Comparative Review of Single-Line and Multiline Optical Character Readers Used in Mail Processing

GGD-84-78: Published: Aug 7, 1984. Publicly Released: Aug 7, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO conducted a comparative analysis of single-line optical character readers (OCR's) and multiline OCR's to evaluate the U.S. Postal Service's decision to use single-line OCR's instead of multiline OCR's.

GAO found that the multiline OCR performs better than the single-line OCR at all ZIP-Plus-4 usage levels tested. Although both machines produce substantial work-year savings, the multiline OCR performance advantage results in greater work-year savings. However, GAO believes that the single-line machine would cost less to buy and maintain than the multiline machine. GAO concluded that, since the ZIP-Plus-4 program was only 8 months old in May 1984, inferences should not be made concerning whether the Postal Service should switch to multiline readers. The eventual level of program usage by mailers will determine whether the Postal Service should change to multiline OCR's.

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