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Developing Postal Platforms
Working with the private sector
                                                                BERNARD MARKOWICZ AND PIERRE KACHA
                                                                decision/analysis partners LLC


The concept of platform

T
       he International Postal
       Corporation (IPC) and the
       USPS’ Office of Inspector
General (OIG) have both
recently shown interest in the
concept of digital platforms and
their applicability to the postal
world. Professor Marshall Van
Alstyne, Associate Professor of
information economics at
Boston University/MIT, provided
both organizations with over-
views of his research in this
area.
     Typical examples of digital
platforms include desktop oper-
ating systems such as UNIX,
Mac and Windows; PDAs such as                                         Users, the demand side. These are                                 point for the developers and the
Palm, Psion or Newton; game                                           the target consumers of the platform                              users.
consoles; payment systems; and                                        solutions and services.
mobile devices such as iPhone,                                                                                                          Sponsors. Sponsors are usually
Android, Symbian or Blackberry.                                       Solution developers, the supply                                   responsible for providing the over-
The success of these platforms has                                    side. They provide services that at-                              all organizing structure for a plat-
relied on the presence of networks                                    tract users to the platform.                                      form, its rules and governance.
of users and providers, and                                                                                                             This may include the original de-
common components that create                                         Providers. The Microsoft Windows                                  sign of the platform and control of
sustainable eco-systems.                                              operating system was mainly pro-                                  its underlying technology and the
                                                                      vided to users by PC manufacturers                                overall intellectual property rights.
Fig. 1 on the next page shows the                                     when they acquired their comput-                                  A sponsor’s objective is to make
four key stakeholders of a platform                                   ers, not direct by Microsoft.                                     other participants see how they are
and its supporting eco-system1.                                       Providers are typically the contact                               better off by being part of the

1   Eisenmann, T, Parker, G. & Van Alstyne, M (2009) "Opening Platforms: How, When & Why" Ch 6 in Platforms, markets and innovation, A. Gawer (editor) Edward Elgar Publishing pp 131-162.


                                                                                                    Reprinted from the February 2012 Edition of the Mail & Express Review, Post & Parcel.
system rather than outside of it.                         formed within the company. Face-         opening the postal infrastructure to
     What renders a platform suc-                         book, on the other hand, made the        privately sponsored and operated
cessful is the network effect. Users                      decision to open itself to outside ap-   solutions would represent a more
are attracted to the platform because                     plications and developers. A com-        significant opportunity for posts,
of the innovative solutions it makes                      parison between the two platforms        introducing the private sector to
                                                                shows that Facebook’s number       support a strategy that will be less
Figure 1                                                        of users shot up considerably      risky, more innovative, and more
                                                                compared to MySpace once           successful.
                                      Solution                  they decided to do this.
    Users                            Developers
                                                                                                   Less risky. By opening up the postal
                                                                 Private participation in          platform to the private sector, posts
                                                                 postal solutions                  will limit the amount of capital re-
                  Providers                                         Posts around the world         quired to develop new solutions and
                                                                are confronted with significant    new services that may sometimes
                   Sponsor                                      challenges caused by the de-       bring disappointing results. This
                                                                cline in traditional mail vol-     frees them to use their capital and
                                                                umes and competition from          resources for critical network infra-
                                                          private operators. Posts need to         structure and platform investments.
available to them. Entrepreneurs and                      develop strategies that create new
solution developers are attracted to                      sources of revenue, yet maintain         More innovative. Private participa-
the platform because of the poten-                        the essential role of the post in        tion will bring more innovation and
tially lucrative number of users look-                    society.                                 experimentation. Control of the plat-
ing for solutions and value. These                            Of course posts already oper-        form by postal operators will ensure
desirable network effects do not hap-                     ate platforms, mainly physical dis-      a public sector orientation, while
pen by chance. They are the result of                     tribution platforms, sometimes cou-      opening it to the private sector will
well engineered, well designed rules                      pled with banking services. The          bring in innovation and drive. This
upon which these platforms are built,                     challenge is to gain access to new       will bring new thinking, new domain
and which encourage solution devel-                       platforms and to new sources of          expertise (for instance, in depth
opers to bring their innovative ideas                     revenue. Several posts have in-          knowledge of specific growing mar-
and energy to a platform. These                           deed developed solutions. A good         kets such as health care) and new
rules basically open the platform to                      example is Swiss Post, as its CEO        experiences and qualifications.
outside private investors by sharing                      explains elsewhere in this issue of
revenue and intellectual property,                        the Review. Such solutions are
and by providing the right amount of                      offered and managed by the
central development and strategic                         post itself, and integrate with its
guidance.                                                 distribution network and plat-
      Research shows that the level of                    form. Development of such solu-
openness in governance rules plays                        tions represents an important
an important role in the success of                       and positive step for posts, with
the platform. For instance, the My-                       the promise of new customers,
Space social network was a closed                         and increased revenues from
platform where management                                 existing ones.
required all development to be per-                           We believe, however, that


Reprinted from the February 2012 Edition of the Mail & Express Review, Post & Parcel.
More successful. This strategy,
which reduces risk and increases
innovation, will ultimately result in
new value added services that com-
plement the primary mission of the
post, and, ideally, create network
effects that bring more users and
solution providers to the platform,
thus increasing revenue.

Strategy for the introduction of
new solutions
     The success of the strategy to
open the infrastructure to private so-
lutions will depend, in part, on the
types of services and solutions tar-      the same time, claiming the utmost                scenarios, however, revenues could
geted by the post and its private         respect for privacy on the one hand,              be generated by third parties paying
partners. These solutions can             but monetizing it on the other.                   for information, or gathered from the
range from services that exploit the          Posts will need to take an ag-                receiver, especially if the services
official, universal nature of postal      gressive approach to the adoption                 provide information or value the
services, to those that leverage the      of new services in order to allow for             receivers are requesting and are
commercial value of the information       the creation of network effects. This             willing to pay for.
that can be collected about cus-          would include offering depth and
tomers and users.                         breadth of services from the outset.              Sample solutions
     The official, universal nature of    For instance, if offering government                  Below is a list of possible solu-
the postal service evokes services        support services, these should                    tions that would open up the postal
such as digital alternatives or com-      cover a wide range of popular                     platform to private participation.
plements to mail distribution. Oth-       needs spreading over many gov-
ers include electronic government         ernment agencies. If nascent or                   e-Gov/e-Gov Lite. Posts can lever-
services, and serving as an official      partial solutions already exist, they             age their privileged relationships with
interface between government and          should be integrated into the new                 public agencies and with citizens to
its citizens. Maintaining information     platform offering.                                offer support with administrative
privacy is critical to these types of         Another tactic is to work with high           formalities, helping citizens interface
solutions. At the other end of the        brand groups of users and solution                with government agencies, request-
spectrum are applications that try to     developers to gain instant approval               ing, gathering and submitting records
leverage information about cus-           and traction, and, again, generate                and forms to the right place on their
tomers that would enable discovery        network effects. Co-opting high                   behalf. This is sometimes referred to
of their preferences by analyzing         brands is also a way to prevent them              as e-Gov Lite because it does not
the nature and content of mail and        from offering competitive services.               require significant governmental
packages and thereby exploiting               As Professor Van Alstyne points               process redesign. These services
the so-called “Big Data”. It would be     out, postal pricing relies almost al-             can be developed and managed by
difficult for a postal operator to sup-   ways on the sender paying for ship-               a private entity within the postal net-
ply these two types of solutions at       ping services. Under new solution                 work, as is the case in Lebanon. The


                                                             Reprinted from the February 2012 Edition of the Mail & Express Review, Post & Parcel.
solution leverages existing retail out-                              gian and Finnish posts have devel-                                    and their preferences, focus on spe-
lets, the postal network, and payment                                oped such services, with varying                                      cific customer segments, merge
systems already in place. A software                                 degrees of customer acceptance.                                       transactional and advertising mail, or
application can be used to automate                                  Canada Post has developed e-Post,                                     take advantage of available space.
and track requests, and break down                                   in part, for users to receive bank                                    These solution providers could help
each type of service to its workflow                                 statements, utility and credit card                                   design campaigns, mailing, mail pro-
components to track progress, and                                    bills, and similar transactional corre-                               duction, and multichannel marketing
make it easier to perform.                                           spondence. Our approach would                                         for large as well as small businesses.
                                                                     solicit the private sector to come up                                 Postal operator data could help these
E-commerce. Some posts, such as                                      with solutions already developed or                                   solution providers identify and target
Saudi Arabia, have developed                                         partly developed, and jointly market                                  their customers, manage address
e-commerce platforms, or, like                                       them; and require the postal operator                                 lists, and create mailings, which, in
Canada Post with BorderFree,                                         to provide infrastructural services                                   turn, would generate traffic and
integrated e-commerce more                                           such as user authentication, informa-                                 additional revenues.
closely with their core business.                                    tion privacy and data security.
In a private sector based approach,                                                                                                        Next steps
posts enable private companies to                                    Custom logistics. Posts can offer                                          Posts interested in pursuing a
integrate more fully not only by                                     custom logistics services to com-                                     platform approach need to plan
exchanging information, but also                                     plement their regular distribution                                    their strategy carefully. They must
through opening up the postal                                        mission. In our approach, operators                                   develop the vision, define the solu-
physical distribution network in such                                open their distribution platforms with                                tion focus areas, and specify the
areas as integrated returns process-                                 on and off ramps at various points                                    business rules that will set the foun-
ing; determination of fully landed                                   in the postal distribution process.                                   dation for content, revenue and
costs for dutiable shipments; track,                                 Private companies can process re-                                     intellectual property sharing. Focus
trace and hold; online invoicing and                                 placement parts through the postal                                    areas for solutions should be care-
payments; customer service; and                                      infrastructure, or store kits within                                  fully evaluated, based on individual
business services such as storage,                                   large postal plants, then assemble                                    and business needs, the competi-
kitting, labeling and environmental                                  them, repack them or re-label them                                    tive situation, and the legislative
disposal of spoiled items.                                           within the network. Solutions could                                   environment. Posts should then
                                                                     leverage all elements of the distribu-                                engage in a campaign to identify
e-Mailbox/e-Lockbox. Posts have                                      tion infrastructure, and address the                                  potential private players, and put in
talked about providing digital services                              specific needs of selected industrial                                 place a replicable process to evalu-
such as secure email for the purpose                                 sectors such as drug distribution,                                    ate their proposed solutions.
of converting physical mail to digital,                              luxury items, perishable goods, etc.                                  Finally, strict performance measures
integrating personalized multimedia in                                                                                                     should be established to determine
marketing campaigns, providing                                       AdMail/TransPromo. The post                                           if and when failing solutions should
secure storage and archival of high                                  encourages private innovators to                                      be eliminated.
value documents, and supporting                                      develop advertising solutions that
e-government services. The Norwe-                                    leverage information about customers
decision/analysis partners headed a workshop for OIG on digital platforms with Professor van Alstyne in November 2011, as part of a study on the digital divide.




