Postal Distribution Center Picks Up Pace for Holidays
NBC29 got a glimpse at how the post office handles all of your cards and packages during the holiday rush. It's the first time cameras have been allowed on the floor of the processing and distribution center in Sandston. After facing its share of criticism for not being up to par, things are different now.
Every slot, twist and turn in the 750,000-square-foot facility is a pathway with a purpose getting your mail from here to your front door.
"We sort mail to about 250 mail processing centers nationally, so when that letter is sorted, it's sorted at a rate of 30,000 pieces an hour,” said district manager Jeffrey Becker.
The volume of mail that comes through the plant is massive and during the holidays - it really cranks up. Becker says this past Monday alone, the facility processed 3 million pieces on the outgoing side. So just how do they keep up with all these letters? Ninety-five percent of letters, cards, and packages are processed automatically.
"When we sort our pieces on automated equipment, it's digitized and then the address is looked up in our automated database and then the correct barcode is sprayed on the letter,” Becker said.
The accurate and efficient results are a far cry from the scathing review the distribution center received in a 2011 postal audit after the Charlottesville consolidation. The USPS inspector general's office said it was the worst in the country for delaying mail, blaming understaffing and poor supervision.
But now the distribution center is topping a different list, applauded for its first class mail service.
“Our employees stepped up to the challenge and as a result we're top five in the nation out of 67 districts, so it's really the teamwork and dedication of the employees that's gotten us where we're at right now,” Becker said.
Moving forward, Becker says the goal is to improve efficiency and levels of service.
The distribution center is in the middle of consolidating operations in Norfolk into Richmond.
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Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012.Full Story
Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012. She is a proud alum of Howard University and is currently pursuing her Master's in Communication at Johns Hopkins. Email/ Full Story
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