By Brian Renfoe, NALC, Director, City Delivery
The Postal Service recently announced a contract with Honeywell International, Inc. to produce the next generation of handheld scanning device for letter carriers. The new handheld scanner, called the Mobile Delivery Device (MDD), will eventually replace the Intelligent Mail Device (IMD) that letter carriers have used for the past eight or so years. Even more importantly, to many, the MDDN also will replace the cell phones that most letter carriers are pairing with the IMD to transmit scan data.
I am happy to report that after testing was completed, the Postal Service chose the device that the letter carriers involved in the test liked best. The first phase of the deployment will take place this summer and the new scanners will be assigned to approximately 75,000 city and rural routes, mostly in major metropolitan areas and other areas involved in the same-day and Sunday parcel delivery initiatives. The second phase is expected to include an additional 75,000 routes and be completed by the end of calendar year 2014, with the final phase of deployment to cover all city and rural routes taking place in 2015.
image credit: U. S. Postal Service
The new MDD has a large screen and a full keyboard of both numbers and letters. The most noticeable difference between the new device and the IMD is the vast improvement in scanning technology. This should result in far fewer instances of letter carriers being forced to manually input article numbers because a barcode will not scan.
The new MDD has nearly endless capabilities. Improvements in functionality will not require a new device; they can be done through software updates. During the initial deployment of the MDD, the functions will not be much different than the functions of the current scanner. We have been in discussion with postal management and engineering regarding additional functionality and software that should be included in the MDD. We will continue to engage them and work to develop and implement functionality that improves our jobs and provides the highest level of service to postal customers.