Int. J. of Industrial and Systems Engineering   »   2008 Vol.3, No.5



Title: A simulation study of automating parcel sorting in postal industry


Author: Adenekan (Nick) Dedeke, Kuo-Ting Hung


College of Management, University of Massachusetts, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125, USA.
Department of Information Systems and Operations Management, Suffolk University, 8 Ashburton Place, 7th Floor, Boston, MA 02108, USA


Abstract: This paper discusses results of a simulation study conducted in a Post Office Processing and Distribution Centre in Massachusetts. The Centre is responsible for sorting all outgoing mail and parcels for assigned Post Office collection centres. The United States Postal Service (USPS) faces a decision on the future deployment of its Small Parcel and Bundle Sorter (SPBS) machines. These machines mechanise parcel sorting but are dependent on manual data entry. Though manual data entry is robust, it is suspected to create a processing bottleneck in parcel sorting. An alternative is to automate these machines with bar code scanning technology. However, there is no large-scale experimental study on automating parcel sorting process with bar code technology. This study simulated the consequences of replacing manual-keying processes with bar code technology in the existing parcel sorting process. We based the model on operational data and configurations gathered from the Centre. The results reveal that bar code technology can significantly reduce parcel sorting cost and time, as well as significantly increase sorting capacity.


Keywords: simulation; postal industry; mail processing; bar code scanning; systems reengineering; automated parcel sorting; sorting capacity; small parcels.


DOI: 10.1504/IJISE.2008.018230


Int. J. of Industrial and Systems Engineering, 2008 Vol.3, No.5, pp.515 - 529


Available online: 13 May 2008



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