                    Bernard Markowicz bmarkowicz@decisionanalysis.net I Pierre Kacha pkacha@decisionanalysis.net
                                      Please reach out to the authors with comments and questions:


                                                       decision/analysis partners, LLC
                10400 Eaton Place, Suite 315 Fairfax, Virginia 22030 USA I 1.703.691.0380                                                    I      www.decisionanalysis.net
Delivery Management 
                               decision/analysis  partners  offers  practical  delivery  management  advice  and 
AT A GLANCE:                   assistance  to  postal,  mailing  and  shipping  organizations,  including  private 
                               courier  and  delivery  companies,  smaller  posts,  and  larger  distribution  
D/AP OFFERS COMPREHENSIVE      organizations requiring sophisticated delivery planning and labor management. 
DELIVERY MANAGEMENT
EXPERIENCE.                    Best Practices in Delivery Management
   APPLYING BEST PRACTICES    decision/analysis partners brings to every project the benefit of many years of 
    IN DELIVERY MANAGEMENT.
                               experience,  dozens  of  successful  projects,  and  best  practices  in  delivery 
   REVIEW AND REALIGN         management. Our teams help devise and implement delivery strategies that are 
    DELIVERY ROUTES BASED ON
                               consistent  with  corporate  goals,  labor  constraints,  human  factors,  and 
    CHANGING VOLUMES
                               operational/performance  requirements.    Our  approach  is  designed  to  reduce 
   IMPLEMENT A STRONG         non‐value‐add  activities,  improve  processes,  operating  discipline,  reporting 
    DELIVERY SUPERVISORY
    CULTURE TO IMPROVE         procedures, and increase customer satisfaction. 
    PERFORMANCE
                               Route Planning & Adjustment
   PREPARE PERSONNEL TO
    TRANSITION TO DELIVERY     d/ap  combines  analytical  techniques  and  strong  subject  matter  expertise  to 
    POINT SEQUENCING
                               design delivery routes that reduce travel time & fuel usage, maximize utilization 
   ASSIST WITH ADDRESS        of  transport  and  casing  equipment,  and  fully  meet  labor  agreements.    d/ap’s 
    MANAGEMENT TO PREPARE      delivery experts leverage state of the art route planning technology, as well as 
    POSTS FOR AUTOMATION
                               on‐the  ground  observations  and  verifications,  to  readjust  routes  based  on 
                               changing volumes, alignment with the delivery strategy and the corporate goals. 

                               Delivery Supervision Development & Training
                               d/ap believes that efficient delivery requires a rigorous operating discipline, and 
                               competent  supervision  and  oversight.  d/ap  helps  companies  develop  a  strong 
                               delivery  supervisory  culture  through  training.    Working  with  senior  delivery 
                               staff,  we  develop  and  conduct  supervisor/manager  assessment  audits  to 
                               identify  skills  deficiencies.  We  then  develop  leadership  guides  and  customize 
                               training programs to improve supervisory leadership and performance. 

                               Preparing for Delivery Point Sequencing
                               Posts  that  implement  delivery  point  sequencing  (DPS)  must  carefully  prepare 
                               their  delivery  organizations  for  the  expectations  that  DPS  place  on  delivery.  
                               d/ap delivery experts ensure that the projected DPS savings are captured by:  
    Implementing  address  verification  procedures  to  reduce  sequencing 
                                       error rates, 
OUR EXPERIENCE:
                                      Monitoring  volumes  by  route/day/unit/type  to  devise  sort  schemes 
DECISION/ANALYSIS PARTNERS             that are adapted to the mail densities per destination point, 
HAS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE            Evaluating  potential  equipment  changes  to  improve  utilization  and 
ASSISTING AND TRANSFORMING             flows of containers, cases, and delivery vehicles, 
POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND
                                      Instituting supervisor‐led on‐going route adjustments processes,  
SUPPLIERS OF POSTAL
SOLUTIONS & TECHNOLOGIES              Integrating Operating Plans, Transportation Plans, and Delivery Plans to 
                                       ensure proper synchronization of all business processes. 
WORLDWIDE.

                             Address Management
                             Emerging  economies  and  developing  posts  require  address  systems  to  take 
                             advantage  of  the  digital  world  and  start  automating  their  operations.  d/ap 
                             brings  expertise  and  qualifications  in  building  or  improving    address  systems, 
                             validating  actual  street  address  data  in  both  city  and  rural  areas,  in  order  to 
                             implement mail automation or delivery sequencing.  We provide expert review 
                             of data base management and file structure to ensure seamless data flows for 
                             both internal and external customers. 

                             About decision/analysis partners
                             decision/analysis  partners  is  an  independent  technical  and  management 
                             advisory  services  firm  offering  operations  management,  business  strategy, 
                             market  analysis  and  technology  consulting  services  in  the  postal,  shipping  and 
                             mailing industry. 
                             Our  approach  uses  sound  and  proven  analytical  methodologies  to  develop, 
                             evaluate,  and  help  implement  viable  business  solutions.  Our  team  includes 
                             technical and management consultants, systems engineers, business architects, 
                             postal technologists, and postal operations managers. We have led major postal 
                             and logistics enterprise transformation initiatives.  
                             Our  company  is  based  in  Fairfax,  Virginia,  outside  Washington,  DC,  and  in 
                             Brussels, Belgium.  We deliver advisory services worldwide.
Labor Planning & Scheduling
                               
AT A GLANCE:                  decision/analysis  partners  offers  practical  labor  planning  and  scheduling 
                              assistance to help postal organizations optimize their labor costs while satisfying 
   ENTERPRISE STRATEGY       customer  demand  and  service  standards.    A  corporate  wide  framework  is 
                              designed to drive the adoption of standardized methods and tools. 
   PRODUCT POSITIONING AND
    DEVELOPMENT               Labor Planning & Scheduling Assessment
   MARKET ANALYSIS
                              Postal  organizations  struggle  to  understand  how  much  labor  is  too  much,  and 
   OPERATIONS AND NETWORK    how  little  will  affect  service  performance.    d/ap  develops  an  enterprise‐wide 
    DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY     assessment of labor planning and scheduling to evaluate how labor is managed 
   OPERATIONS AND
                              on  a  yearly  and  daily  basis,  given  labor  agreements  in  effect.    We  identify  the 
    TRANSPORTATION            organization’s current strategic plans, capacity plans, and employee scheduling 
   MANAGEMENT                processes, and determine how integrated they are into a unified framework of 
                              standardized business rules. 
   POSTAL PLANT DESIGN

   ACQUISITION LOGISTICS     Integrated Planning & Scheduling
   STRATEGIC SOURCING        Working  hand  in  hand  with  client  postal  organizations,  decision/analysis 
                              partners  establishes  a  work  plan  to  develop  methods  and  tools  for  labor 
   SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY
                              planning and scheduling.  Our approach is very targeted and focused – we build 
                              proofs  of  concepts,  validate  them  throughout  the  postal  organization,  and 
                              standardize them as corporate‐wide fully‐documented methods and tools.  We 
                              then  proceed  in  an  incremental  manner,  developing  additional  labor  planning 
                              and scheduling capabilities, while keeping our eye on the overall framework. 

                              Labor Reporting and Decision Support
                              To  help  Management  reduce  operating  costs  while  meeting  customer  and 
                              service requirements, the labor planning and scheduling tools generate reports 
                              that focus on key performance indicators (e.g., target vs. actual labor by work 
                              center).    More  importantly,  the  tools  are  used  as  decision‐support  aids  to 
                              evaluate the effects on costs and performance of various staffing scenarios and 
                              operations  scheduling  scenarios.    These  interactive  decision‐aids  help  take 
                              proactive  labor  scheduling  decisions  while  guiding  the  end  users  in 
                              implementing sanctioned and preferred corporate practices. 
                               
