What is an MPD?

Malcolm Tatum

A multi-purpose document, or MPD, is a document that contains the necessary data to provide information as several different points during the flow of a process. The document is normally divided into sections, and may also feature coded areas that are scanned for faster processing. The MPD is used in a number of different business and industry settings, including freight services and air transportation.

Many airlines are switching to virtual multi-purpose documents (MPDs) that organize relevant details about a passenger's travel itinerary.
Many airlines are switching to virtual multi-purpose documents (MPDs) that organize relevant details about a passenger's travel itinerary.

There are two main reasons why the use of an MPD is helpful in some settings. First, there is the matter of speed. Using the MPD means there is less shuffling of paperwork to locate necessary data at each step of a process. Because the document is usually simple and straightforward in structure, locating the necessary data takes much less time. The end result is the ability to increase productivity by allowing more incidences of the process to take place in a given period of time.

Along with speed, an MPD also helps to increase efficiency. Since all the necessary data is arranged and easily identified at each point in a process, the chances for data entry errors are minimized. In addition, any coded areas included on the document allow quick scanning, which means less manual entry altogether. With the margin for error reduced, use of an MPD format means fewer exceptions or delays in processing.

One of the growing applications of an MPD is found with the airline industry. As a means of reducing print documents in booking and boarding processes, many airlines are moving to what is known as a virtual multi-purpose document. Like the MPD, this newer virtual MPD organizes information in a simple format that is easily scanned. At the same time, the virtual document also can be called up to verify all sorts of pre-payment transactions. By applying a virtual solution to boarding, baggage, and other processes associated with traveling by air, the hope is to minimize delays in boarding, as well as to minimize the chances for lost luggage and other common issues that consumers sometimes experience. It is anticipated that more airlines will adopt a virtual PMD, or VPMD, approach in the years to come.

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