Peak season playbook

The Postal Service is bolstering its efforts to obtain, analyze, share and use data in time for this year’s peak holiday season.

The organization has created the Business Intelligence Capacity Model, or BICM, a program that offers round-the-clock operational insights that show potential gridlock in the postal processing and delivery network before problems occur.

This foresight allows employees to mitigate risks in advance, thereby maintaining steady and consistent operations throughout more than 300 facilities.

“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.”

BICM helps the Postal Service predict risk by hour at the facility level, providing local managers with answers to questions like, “Are we properly staffed by tour?” and “Is all processing equipment operational?”

BICM uses analytics along with webcam footage of physical staging areas and dock traffic to provide real-time snapshots of current plant conditions.

The information gleaned through historical trends, current processing activities and instantaneous video observation is displayed in a convenient online dashboard, providing USPS with a peak season playbook.

“Determining pinch points and potential operational decisions to offset those impacts are crucial,” said Mike Barber, the USPS processing and maintenance operations vice president. “The dependencies of one operation’s impact on the next is felt almost instantly and has a trickle-down effect that requires immediate remediation.”

Army green

The U.S. Army’s Fort Riley in Kansas will exchange curbside mail delivery for cluster boxes within the next year.

“This project is environmentally responsible and enhances the security of delivery for the troops and their families,” said C.J. Lincoln, postmaster for the nearby Junction City, KS, Post Office, at a recent ceremony announcing the change.

A total of 33 cluster box units, called CBUs, will be installed, reducing deliveries from 4,782 stops to 33. The project is expected to save $125,000 a year in delivery and fuel costs.

“This will reduce emissions in Fort Riley, with fewer hours of vehicle use,” said Belinda Mills, Fort Riley’s station manager.

USPS is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2030, compared with 2019 levels, according to the latest USPS Annual Sustainability Report.

In remembrance

President Joseph R. Biden has ordered U.S. flags flown at half-staff to honor retired general and former secretary of state Colin L. Powell, who died Oct. 18.

Flags should be flown at half-staff until sunset on Oct. 22.

To fly the flag at half-staff, hoist the flag to the peak for an instant and then lower it to the half-staff position. The flag should be raised to the peak again before it’s lowered for the day.

For additional information, refer to the Postal Service’s guidelines on U.S. flag display and maintenance.

Overwhelmed?

Sometimes the news can be saddening, maddening or overwhelming. Stories about violence, the continued threat of COVID-19 and other negative events may wear down the spirit.

For some, the coming holidays only exacerbate these feelings.

The Postal Service wants to remind all employees, especially those who have been affected directly or indirectly by recent events, that the Employee Assistance Program is there to help — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The service is free, voluntary and confidential.

The EAP can be reached at 800-EAP-4YOU (TTY: 877-492-7341).