About decision/analysis partners
OUR EXPERIENCE:
                             decision/analysis  partners  is  an  independent  technical  and  management 
                             advisory  services  firm  offering  operations  management,  business  strategy, 
DECISION/ANALYSIS PARTNERS
                             market  analysis  and  technology  consulting  services  in  the  postal,  shipping  and 
HAS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE
                             mailing industry. 
ASSISTING AND TRANSFORMING
                             Our  approach  uses  sound  and  proven  analytical  methodologies  to  develop, 
POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND
                             evaluate,  and  help  implement  viable  business  solutions.  Our  team  includes 
SUPPLIERS OF POSTAL
                             technical and management consultants, systems engineers, business architects, 
SOLUTIONS & TECHNOLOGIES
                             postal technologists, and postal operations managers. We have led major postal 
WORLDWIDE.                   and logistics enterprise transformation initiatives.  

                             Our  company  is  based  in  Fairfax,  Virginia,  outside  Washington,  DC,  and  in 
                             Brussels, Belgium.  We deliver advisory services worldwide. 
Modeling & Simulation
                              for Decision-Support
AT A GLANCE:
                              decision/analysis partners offers deep technical competence in modeling and
D/AP’S MODELING EXPERTISE
                              simulation in support of complex postal, mailing and shipping projects,
HELPS EXECUTIVES MITIGATE
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH         including network and process modeling for posts and larger distribution
COMPLEX BUSINESS DECISIONS.   organizations involving complex material handling, business processes and/or
THIS INCLUDES:
                              distribution rules.
    RATIONALIZATION AND
    SIMPLIFICATION OF         Modeling & Simulation to Mitigate Risk in Decision-
    DISTRIBUTION NETWORK
                              Making
    CAPITAL BUDGETING FOR     The proper evaluation of alternatives and their consequences is a necessary
    ACQUISITION OF MAJOR
    TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS      step in the mitigation of risks associated with any major operational decision.
                              Modeling and simulation leverage robust analytical techniques that bring
    EVALUATION OF
    ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY    managers insights pertaining to each option. Modeling and simulation reduce
    DESIGNS                   the cost and time associated with the evaluation of alternatives and with overall
                              decision making. decision/analysis partners brings strong expertise in the
    OPTIMAL STAFFING FOR
    MISSION CRITICAL          modeling of complex business situations in the postal, mailing and shipping
    PROCESSES                 domain under rapid turnaround.
    IMPACTS OF VARIABLE
    LEVELS OF SERVICE ON      Broad Range of Applications
    LABOR, PROCESSING AND
    TRANSPORTATION COSTS
                              The following are example of the application of modeling & simulation in
                              decision/analysis partners projects:
    OPERATING COSTS
    REDUCTION THROUGH         1.   A complex mail distribution network model to simulate processing network
    DYNAMIC OPERATIONS             alternatives, and evaluate alternative distribution scenarios,
    SCHEDULING
                              2.   A capacity requirement analysis model to justify the procurement of mail
                                   processing equipment for mail and parcels processing centers,

                              3.   An operational model to determine staffing requirements in a mail
                                   processing center during mission-critical mail dispatch operations,

                              4.   A material handling model to evaluate design alternatives for tray handling
                                   systems in a new lettermail processing center,
5.   A model to dynamically schedule mail processing operations to optimize
                                  resources requirements.

                             6.   An enterprise-wide model to evaluate levels of service impacts on
                                  operational costs – labor, processing, transportation,

                             7.   A model to optimize bundling specifications for publications and flats to
                                  reduce processing and labor costs,

                             8.   A model to evaluate the adequacy of a processing center parking lot prior
                                  to the processing center expansion.

                             decision/analysis partners has also supported executive decision-making by
                             designing and developing simulation models for other industries, including
                             minerals mining, airport baggage systems, batch and job shop manufacturing,
                             and health care.

                             Building on the deep talent of decision/analysis partners, end users are provided
                             with tools to support "what if" experimentation, and evaluate the risks
                             associated with each outcome using dashboard summaries and, when needed,
                             full 3D visualization.



                             About decision/analysis partners
                             decision/analysis partners is an independent technical and management
                             advisory services firm offering operations management, business strategy,
                             market analysis and technology consulting services in the postal, shipping and
                             mailing industry.
OUR EXPERIENCE:
                             Our approach uses sound and proven analytical methodologies to develop,
DECISION/ANALYSIS PARTNERS
                             evaluate, and help implement viable business solutions. Our team includes
HAS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE
                             technical and management consultants, systems engineers, business architects,
ASSISTING AND TRANSFORMING
                             postal technologists, and postal operations managers. We have led major postal
POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND     and logistics enterprise transformation initiatives.
SUPPLIERS OF POSTAL
                             Our company is based in Fairfax, Virginia, outside Washington, DC, and in
SOLUTIONS & TECHNOLOGIES
                             Brussels, Belgium. We deliver advisory services worldwide.
WORLDWIDE.
Postal Network Management
AT A GLANCE:                     decision/analysis partners offers practical network management advice and
                                 assistance to postal organizations, ranging from smaller posts with one central
D/AP OFFERS A COMPLETE           sort center to large organizations requiring sophisticated automation and
RANGE OF POSTAL, SHIPPING        mechanization.
AND MAILING NETWORK
MANAGEMENT ADVISORY
SERVICES, INCLUDING:
                                 Distribution Strategy
                                 decision/analysis partners (d/ap) helps postal operators devise an effective
•   DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY TO
    EVALUATE NETWORK             distribution strategy by optimizing the number of sorting centers, balancing
    CONFIGURATIONS,              time and transport versus economies of scale and scope. d/ap maintains a mid-
•   NETWORK OPTIMIZATION TO
                                 size post comprehensive simulation model (ModelPost) and has developed
    BALANCE SORT &               complex models for large posts to evaluate the right distribution structure.
    TRANSPORT
                                 Network Optimization
•   SORT SCHEMES THAT
    MAXIMIZE ASSET UTILIZATION   Using mail volumes projections, trends in weights and shapes, demographic
•   SURFACE TRANSPORTATION       changes, costs of labor and transportation, we build and evaluate alternative
    CENTERS TO OPTIMIZE          network distribution scenarios to optimize current network configurations,
    SURFACE TRANSPORT
                                 minimize operating costs while respecting service standards. We review these
•   TRANSPORTATION MODE          scenarios with our client organizations and help them operationalize them.
    ANALYSIS TO ENSURE
    LOWEST COST TRANSPORT        Sorting and Delivery Sequencing
                                 d/ap helps design sort schemes that leverage the entire distribution strategy
                                 while optimizing destination-point density, tray/container utilization, and
                                 transport utilization. Sort-strategies adapt to existing sorting equipment in
                                 order to reduce machine hours and associated labor hours, meet tie-out times,
                                 and maintain high asset utilization.

                                 Surface Transportation Centers
                                 Surface transport hub and spokes (HASPs) transshipment centers can play an
                                 important distribution role as part of an operator’s network strategy. Our
                                 approach integrates HASPs as part of the postal operator or shipper’s transport
                                 and network strategy to increase asset utilization and surface performance.
OUR EXPERIENCE:

                             Transportation Mode Analysis
DECISION/ANALYSIS PARTNERS
HAS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE   d/ap takes a principled approach to the design of a postal operator network,
ASSISTING AND TRANSFORMING   and the determination of transportation modes (air – road – rail) to shape the
                             network, locate plants, minimize costs, and ensure service performance. The
POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND
                             processing and transportation components of the network are adjusted
SUPPLIERS OF POSTAL
                             together to reflect relative changes in labor, fuel costs, or improvements in
SOLUTIONS & TECHNOLOGIES
                             processing productivity to maintain the proper economic balance.
WORLDWIDE.


                             About decision/analysis partners
                             decision/analysis partners is an independent technical and management
                             advisory services firm offering operations management, business strategy,
                             market analysis and technology consulting services in the postal, shipping and
                             mailing industry.

                             Our approach uses sound and proven analytical methodologies to develop,
                             evaluate, and help implement viable business solutions. Our team includes
                             technical and management consultants, systems engineers, business architects,
                             postal technologists, and postal operations managers. We have led major postal
                             and logistics enterprise transformation initiatives.

