New mail sorting system from Siemens makes Isle of Man Post Office more efficient

The Isle of Man Post Office has modernized its mail automation. The Siemens type Compact Reader Sorter (CRS) is being used with immediate effect in the sorting center in Douglas, the island's capital. It is able to sort not only standard letters but also flats as large as C4 size. The new system processes up to 800 mail pieces per minute and is therefore 25 percent faster than the customer's previous equipment. The postal service benefits from higher productivity, lower delivery costs, and reduced energy consumption. The system is currently in the warranty phase. The order was placed with Siemens Mobility and Logistics at the end of 2011.

"We are pleased that the Isle of Man Post Office is once again putting its trust in us and continuing the many years of successful mutual collaboration. With the modernized system, the Isle of Man Post Office will be able to boost its productivity further," says Jörg Ernst, CEO of Siemens Logistics and Airport Solutions Business Unit.

Each mail piece, even if hand-written, is automatically scanned on both sides and the electronic image of the consignment is forwarded to the reading system. In this case, complex algorithms ensure that the addresses are automatically identified at a reading rate of up to 95 percent. Moreover, different types of consignment can be processed, such as postcards, letters, and up to C4 size flats. Compared with the mail automation system previously used, the OCR system from Siemens not only reads 20 percent more mail pieces but is also 25 percent faster.

"The new Siemens OCR system significantly improves mail sorting processes and helps us maintain our competitiveness in the market, as we seek to increase mail volumes by attracting additional work from new international markets," says Malcolm MacPherson, Managing Director of Mails, Isle of Man Post Office.

Automatic link to ePostbox

The Siemens system also has a direct link to an electronic letterbox, called the ePostbox. Using the reverse hybrid mail method, the scanned paper mail pieces can be sent to the recipient in digital form. Mail pieces for the ePostbox system bear a special address that is detected by the system and are given a 2D code for further processing in the ePostbox system instead of the ID code used for further processing in the Delivery Barcode Sorter (DBCS). During sorting, the scans of the front and rear of the letter are automatically sent to the ePostbox system. This form of delivery is based on the Trust-Ebox automation solution, which Siemens developed together with Swiss Post.

Postal customers, who have registered with the Isle of Man Post for this service, receive their unopened mail as electronic letters by e-mail. As the recipient, the mail customer can decide whether to have the Post Office destroy a letter immediately, deliver the letter in the conventional way, or electronically scan the letter's content. Due to this requirement-based presorting by the recipients, it is no longer necessary to deliver or forward all items of mail by conventional postal means. This reduces delivery costs considerably, especially in rural areas.

On five days a week, the employees of Isle of Man Post Office accept up to 120,000 postal items per day, sort them, and deliver them to the approximately 75,000 inhabitants on the 572-square-kilometer island as well as overseas. "The new machine is not only phenomenally fast processing 800 items per minute, it also brings greater efficiency through its enhanced ability to read the addresses on even hand-written mail," MacPherson says. For fine sorting, the Isle of Man Post is already using the Delivery Barcode Sorter (DBCS) from Siemens.

Siemens is the world market leader in postal sorting systems. Around 23,000 Siemens systems have been installed in over 50 countries. Siemens sorts around 35 percent of all mail throughout the world. In the USA and in Germany the mail passing through Siemens systems accounts for over 90 percent of total mail there.

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Monica Soffritti

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