This article was originally published on Snailtalk. It can be viewed here.
If you think changing a tire on a moving bus is tough, try doing it with a blindfold on. This is kind of what the Postal Service is doing with its network right now. The blindfolds are actually on the industry and postal employees. Someone there knows what they’re doing. Right? Right?
There is much more to these changes than learning some new initials…we think. The Postal Service has only shared with the industry and public that is legally required. The industry that will need to interface with this network has been largely kept in the dark, only getting snippets of the plan from required communications between the Postal Service with their unions. It’s not unlike looking through a hole in the plywood surrounding a construction site.
Even the timing and details of some of the changes happening this fall are difficult to ascertain. This will be a particularly important season to be tracking your mail. Here’s some of what we do know:
- NDC will become SDC – Sort and Delivery Centers. These would consolidate existing facilities into a single facility, where mail would be sorted and given to carriers. Carriers may need to drive up to 30 minutes (maybe more) to reach their routes. There are expected to be 60-75 of these facilities.
- No implementation schedule has been released beyond the first few locations.
- Athens, GA, will consolidate about 180 carrier routes serving 123,000 delivery points. This unit is expected to be completed by September 24.
- Mid-Hudson, NY, will consolidate 160 routes serving 100,000 delivery points. Scheduled to be completed this fall.
- Bryan, TX, will handle 150 routes serving 117,000 delivery points, completed by February.
- Regional Processing Centers (RPC), also known as Mega-Centers, will provide the equivalent function for larger cities.
- Atlanta, GA, could consolidate 73 existing stations into 7, with 2,327 routes serving 1.74 million delivery points.
- Indianapolis, IN, would have two facilities housing 1,058 routes serving 710,000 delivery points.
- Overall, the Postmaster General hopes to consolidate 19,000 carrier units into 12,000 or 13,000.
- 6,000 or 7,000 local post offices will lose their carriers.
- The whole realignment is expected to take 2-4 years.
There is a lot more to the realignment than these facilities. Surface Transfer Centers will manage the routing and transportation of Marketing Mail letters and flats.
The point of all of this is to simplify the network and run fewer trucks. Clearly, a change of this degree may impact delivery. SnailWorks will be watching delivery in the established facilities during the holiday mailing season, as this may give us a clue as to what to expect in the future.
As we learn more details, of course, we’ll share them with you.