Saturday, April 4, 2009

Flats Sequencing Hits Some Bumps

Declining mail volume, budget cuts, and equipment problems are forcing the U.S. Postal Service to rework its plans for the Flats Sequencing System.

The deployment schedule for Phase I of the system has been pushed back a couple of months, while the coverage area for the 100 machines has been expanded. Some of the 32 original Phase I facilities will get fewer of the enormous machines than originally planned as postal officials adjust to declining volume for catalogs, magazines, and other flat mail.

Those machines will go instead to about a dozen locations that will be added to Phase I, according to one source. And one of the original 32 locations -- the controversial proposed new building in Aliso Viejo, CA -- has been canceled along with other capital projects because of the Postal Service's dire financial condition.

(See "The Unofficial Guide to Flats Sequencing" for more information about the multimillion-dollar FSS program, which postal officials hope will revolutionize its delivery of flat mail.)

Postal officials revealed in February that they would be redeploying some of the machines and that some FSS facilities, contrary to original plans, would get only one machine. But the Postal Service's "FSS Deployment Information" Web site still shows the 100 machines going to only 32 facilities, including Aliso Viejo.

Plans for FSS developed during a time of growing flats volume. But the number of flats handled by the Postal Service declined more than 13% in the past two years, and postal officials now assume that the volume will continue shrinking. As a result, the first 100 machines are now slated to serve more than 2,000 ZIP codes instead of the 1,300 in the original Phase I plan.

FSS machines have been operating in Dulles, VA for a few months but failed an acceptance test recently because they were missing "throughput targets," William Galligan, USPS's senior vice president of operations, told a Mailers Technical Advisory Committee in February. Postal officials are working with the contractor, Northrop Grumman, to correct the problems and hope to resume testing later this month.

There is some good news on the FSS front: Dead Tree Edition's prediction four months ago that FSS would lead to money-saving consolidations of the Postal Service's dropship network is starting to come true. One dropship location on the list of predicted consolidations, in Kansas City, KS, has already been slated for closing, while the one in Winchester, VA is the subject of a consolidation study.

Galligan also told Postcom.org recently that FSS, along with changes to the dropship network, would correct much of the Periodicals class's problem with cost coverage. The Postal Service says its Periodicals revenue covers barely 85% of the cost of delivering newspapers and magazines, leading some to advocate higher rate increases for the class.

31 comments:

CARRIER said...

what a waste of money for these FS MACHINES. IF you want to save money start getting rid of people who dont touch the mail. LEAVE THE CARRIERS ALONE.

Anonymous said...

Will our pay double when we are making twice the deliveries?

Anonymous said...

You are obviously both Postal workers. With attitudes like yours, it's understandable why you are going out of business. "Will our pay double for making twice the deliveries"? Maybe your pay should DECREASE for delivering half the mail that you did 2 years ago. Quit whining, be thankful you have a job you lazy union dirtbag.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of obvious it almost certain that the post left at 11:50am is in USPS management. Time to look in the mirror and repeat what you posted. USPS has finally wised up and is starting to unload wasted and overpaid positions like yours. How does it feel to look over your shoulder to see if the AXEMAN is coming? Remember that those who can perform the job just do it and that those who can't perform the job go into managenment.

Clerk said...

Why would a non-postal person even read this post? Whats even more puzzling is that instead of commenting on the issue, in this case the flat sequencing, we have people commenting on attitudes. Automation is a part of this business and it will reduce the work force. The clerk craft has been reduced significantly because of progress and the same will happen to the carriers. The bigger threat to carriers is a 5 day delivery week which seems inevitable.

Anonymous said...

a light duty carrier is assigned clerk duties... machines only eliminate jobs of clerks... less clerks = savings for the post office... 5 days of delivery only = more carrier overtime... this does not reduce the amount of deliveries a carrier has... volume of mail is low due to economical conditions... plans to eliminate routes then add those deliveries to remaining routes = trouble... if volume goes up so does carrier overtime... customer service is no longer a priority... management is only concerned about productivity numbers and justifying their jobs... these people who make these decisions just don't care except climbing the pay scale and get promoted... what does management do with a lazy clerk, carrier, or mail handler: get them to join management...

