Where the U.S. Postal Service sees an opportunity to expand the Flats Sequencing System to more ZIP codes, mailers see a backdoor rate increase.
Postal officials recently told mailing-industry representatives that declining volumes and some equipment upgrades are creating excess capacity for the FSS. At a meeting of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC), they proposed having the football-field-sized machines process the mail for additional ZIP codes.
…Postal officials, including two previous postmaster generals, repeatedly promised mailers that FSS mail would cost no more than traditional carrier-route mail. That made sense: FSS was supposed to save the Postal Service lots of money by automating the labor-intensive process of sorting flat mail into walk sequence.
But it hasn’t worked out that way. On a recent (post-April 10) Standard Class postage statement I examined, FSS-sorted catalogs cost at least 7% more than the equivalent carrier-route pieces…
Postal officials explain that the FSS would run more efficiently if it didn’t have so much excess volume. They told MTAC that the labor-saving high-speed flats feeders they are installing will boost the machines’ throughput by 15% to 20%.