Services from Assurety: Communications (External and internal), Data Governance, B2B design and consulting, business process engineering, system and application design and architecture development, QA (Customer Acceptance testing), Revenue Assurance Analytics, and Business modeling/predictive analytics.

Technologies: IBM WebSphere Java, Oracle RAC, Java Scripting, Web Services B2B development MicroStrategy, Teradata for warehousing and historic reporting, SAS reporting and modeling.

Client – USPS MEPT

5. Business Transformation through Platform Initiatives

Problem Statement: Congress passed a law requiring independent reporting of Service Performance measurement and digital incentives from the USPS to the Commercial mailing industry.

Solution: Discover/ Assess, Design, Develop, Implement, (New processes, new workflows, new systems, new applications that enable a single big data information platform that can support all aspects of the USPS from marketing, to sales, to customer support, entry, acceptance, induction, operations, transportation, delivery, pricing and classification, finance, and enable analytics platform that can allow the USPS to measure all aspects of the business including service performance and share it with the industry).

Services from Assurety: Technical leadership and strategy, business strategy, Communications (External and internal), Data Governance, B2B design and consulting, business process engineering, system and application design, and architecture development, QA (Customer Acceptance testing), Revenue Assurance Analytics, Informed Visibility Design and architecture and Business modeling/predictive analytics.

Technologies: IBM WebSphere Java, Oracle RAC, Java Scripting, Web Services B2B development MicroStrategy, Teradata for warehousing and historic reporting, SAS reporting and modeling.

Client – USPS MEPT

6. Universal Pricing Engine (UPE) – Content Driven Rules Engine

Problem Statement: High Cost for USPS in tens of millions of dollars per year, and same for the industry to communicate and implement complex rules for over 45 products; including implementation of new prices, new products, and new services twice a year.

Solution: UPE – Develop a data-driven complex set of new data structures driven by SKUs to let software simply map and get the new prices with each release instead of writing complex software code with each release.

Services from Assurety: Consulting, Design, and Development of the new Data Structures, Communication and Collaboration with IT and the entire industry to sell the solution which would save the USPS and the industry millions of dollars per year.

Technologies: Web services and TCPIP based downloads.

Client – USPS MEPT

7. Capital Investment Decision Support

Problem Statement: SG360° was a $300 Million Dollar successful commercial mailing operation focused primarily on Marketing Mail and First-Class letters and has been using other large and small logistics organizations to transport its first mile and last mile mail to the USPS for final delivery. SG360°has multiple sites where mail is printed, manufactured, containerized, and then for the most part transported by third parties to the USPS. SG360° was looking for an expert organization that can help with the business case development through data analysis and decision support surrounding postage, consolidation, and transportation-related opportunities and an expert organization that understands DMM, postal rules and regulations, payment and acceptance processes, and the drop ship channel. This expert organization also must have a deep understanding of presort and post-presort workflows, processes and volume optimization, and transportation opportunities within the Business Customer Commercial Mail channel.

Solution: Gather all the Mail.dat data and load it in a query-able centralized database from all SG360°Facilities. Get organizational overview documents with existing site level reports, if available, and details on the current business and future comingling expansion plans from SG360°. Analyze the data by entry, destination, sortation, volume, weight, class, shape, and other pertinent characteristics with a focus on comingling, internal co-palletization (possibly external co-palletization as well), and postage consolidation and transportation opportunities. Develop a report outlining if the business case for a transportation organization exists and how big the opportunity is today and could be with future expansion of already planned comingling operations.

Provide the deliverable report and present the findings and recommendations to SG360°.

Services from Assurety: Communications (External and internal), Data Analysis, ETL Data transformation service, Data Governance, and development and reporting. BI & Analytics and Business modeling/predictive analytics.

Technologies: Microsoft SQL server, Assurety’s AIMS post presort software platform, Python ETL and data modeling, Tableau reporting, and modeling.

Client – SG36, a Seagerdhal Company

8. Operational Optimization to Cut Labor Costs & Improve Service

Problem Statement: Manual data entry by fed Ex, UPS, Logistics companies to request appointments at the USPS 250+ Facilities was high costs. Manual dock and resource management at USPS and no electronic induction Tracking was a major internal service performance tracking issue at USPS.