                             Our company is based in Fairfax, Virginia, outside Washington, DC, and in
                             Brussels, Belgium. We deliver advisory services worldwide.
Operations Management
                                decision/analysis partners offers practical operations management advice and
                                assistance to postal organizations, ranging from posts with few sort center to
AT A GLANCE:
                                large organizations requiring sophisticated automation and mechanization.
D/AP OFFERS COMPREHENSIVE       Operations Management Strategy
POSTAL, SHIPPING AND MAILING
OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT           Achieving operational excellence requires a strong operations management
ADVISORY SERVICES, INCLUDING:
                                environment, disciplined, but also adaptable under changing conditions.
•   OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT       decision/analysis partners has the expertise to implement such strong
    STRATEGY TO ENFORCE         operational environments, starting with the creation of a strategy, and the
    DISCIPLINE AND ENABLE
    ADAPTABILITY.               development of documents such as concept of operations (ConOps), Required
                                Operational Capability (ROC), and Projected Operational Environment (POE).
•   PLANT MANAGEMENT AUDITS
    TO IMPLEMENT SHORT TERM     These charter documents become the foundation for an integrated technology
    SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS AND    and operations planning approach.
    LABOR-SAVING ACTIONS.
                                Sortation Center & Mail Plant Management
•   NETWORK OPERATIONS
    CENTERS TO IMPROVE          d/ap process specialists and industrial engineers conduct structured audits of
    AGILITY AND REAL-TIME
    RESPONSE.                   current plant operations, focusing on the root causes of service failures and
                                costs buildups. We perform failure-modes and effects analysis (FMEA), and
•   OPTIMIZING 24-HOUR
    TIMELINES TO IMPROVE
                                empirical analysis of key performance indicators (KPIs) to identify and
    SERVICE AND REDUCE COSTS.   recommend short-term and long-term improvements, balancing service
                                performance, and labor and machine utilization.
D/AP HAS DEVELOPED A NUMBER
OF PRACTICAL TOOLS TO HELP
POSTAL OPERATORS IMPROVE        Network Operations Centers
OPERATIONS:
                                Network operations centers help postal organization become agile, balance
•   CAPACITY PLANNING           asset utilization and manage network-wide emergencies. d/ap has designed
•   ALTERNATIVE SORT            and developed network operations centers (NOC) for large postal organizations
    STRATEGIES                  from conceptualization to implementation. NOC support real-time decisions to
•   WORKFORCE PLANNING          manage distribution flows, modulate large customer inductions, and coordinate
•   TIME-PHASED OPERATING       transportation operations.
    SCHEDULES                   24-hour Operating Timeline Analysis
•   MAIL-FLOW MODELS
                                We review and optimize existing sorting plant operating plans, testing
                                alternative operating scenarios by varying the distribution rules, sort-scheme
                                combinations, critical entry times and/or clear times, etc. Labor requirements
are optimized for average and peak-volume days, and the plant’s 24-hour
                             timeline is optimized and re-integrated into the overall network operating plan.

                             Tools for Operations Management
OUR EXPERIENCE:
                             decision/analysis partners has developed a number of operations management
                             and decision-support tools:
DECISION/ANALYSIS PARTNERS
HAS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE       •   We have conducted capacity planning analyses to help a large operator
                                     plan its procurement budgets for letters and flats processing
ASSISTING AND TRANSFORMING
                                     equipment.
POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND
SUPPLIERS OF POSTAL              •   We have tested alternative sort strategies to produce optimal 24-hour
SOLUTIONS & TECHNOLOGIES             operating plans under varying production scenarios (peak day, average
                                     day, day after holiday, etc.)
WORLDWIDE.
                                 •   We have developed workforce planning tools to align budgetary goals,
                                     set by headquarters, with operating requirements, defined by mail
                                     processing centers.

                                 •   We have designed and developed simulation-based models to produce
                                     time-phased operating schedules based on actual demand and labor
                                     availability, to optimize machine- and labor-usage.

                                 •   We have developed detailed mail-flow models to calculate staging and
                                     space requirements, by shift, for each work center within a plant.

                             About decision/analysis partners
                             decision/analysis partners is an independent technical and management
                             advisory services firm offering operations management, business strategy,
                             market analysis and technology consulting services in the postal, shipping and
                             mailing industry.

                             Our approach uses sound and proven analytical methodologies to develop,
                             evaluate, and help implement viable business solutions. Our team includes
                             technical and management consultants, systems engineers, business architects,
                             postal technologists, and postal operations managers. We have led major postal
                             and logistics enterprise transformation initiatives.

                             Our company is based in Fairfax, Virginia, outside Washington, DC, and in
                             Brussels, Belgium. We deliver advisory services worldwide.
Plant & Work Center Design
                                decision/analysis partners helps organizations design and configure their letter-
                                mail and parcel processing centers. We use best practices in plant & work
                                center design by combining process management talent with industrial
AT A GLANCE:                    engineering and material handling expertise to optimize our clients’
                                investments and operational costs.
D/AP OFFERS COMPREHENSIVE
PLANT & WORK CENTER DESIGN
ADVISORY SERVICES, INCLUDING:
                                Sorting Center Mail Flow Analysis
                                d/ap uses a proven top-down planning approach to design letter-mail and
    SORTING CENTER MAIL FLOW
    ANALYSIS
                                parcel sorting centers that meet distribution requirements. Starting with a
                                block layout analysis, we provide design alternatives and evaluate their
    DETAILED SORTING CENTER     dimension and cost implications on the new or remodeled center, taking into
    DESIGN.
                                account volume projections, product mix, containerization alternatives, network
    WORK CENTER DESIGN AND      distribution alternatives, and inbound/outbound transportation options.
    OPTIMIZATION

    AUTOMATION & MATERIAL       Detailed Sorting Center Design
    HANDLING EVALUATION
                                We refine the plant design by developing detailed layouts in close collaboration
    TENDER DEVELOPMENT AND      with our clients. Analyses include operational and material staging/handling
    PROPOSAL EVALUATION
                                space requirements, freight yards and loading docks analyses,
    INDEPENDENT TESTING AND     architectural/structural requirements, mechanical/electrical requirements, and
    EVALUATION OF SOFTWARE      safety/environmental analyses. CAD renderings support the design selection.
    AND HARDWARE
    COMPONENTS AND SYSTEMS.
                                Work Center Design & Optimization
                                Detailed work center designs generate complete configurations of each work
                                center based on staging and flow requirements of trays/tubs and containers
                                throughout the 24-hour cycle. We also evaluate freight yards and loading
                                docks, as well as sorting center employee parking lot to determine the
                                availability of spaces based on projected shift activity. Each work center design
                                is documented in a report that describes mail flows, equipment/supplies
                                requirements, space allocation and labor requirements.

                                Tender Development
                                d/ap assists its clients with the development of tenders for the acquisition of
                                automation and material handling systems, software, or integration services.
                                We develop functional, technical, maintenance, and performance requirements.
We also develop independent cost estimates to facilitate the evaluation of
                             tender cost proposals, perform vendor research, and develop tender strategies.

                             Automation              &      Material           Handling            Tender
                             Evaluation
                             decision/analysis partners provides clients with technical evaluations of tenders
                             for automated and mechanized equipment, complex systems, and material
                             handling installations. We have specific experience with mail and parcel sorting
                             equipment, storage systems, and other material handling systems. We follow a
                             principled evaluation process which includes performance attributes,
                             maintenance, installation, and various risk factors. Analytical techniques are
                             used, if appropriate, and scores are presented to clients in the form of
                             dashboards.

                             Independent Testing & Verification
                             d/ap has significant experience in developing and performing first-article test
                             plans to verify that information systems and/or automation components satisfy
                             tender technical specifications and requirements. We create test data or
OUR EXPERIENCE:
                             arrange for test material and schedule tests to minimize operational impact.
                             We have performed tests in support of legal proceedings and comply to the
DECISION/ANALYSIS PARTNERS
                             highest standards of engineering and testing compliance.
HAS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE
ASSISTING AND TRANSFORMING   About decision/analysis partners
POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND     decision/analysis partners is an independent technical and management
SUPPLIERS OF POSTAL          advisory services firm offering operations management, business strategy,
SOLUTIONS & TECHNOLOGIES     market analysis and technology consulting services in the postal, shipping and
WORLDWIDE.                   mailing industry.

                             Our approach uses sound and proven analytical methodologies to develop and
                             evaluate viable solutions for our clients. Our team includes technical and
                             management consultants with significant postal experience, systems engineers,
                             business architects, postal technologists, and postal operations managers. We
                             have led major postal and logistics enterprise transformation initiatives.

                             Our company is based in Fairfax, Virginia, outside Washington, DC, and in
                             Brussels, Belgium. We deliver advisory services worldwide.
ttrt
                               Simulation & Optimization of the United
AT A GLANCE:                   States Postal Network Infrastructure
D/AP DEVELOPED A STATE-OF-
THE-ART SIMULATION MODEL       SITUATION
OF THE USPS OFFICE OF          The Postal Service processing and transportation (P&T) network infrastructure
INSPECTOR GENERAL TO           is at a crossroads, following decades of mail volume growth and breakthrough
EVALUATE FACILITY              improvements in processing technology. With mail volumes predicted to drop
CONSOLIDATION SCENARIOS.       over the next decades and mail patterns continuing to evolve, the USPS Office
                               of Inspector General tasked decision/analysis partners (d/ap) with conducting a
THE ANALYSIS SHOWS             stakeholder survey and with developing an analytical model designed to
THAT SIGNIFICANT
                               evaluate first order P&T infrastructure scenarios using forecasted mail
                               volumes.
CONSOLIDATION CAN BE
ACHIEVED THAT WOULD
PROVIDE SIGNIFICANT            APPROACH
SAVINGS IN PROCESSING          d/ap conducted key interviews in the mailing industry, and developed a
COSTS UNDER CERTAIN            complex simulation model using Symphony REPAST, an open source
DISTRIBUTION CONCEPTS.         application. The model follows these steps:

                                   A pre-processor sets a number of plants and hubs across the U.S.
                                   as part of scenarios.

                                   For each scenario, the model routes forecasted mail through
                                   facilities to destination while evaluating a number of distribution
                                   concepts (mesh, hub-and-spoke).

                                   Labor costs are determined as a function of the volume of mail and
                                   labor productivity in each facility, and added to transport costs.