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how many people that don't work for the Postal Service know everything there is about it. There comments are insulting. I feel with the decline of mail why are we spending millions of dollars on another project that doesn't work. Why are giving out bonus after bonus?? For what, we are losing money. If you want to cut back how about including everybody, The postal Service needs to come together to fight the battle. Hopefully we will overcome.

Anonymous said...

Hey you idiot1!! Do you get your contract raise and cost of living raise?? Well, management doesn't. We have to earn our raise by making sure assholes like you do your the jobs that you get paid very well to do! When you dont do your jobs you still get all your raises don't you? So why would you call what we get a bonus. We work hard to acheive goals by matching the workhours to the workload and don't you think if you have less mail to sort or deliver you don't have 8 hours of work? If you are paid to work 8 hours why should you sit on your ass for an hour of that at the postal services expense. Maybe you should try to see if Walmart will pay you for 8 hours and only do 7 hours of work. That way someone who deserves a job can have yours.

carrier in CT. said...

to anonymous who posted at 827 p.m. you are typical postal management a-hole. i've carried for 23 years and i can justify getting a check every 2 weeks, I earn it unlike you who sits around doing absolutely nothing for his 8 hours a day, or whenever you feel like leaving. We have a building of 100 craft employees with 10 management positions in the building on any given day,any one of those management people can just not show up for a year and not even be missed. If any of the craft employees are not there, you have to have someone cover that position because they are actually doing something. Now you tell me where the wasted money is at? The postal service is cutting 1400 management positions nationwide, what a joke,They can cut 14,000and not even miss them.

Anonymous said...

Here is a question for the Management type.
(Q) What would happen if Supervisors or Management do not show on any given day?
(A) The mail will get delivered.
(Q) What would happen if none of the Carriers showed up?
(A) Not one piece of mail would get delivered!
It's a fact, the mail will get delivered without Management. To save money the PO should have only one Supervisor per station. I believe that is way too much, but could live with just one. Then the PO could pay the Carriers (the only employees of the PO who actually work) level 50 pay, which is far less than they actually deserve. Get rid of Management, what do they actually do anyway? The PO could contract out a professional person to input information in the computer. It wont be long until PMG Potter is gone, then Management will be cut, and Carriers will be self-managed.

Anonymous said...

Wow, someone is full of themselve how bout a couple of different answers to your questions
Q)What would happen if supervisors or management didn't show up on a given day?
A) The clerks would never get the mail to the carriers to deliver, god only knows how long each carrier would be on the street and how much mail the would bring back because no one is holding thier hand.
Q) what would happen if none of the carriers showed up?
A) Actually had a situation like this where all the slugs called in and only the good carriers showed up, 10 routes were covered by 5 good carriers, 2 clerks and a supervisor. guess what all were back by 16:00. Slugs showed up the next day expecting OT for their sick out. Amazing what happened after that, got a little respect when they found out the may not be giving a full day every day.
I will totally agree that there is too much management, but if people actually showed up and worked like they were supposed to you wouldn't need to babysit. Put all the carriers on a per piece pay scale so that they get paid by the actual amount the deliver, some days they'll get alot of $ some day's they'll get next to nothing. Seems fair to me.
PS not all Sups and Management couldn't hack the craft some actually want to make a difference and it's people like you who stand in the way of us actually getting good people to work so we can eliminate those Slugs, management, clerks, Mail handlers. I guess I was stupid giving my 8 hour job up for 12 hours day and 8 hours of pay trying to make a better company for people like you. Try putting some effort into your job and see if your management staff is as crappy as you say it is.

Anonymous said...

making a difference is only a fantasy at the post office. you can work your ass off and only be rewarded with more work. that is the only appreciation you get. if you are a clerk, management uses you to make up the difference of other clerks so productivity levels so an operation remains above normal. if you are a carrier, management expects you to carry extra mail and still be back in 8 hours. some people are fast workers, some are slow but what would be considered normal. if workloads were divided equally, one might finish in .50hr - one might finish
.75hr - one might finish 1hr. now say standards from management are set at 1hr for the workload. management has volume numbers and the lenght of time it takes to do the job. now how are each worker treated by management. how are each worker treated by their co-workers. a fair days pay for a fair days work. what is actually fair and who is actually rewarded.