Solution: Discover/Assess, Design, Develop, Implement, maintain a truly enterprise platform processing thousands of appointments a day, and provide administrative management of docs, facilities, labeling lists, mail direction, and redirection management. Automating all transactions from customers to the USPS systems removing almost all manual data entry.

Services from Assurety: Business process engineering, system and application design and architecture, development, QA (Customer Acceptance testing), Technical collaboration with industry and USPS stakeholders, Communications.

Technologies: IBM WebSphere Java, Oracle RAC, Java Scripting, Web Services B2B development, MicroStrategy, SAS

Client – USPS Operations and MEPT

9. Logistics Load Pool Management & Workflow Automation

Problem Statement: Extensive labor costs, lack of visibility into induction and lack of early late reporting to clients were big issues as well as direct linkage from TMS and pool management and automation of induction appointments was needed. Identification of cost-effective point of induction based on tariff, LTL, per mile cost etc.

Solution: Digital transformation and business process engineering resulting in a Software product driven by APIS that automated business decisions through rules engine and updated the TMS pool optimization and workflows. Considering the postage, tariff, LTL rates, cost per mile, etc. intelligent assessment and comparison between different induction entry points resulting in cost-effective and efficient transportation as well as net saving on the total cost of delivery.

Services from Assurety: Consulting, Integration, and workflow redesign.

Technologies: Oracle, Microsoft .Net C# WMI web services, MS SQL server, web-based reporting

Client – R. R. Donnelley

10. eCommerce Revenue Assurance Platform

Problem Statement: Short-Paid revenues above $225 Million per year caused by b2b platforms such as, Indicia, and many others where small businesses, commercial shipping organizations, and consumers deliberately or mistakenly are not paying full postage of parcels and it is humanly impossible to verify every parcel as the volume of the parcel grows.

Solution: APV – Using manifest systems data, data from MPE (weight, dimensions, packaging, postage) and automatically matching actual, verses paid, verses should be a payment to identify short paid and invoice the clients.

Services from Assurety: Consulting, Definition, and design of the entire APV program and how the systems should work, leading Pilot activities including testing driving upgrades on MPE and performing testing with real clients to move APV into production and all onboarding and communications activities.

Technologies: MPE hardware, software, b2B web services interfaces/APIS and Java and Oracle technologies.

Client – USPS MEPT

11. Logistics Accounting and Financial System Re-Engineering

Problem Statement: Legacy Accounting System with too many incomplete workflows, manual processes were unable to meet the business needs and extensive labor costs, as well as reporting issues for A/R and A/P, were a risk to the business.

Solution: Newly re-engineered software application with automated workflows and scalable, secure, and accessible web-based interfaces.

Services from Assurety: Consulting, Integration and workflow redesign and automation. Software Engineering.

Technologies: Microsoft .Net C#, MS SQL server, web-based reporting

Client – South West Distribution – Washington Posts largest distributor

12. e-Commerce Fulfilment Hub Strategy – Technology & Operations Roadmap

Problem Statement: As parcel volumes and international mail is growing, the Post needed an audit and expert advice and consulting services that can help it become the western Africa’s hub for eCommerce by redesigning its sortation facilities, its sortation and workflow operations and updating necessary technologies to help bring more automation and efficiencies to the Post.

Solution: Expert Consulting and Advisor report focused on four scopes in the SOW, driving PNC operational excellence, volume and capacity optimization, Organizational review, and physical redesign of the facilities.

Services from Assurety: Consulting

Technologies: Hardware Sortation (NPI) and Tableau, and existing software at the Post.

Client – Post Morocco – Barid Al Maghrib

13. Service Delivery Measurement Platform

Problem Statement: Lack of reporting caused by lack of integration between SAP and USPS b2B interfaces causing time sensitive mail delivery notifications for early or late delivery to be provided after the fact. Vertis’s million dollars clients like a big insurance company and a large US bank were wanting proactive reporting by Vertis on early late reports.