                               RESULTS
                               The analysis conducted with the simulation model shows that the number of
                               Postal Service letter and flat processing plants could be substantially
                               consolidated to attain significant lower processing costs with minimal impact
                               on service performance. Compared to today’s 269 plants and 21 hubs, a
                               scenario with 82 plants and 11 hubs shows minimum cost with some service
                               degradation. A scenario with 172 plants and 18 hubs shows almost no service
degradation. According to stakeholders, an opportunity exists through
network consolidation to better align services offered with network capabilities
to ensure that each service’s speed and reliability are achieved.




                                                  Baseline
ttrt        Redesigning the Montreal Letter Processing
AT A GLANCE:
                                Center
D/AP PROVIDED A COMPL ET E
REDESIGN OF T HE MONT REAL      SITUATION
LETT ER PROCESSING CENT ER AS   Canada Post Corporation (CPC) is undergoing a major modernization effort
PART OF CANADA POST’ MAJOR
                                to equip itself with new mail sequencing equipment. The deployment of the
MODERNIZATIONS EFFORT.
                                new equipment requires a complete redesign of major processing centers
                                with minimal building alterations and in a way that minimizes impacts on
CANADA POST TOOK OWNERSHIP
OF T HE CAPACITY MODEL
                                operations during the transition period.
DEV ELOPED BY D/AP AS PART OF
                                CPC retained the services of decision/analysis partners (d/ap) to help
THE PROJECT.
                                design a plant layout that would accommodate all operating equipment,
                                reduce non-value added mail movements, and minimize labor costs.

                                APPROACH
                                decision/analysis partners developed a comprehensive approach consisting
                                of the following major steps:

                                    Developed block layout diagrams to identify key work centers and
                                    dimension them based on projected workload

                                    Built a detailed simulation model of the operations to estimate capacity
                                    requirements (number and type of processing equipment, and labor
                                    requirements)

                                    Developed detailed work center designs to estimate spatial
                                    requirements at work centers to accommodate for staging areas

                                    Developed multiple layout scenarios to present alternative options.

                                    Evaluated each option in terms of impact on operation during transition,
                                    adherence to safety standards, material flows between work-centers,
                                    expansion and/or building renovation requirements, and related costs.
RESULTS
CPC adopted one of the layouts proposed, and has taken ownership of the
capacity model built by d/ap to evaluate impacts of varying operational
alternatives. The model is now being used by CPC as a planning tool to
estimate labor requirements.

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2012 02 mer developing postal platforms

