USPS launches self-service postage kiosks
In a bid to decrease customer wait times and improve customer service and satisfaction, the United States Postal Service is to deploy self service weigh-and-stamp kiosks from Wincor Nixdorf at 2,506 postal branches throughout the United States.
The self-service APCs (automated postal centres) from Wincor Nixdorf and its US alliance partner, IBM, consist of Wincor Nixdorf's ProCash 1500 ATM as the base unit, with two cassettes used for postage dispensing, a 'print from cassette' device that prints on secure paper stock in the ATM safe, and an IBM sidecar with a scale and second printer. Initial APC installations were completed in May 2004 and are expected to continue until November 2004.
Multi-function kiosk The APC improves operational efficiencies at postal branches by allowing customers to conduct routine postal transactions at the self-service platform instead of waiting for a clerk. Postal customers can use the APC to weigh packages and print bar-coded postage, weigh and rate envelopes, flaps, and packages up to 70 pounds, to prepare and deliver postage, and to dispense stamp sheets.
The units include a 15-inch touch-sensitive screen, a card reader for credit or debit transactions, a receipt printer, a colour camera, an encrypting PIN pad, and software to assist visually impaired customers. They run on the USPS point-of-sale network. IBM Global Services, which exclusively markets, sells and services Wincor Nixdorf ATMs in the US market, adapted the software developed for the branch POS network to the self-service environment.
"This creative use of an ATM platform will provide USPS customers with a new level of convenience," commented Scott Hackl, vice president for Wincor Nixdorf Banking Solutions USA.