Solution: Designed and Developed APIS between SAP inventory management and USPS b2B APIS, Developed Reports, and linked the changed identities of Pallets to original identities for Pallet barcodes. Developed a Web services platform for TL, LTL, Linehaul logistics companies to automatically push data to Vertis servers for their mailings that existed on Logistics company’s pallets and generate proactive early/late flagged reports.

Services from Assurety: Custom Software engineering and Integration services, requiring expert-level consulting.

Client – Vertis Inc.

14. SSK – Self-Service Kiosk for Mail and Parcel Self Service

Problem Statement: No Self-Service Terminals available for both retail and commercial clients to help with traffic and volume management at retail Post Offices and at Business Mail Entry Delivery Units.

Solution: Discover/Assess, Design, the Self-Service Kiosk and provide pilot and stakeholder management.

Services from Assurety: Discovery, Stakeholder management, Requirements Development, System Architecture, and application over-site and approval.

Technologies: IBM WebSphere Java, Oracle RAC, Java Scripting, Web Services internal APIS.

Client – USPS MEPT & Retail

15. Performance Analytics Engine for Parcel Shipping products

Problem Statement: Too many un-sustainable products and services with a high cost of maintenance and negative and confusing customer experience.

Solution: Real-Time performance Analytics Reporting Engine to help add, remove, merge parcel products and services and cut costs and increase revenues.

Services from Assurety: Consulting, Development, and management of a Reporting analytics engine.

Technologies: Oracle, MicroStrategy, Real-time reports.

Client – USPS Shipping Products

16. Hybrid-Digital Marketing Platform

Problem Statement: USPS did not have digital access to its households and was losing business to the internet revolution and emails and needed to develop digital strategies to create new services and products driven by digital solutions.

Solution: Hybrid-Digital Marketing platform that allows mailers, shippers, and marketers to market both physically through direct mail and digitally on consumers’ electronic digital devices and phones.

Services from Assurety: Consulting, B2B Integration, SAS business modeling, Design, Development, and maintenance of a decision support ODS and development of Apple IOS and Android OS applications on smartphones. Also providing communications, stakeholder management, and customer onboarding services.

Technologies: Apple IOS, Android, IBM WebSphere Java, Oracle, Oracle DLs, Algorithm development, SAS, and MicroStrategy reporting.

Client – USPS Digital Product Innovations under Marketing

17. Intelligent and Virtual Digital Addressing – Forever Addresses

Problem Statement: By law, USPS cannot keep any PII and cannot share any details of addresses with anyone, however, there is a need to generate new revenues through new digital products and Intelligent Addresses are needed so USPS can comply with PII and GDPR type of rules and regulations and create new digital marketing products and services without sharing any details on an address with anyone. Also, there is a very high cost of move update for the USPS, almost $5 billion a year and there is a need to develop solutions that can cut the Move Update cost for the USPS.

Solution: Address coding, barcode coding, social media handles, and digital identity all driven by algorithms that create Intelligent and Virtual Digital Addresses to cut move update costs where mailers don’t need to update the address lists anymore and USPS can keep track of the moves and where USPS can create new digital products and services while remaining compliant with the USPS laws and regulations.

Services from Assurety: Consulting, Complex algorithm development, Custom Software Engineering, and data sciences.

Technologies: IBM WebSphere Java, Oracle, Oracle DLs, Algorithm development. Using Java and Oracle platforms and feeding the coding to the MPE.

Client – USPS Digital Product Innovations under Marketing

18. AIMS plus™ – Software-based Post Presort ERP, Tracking, & Analytics Platform

Problem Statement: No centralized web-based web services platform available for large commercial mailers, shippers, and consolidators to manage their production mail streams. This includes merge and splits mail streams, consolidate, palletize, barcode management, payment and billing, downstream transportation and entry planning, automation of b2B business transactions, and tracking of mail with partners (TL, LTL, Line Haul, and USPS).

Solution: AIMS (Assurety’s Integrated Mailing Solution) single platform expanded for multiple sites, centralized business workflow management, and reporting.

Services from Assurety: Licensed COTS Software Solution.

Technologies: Microsoft .Net C#, MS SQL Server, WMIs web services APIS, MicroStrategy, Tableau, Power BI, Data Warehousing.