  • 1. Developing Postal Platforms Working with the private sector BERNARD MARKOWICZ AND PIERRE KACHA decision/analysis partners LLC The concept of platform T he International Postal Corporation (IPC) and the USPS’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) have both recently shown interest in the concept of digital platforms and their applicability to the postal world. Professor Marshall Van Alstyne, Associate Professor of information economics at Boston University/MIT, provided both organizations with over- views of his research in this area. Typical examples of digital platforms include desktop oper- ating systems such as UNIX, Mac and Windows; PDAs such as Users, the demand side. These are point for the developers and the Palm, Psion or Newton; game the target consumers of the platform users. consoles; payment systems; and solutions and services. mobile devices such as iPhone, Sponsors. Sponsors are usually Android, Symbian or Blackberry. Solution developers, the supply responsible for providing the over- The success of these platforms has side. They provide services that at- all organizing structure for a plat- relied on the presence of networks tract users to the platform. form, its rules and governance. of users and providers, and This may include the original de- common components that create Providers. The Microsoft Windows sign of the platform and control of sustainable eco-systems. operating system was mainly pro- its underlying technology and the vided to users by PC manufacturers overall intellectual property rights. Fig. 1 on the next page shows the when they acquired their comput- A sponsor’s objective is to make four key stakeholders of a platform ers, not direct by Microsoft. other participants see how they are and its supporting eco-system1. Providers are typically the contact better off by being part of the 1 Eisenmann, T, Parker, G. & Van Alstyne, M (2009) "Opening Platforms: How, When & Why" Ch 6 in Platforms, markets and innovation, A. Gawer (editor) Edward Elgar Publishing pp 131-162. Reprinted from the February 2012 Edition of the Mail & Express Review, Post & Parcel.
  • 2. system rather than outside of it. formed within the company. Face- opening the postal infrastructure to What renders a platform suc- book, on the other hand, made the privately sponsored and operated cessful is the network effect. Users decision to open itself to outside ap- solutions would represent a more are attracted to the platform because plications and developers. A com- significant opportunity for posts, of the innovative solutions it makes parison between the two platforms introducing the private sector to shows that Facebook’s number support a strategy that will be less Figure 1 of users shot up considerably risky, more innovative, and more compared to MySpace once successful. Solution they decided to do this. Users Developers Less risky. By opening up the postal Private participation in platform to the private sector, posts postal solutions will limit the amount of capital re- Providers Posts around the world quired to develop new solutions and are confronted with significant new services that may sometimes Sponsor challenges caused by the de- bring disappointing results. This cline in traditional mail vol- frees them to use their capital and umes and competition from resources for critical network infra- private operators. Posts need to structure and platform investments. available to them. Entrepreneurs and develop strategies that create new solution developers are attracted to sources of revenue, yet maintain More innovative. Private participa- the platform because of the poten- the essential role of the post in tion will bring more innovation and tially lucrative number of users look- society. experimentation. Control of the plat- ing for solutions and value. These Of course posts already oper- form by postal operators will ensure desirable network effects do not hap- ate platforms, mainly physical dis- a public sector orientation, while pen by chance. They are the result of tribution platforms, sometimes cou- opening it to the private sector will well engineered, well designed rules pled with banking services. The bring in innovation and drive. This upon which these platforms are built, challenge is to gain access to new will bring new thinking, new domain and which encourage solution devel- platforms and to new sources of expertise (for instance, in depth opers to bring their innovative ideas revenue. Several posts have in- knowledge of specific growing mar- and energy to a platform. These deed developed solutions. A good kets such as health care) and new rules basically open the platform to example is Swiss Post, as its CEO experiences and qualifications. outside private investors by sharing explains elsewhere in this issue of revenue and intellectual property, the Review. Such solutions are and by providing the right amount of offered and managed by the central development and strategic post itself, and integrate with its guidance. distribution network and plat- Research shows that the level of form. Development of such solu- openness in governance rules plays tions represents an important an important role in the success of and positive step for posts, with the platform. For instance, the My- the promise of new customers, Space social network was a closed and increased revenues from platform where management existing ones. required all development to be per- We believe, however, that Reprinted from the February 2012 Edition of the Mail & Express Review, Post & Parcel.
  • 3. More successful. This strategy, which reduces risk and increases innovation, will ultimately result in new value added services that com- plement the primary mission of the post, and, ideally, create network effects that bring more users and solution providers to the platform, thus increasing revenue. Strategy for the introduction of new solutions The success of the strategy to open the infrastructure to private so- lutions will depend, in part, on the types of services and solutions tar- the same time, claiming the utmost scenarios, however, revenues could geted by the post and its private respect for privacy on the one hand, be generated by third parties paying partners. These solutions can but monetizing it on the other. for information, or gathered from the range from services that exploit the Posts will need to take an ag- receiver, especially if the services official, universal nature of postal gressive approach to the adoption provide information or value the services, to those that leverage the of new services in order to allow for receivers are requesting and are commercial value of the information the creation of network effects. This willing to pay for. that can be collected about cus- would include offering depth and tomers and users. breadth of services from the outset. Sample solutions The official, universal nature of For instance, if offering government Below is a list of possible solu- the postal service evokes services support services, these should tions that would open up the postal such as digital alternatives or com- cover a wide range of popular platform to private participation. plements to mail distribution. Oth- needs spreading over many gov- ers include electronic government ernment agencies. If nascent or e-Gov/e-Gov Lite. Posts can lever- services, and serving as an official partial solutions already exist, they age their privileged relationships with interface between government and should be integrated into the new public agencies and with citizens to its citizens. Maintaining information platform offering. offer support with administrative privacy is critical to these types of Another tactic is to work with high formalities, helping citizens interface solutions. At the other end of the brand groups of users and solution with government agencies, request- spectrum are applications that try to developers to gain instant approval ing, gathering and submitting records leverage information about cus- and traction, and, again, generate and forms to the right place on their tomers that would enable discovery network effects. Co-opting high behalf. This is sometimes referred to of their preferences by analyzing brands is also a way to prevent them as e-Gov Lite because it does not the nature and content of mail and from offering competitive services. require significant governmental packages and thereby exploiting As Professor Van Alstyne points process redesign. These services the so-called “Big Data”. It would be out, postal pricing relies almost al- can be developed and managed by difficult for a postal operator to sup- ways on the sender paying for ship- a private entity within the postal net- ply these two types of solutions at ping services. Under new solution work, as is the case in Lebanon. The Reprinted from the February 2012 Edition of the Mail & Express Review, Post & Parcel.
  • 4. solution leverages existing retail out- gian and Finnish posts have devel- and their preferences, focus on spe- lets, the postal network, and payment oped such services, with varying cific customer segments, merge systems already in place. A software degrees of customer acceptance. transactional and advertising mail, or application can be used to automate Canada Post has developed e-Post, take advantage of available space. and track requests, and break down in part, for users to receive bank These solution providers could help each type of service to its workflow statements, utility and credit card design campaigns, mailing, mail pro- components to track progress, and bills, and similar transactional corre- duction, and multichannel marketing make it easier to perform. spondence. Our approach would for large as well as small businesses. solicit the private sector to come up Postal operator data could help these E-commerce. Some posts, such as with solutions already developed or solution providers identify and target Saudi Arabia, have developed partly developed, and jointly market their customers, manage address e-commerce platforms, or, like them; and require the postal operator lists, and create mailings, which, in Canada Post with BorderFree, to provide infrastructural services turn, would generate traffic and integrated e-commerce more such as user authentication, informa- additional revenues. closely with their core business. tion privacy and data security. In a private sector based approach, Next steps posts enable private companies to Custom logistics. Posts can offer Posts interested in pursuing a integrate more fully not only by custom logistics services to com- platform approach need to plan exchanging information, but also plement their regular distribution their strategy carefully. They must through opening up the postal mission. In our approach, operators develop the vision, define the solu- physical distribution network in such open their distribution platforms with tion focus areas, and specify the areas as integrated returns process- on and off ramps at various points business rules that will set the foun- ing; determination of fully landed in the postal distribution process. dation for content, revenue and costs for dutiable shipments; track, Private companies can process re- intellectual property sharing. Focus trace and hold; online invoicing and placement parts through the postal areas for solutions should be care- payments; customer service; and infrastructure, or store kits within fully evaluated, based on individual business services such as storage, large postal plants, then assemble and business needs, the competi- kitting, labeling and environmental them, repack them or re-label them tive situation, and the legislative disposal of spoiled items. within the network. Solutions could environment. Posts should then leverage all elements of the distribu- engage in a campaign to identify e-Mailbox/e-Lockbox. Posts have tion infrastructure, and address the potential private players, and put in talked about providing digital services specific needs of selected industrial place a replicable process to evalu- such as secure email for the purpose sectors such as drug distribution, ate their proposed solutions. of converting physical mail to digital, luxury items, perishable goods, etc. Finally, strict performance measures integrating personalized multimedia in should be established to determine marketing campaigns, providing AdMail/TransPromo. The post if and when failing solutions should secure storage and archival of high encourages private innovators to be eliminated. value documents, and supporting develop advertising solutions that e-government services. The Norwe- leverage information about customers decision/analysis partners headed a workshop for OIG on digital platforms with Professor van Alstyne in November 2011, as part of a study on the digital divide. Bernard Markowicz bmarkowicz@decisionanalysis.net I Pierre Kacha pkacha@decisionanalysis.net Please reach out to the authors with comments and questions: decision/analysis partners, LLC 10400 Eaton Place, Suite 315 Fairfax, Virginia 22030 USA I 1.703.691.0380 I www.decisionanalysis.net
