MÉXICO. Sistema Integral de Operación (SIO). Introduction

In recent years, Correos de Mexico (formerly Servicio Postal Mexicano - SEPOMEX) has undergone a major process of restructuring and renewal that has modernized and improved the service offered to users.
One of the main innovations is the implementation of the so-called Sistema Integral de Operación (SIO) - Integral Operation System, a computer solution (software + hardware) that aims to automate and modernize post offices across the country.

SIO was introduced in October 2006, with the system starting operations from February 28th 2007. The implementation of the Sistema Integral de Operación is being developed in phases. It is expected that the system will be installed at 500 counter positions in 157 post offices spread over many large cities throughout the Mexican states.

Between April 2007 and February 2009, Purificación Carpinteyro, director of Mexico’s postal service (SEPOMEX) aimed to give the new business both enterprise and a new image. In September 2008, the Servicio Postal Mexicano (SEPOMEX) changed its name and has returned to the former name of Correos de México, and has a new logo with a pigeon, designed by Gonzalo Tassier, which has replaced the traditional head of the eagle.

As its name indicates, the SIO application allows for the control of all postal operations, from the acceptance of postal items to tracking and tracing - Track&Trace, and other services offered by SEPOMEX, such as payment of electricity, telephone and gas bills.

At each postal counter, the computer is connected to diverse peripherals. An electronic scale Entec (model F908D-30 E), which weighs up to 30 Kg., a thermal printer of labels -stamps, in this case- (Datamax E-Class model), and a Star dot-matrix printer for receipts.

One of the SIO applications is the issuing of variable value stamps for mail handed in at the counter.
The postal employee places the letter or parcel on the scale, notes if the postal piece is partially prefranked, keys in the destination and/or any additional services required (registration, acknowledge receipt, ...) and the system prints and issues the corresponding stamp according to current postal rates.

The resulting stamp (left image, above) is for immediate use, and is printed on a self-adhesive thermal label, which has a pre-printed security background.
The system prints on the label the date, the destination, and the face value (Porte). In the example, the value corresponds to the total of the domestic postage rate up to 20 g. (6.50 pesos), plus the fixed registered mail fee (5 pesos). In the bottom line, is printed the weight, SEPOMEX (Servicio Postal Mexicano), and the zip code and the number of the post office.
For registered shipments, the system issues a second (registration) label, using the same paper, with a bar code and the shipment control number (left image, below).

It is also possible to issue labels with zero face value, which can be used either for test purposes or adjustments to the print impression.

The self-adhesive label size is 60 x 30 mm., on a white waxed paper, and has a space of 3 mm. between the labels. The grey-blue pre-printed security background includes a double row (top and bottom) with the former continuing SEPOMEX po
stal emblem (the eagle's head), and the text SERVICIO POSTAL MEXICANO in the centre. These labels have been reprinted on different occasions from 2007, using different paper types and additional security imprints.
For example, the designs of the security background of the earliest labels were printed in a grey-blue colour, and the central text has a height of about 20 mm. (next picture)

Type 1. Grey-blue security background. The paper does not react under UV light.

New reprints were made shortly after, and included an important new feature - the inclusion of an additional security impression using invisible ink, with the eagle head postal emblem in single and double rows. This imprint is only visible under ultraviolet light (right picture). The pre-printed security background has become bluer, and the central text is larger, about 25 mm. high. With such characteristics, there are different paper types, with different reactions under UV light.

Type 2.1. Grey-blue security background, central text with height 25 mm. The paper reacts dark grey under UV light, and includes the invisible ink imprint.
Type 2.2. Blue security background, text height 25 mm. The paper reacts white under UV light, and includes the invisible ink imprint.
Type 2.3. Blue security background, text height 25 mm. The paper reacts light grey under UV light, and includes the invisible ink imprint.

Another SIO application is the issuing of labels or stamps for shipments through MEXPOST, the domestic and international urgent postal service by SEPOMEX.
In this case, large size labels (85 x 120 mm.) are used, which have a similar security background and invisible ink imprint.
The system is also capable of issuing a receipt for the operation, which is printed with a dot-matrix printer on plain paper.

In short, an interesting project for the modernization of a postal administration that has a somewhat negative image and efficiency. We will closely follow developments and will update events in future articles.

2009. The new SIO labels

New thermal self-adhesive labels, with a change of background design, came into use from June 2009. Following the changes introduced in September 2008, the labels show the new logo of Correos de Mexico, in pink-magenta.
As a security measure, the labels include the overprinting of the 2 rows of 4 small logos with invisible ink, which reacts pink under ultraviolet light (right picture)

Type 3. New design - Correos de Mexico.

The changeover was gradual at the different post offices fitted with the SIO application, bringing in the new labels as they ran out of rolls of the previous design.
There are no changes in the printing done by the built in software.

Article written with Dr. Alberto Acosta Soltero, Mexico. With the collaboration of Alicia Macías and Oralia Peña.

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