The United States Postal Service’s® Response to Understanding This Year’s Peak Season
This article appeared in the December 2021 edition of NPSOA Magazine
Welcome to the highly anticipated peak holiday season for the United States Postal Service! For many mailers, this season comes with a lot of unknowns and anxieties. This year, the USPS® introduced the Business Intelligence Capacity Model, or BICM, program to help mitigate concerns about postal service and establish stability during this busy time.
In 2020, the Postal Service™ saw a record-breaking 25% increase in holiday shipping and package volume, with revenue up by $2.1 billion over the same quarter in 2019. About 1.1 billion packages were delivered during the holiday season. With concerns over increased volume in 2021, BICM will ensure that potential gridlocks in the mailstream are uncovered before they pose risks to postal efficiency.
According to the USPS, BICM uses analytics and webcam footage of physical staging areas and dock traffic to provide real-time snapshots of more than 300 postal facilities. The information is obtained and compared to historical trends, current processing activities, and synchronous video observation is displayed in a convenient online dashboard, providing USPS with a peak season playbook.
“Moving the mail is a sequential process comprised of timely performance, collaboration, and both manual and automated efforts,” said Jeff Johnson, the USPS enterprise analytics vice president. “If one element falters, then the overall process is impacted — compromising our mission to deliver according to our set standards.”
The BCIM is a round-the-clock program that offers insights into the postal processing and delivery network before problems occur. It helps the Postal Service™ predict challenges and provide support before they can cause service disruptions.
In response to the BICM program, Chris Lien, Executive VP for Industry Affairs at BCC Software, said, “Hopefully, this new BICM will help the USPS and, by extension, the mailing industry, through an essential peak mailing season.” He continued by stating, “Having a successful and stable peak season isn’t important just to mailers; it will help to stabilize the network in preparation for what will likely be a huge vote by mail initiative for the 2022 mid-term elections.”
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