Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $17.4 million contract from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for optical character recognition technology to improve automated parcel sorting systems at USPS bulk mail centers.

Lockheed Martin will install 38 optical character recognition (OCR) systems on secondary parcel sorting systems, known as Singulation Scan Induction Units (SSIU), at 19 bulk mail centers. OCR will offer an alternative method to sorting packages by reading the addresses on parcels instead of only analyzing barcodes. Currently, a significant percentage of parcels that enter a bulk mail center do not have barcodes and require manual processing. With OCR, the majority of parcels can be directly processed by SSIU, reducing the need for multi-processing operations and manual handling.

Optical Character Recognition will improve efficiency by eliminating an extra step in parcel processing, reduce manual mail handling, and complement the current barcode technology, said Brian Tanton, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Distribution Technologies. "Our optical character recognition systems will support the USPS in achieving its strategic goals through improved read rates and productivity in bulk mail centers."

Lockheed Martin is a leading supplier to the U.S. Postal Service and other postal systems around the world of address recognition solutions, which read handwritten or machine printed addresses automatically.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 135,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.