Anonymous said...

non postal people are just jealous we have good jobs. If they were offered it I am sure they would take it.

Anonymous said...

Our dependency on technology actually makes more work for everyone. The ideal seems great but the results always causes problems such as delays and injuries. The decrease in the workforce saves money but the type of service suffers.

Evil Tom said...

Assholes like us,what a comment coming from an ASSHOLE that just sits on their FAT ass and surfs the web. Or tries to intimidate a carrier to go faster. HAHAHAHA. You don't earn your bonus,you will never earn anything but getting the PO to go belly up. Thanks ASSHOLE MANAGEMENT

Anonymous said...

Are you all kidding?! How silly all of this is. The FSS was a bad deal. That's it. We do have too many managers, auditors and limited duty people that do not touch the mail. That is a problem. The solution lies in getting back to basics. Mail delivery with stellar customer service. That's how we stay in business. Clerks and carriers can do and execute their jobs and yes, there are problem employees among these crafts. But these people move mail. They need managers who do their jobs with honesty and integrity and who have enough self pride to encourage rather than insult craft. There is waste, there has been waste and postal employees recognize this. The part that has to mean the most is the customer, the individuals and companies that buy our postage and ensure our longevity. Cool it with the name calling and get with the program. Cynical behavior is just that and doesn't produce results.

Anonymous said...

assholes man everyone is an asshole..truth is there are some management positions that are very unecesaary!!im a clerk and i know this first hand but we will need at least a little management to deal with problems we dont have time to deal with ..hopefully alot of manangement will retire and eligable clerks and mailhandlers and carriers eligable will retire and let us newbees /20yrs or less/ deal with the future problems we are all in this together carriers clerks and mailhandlers..maybe if we step up this change will include our input..change is happening ..lets be apart of it..voice your opinions so loud that the pmg hears you!!!

whitewater guy said...

Recess monitor please!

Carrier in L.A. since 1975, proud owner of two newly-minted artificial hips after all my years hustling the mail-trail.

-will retire before the 7-hour delivery day shows up!!

Anonymous said...

If you've worked that long for the post office you would know that the voice of the employee never has or will be heard especially by the PMG. If that was the case, there would be no need for unions to protect and represent the crafts. If you think newbies are the future, well guess who next to lose there job. Worker 7 years or less are not protected from being laid off.

Super Carrier said...

Management is the only reason the PO is in such predicament. What do they actually do?? Ummmm Nothing!!! A carrier is expected to account for every minute of the day, while a supervisor only works (I use the term "Work" very, very loosely when talking about management) only one minute a day. Get rid of the dead weight!! Management is an anchor sinking the PO. Have Management walk eight+ miles carrying three or four bundles of mail, and have the Carriers walk behind them with a clipboard. Sounds good to me. I suspect within the next 3 years Management will be a thing of the past. The funny part is going to be when those bitches try to become carriers, and cant hack it.

Anonymous said...

Come on people. Blaming each other, craft blames management... management blames craft. Really, every area of the company has employees who just don't do their jobs well, or even at all. This is the dead weight that is bringing us down. Carriers, take care of your bodies, work smarter not harder. The same goes for clerks. Management, do your jobs and help your work force work safely and efficiently. Save where you can and maximize the service! It is the United States Postal SERVICE. Don't let Mr. B. Franklins wonderful invention of communication be foiled by bad attitudes.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the last post has not worked for USPS or long enough to realize that some simple solution as suggested makes to much sense for the post office. Why fix something that was never broken in the 1st place. Well management is always full of ideals. Automation has caused more problems then what it is worth. If mail volume has decreased, why then do carriers still have to wait for automation mail to be finished. Because of this, carriers begin times have changed because automation can't be processed any faster. All its done is reduce the workforce and delayed when customer get their mail. Before all this automation, carriers finished their deliveries to their customers by 2pm. With the later starting time, carriers might get finished by 5pm. So how can USPS create better service when the concern of quality is considered less important. Everyone is already working together to get the job done. Believe it or not but it's automation that slows the whole process.