Clients – Multiple Large Marketers, Mailers, and Consolidators e.g., R. R. Donnelley, LSC Communications, Renkim, Nationwide Insurance, Access Mail Inc., and many more.

19. Technology Roadmap to utilize Delivery data to develop a Digital Marketing Platform

Problem Statement: Canada Post Corporation (CPC) sought a digital strategy for a new Mail Visibility and digital marketing platform. The new program would need to help CPC’s commercial customers reach their customers in new ways with targeted marketing and allow for future digital product offerings. The system needed to capture and communicate scanning data in real time and integrate the new digital marketing platform with existing structures. Due to the critical nature of mail delivery, there could be no interruption in service to CPC customers during the rollout of the program, so interdependencies and risks needed to be managed upfront.

Solution: Assurety was retained to collect essential requirements, identify gaps and develop a business and technical strategy roadmap for implementing a Mail Visibility and digital marketing platform. Assurety engaged more than 60 members of CPC’s staff and third-party vendors to understand needs and gaps and 230 documents were reviewed. Assurety created a roadmap for immediate implementation and presented a report to the senior management of CPC for future development of the Mail Visibility program. The engagement was completed in a very short amount of time and helped CPC launch their program in a timely manner.

Services from Assurety: digital transformation expertise, data governance, consulting, technology roadmap

Technologies: SAS, Oracle, Java

Clients – Canada Post Corporation

20. Intelligent Mail Barcode

Problem Statement: During the George W. Bush administration, Congress passed a law requiring USPS to gather data and track average delivery times, and to create incentives for the mailing industry to either invest more work-share or pay additional fees to maintain USPS cash flow.
The congressional mandate required a tiered fee structure to give additional discounts to mailings that were sorted in ways that saved USPS labor and reduced sorting times. USPS was only given a timeline, but not a rubric of how to implement or meet any of these new requirements. The Postal Service saw an opportunity to automate more of their processes, and implement seamless acceptance while they were at it, which would revolutionize the way every aspect of commercial mail was sorted, handled and billed within the system.

Solution: Assurety helped USPS meet each requirement of their federal mandate, and ramp up Seamless Acceptance. Assurety devised an automated QA program that analyzed the quality of each mailing by a certain company, and after review, assigned them a discount structure based on their ability to meet certain benchmarks.
The solution involved deploying a 17-digit barcode that includes information as granular as the position of the address within a carrier’s route, along with computer-selected, digitally-confirmed spot checks of individual mail pieces as they are inducted into a USPS facility, thus eliminating the need for most DMUs all together. As a mailer increased their ability to sort at the highest level – and maintain the most accurate address information, the system bumped them into a higher discount tier.
This risk-based plan was only made possible by Assurety creating a completely digital supply chain, and played a role as thought leaders in driving the design and implementation of the program, inducing barcode design.

Services from Assurety: Services from Assurety: Leadership, Discovery, program and technology governance, requirements management, Customer Acceptance Testing, Communications, Complex Problem Solving

Technologies: Oracle, Java, MicroStrategy

Clients – USPS

Team Assurety

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22570 Markey Court Suite 200,
Sterling, VA 20166
OUR LOCATIONSWhere to find us?
Washington DC
Kuala Lumpur
GET IN TOUCHAssurety Consulting & Solutions Social links
Find us on these social network sites

© 2003 – 2022 Assurety Consulting™, Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2003 – 2022 Assurety Consulting™, Inc. All rights reserved.

Mail Entry and Payment Technology

Pritha Mehra (Vice President)

As a USPS contractor, Assurety defined B2B solutions for the mailing and shipping supply chain, and for the following USPS system functionalities: • Definition and development of solutions for Full-Service Intelligent Mail including: Full-Service ACS, Mail Tracking, Informed Visibility data reporting and communications, Rules for mail preparations, classification and verifications, MID/GRID creation, management and communication functionality, Qualification reports, Postage Statements, FAST appointment scheduling Content Management and B2B transactional functionality MicroStrategy OLAP reports design, Surface Visibility functionality; and The SASP (Seamless Acceptance) system.