From notice posted on Federal Biz Opps
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is initiating a new acquisition program entitled “Next Generation Mail Processing Solution” to identify participants and sources of supply, capable of providing research and development, design, and in or out sourced manufacturing for a new state-of-the-art, automated, mail processing design solution. This solution will be deployed to sort and sequence the high volume of letter and flat mail currently processed within USPS facilities nationwide.
This market notice and supply chain opportunity is ultimately seeking suppliers who can offer new or not previously fielded concepts or variations of existing equipment, having an achievable maturation path leading to deployable equipment commencing within the next six years.
This initial notice is providing for market research and publication of opportunity, with a following step of additional discussions related to supplier capabilities and qualifications for inclusion within a competitive process toward the above goal.
Current Mail Processing Operational Information:
Currently, the Postal Service processes approximately 550 million letter and flat mail pieces at 283 processing facilities each day. The USPS segregates letter and flat shaped mail as it enters processing, and this separation is maintained throughout the sorting process. Our existing automated process yields a high volume of sorted mail to a finite number of delivery points. Several high speed processing runs are performed each day to accommodate all delivery points within a single mail processing centers’ coverage area. Letter and flat mail is manually merged during the final processing operations by our street carriers for delivery to the addressee.
NGMPS Program Objectives:
The NGMPS Program Objective is to deploy a system solution which will be capable of efficiently, reliably and accurately delivery point sequencing both letter and flat mail simultaneously within a merged mail stream and within the same system. As space is a cost consideration for the USPS, the solution should utilize and accomplish this task within the smallest footprint possible. The required output of the system is a single, combined mail stream for letter and flat mail in delivery point sequence order. Designed solutions should consider the use of specifically designed letter and flat mail input subsystems, or use feeders currently deployed within the Postal Service. Deployment of equipment to individual delivery units is not desired and does not meet the Postal Service’s future vision. Competitive factors for success will be sort and sequence accuracy, time to process, and the systems ability to support our established high standards of service for the American people. Additional factors are projected to be development cost to bring to market, system reliability, accept rate, labor cost to operate, and overall space required to accomplish the mission. Finally through NGMPS, the USPS seeks a system which can be deployed nationally and incrementally to provide maximum flexibility to delivery point sequence letter and flat shaped mail within existing and future Postal Service infrastructure.
Future Mail Trend Impact on NGMPS:
Research indicates a shift in mailing trends propelled by the numerous means of communication options available to business and consumers today. These trends are characterized by slower mail volume growth and continued increases in the number of delivery points. As volume growth slows, emphasis must shift to accommodate more delivery points with less volume. A new solution with processing based upon the volume of mail available, with delivery points as the variable, would provide an opportunity to streamline operations. Processing letter and flat shaped mail on one system (using either a single induction feeder or multiple induction feeders to accommodate the varying mail shapes) would eliminate the manual merging process, improve efficiencies, and reduce costs. The most efficient processing scenario would be a one feed solution for letter and flat mail, independent of delivery points, limited only by a maximum volume, which would provide a merged letter and flat mail product in delivery point order. The NGMPS Program is seeking such a solution.
NGMPS Acquisition Approach:
The Postal Service will provide for a supplier prequalification and competitive process through identified Phases leading to test and production deployment. The Postal Service is reviewing alternative approaches to ensure that it provides for selection of a best value solution which ensures supply base availability to support future deployment phases, quantity acquisitions, and system upgrades.
NGMPS Phase I Acquisition Schedule/Time Line:
It is envisioned that development and deployment of the NGMPS will be contracted for in phases. Phase I will include a study, concept design, and simulation deliverable. Simulation analysis is critical in demonstrating the potential USPS return on investment of the developed concept to substantially and positively impact USPS infrastructure in mail processing, transportation, logistic and delivery operations.
Phase II is planned as an equipment build and component test phase, with participation planned for those suppliers, and their manufacturing source if applicable, who submitted concept designs and simulations which were considered by the Postal Service as best value in the ability of the design concept to meet operational needs. Phase II will be divided into subsequent “equipment build” phases, which might include major component bread board, prototype, or pre-production phases depending upon the maturation level of the proposed solution.
It is anticipated that the USPS will issue a Statement of Objectives (SOO) to pre-qualified sources in January 2009, and that contracts for Phase I as described would be awarded no later than April 2009. A subsequent announcement prior to RFP issuance in January will identify all pre-qualified participants.