Anonymous said...

Automation is the only answer to the Post Offices problems. The FSS will work when all of the problems are ironed out. Just like every other piece of equipment. All of you mindless letter carriers, clerks and mail handlers had better see the future. Maintenance is the only area not being cut back. Maintenance is the only craft not being offered early outs. Any idiot can be taught how to walk and chew gun at the same time. Any idiot can drive a fork lift. And any idiot can read a zip code. You have to have brains to fix the equipment. And the equipment is here to stay. Unlike some of the craft.

Anonymous said...

Wow. As someone in the private sector, who has worked with (and been at the mercy of) the USPS for 25 years, I have to say that most of the posts here perfectly reflect the bad attitudes, lack of cooperative spirit and sense of entitlement that I see in the USPS system as a whole.
There are so many talented, friendly and dedicated individuals working at the USPS, but your juvenile (and I insult juveniles by saying that) name calling behavior just perpetuates the common belief that you are all a bunch of overindulged, selfish, and unstable jerks.
Meanwhile, those of us in the private sector, DON'T have guaranteed jobs, DO have to work hard and HARDER for the same pay we had before (or now probably less pay and less benefits) and guess what, we suck it up an do what needs to be done. Blaming, whining and bitching about it is a complete waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Maintenance craft consist of janitors to electronic technicians. ETs are only called when a machine breaks down or need cleaning. That is why their classified as an overpaid janitor. 7 1/2hrs are spent sitting on their ass doing nothing but non-postal related things. They hide in their rooms until they are called when a problem arises. Just like any craft you are trained or sent to training to learn to do your job. When an ETs got hired he or she went to Oklahoma to learn to fix this machines. To say they are needed is such a big joke. ETs depend on machines. So you would expect that type of answer from them. I know numerous clerks who became ETs. As friends of these ETs, they have told me what they do and say I should try to become an ET. There nothing to it, I would be making more than a supervisor does and do less work in an 8 hour day any other craft.

Anonymous said...

There is much talent in the Post Office. Many with degrees and talent but because of money they stay. The problem is unless you are important to management no one listens. Management and craft have never worked as a real team. There is no respect unless you kiss up. Craft argue with other craft only when they think they are better. But this bickering is like arguing with your sibling. Nothing really personal, just pointing out that each craft is just as important as the other. Crafts problem has alway been management. With a reduced amount of management, craft is more than capable to do their jobs without being over-supervised. I once had 3 seperate supervisors tell me to do something. Each saying I had to listen to them verses the other supervisors. After being tugged to many times, I ended going to the tour supervisor to classify which supervisor overrides which supervisor. Their are problems at the post office but decisions are being made without envolving the craft. Craft is basically being told this is how things are going to be done now. After numerous injuries from a management decision, they realize maybe this not a good ideal and try another without craft input. Craft are just gunny pigs and we are expected to make it work.

MegaRural2500 said...

The FSS affects everyone, after mail handler, clerk and then carrier jobs evaporate guess who's next? But we all know that it will not be the supervisors who remember where they came from, nor those who are actually qualified to supervise. It will be the old boy system, if you are the higher ups buddy you get to save your ass. We had a young supervisor who was a bit too much on managements side but who really got it on how to work with people, then we got a new postmaster and off she went. Now we will get to see it happen to a shitload of people. The tension level will rise at your office to be sure if you are in an affected area, like me in New Jersey.

As for carriers being the only ones who work, speak for your own offices. Our clerks, carriers and rurals work our butts off when the volume is heavy and chill when it is light. Also our shop has good relations between crafts, so we present a strong wall against management excess, something you all should consider.

As for the management present, likely you are not the decision making kind, as in you do not write postal policy, but are supposed to administer. Some of you act like leaders, others are bully's, complaining like you were still craft employees. You took the risk of starting over, a bigger fish than before, but now you have the attention of even bigger fish.

