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Northrop Grumman Sues US Postal Service Over Automated Snail-mail Sort Contract 80

McGruber writes "The Federal Times is reporting that Northrup Grumman has filed suit against the US Postal Service, accusing the USPS of violating the terms of the 2007 fixed-price ($875 million) contract to produce 100 massive automatic sorting systems, each capable of handling millions of magazines, catalogs and other pieces of flat mail. The Postal Service embarked on the project just as mail volume was beginning to nosedive, cutting into anticipated efficiency gains. The sorting machines' performance has been uneven, according to a series of reports by the Postal Service's inspector general."
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Northrop Grumman Sues US Postal Service Over Automated Snail-mail Sort Contract

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  • Dirty Northrop (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 19, 2012 @04:10PM (#40053101)

    Northrop Grumman is so fucking bad, that I refuse to believe that anything they do is malicious. They're not competent enough to try to really screw the taxpayers. Every interaction I've had with them indicates that NG corporate is hostile to actually producing hardware and software, and desire to only create IP that NG can then charge the government to use. They are, however, so fucking incompetent that when I tried to get them to give me a proposal for a sole source, small change, that they were going to charge us 5x cost for, they failed to provide a compliant proposal before the money got pulled. You got that right. 80% profit and overhead, and they couldn't actually execute their core business function, which is extracting money from the federal government. Granted, our acquisition system is it's own disaster, but only NG could be so bad as to fail to ask when we're throwing money.

  • Re:In Soviet Russia (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @04:35PM (#40053245) Journal
    I don't know how much is purely down to inertia and inefficiency(these certainly cannot be ruled out); but I get the impression that the US postal service has a certain cultural attachment to a slightly retro ideal of universal service going back to their original constitutional mandate. This is of pretty questionable use in their contemporary capacity as high-volume junk mail distributers with a side of certified legal mailings; but my interactions with postal personnel(especially in smaller markets) has always given me the impression that they take a certain pride in the fact that anyone can scrawl a vague reference to somewhere in Podunk on an envelope, slap on a stamp, and have it actually arrive at the correct slice of nowhere, courtesy of the postman who knows that area.

    Fedex, on the other hand, you expect the barcodes and the little scanner/PDA widget.

    As noted, it isn't obvious that this cultural orientation is a good fit for the position that the service finds itself in; but it has always struck me as an interesting phenomenon...
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @05:10PM (#40053433) Journal

    Paper mail, as a business, is tanking.

    And yet parcel (package) mail volume is increasing.
    The funny thing is that UPS makes more money than everyone else in the package business combined,
    but for rural deliveries, they (and FedEx) farm out the packages to USPS because it would cost to much to deliver it themselves.

    That said, the United States Postal Service isn't really in financial trouble.
    Their problem mostly has to do with a bad law that forces them to devote enormous amounts of cash to prefund pension plans []

  • Re:Dirty Northrop (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 19, 2012 @05:14PM (#40053455)

    I actually commented on this in an article a while back. 80k for them to repair a part that broke for the military, Under 5k for a military maintenance facility to. And the kicker? The military base repairs actually worked long enough to be useful, while the Grumman ones were often faulty just back from repair.)

  • Re:Dirty Northrop (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @04:05AM (#40055697)
    That's like taunting someone for saying a car isn't a plausible economic theory. Starve the beast was never presented as an economic theory, it's a vindictive theory of punishment, punishing government (or government entities) by cutting funding, but not cutting the budget. And it has never worked in the history of the planet. Feel free to name a time, ever, when starving the beast worked in a non-violent way (as I think it could be argued that a number of revolutions were sparked by effects of starving the beast, but the "goal" of the starve-the-beast proponents is not violent collapse - unless that's their secret goal).

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.