USPS taps Northrop Grumman

The U.S. Postal Service recently chose Northrop Grumman Corp. to build a system that will track thousands of service requests ordered off USPS' soon-to-be-awarded network services contract.

The Northrop Grumman contract is valued at about $520 000 and is the first under the company's master ordering agreement with USPS which was awarded last summer.

The tracking system will support USPS' Managed Network Services contract which is potentially worth $2 billion over 11 years. USPS' National Network Service Center (NNSC) Raleigh N.C. will initiate change or terminate network services under MNS. The new tracking system will provide a way to manage it all. The center will oversee the development of MNS which is expected to be awarded within a few weeks. MNS will expand USPS' telecommunications backbone called the Postal Routed Network from 550 to 34 000 sites and allow USPS to deliver various new applications to its offices including state-of-the-art retail services.

The tracking system will support MNS by automatically validating agency payments for services and by checking that charges are correct.

The tracking system "will automate the way the USPS will do work" under MNS said Darwin Wilson business systems analyst and project manager for the new system at USPS. "The main advantage is that the system will be able to certify the invoice against what was ordered. It can also track vendor performance."

The NNSC will issue service orders to the MNS vendor telling the vendor to connect other post offices to the network. "When there are changes that take place on the network the [NNSC] will need to issue a change request " Wilson said. "If a facility moves then [the NNSC] would need to terminate that service at the old site and issue a new order for the new site."

Once orders were received by the MNS vendor USPS would receive a proposal indicating what would be done at a particular site. The agency would be notified when the job was completed.

The tracking system will monitor the progress of the vendor including how responsive it is to USPS requests and will write and issue reports based upon the information stored in the system. The initial release of the system will occur in March with the final release of the system scheduled for May.

"The MNS request for proposals calls for the contractor to install the network in 34 000 sites so we expect the system to [receive and process] a minimum of 34 000 service orders " said Mike Freeman program manager at Northrop Grumman.

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