Postal Updates

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

USPS awards scanners contract

April 04, 2014 06:59 AM

The United States Postal Service is tackling another of its technology problems: the handheld scanners used by letter carriers to confirm postal deliveries.

Honeywell Scanning and Mobility has been awarded a contract to supply up to 225,000 of the scanning devices, a federal government website devoted to such purchases announced March 24.

It said the contract is valued at a minimum of $100 million and a maximum of $250 million.

The fact that the cash-poor Postal Service is replacing its current scanners illustrates how important officials believe a new generation of scanners is.

Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said that in its initial phase, the USPS plans to deploy 75,000 of the devices between August and December.

The new scanners, known as mobile delivery devices, will replace paired devices used by letter carriers: an aging Intelligent Mail Device and a clamshell cell phone.

The USPS has been criticized in the past for trailing its large competitors, who have long had more sophisticated scanning systems that allow much easier tracking of the parcels they carry.