La Poste (the French Post Office) is investing €147 million and has awarded Bull and Lockheed Martin the contract for its new automated mail sorting system, which will ensure that it is among the world leaders in the postal services market
With competition looming, La Poste is modernizing its automated mail sorting system and its IT network across the country. Between now and 2010, the equipment at the various mail sorting offices will be linked to a network controlled from a national center. The aim is to ensure maximum reliability in the processing of mail and to provide a range of solutions throughout the mail collection and delivery value chain.
Through this €147 million contract, La Poste will deploy an information system backed up with the latest technologies over the 800 machines of the platforms covering the whole country. This deployment is part of the “Cap Qualité Courrier” programme.
Bull’s turnkey solution, developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin, involves providing a unique new automatic address interpretation and computer based mail sorting system. This system is based on optical reading (up to 50,000 letters per hour!) of all of the information written on an envelope: address of recipient, information relative to sender, bar-code, date and stamp amount, etc. The first operational phase will begin during the course of 2007.
This leading edge technology will enable La Poste to introduce new innovative added-value services to its customers, senders or recipients: automated bulk mail and registered letter tracking, automatic mail redirection (temporary or definitive) and intelligent control of stamping.
All together, 65 million letters will benefit from these innovations daily. The new system will ensure an increased reliability in the mail sorting, the IT deployed will guarantee a zero default in address interpretation operations (including hand written addresses), positively impacting mail delivery. With, in addition, an automated delivery schedule preparation thanks to a system that sorts the mail respecting the delivery round of every postman.
Gabriel Hentzen, French Post Office Operations Managing Director "we are today achieving a truly impressive technology leap giving the French Post Office a real competitive edge against its competitors. With the most advanced technology in the world, we are introducing high-speed automatic mail reading and also demonstrating we are a services integrator”.
“Bull is positioning itself as a major player in the modernization of interoperable and secure IT infrastructures. Driven by European mail market deregulation, we are applying this know-how to modernize postal services, an area in which we intend to become a major player. The bringing together of the expertise of Bull and Lockheed Martin offers postal services a unique opportunity to redefine their critical business processes, whether they involve information processing or managing the mail,” confirmed Yves Véret, Bull’s General Manager, Defense and New Markets.
The French Post Office has chosen Bull for its know-how as prime contractor as well as for its experience in systems integration for complex IT infrastructures in heterogeneous environments. Furthermore, Bull will deploy 3,000 servers including Bull NovaScale blade servers, Escala and Express5800 servers.
This IT system is at the heart of the French Post Office Cap Qualité Courrier programme, the most important mail modernization programme ever undertaken with an unprecedented investment of €3.4 billion. Launched in 2004 by Jean-Paul Bailly, the French Post Office’s chairman, Cap Qualité Courrier aims at positioning the company as the European reference in the mail area. This will be obtained through the transformation of its industrial production and the deployment of a set of solutions along all of the mail value chain.
A first industrial platform has already been inaugurated in Gonesse, near Paris, and 13 industrial projects were launched over the last year. On December 2nd 2005, Jean-Paul Bailly set the foundation stone of the industrial platform in the Lorraine region.