Data scanning technology can read nearly all pieces of mail

May 17, 2013

For the U.S. Postal Service, technology has been both a curse and a blessing. As email takes over communication, fewer people each year rely on the service to send mail, and the USPS has been struggling to adapt. At the same time, as scanning technology improves and is better able to read even the most illegible handwriting, fewer employees are needed to process the mail.

According to the New York Times, at one point there were 55 factories in the U.S. where envelopes that were unable to be read by scanners were sorted manually by data conversion operators. As document scanning technology has improved, the letters sorted manually has drastically fallen. Now only two centers remain, one of which is closing in September. 

The center staying open in Salt Lake City, Utah will take on the "worst of the worst" handwriting—which is saying a lot.

"Over the years, the Postal Service has become the world leader in optical character recognition – software capable of reading computer-generated lettering and handwriting – sinking millions of dollars into equipment that can read nearly 98 percent of all hand-addressed mail and 99.5 percent of machine-addressed pieces," the Times explained.

As scanning technology improves, the soon-to-be lone center may also see itself with less work to do, and employees may be out of the job. While a bittersweet scenario, this also shows the potential of optical character recognition. For business interested in scanning handwritten materials, document scanning services are often able to efficiently and accurately input information, even messy handwriting that at one time, may have required a manual entry.

Tab Service Company is a Chicago based company with over 53 years of experience as a data processing service provider.  We provide business with outsourcing solutions for document scanning services, data entry services and mailing/lettershop services.  As a SOC2-approved service organization, we apply industry-best practices to our approach with clients.