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MTAC USPS Flats Symposium May 17, 2007 (PDF)
USPS Corporate Flats Strategy May 2007 (PDF)

Flats Sequencing System (FSS)
News and Information About the Postal Service's Flats Sequencing System
Letter Carrier Sounds Off on Introduction of FSS to Unit

A letter carrier in Northern Virginia who goes by the screen name FSSbrat has posted accounts in PostalMag.com's Letter Carriers Forum of the Postal Service's implementation of FSS (Flats Sequencing System) into their post office. The carrier describes problems of compatibility with established work processes and new FSS work processes that require a daily third bundle. Following are postings by FSSbrat:
"Week One of route changes due to FSS has been completed -- most carriers worked 10 every day!!! Surprise surprise surprise........Yes the goal is 1 hour office, 7 on street. Two weeks ago power outage shut down FSS, we got all flats in tubs like used to, doesn't fit in the case anymore, they have downsized all equipment, some having 1 case, 2 addresses per slot." (message 21,937 Letter Carriers Forum)
"As stated in my earlier posts, full coverage circulars are "COLLATED" into the residual mail, creating a single bundle -- suspiciously, no supervisor has been able to show any of us how to do this new work method -- they tell us to "deal with it"; I take that to mean do whatever I want to make it work -- I combine all my bundles, have DPS letters in left hand and everything else in left arm -- never have tripped, I set the bundle on my left hip (women have hips ya know) and can see perfectly where I'm going. Plus, my bag hangs too low (I purchased one of those elasticized straps which really helps to take the weight off my shoulder, but adjusted as short as it goes, it's still a bit too long); we need TRAINING to do this work method with all these bundles. Management is stupid." (message 21,929 Letter Carriers Forum)
"There was plenty of "warning" that FSS was starting, they even let us case it all for a few days (not sure what the point of that was) and then, hurry up and take it all to the street -- even if you sit in your LLV and organize it all, it is rough on one's back, that involves lots of twisting and stretching and reaching more than usual; we have plenty of PTFs (not sure of a #) being limited to 6 hour days, 2 days off each week; also have 2-3 TEs getting same amount of hours as PTFs. FSS started back in November 2007, so it's been 7 months or so and now the ##@#@# has hit the fan........The scary part is that this "transition" period is resulting in numerous contract violations and shop steward feels powerless, because NBA sits with management and they all cite "Article 12" allows us to do whatever we want -- on ALL issues, not just flat sorting. Will post more on the results of new route implementation which starts Monday." (message 21,877 Letter Carriers Forum)
"They divided 8 routes among the remaining 32 routes -- 8 unassigned regs will hold down vacation routes, etc. Not sure how long that will go on -- a few have detailed to other positions in PO. Circulars are pulled in as you pull down route, resulting in combined residual bundle (we carry in our left arm, FSS in bag, DPS in hand) -- inspections were a one-day drive-with several months after FSS deployed -- previous clockring data also used; I'm sure everyone will be working lots of OT, that is what happened every time they adjust routes. It's a lot of wishful thinking on somebody's part!!!" (message 21,870 Letter Carriers Forum)
"I'm a carrier in Northern Virginia, home of 1st FSS deployment -- in two words, "IT SUCKS" -- management here is citing "Article 12" to get away with whatever they want; as if that is the only article of the contract. FSS tears up the flats, and it's as if a brand new PTF cased your route, good mail, bad mail, forward mail, utf mail, other route mail - it sucks. Full coverage circulars are collated in when you pull down -- get this: FSS only sorts bulk mail, still have to case 1st class and takes about 1 hour in office -- new routes are 7 hours on street, 1 in office -- office is going from 40 routes to 32 routes starting Monday -- where will 8 unassigned regulars go? what about PTFs? Are layoffs coming? Can anybody actually live on straight-time pay? Not in Northern Virginia...." (message 21,865 Letter Carriers Forum)
Video: An Introduction to the Flats Sequencing System
Video: FSS - Transforming the Delivery Operation in 2008

Contact: Media Relations 202-268-2155
February 8, 2006
News Release No. 06-008

Washington - The Postal Service took another step toward completely automating the mail sorting process with the approval by the agency's Board of Governors today of a new technology.

The Board approved the redirection of funds toward the development and testing of a Flats Sequencing System (FSS) which will allow the sequencing of larger mail pieces in delivery point order.

Flat mail - which includes large envelopes, catalogs, magazines, and newspapers - is one of the most labor-intensive categories of mail to process, sort and deliver due to variations in size, thickness and address label placement.

Similar to the Delivery Bar Code Sorters that were developed and implemented under the successful Corporate Automation Plan for letter mail, the Flats Sequencing System will arrange flats in the order of delivery. This will reduce the time letter carriers need to prepare mail for delivery.

This April, a prototype FSS - one-half the size of the production machine - will be installed in the Mail Processing Annex in Indianapolis, IN, with field tests scheduled to continue through June. Following that, a full-size pre-production machine will be built and tested through June 2007. Upon successful completion of those tests, deployment of FSS equipment is targeted to begin in the spring of 2008.


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