Thursday, November 24, 2005

Efficiency and Robustness 3

Processing New Orleans mail after Katrina

New Orleans resident and blogger Ernie the Attorney posts an interesting diagram on Flikr.

Obviously this is not an efficient way of delivering mail. But when the direct method is not available, an inefficient workaround is usually better than nothing. I wonder what service level is being achieved by this workaround, and who is paying the extra cost? I also wonder how quickly it was possible to put this workaround into operation, and how long it will persist.

From a systems engineering point of view, I am interested to note the architectural characteristics of the postal system that makes this kind of workaround possible. Among other things, this assumes a high degree of interoperability and consistency between the various locations involved.

See my previous posts Efficiency & Robustness 1, 2

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