  • 5. Delivery Management  decision/analysis  partners  offers  practical  delivery  management  advice  and  AT A GLANCE: assistance  to  postal,  mailing  and  shipping  organizations,  including  private  courier  and  delivery  companies,  smaller  posts,  and  larger  distribution   D/AP OFFERS COMPREHENSIVE organizations requiring sophisticated delivery planning and labor management.  DELIVERY MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE. Best Practices in Delivery Management  APPLYING BEST PRACTICES decision/analysis partners brings to every project the benefit of many years of  IN DELIVERY MANAGEMENT. experience,  dozens  of  successful  projects,  and  best  practices  in  delivery   REVIEW AND REALIGN management. Our teams help devise and implement delivery strategies that are  DELIVERY ROUTES BASED ON consistent  with  corporate  goals,  labor  constraints,  human  factors,  and  CHANGING VOLUMES operational/performance  requirements.    Our  approach  is  designed  to  reduce   IMPLEMENT A STRONG non‐value‐add  activities,  improve  processes,  operating  discipline,  reporting  DELIVERY SUPERVISORY CULTURE TO IMPROVE procedures, and increase customer satisfaction.  PERFORMANCE Route Planning & Adjustment  PREPARE PERSONNEL TO TRANSITION TO DELIVERY d/ap  combines  analytical  techniques  and  strong  subject  matter  expertise  to  POINT SEQUENCING design delivery routes that reduce travel time & fuel usage, maximize utilization   ASSIST WITH ADDRESS of  transport  and  casing  equipment,  and  fully  meet  labor  agreements.    d/ap’s  MANAGEMENT TO PREPARE delivery experts leverage state of the art route planning technology, as well as  POSTS FOR AUTOMATION on‐the  ground  observations  and  verifications,  to  readjust  routes  based  on  changing volumes, alignment with the delivery strategy and the corporate goals.  Delivery Supervision Development & Training d/ap believes that efficient delivery requires a rigorous operating discipline, and  competent  supervision  and  oversight.  d/ap  helps  companies  develop  a  strong  delivery  supervisory  culture  through  training.    Working  with  senior  delivery  staff,  we  develop  and  conduct  supervisor/manager  assessment  audits  to  identify  skills  deficiencies.  We  then  develop  leadership  guides  and  customize  training programs to improve supervisory leadership and performance.  Preparing for Delivery Point Sequencing Posts  that  implement  delivery  point  sequencing  (DPS)  must  carefully  prepare  their  delivery  organizations  for  the  expectations  that  DPS  place  on  delivery.   d/ap delivery experts ensure that the projected DPS savings are captured by:  
  • 6. Implementing  address  verification  procedures  to  reduce  sequencing  error rates,  OUR EXPERIENCE:  Monitoring  volumes  by  route/day/unit/type  to  devise  sort  schemes  DECISION/ANALYSIS PARTNERS that are adapted to the mail densities per destination point,  HAS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE  Evaluating  potential  equipment  changes  to  improve  utilization  and  ASSISTING AND TRANSFORMING flows of containers, cases, and delivery vehicles,  POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND  Instituting supervisor‐led on‐going route adjustments processes,   SUPPLIERS OF POSTAL SOLUTIONS & TECHNOLOGIES  Integrating Operating Plans, Transportation Plans, and Delivery Plans to  ensure proper synchronization of all business processes.  WORLDWIDE. Address Management Emerging  economies  and  developing  posts  require  address  systems  to  take  advantage  of  the  digital  world  and  start  automating  their  operations.  d/ap  brings  expertise  and  qualifications  in  building  or  improving    address  systems,  validating  actual  street  address  data  in  both  city  and  rural  areas,  in  order  to  implement mail automation or delivery sequencing.  We provide expert review  of data base management and file structure to ensure seamless data flows for  both internal and external customers.  About decision/analysis partners decision/analysis  partners  is  an  independent  technical  and  management  advisory  services  firm  offering  operations  management,  business  strategy,  market  analysis  and  technology  consulting  services  in  the  postal,  shipping  and  mailing industry.  Our  approach  uses  sound  and  proven  analytical  methodologies  to  develop,  evaluate,  and  help  implement  viable  business  solutions.  Our  team  includes  technical and management consultants, systems engineers, business architects,  postal technologists, and postal operations managers. We have led major postal  and logistics enterprise transformation initiatives.   Our  company  is  based  in  Fairfax,  Virginia,  outside  Washington,  DC,  and  in  Brussels, Belgium.  We deliver advisory services worldwide.
  • 7. Labor Planning & Scheduling   AT A GLANCE: decision/analysis  partners  offers  practical  labor  planning  and  scheduling  assistance to help postal organizations optimize their labor costs while satisfying   ENTERPRISE STRATEGY customer  demand  and  service  standards.    A  corporate  wide  framework  is  designed to drive the adoption of standardized methods and tools.   PRODUCT POSITIONING AND DEVELOPMENT Labor Planning & Scheduling Assessment  MARKET ANALYSIS Postal  organizations  struggle  to  understand  how  much  labor  is  too  much,  and   OPERATIONS AND NETWORK how  little  will  affect  service  performance.    d/ap  develops  an  enterprise‐wide  DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY assessment of labor planning and scheduling to evaluate how labor is managed   OPERATIONS AND on  a  yearly  and  daily  basis,  given  labor  agreements  in  effect.    We  identify  the  TRANSPORTATION organization’s current strategic plans, capacity plans, and employee scheduling   MANAGEMENT processes, and determine how integrated they are into a unified framework of  standardized business rules.   POSTAL PLANT DESIGN  ACQUISITION LOGISTICS Integrated Planning & Scheduling  STRATEGIC SOURCING Working  hand  in  hand  with  client  postal  organizations,  decision/analysis  partners  establishes  a  work  plan  to  develop  methods  and  tools  for  labor   SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY planning and scheduling.  Our approach is very targeted and focused – we build  proofs  of  concepts,  validate  them  throughout  the  postal  organization,  and  standardize them as corporate‐wide fully‐documented methods and tools.  We  then  proceed  in  an  incremental  manner,  developing  additional  labor  planning  and scheduling capabilities, while keeping our eye on the overall framework.  Labor Reporting and Decision Support To  help  Management  reduce  operating  costs  while  meeting  customer  and  service requirements, the labor planning and scheduling tools generate reports  that focus on key performance indicators (e.g., target vs. actual labor by work  center).    More  importantly,  the  tools  are  used  as  decision‐support  aids  to  evaluate the effects on costs and performance of various staffing scenarios and  operations  scheduling  scenarios.    These  interactive  decision‐aids  help  take  proactive  labor  scheduling  decisions  while  guiding  the  end  users  in  implementing sanctioned and preferred corporate practices.   
  • 8. About decision/analysis partners OUR EXPERIENCE: decision/analysis  partners  is  an  independent  technical  and  management  advisory  services  firm  offering  operations  management,  business  strategy,  DECISION/ANALYSIS PARTNERS market  analysis  and  technology  consulting  services  in  the  postal,  shipping  and  HAS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE mailing industry.  ASSISTING AND TRANSFORMING Our  approach  uses  sound  and  proven  analytical  methodologies  to  develop,  POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND evaluate,  and  help  implement  viable  business  solutions.  Our  team  includes  SUPPLIERS OF POSTAL technical and management consultants, systems engineers, business architects,  SOLUTIONS & TECHNOLOGIES postal technologists, and postal operations managers. We have led major postal  WORLDWIDE. and logistics enterprise transformation initiatives.   Our  company  is  based  in  Fairfax,  Virginia,  outside  Washington,  DC,  and  in  Brussels, Belgium.  We deliver advisory services worldwide. 
  • 9. Modeling & Simulation for Decision-Support AT A GLANCE: decision/analysis partners offers deep technical competence in modeling and D/AP’S MODELING EXPERTISE simulation in support of complex postal, mailing and shipping projects, HELPS EXECUTIVES MITIGATE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH including network and process modeling for posts and larger distribution COMPLEX BUSINESS DECISIONS. organizations involving complex material handling, business processes and/or THIS INCLUDES: distribution rules. RATIONALIZATION AND SIMPLIFICATION OF Modeling & Simulation to Mitigate Risk in Decision- DISTRIBUTION NETWORK Making CAPITAL BUDGETING FOR The proper evaluation of alternatives and their consequences is a necessary ACQUISITION OF MAJOR TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS step in the mitigation of risks associated with any major operational decision. Modeling and simulation leverage robust analytical techniques that bring EVALUATION OF ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY managers insights pertaining to each option. Modeling and simulation reduce DESIGNS the cost and time associated with the evaluation of alternatives and with overall decision making. decision/analysis partners brings strong expertise in the OPTIMAL STAFFING FOR MISSION CRITICAL modeling of complex business situations in the postal, mailing and shipping PROCESSES domain under rapid turnaround. IMPACTS OF VARIABLE LEVELS OF SERVICE ON Broad Range of Applications LABOR, PROCESSING AND TRANSPORTATION COSTS The following are example of the application of modeling & simulation in decision/analysis partners projects: OPERATING COSTS REDUCTION THROUGH 1. A complex mail distribution network model to simulate processing network DYNAMIC OPERATIONS alternatives, and evaluate alternative distribution scenarios, SCHEDULING 2. A capacity requirement analysis model to justify the procurement of mail processing equipment for mail and parcels processing centers, 3. An operational model to determine staffing requirements in a mail processing center during mission-critical mail dispatch operations, 4. A material handling model to evaluate design alternatives for tray handling systems in a new lettermail processing center,
  • 10. 5. A model to dynamically schedule mail processing operations to optimize resources requirements. 6. An enterprise-wide model to evaluate levels of service impacts on operational costs – labor, processing, transportation, 7. A model to optimize bundling specifications for publications and flats to reduce processing and labor costs, 8. A model to evaluate the adequacy of a processing center parking lot prior to the processing center expansion. decision/analysis partners has also supported executive decision-making by designing and developing simulation models for other industries, including minerals mining, airport baggage systems, batch and job shop manufacturing, and health care. Building on the deep talent of decision/analysis partners, end users are provided with tools to support "what if" experimentation, and evaluate the risks associated with each outcome using dashboard summaries and, when needed, full 3D visualization. About decision/analysis partners decision/analysis partners is an independent technical and management advisory services firm offering operations management, business strategy, market analysis and technology consulting services in the postal, shipping and mailing industry. OUR EXPERIENCE: Our approach uses sound and proven analytical methodologies to develop, DECISION/ANALYSIS PARTNERS evaluate, and help implement viable business solutions. Our team includes HAS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE technical and management consultants, systems engineers, business architects, ASSISTING AND TRANSFORMING postal technologists, and postal operations managers. We have led major postal POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND and logistics enterprise transformation initiatives. SUPPLIERS OF POSTAL Our company is based in Fairfax, Virginia, outside Washington, DC, and in SOLUTIONS & TECHNOLOGIES Brussels, Belgium. We deliver advisory services worldwide. WORLDWIDE.
  • 11. Postal Network Management AT A GLANCE: decision/analysis partners offers practical network management advice and assistance to postal organizations, ranging from smaller posts with one central D/AP OFFERS A COMPLETE sort center to large organizations requiring sophisticated automation and RANGE OF POSTAL, SHIPPING mechanization. AND MAILING NETWORK MANAGEMENT ADVISORY SERVICES, INCLUDING: Distribution Strategy decision/analysis partners (d/ap) helps postal operators devise an effective • DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY TO EVALUATE NETWORK distribution strategy by optimizing the number of sorting centers, balancing CONFIGURATIONS, time and transport versus economies of scale and scope. d/ap maintains a mid- • NETWORK OPTIMIZATION TO size post comprehensive simulation model (ModelPost) and has developed BALANCE SORT & complex models for large posts to evaluate the right distribution structure. TRANSPORT Network Optimization • SORT SCHEMES THAT MAXIMIZE ASSET UTILIZATION Using mail volumes projections, trends in weights and shapes, demographic • SURFACE TRANSPORTATION changes, costs of labor and transportation, we build and evaluate alternative CENTERS TO OPTIMIZE network distribution scenarios to optimize current network configurations, SURFACE TRANSPORT minimize operating costs while respecting service standards. We review these • TRANSPORTATION MODE scenarios with our client organizations and help them operationalize them. ANALYSIS TO ENSURE LOWEST COST TRANSPORT Sorting and Delivery Sequencing d/ap helps design sort schemes that leverage the entire distribution strategy while optimizing destination-point density, tray/container utilization, and transport utilization. Sort-strategies adapt to existing sorting equipment in order to reduce machine hours and associated labor hours, meet tie-out times, and maintain high asset utilization. Surface Transportation Centers Surface transport hub and spokes (HASPs) transshipment centers can play an important distribution role as part of an operator’s network strategy. Our approach integrates HASPs as part of the postal operator or shipper’s transport and network strategy to increase asset utilization and surface performance.
