***image1***The Ramstein Northside Post Office has implemented a new automated parcel delivery system called A2B.
According to Matt Haacker, U.S. Air Forces in Europe postal plans and programs manager, the new system speeds up the process of preparing, tracking, and getting parcels in a more expeditious and efficient manner.
Previously, postal clerks wrote delivery notification documents and then placed packages on the appropriate shelf. Location codes were handwritten on both the delivery document and the parcel. The delivery documents were then sorted for subsequent delivery to individual lockboxes.
“This manual process consumed most of our postal clerks’ day and potentially delayed the delivery of parcels,” said Mr. Haacker. “The new A2B system drastically reduces the preparation, delivery and tracking process.”
To enter parcel data into A2B system, a postal clerk wearing a headset reads out names and box numbers to another clerk at an automated directory terminal who then verifies that addressees are correct and presently on station. After this verification, A2B automatically establishes shelf locations and delivery codes. The system then prints two coded labels, one for the parcel and one for the delivery notification document.
Clerks affix labels to the delivery documents, place them in the lockbox, and then use a handheld scanner to confirm deliveries at the delivery window and to perform a review of undelivered parcels. These scans are fed directly into the A2B system for tracking and producing status reports.
“The A2B system is making great strides to simplify the mail process; however, as with any new process, some issues are still being ironed out,” said Mr. Haacker. “Additionally, the Ramstein postal office is experimenting with an e-mail notification process with the goal of providing yet another, even faster, method to notify customers of their packages and parcels.”
It is the goal of the USAFE Director of Communications and Information, Col Steve Spano, to use automation to simplify mail processing wherever possible.
“Once A2B completes a successful beta test, plans will be drawn up to automate parcel delivery at every USAFE post office,” said Mr. Haacker.
“The Military Postal Service will constantly strive to provide the most efficient and economic services possible.
“We ask your indulgence and patience as we transition to this new technology. Each morning when the mail truck arrives at your post office, two teams of dedicated postal clerks attack the volumes of incoming mail.”
One team concentrates on countless trays of letter class mail; separating and sorting stacks of letters placing them into individual lockboxes. The other team attacks a mountain of bags and boxes.
The latter is an enormous mountain of goods consisting mostly of internet and catalog purchases, birthday and wedding gifts, and boxes of cookies from home.
Preparing parcels for delivery and physically placing a receipt in the box announcing its arrival is a never-ending challenge for the post office, and it takes a large portion of our postal clerks’ duty day. The work is intensive and time consuming, said Mr. Haacker. (Courtesy USAFE Communications and Information)