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Online Mail Tracking System prEtrak.com© – USA

Background
Harte-Hanks Inc, is a large mailing partner of United States Postal Service (USPS) applying technology to bring value added information based solutions. Corporations needed time critical information on the status of their direct mail. Development took place in 2001-2002, prEtrak.com© came as the solution to the inherent limitations in the USPS offering.
Issue
From the time the mail was sent out, a tracking system was needed to determine current status, estimated time of arrival and confirmation upon arrival. A system to make direct mail more effective, and with the reports enabling the senders to take subsequent appropriate steps was necessary. Dohatec would develop the system and Harte-Hanks would be the exclusive user. A license fee and a fee per scan were to be paid for it.
Solution
An agreement was arrived between the companies under which Dohatec would develop the system and Harte-Hanks would retain exclusivity on the product. There would be a license fee and a fee per use paid to Dohatec by Harte-Hanks. Dohatec developed the solution in 2001.Harte-Hanks online mail tracking system, prEtrak.com© is a fully web enabled large database system capable of handling millions of records. Developed by Dohatec, this is an innovative product track automated bar coded mail through USPS facilities. By generating real time mail status report, prEtrak.com© creates more accurate reports on delivery status, predicted delivery time, late delivery status for call centers, untracked delivery status for logistics departments etc. prEtrak.com© helps to take advantage of USPS provided scan data by capturing and analyzing data that is available for Harte-Hanks.
prEtrak.com© Highlights:

  • Web based relational database reporting tools.
  • Clients can review own report from anywhere at anytime
  • Near real time data from USPS
  • Secure web based management
  • Origin bounce-back tracking
  • Destination mail delivery
  • Mail entry
  • Customizable to individual client requirements
The United States Postal Service has developed a new tracking system, CONFIRM, which uses PLANET codes, a 12-digit barcode that is placed directly on outgoing or incoming letter-size mail together with the regular POSTNET barcode. The postal service sorting equipment reads both barcodes and makes it available to a centralized network server. Once the data is captured, the data is then processed by Harte-Hanks and made available to the mailer through Harte-Hanks web interface to allow mailers to take advantage of the USPS PLANET code technology in a more timely and cost effective manner.
Dohatec Challenge
Dohatec knew that a robust and secure solution was required to handle and interpret the huge volume of scan data provided by USPS in a timely manner. The contract stated that jobs were to be setup and supported on the OMDS (Online Mailing Data System) by Dohatec. The technology available through prEtrak.com© delivers a tool when integrated into our customer’s business processes, turns raw data of the USPS into useful strategic information. The location and lack of infrastructure actually resulted in a loss of substantial revenue. Dohatec did not receive the anticipated Government support in the telecom area. Dohatec continued to develop the system so that it could be remotely processed using the server in the US. The required time was very good and Harte-Hanks could not give up the opportunity. Because of all the adversities of inadequate infrastructure, finally, in November 2002, the system had to be handed over to Harte-Hanks for a small sum.
Dohatec Opportunity
Number of clients: 42 including Best Buy, Bon-Ton, Hallmark, JC Penney, Lord & Taylor, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, USPS. The system generates 40 different types of reports. It has 12 modules, 23 forms and 25 tables. Current database size is 59 GB. Total transaction in 2006 was 600,000,000. Maximum transaction for a single job was 10 million from Hallmark. The clients of prEtrak.com© have a new knowledge-ware tool to more effectively manage relationships involving direct mail with their own customers and prospects.The success and robustness of the system is acclaimed in the industry. There are many possible areas of improvements with the developments being introduced by USPS. Harte-Hanks then went a contract for the development of the 2nd phase of the project. Dohatec is well positioned to take advantage of this. The system can be effectively operated from Dohatec offices and customized to each customer need.

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