Insults get us nowhere, maybe we should actually work together, but that wont happen. Maybe we all management and labor are getting what we deserve, and none of us like it.

If that pissed everyone off I have done my job.

Anonymous said...

I have never worked at such a suck-ass place such as the USPS! I thought I was making a grand move when i was hired. I quit a $25 an hour contract job to work as a letter carrier. I do not mind doing the work and rather enjoy it, but it is the management that is horrible. Lack of people skills and attitudes and no respect is what feedback a craft worker gets from management. We are treated like we are 7 years old and do not have brains! I have six years of college and am far more educated than (any) of my management!! I think that anyone who becomes mangement should qualified and must BA/BS and have good people skills. I am currenting looking to return to college and get my Masters degree. That was the whole reason for taking this crappy job, only to gather some cash, benefits, etc. and quit!!!
I feel sorry for the people that will be left behind after the RIF....which I am currently crossing my fingers....will come tommorrow! I would love to draw unemployment from the SUCKERS! Then what is left after they rid the USPS with 20+ year olds(RUNNERS) because of having less than six years....hmmm guess the old farts will have to finally do some work! We have have routes in our office that I can finish in 4-5 street time with breaks! We have routes in our office that take 7 hours with no breaks! All routes are supposed to be 6 hours on the street! We also give our TE"SSSS the best crap to carry in the office , I am guessing so they won't quit when they have to do a really hard route. I had a TE complain to me about having to do the end of my route because I had to go the doctor. Lord, What a wimpy man! Bless their lazy hearts! I am looking forward to the day when they fire them lololol and start the RIF. As they kiss amnagement's butts, thinking all along that they will have a job in the near future? Maybe they were lied to by management before they took the job. The same as I have always been lied to. The whole system is screwed up and if management would listen to some carriers with common sense, they would work together to fix the problems. HAHAHA... Now that was the joke of the year! Bottom line is All the posts on this site are the true feelings of workers. Hell, it's real! I am shedding tears over ht eloss of management positions! I hope they cut 140,000 more! Then let them see what they can do in the real world....become a RCA....lolol oh thats right they have a hiring freeze...sorry scumbag go to walmart or to your local food store and bag a while! When you have Postal managemnet listed on your resume lolol, any company hiring will laugh at that! Don't you think the general public knows you are doing a horrible job! I hear complaints about you everyday on my route. How they were mistreated by management when they went to do some business at the Post office. I always ask, are you sure it was a stupervisor and the answer is always yes. Then I try to narrow down who it was and give them a name. Then just to amke sure itis that person, go to the Lobby again and ask to speak to that person and tell them that they will be calling district about how they have been treated ....I give them the # to district lolol, so they can call and complain about it. It wasn't long ago our management had a powwow about being nice to our customers...so, I think giving to number to district is working. I wish I had done it from the start. Long-winded comment here, but all is true!

Anonymous said...

I think you are all missing it - the party is over. Young people do not use paper, anyone under 40 and many over - think green, they do not care about if you have a good job or not, they think less paper, less garbage --- so enjoy your job while you have it- the next ten years will see many more cuts -

Anonymous said...

Last post may think the party is over. But wait till you find out everthing you do on the internet is not private and can be hacked. Be cautious what say or put in emails, sites you visit, etc... Your identity is there for the taking as well as finding where you work, live, married, children, birth dates of you and your family, phone numbers. There's a record of everything waiting to be stolen. Going green is great but young people are clueless to the next generation of crime and the privacy you have lost.

Anonymous said...

The FSS probably is a very good piece of equipment when it gets fine tuned and working as it has been designed. Unfortunately when the purchase agreements were made the economic times were not as they are now. If USPS has a 10 year plan to stay viable than it might be a good plan to scale back the fielding and utilize the current equipment. I'm sure we can make the FSM100 last many more years just as the OCR's and SBCS's outlived their lifecycle. There are many ways to trim spending and still maintain our careers. BH-IL