Postal Service gets new chief tech officer, new vision

Incorporating technology efficiently is the top priority for the U.S. Postal Service's new chief technology officer, Pete Jacobson.

Jacobson, who returns to the Postal Service after working in the private sector for five years, said he hopes to address three major goals while he is in office:

    * Kick-start the Information Platform program, which was designed to enhance the delivery of real-time information to postal managers.

    * Provide easier accessibility to delivery information.

    * Improve material handling.

Jacobson's predecessor, Norm Lorentz, started the Information Platform program five years ago. The platform system monitors automated machinery and notifies an operator if equipment is not working properly. The program also provides funding for prototypes and research pilot programs.

USPS will expand its Internet capabilities under Jacobson's leadership, the newly appointed chief said. The agency will add up-to-the-minute delivery information to its online services, which include purchasing stamps online and printing bar codes for package delivery and verifying deliveries.

"A customer will be able to tell what time a package was delivered, who signed for it and where it has been from the moment it left his hands," Jacobson said.

Robotics and other automation systems are being installed and tested at postal facilities across the country, Jacobson said. Robots can read labels, load mail onto palettes and place orders on delivery trucks. Robots also record information into a database, enabling delivery stations to predict how much mail will be arriving and allocate personnel accordingly.

Information about USPS services and technology are available at www.usps.gov.

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