  • 12. OUR EXPERIENCE: Transportation Mode Analysis DECISION/ANALYSIS PARTNERS HAS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE d/ap takes a principled approach to the design of a postal operator network, ASSISTING AND TRANSFORMING and the determination of transportation modes (air – road – rail) to shape the network, locate plants, minimize costs, and ensure service performance. The POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND processing and transportation components of the network are adjusted SUPPLIERS OF POSTAL together to reflect relative changes in labor, fuel costs, or improvements in SOLUTIONS & TECHNOLOGIES processing productivity to maintain the proper economic balance. WORLDWIDE. About decision/analysis partners decision/analysis partners is an independent technical and management advisory services firm offering operations management, business strategy, market analysis and technology consulting services in the postal, shipping and mailing industry. Our approach uses sound and proven analytical methodologies to develop, evaluate, and help implement viable business solutions. Our team includes technical and management consultants, systems engineers, business architects, postal technologists, and postal operations managers. We have led major postal and logistics enterprise transformation initiatives. Our company is based in Fairfax, Virginia, outside Washington, DC, and in Brussels, Belgium. We deliver advisory services worldwide.
  • 13. Operations Management decision/analysis partners offers practical operations management advice and assistance to postal organizations, ranging from posts with few sort center to AT A GLANCE: large organizations requiring sophisticated automation and mechanization. D/AP OFFERS COMPREHENSIVE Operations Management Strategy POSTAL, SHIPPING AND MAILING OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT Achieving operational excellence requires a strong operations management ADVISORY SERVICES, INCLUDING: environment, disciplined, but also adaptable under changing conditions. • OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT decision/analysis partners has the expertise to implement such strong STRATEGY TO ENFORCE operational environments, starting with the creation of a strategy, and the DISCIPLINE AND ENABLE ADAPTABILITY. development of documents such as concept of operations (ConOps), Required Operational Capability (ROC), and Projected Operational Environment (POE). • PLANT MANAGEMENT AUDITS TO IMPLEMENT SHORT TERM These charter documents become the foundation for an integrated technology SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS AND and operations planning approach. LABOR-SAVING ACTIONS. Sortation Center & Mail Plant Management • NETWORK OPERATIONS CENTERS TO IMPROVE d/ap process specialists and industrial engineers conduct structured audits of AGILITY AND REAL-TIME RESPONSE. current plant operations, focusing on the root causes of service failures and costs buildups. We perform failure-modes and effects analysis (FMEA), and • OPTIMIZING 24-HOUR TIMELINES TO IMPROVE empirical analysis of key performance indicators (KPIs) to identify and SERVICE AND REDUCE COSTS. recommend short-term and long-term improvements, balancing service performance, and labor and machine utilization. D/AP HAS DEVELOPED A NUMBER OF PRACTICAL TOOLS TO HELP POSTAL OPERATORS IMPROVE Network Operations Centers OPERATIONS: Network operations centers help postal organization become agile, balance • CAPACITY PLANNING asset utilization and manage network-wide emergencies. d/ap has designed • ALTERNATIVE SORT and developed network operations centers (NOC) for large postal organizations STRATEGIES from conceptualization to implementation. NOC support real-time decisions to • WORKFORCE PLANNING manage distribution flows, modulate large customer inductions, and coordinate • TIME-PHASED OPERATING transportation operations. SCHEDULES 24-hour Operating Timeline Analysis • MAIL-FLOW MODELS We review and optimize existing sorting plant operating plans, testing alternative operating scenarios by varying the distribution rules, sort-scheme combinations, critical entry times and/or clear times, etc. Labor requirements
  • 14. are optimized for average and peak-volume days, and the plant’s 24-hour timeline is optimized and re-integrated into the overall network operating plan. Tools for Operations Management OUR EXPERIENCE: decision/analysis partners has developed a number of operations management and decision-support tools: DECISION/ANALYSIS PARTNERS HAS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE • We have conducted capacity planning analyses to help a large operator plan its procurement budgets for letters and flats processing ASSISTING AND TRANSFORMING equipment. POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND SUPPLIERS OF POSTAL • We have tested alternative sort strategies to produce optimal 24-hour SOLUTIONS & TECHNOLOGIES operating plans under varying production scenarios (peak day, average day, day after holiday, etc.) WORLDWIDE. • We have developed workforce planning tools to align budgetary goals, set by headquarters, with operating requirements, defined by mail processing centers. • We have designed and developed simulation-based models to produce time-phased operating schedules based on actual demand and labor availability, to optimize machine- and labor-usage. • We have developed detailed mail-flow models to calculate staging and space requirements, by shift, for each work center within a plant. About decision/analysis partners decision/analysis partners is an independent technical and management advisory services firm offering operations management, business strategy, market analysis and technology consulting services in the postal, shipping and mailing industry. Our approach uses sound and proven analytical methodologies to develop, evaluate, and help implement viable business solutions. Our team includes technical and management consultants, systems engineers, business architects, postal technologists, and postal operations managers. We have led major postal and logistics enterprise transformation initiatives. Our company is based in Fairfax, Virginia, outside Washington, DC, and in Brussels, Belgium. We deliver advisory services worldwide.
  • 15. Plant & Work Center Design decision/analysis partners helps organizations design and configure their letter- mail and parcel processing centers. We use best practices in plant & work center design by combining process management talent with industrial AT A GLANCE: engineering and material handling expertise to optimize our clients’ investments and operational costs. D/AP OFFERS COMPREHENSIVE PLANT & WORK CENTER DESIGN ADVISORY SERVICES, INCLUDING: Sorting Center Mail Flow Analysis d/ap uses a proven top-down planning approach to design letter-mail and SORTING CENTER MAIL FLOW ANALYSIS parcel sorting centers that meet distribution requirements. Starting with a block layout analysis, we provide design alternatives and evaluate their DETAILED SORTING CENTER dimension and cost implications on the new or remodeled center, taking into DESIGN. account volume projections, product mix, containerization alternatives, network WORK CENTER DESIGN AND distribution alternatives, and inbound/outbound transportation options. OPTIMIZATION AUTOMATION & MATERIAL Detailed Sorting Center Design HANDLING EVALUATION We refine the plant design by developing detailed layouts in close collaboration TENDER DEVELOPMENT AND with our clients. Analyses include operational and material staging/handling PROPOSAL EVALUATION space requirements, freight yards and loading docks analyses, INDEPENDENT TESTING AND architectural/structural requirements, mechanical/electrical requirements, and EVALUATION OF SOFTWARE safety/environmental analyses. CAD renderings support the design selection. AND HARDWARE COMPONENTS AND SYSTEMS. Work Center Design & Optimization Detailed work center designs generate complete configurations of each work center based on staging and flow requirements of trays/tubs and containers throughout the 24-hour cycle. We also evaluate freight yards and loading docks, as well as sorting center employee parking lot to determine the availability of spaces based on projected shift activity. Each work center design is documented in a report that describes mail flows, equipment/supplies requirements, space allocation and labor requirements. Tender Development d/ap assists its clients with the development of tenders for the acquisition of automation and material handling systems, software, or integration services. We develop functional, technical, maintenance, and performance requirements.
  • 16. We also develop independent cost estimates to facilitate the evaluation of tender cost proposals, perform vendor research, and develop tender strategies. Automation & Material Handling Tender Evaluation decision/analysis partners provides clients with technical evaluations of tenders for automated and mechanized equipment, complex systems, and material handling installations. We have specific experience with mail and parcel sorting equipment, storage systems, and other material handling systems. We follow a principled evaluation process which includes performance attributes, maintenance, installation, and various risk factors. Analytical techniques are used, if appropriate, and scores are presented to clients in the form of dashboards. Independent Testing & Verification d/ap has significant experience in developing and performing first-article test plans to verify that information systems and/or automation components satisfy tender technical specifications and requirements. We create test data or OUR EXPERIENCE: arrange for test material and schedule tests to minimize operational impact. We have performed tests in support of legal proceedings and comply to the DECISION/ANALYSIS PARTNERS highest standards of engineering and testing compliance. HAS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE ASSISTING AND TRANSFORMING About decision/analysis partners POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND decision/analysis partners is an independent technical and management SUPPLIERS OF POSTAL advisory services firm offering operations management, business strategy, SOLUTIONS & TECHNOLOGIES market analysis and technology consulting services in the postal, shipping and WORLDWIDE. mailing industry. Our approach uses sound and proven analytical methodologies to develop and evaluate viable solutions for our clients. Our team includes technical and management consultants with significant postal experience, systems engineers, business architects, postal technologists, and postal operations managers. We have led major postal and logistics enterprise transformation initiatives. Our company is based in Fairfax, Virginia, outside Washington, DC, and in Brussels, Belgium. We deliver advisory services worldwide.
  • 17. ttrt Simulation & Optimization of the United AT A GLANCE: States Postal Network Infrastructure D/AP DEVELOPED A STATE-OF- THE-ART SIMULATION MODEL SITUATION OF THE USPS OFFICE OF The Postal Service processing and transportation (P&T) network infrastructure INSPECTOR GENERAL TO is at a crossroads, following decades of mail volume growth and breakthrough EVALUATE FACILITY improvements in processing technology. With mail volumes predicted to drop CONSOLIDATION SCENARIOS. over the next decades and mail patterns continuing to evolve, the USPS Office of Inspector General tasked decision/analysis partners (d/ap) with conducting a THE ANALYSIS SHOWS stakeholder survey and with developing an analytical model designed to THAT SIGNIFICANT evaluate first order P&T infrastructure scenarios using forecasted mail volumes. CONSOLIDATION CAN BE ACHIEVED THAT WOULD PROVIDE SIGNIFICANT APPROACH SAVINGS IN PROCESSING d/ap conducted key interviews in the mailing industry, and developed a COSTS UNDER CERTAIN complex simulation model using Symphony REPAST, an open source DISTRIBUTION CONCEPTS. application. The model follows these steps: A pre-processor sets a number of plants and hubs across the U.S. as part of scenarios. For each scenario, the model routes forecasted mail through facilities to destination while evaluating a number of distribution concepts (mesh, hub-and-spoke). Labor costs are determined as a function of the volume of mail and labor productivity in each facility, and added to transport costs. RESULTS The analysis conducted with the simulation model shows that the number of Postal Service letter and flat processing plants could be substantially consolidated to attain significant lower processing costs with minimal impact on service performance. Compared to today’s 269 plants and 21 hubs, a scenario with 82 plants and 11 hubs shows minimum cost with some service degradation. A scenario with 172 plants and 18 hubs shows almost no service
  • 18. degradation. According to stakeholders, an opportunity exists through network consolidation to better align services offered with network capabilities to ensure that each service’s speed and reliability are achieved. Baseline
  • 19. ttrt Redesigning the Montreal Letter Processing AT A GLANCE: Center D/AP PROVIDED A COMPL ET E REDESIGN OF T HE MONT REAL SITUATION LETT ER PROCESSING CENT ER AS Canada Post Corporation (CPC) is undergoing a major modernization effort PART OF CANADA POST’ MAJOR to equip itself with new mail sequencing equipment. The deployment of the MODERNIZATIONS EFFORT. new equipment requires a complete redesign of major processing centers with minimal building alterations and in a way that minimizes impacts on CANADA POST TOOK OWNERSHIP OF T HE CAPACITY MODEL operations during the transition period. DEV ELOPED BY D/AP AS PART OF CPC retained the services of decision/analysis partners (d/ap) to help THE PROJECT. design a plant layout that would accommodate all operating equipment, reduce non-value added mail movements, and minimize labor costs. APPROACH decision/analysis partners developed a comprehensive approach consisting of the following major steps: Developed block layout diagrams to identify key work centers and dimension them based on projected workload Built a detailed simulation model of the operations to estimate capacity requirements (number and type of processing equipment, and labor requirements) Developed detailed work center designs to estimate spatial requirements at work centers to accommodate for staging areas Developed multiple layout scenarios to present alternative options. Evaluated each option in terms of impact on operation during transition, adherence to safety standards, material flows between work-centers, expansion and/or building renovation requirements, and related costs.
  • 20. RESULTS CPC adopted one of the layouts proposed, and has taken ownership of the capacity model built by d/ap to evaluate impacts of varying operational alternatives. The model is now being used by CPC as a planning tool to estimate labor requirements.