Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Moving the Christmas mail

During the last 4 weeks, Rosie and I have been working at the Royal Mail workrooms at Stoke. Our line supervisor was an ex-student of mine who was satisfyingly good at his job. We have been processing Christmas mail that has not had its address recognized by the automated AI system. This is a very slick, real time, computer driven operation and each year about 600 additional workers are recruited nationally to keep the system working efficiently. I was highly impressed at the way the mail is organized and at the efficiency of the systems in operation.

With about a million unrecognized mail pieces processed in less than 3 hours, this is swift work. These days, there is no such thing as local mail and all mail is processed through central sorting offices. The first part of the post code (the out code) places the mail in the correct sorting office, and the second part of the post code (the in code) puts the mail to within a few houses on a street. if the post code is clear and visible on the mail, the AI system will process it and send it on its way quickly. If not, a photographic image is sent over the internet to the MDEC centre and a person at a computer processes the address information. It is possible for one keyer to process at a rate of about 500 pieces and hour. Accurate work is quite a skillful task.

The greatest problem with addressed mail at this time of year seems to be the lack of postcode information and the use of only local addressing styles. If there is no postcode and no county information, the destination may end up being a best guess, which can delay mail considerably. However, most queried mail is directed within about 20 minutes of AI recognition failure. I do hope the following 3 mails reach their intended destination, but I have serious doubts that they will;

1. Flat 16, Glasgow.

2. Just off the main road, care of the shop, Cumbria.

3. Au..... St......... , opposite Safeways or Waitrose, Davidson Mains.

Wow! we have been rising at 4:20am to be at work by 6am, finishig at 2pm on the early shift. The late shift and night shift are all hot desking with us to keep the operation running almost 24 hours a day. My main concern now is that our cats are used to starting their day at 4:30 with breakfast and a run, so our end of job lay in will be somewhat disturbed by feline activity.


Anonymous said...

hey!i worked there too..in early shift!who was ur manager?did u like this job?

Paul Pursglove said...

Stuart on MDEC E1 was my manager. In the distant past he used to be my student.


Anonymous said...

I was in E2 so he was mine too.In the distant past?how old is he?where r u a teacher?in college or at uni?

Paul Pursglove said...

I taught Stewart 10 years ago at the Sixth Form College at Fenton. I no longer teach there.