Mail Preparation, Addressing and Commercial Acceptance

Our continued adoption of Intelligent Mail and Full-Service technologies, which rely on the use of smart barcodes, has enabled continuous improvements in the way we accept and verify commercial business mailings. We are working to reduce reliance on manual processes and move into a digitized process flow with programs such as Full-Service Intelligent Mail, Seamless Acceptance, eInduction, Electronic Verification System and payment modernization. These evolving capabilities empower customers with a suite of tools enabling payment flexibility, preparation simplicity, multiple access points for account management and deeper visibility into mailing status.

Full-Service – Full-Service uses Intelligent Mail barcodes on mail containers, handling units (trays, sacks) and mailpieces to provide end-to-end visibility of the mailstream. As of September 2016, overall Full-Service adoption is at 90.43 percent of all eligible Full-Service mail. Information provided in electronic documentation allows for verification of key elements such as proper by/for identification and barcode uniqueness. Results of these verifications are available by viewing the Mailer Scorecard (see Mailer Scorecard). Assessments began in November 2016 based on October 2016 verifications.

eInduction – The electronic induction process, better known as eInduction, simplifies the induction of drop shipments and expedited plant load mailings. It enables the use of electronic documentation, Intelligent Mail container barcodes and handheld scanner technologies to verify the payment and preparation of commercial mail containers. eInduction eliminates the need for paper forms and manual reconciliation at the entry facility. Nearly 65 percent of all containers are shipped through eInduction. Results of these verifications are displayed in the Mailer Scorecard.

Seamless Acceptance – This program automates the verification of commercial mailings by leveraging electronic documentation, Intelligent Mail container barcodes, Intelligent Mail tray barcodes, Intelligent Mail barcodes and information collected from both handheld sampling devices and mail processing equipment scans. Seamless Acceptance answers two critical questions: has every piece of mail been paid for and was every piece of mail paid for at the correct rate. Results of these verifications are available by viewing the Mailer Scorecard.

Over 18 percent of all commercial volume is entered through Seamless Acceptance. The Postal Service delayed adding new mailers to Seamless Acceptance while we continue to work with the mailing industry to address concerns on resolving and validating undocumented mailpieces and sampling data and the Mailer Scorecard. Once these issues are resolved, the program will be opened up to all mailers.

Move Update – The Move Update program is designed to keep mailing address lists current. We’re proposing to update the verification of Move Update compliance from sampling to a census verification approach using mail process equipment scan data. This census method approach will be for any mailer submitting Full-Service mail volume. Results of these verifications are displayed in the Mailer Scorecard. The industry will be engaged in validation and testing of the Mailer Scorecard prior to notification of assessments. In December 2014, the Postal Service published an advance notice in the Federal Register announcing a census method approach for Move Update verification. Based on mailer feedback from the initial posting, another notice was published in July 2016. Implementation of this approach is pending regulatory approvals.

Mailer Scorecard – A Mailer Scorecard provides a dashboard view of the mail quality verification results of letter and flat mailing activity over a calendar month. Results of verifications can be viewed by the mail owner or mail preparer. Today, mail quality is established on individual mailings through manual verification processes. The results of the manual verifications, including any additional postage charges, are communicated to the mailer prior to the acceptance of the mail, allowing the mailer the opportunity to dispute or accept additional postage charges prior to induction. The key initiatives mentioned previously — Full-Service, Move Update, eInduction and Seamless Acceptance — transition mailers from the current process to a trend-based process where verification results and additional postage amounts are aggregated over an entire calendar month.

This change has mailers concerned about post-induction assessment processes and with performance and functionality of the Mailer Scorecard. Working with the mailing industry through the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee, we completed Mailer Scorecard testing for Full-Service, Move Update, Seamless Acceptance and eInduction. The industry testers represented a well-rounded group of mailers with a comprehensive set of mailing scenarios. Results of this testing were positive. USPS announced an assessment date of November on October data for Full-Service verifications. The Postal Service continues to work with the mailing industry to resolve concerns with misshipped logic for eInduction and undocumented and sampling logic for Seamless Acceptance.

A new publication, Streamlined Mail Acceptance for Letters and Flats, contains policies and processes for verification of eligible business mailings using tools provided by Full-Service Intelligent Mail, Move Update, eInduction and Seamless Acceptance. The Postal Service has sought industry feedback on the publication. The publication contains an explanation of each verification program, detailed participation requirements for each program, descriptions of USPS verifications, mail quality error thresholds and postage assessment calculations.

Automated Package Verification – This revenue assurance program is designed to collect shortpaid revenue for packages created through PC Postage or packages entered into the system through retail channels. It automates the validation of weight and rate elements of packages as they are processed in plants to ensure correct postage was paid. In February 2016, a Federal Register notice was published requiring PC Postage vendors and resellers to collect shortpaid postage effective Dec. 31, 2016.