Mail Preparation, Addressing and Commercial Mail Acceptance
Our adoption of Intelligent Mail and Full-Service technologies has enabled a significant paradigm shift in the way we accept and verify commercial business mailings. We have reduced reliance on manual processes and moved into a digitized process flow.
These capabilities will empower customers with a suite of tools that will enable payment flexibility, preparation simplicity, ease of entry, multiple access points for account management, and deeper visibility into their mailing status.
Additional value will occur through expanded Full-Service penetration by small business mailers. The increased use of Intelligent Mail barcodes with Full-Service allows the USPS to position these mailers for Seamless Acceptance.
Intelligent Mail for Small Business (IMsb) Tool
The Intelligent Mail for Small Business (IMsb) tool offers a simple and cost-effective online solution for small mailers to prepare Full-Service, seamless-ready mailings. In addition to providing Full-Service access to small businesses, the tool provides simplified mail preparation and entry options, including electronic creation and submission of postage statements, generation of unique IMbs, and the ability to import address lists.
Full-Service Simplification and Promotion
Aspects of the Full-Service program were reviewed and actions were taken to simplify mailers entry into Full-Service and to encourage growth across mailers of all sizes.
Changes included simplification of Full-Service mail preparation requirements, a software vendor certification program, and improved Full-Service onboarding processes.
The Postal Service also announced its intent to offer a Technology Credit intended to help offset the investment required to participate in Full-Service. The postage credit will be awarded to qualifying mailers who meet a specific volume threshold, and can be redeemed with Full-Service mailings.
Commercial mail acceptance has supported the development of seasonal promotions, such as the Mobile Commerce and Personalization promotion in summer 2012, and the Holiday Mobile Barcode promotion planned for the 2012 holiday shopping season. These offer postage discounts to mailers who meet the qualifying criteria, such as the use of quick response barcodes on their mailpieces and submitting electronic documentation.
A primary objective of commercial mail entry is to eliminate the reliance on hard-copy forms and processes. The electronic induction process, eInduction, leverages existing electronic documentation, Intelligent Mail barcodes, and handheld scanner technologies to verify payment for the mail at a container level. This ensures the containers are inducted into the correct destination facility.
Increased use of electronic data through eInduction will reduce dependence on paper-driven processes, directly reducing the amount of manual validations conducted on shipments at destination plants.
eInduction is being tested at five Postal processing plants.
Business Mail Entry Self-Service Terminal
The introduction and expansion of self-service solutions for seamless-ready mailings will improve customer satisfaction and reduce the cost-to-serve impact for small or simple mailings.
For mailers presenting this type of mailing — created and submitted electronically through the IMsb tool the Postal Service is piloting self-service terminals.
These terminals allow mailers to streamline check-in and entry. This process will be extended to all Full-Service mailings presented at a Business Mail Entry unit. Express terminals allow for scanning of electronic confirmation sheet barcodes to further expedite the entry process.
Mailers who prepare seamless-ready, Full-Service mailings will be able to take advantage of further simplified and enhanced acceptance and verification.
Seamless Acceptance (Letters and Flats)
Seamless Acceptance will allow commercial mail or letter and flat-size mailpieces to enter the mailstream with fewer manual acceptance and verification activities.
The expanded use of technology through Seamless Acceptance will increase opportunities to use automated processes to reduce errors, improve efficiencies and improve revenue assurance capabilities.
A combination of active and passive scans from the Postal Service's visibility systems and mail processing equipment will be used to support an automated process to reconcile the containers, handling units and mailpieces scanned by the Postal Service against a mailer's electronic documentation.
In addition to the processing equipment scans, mailing data will be collected through a sampling process. Enhancements to the FS-IMD will allow the data to be collected and matched to data collected through eDoc.
When used in conjunction with mail processing equipmment scans, also matched to eDoc data, a ‘big picture' view of the mailing emerges.
Reporting capabilities are being improved to provide analytical reports for both internal and external customers. Scanning results and sampling will be compared to mailer electronic documentation, allowing us to monitor mailer quality using information about errors and quality trends over time.
Electronic Verification System (eVS)
The eVS program allows package shippers to seamlessly enter their mailings into the Postal system. The system incorporates manually sampled packages and scans of packages from mail processing equipment that are used to validate postage payment against the mailer's manifest information.
The eVS program continues to focus on enhancements to the system. These enhancements will position the eVS system for new revenue growth, and will support the business needs of government agencies and package consolidators who have been thus far unwilling to transfer their shipping services to eVS. The system is also being enhanced to add international mail options.
The Payment and Account Management initiatives improved our ability to manage customer incentives, contract pricing and loyalty tracking, while helping us gain deeper insights into how our customers use our products and their revenue contribution.
Payment and account management improvements reduce the current burden experienced by mailers in opening permits and managing accounts.
Currently, customers must hold a permit account and pay fees at each Post Office where they present mail. If customers hold accounts at numerous Postal facilities, they must go to each facility to make payments for those accounts.
"Mail Anywhere/Pay Anywhere" addresses these challenges by letting mailers process a postage statement against any permit account at any location.