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Data is the King Article IV – Benefits of Full Service Intelligent Mail – Informed Visibility program and Free IMb Tracing data

Apr 19, 2016 1:00:00 PM / by Shariq (Sharick) Mirza, CEO and founder of Assurety Consulting Inc.,

Shariq (Sharick) Mirza, CEO and founder of Assurety Consulting Inc.,

This article talks about the benefits of the Informed Visibility program of the USPS® which is making mail scanning information available for mailers to create their own facility conditioning reports for performance measurement and track on-time, early and late delivery of mail. The same data is an integral force for the Product Visibility organization to use internally for service performance measurement, to find bottlenecks in the network and proactively improve and fix the issues for faster delivery. In the end, meet or exceed postal customers expectations related to delivery of mail through the full service IMb program. The same information, outside of the USPS, if used correctly can allow for automated communication and reporting tracking of mail when mail exchanges hands outside of the USPS to figure out early/late delivery possibilities. USPS, through MTAC User group 4 has identified their intention to make all IMb full service or basic service scan data available to mailers eventually.

I will focus on more of a Question and Answer format to explain the Postal Informed Visibility program.

What is Full Service Intelligent Mail Informed Visibility and IMb Tracing?

Informed Visibility is a USPS® Full Service Intelligent mail program which is focused on utilizing the IM barcode scanning data from USPS® processing plants and delivery offices to improve USPS® performance, figure out network bottlenecks and improve the performance of processing and Delivery of mail. The USPS® is making this same IM barcode scanning data available for Free to the Mailers. So, the mailers can proactively manage communication with their customers about the probability of mail getting delivered on time or early or late and also making the final “Out For Delivery” Scan data (also called IMb Tracing data) available to mailers and marketers for free. The “out for Delivery” data can then be used by mailers to tie their marketing, sales, or other actions with delivered mailing status. Mailers can also use this delivery performance information to update their future induction and delivery plans accordingly.

What kind of intelligent mail IMb scanning information is provided as part of the informed Visibility program to the mailers?

The Informed Visibility program provides

  • Container Visibility scans
  • Electronic Information Received (letting the mailers know that their eDocs has passed the Full Service Validations (usually happens post postage finalization) and they should look forward to actual scan data in a future data transaction)
  • Entered at USPS® – Induction Scans – These scans occur at Unload of an Origin entry or Destination Entry appointment and are used to calculate the correct Start-The-Clock for the USPS® Service Performance Measurement program, when and where applicable.
  • Enroute Depart (Cross Dock departure scan)
  • Enroute (Enroute to the cross-dock)
  • Enroute Arrive (Arrival scan at the cross dock facility)
  • Start-the-Clock Data
  • Start-the-Clock Date by Container (IMcb) and Tray (IMtb) Barcodes
  • Tray Visibility scans
  • Electronic Information Received (letting the mailers know that their eDocs has passed the Full Service Validations (usually happens post postage finalization) and they should look forward to actual scan data)
  • Enroute Depart (Cross Dock departure scan)
  • Enroute (Enroute to the cross-dock)
  • Enroute Arrive (Arrival scan at the cross dock facility)
  • Bundle Visibility scans (piece scans)
  • Assumed Scans (Mailers, as an option, can receive the remaining piece barcodes that are in the Bundle provided through eDocs. Only preparer of the bundle and mail piece Owner will receive this data. This is not actual scan data)
  • Enroute (Enroute to the processing facility scan)
  • Out for Delivery Scans (Stop the Clock scans)
  • IMb Tracing data – (piece scans) – Actual physical piece scan data available to all those mailers who participate in the Full service Intelligent Mail program.

Who is eligible to receive this full service intelligent mail IMb scanning information from the Postal Service?

To put it simply, the mail owner and the mail preparer are eligible to receive the Informed Visibility intelligent mail scanning information.

Mail Owner and Preparer is eligible to receive

  • Container Visibility Scan data
  • Start-the-Clock data with IMcb and IMtb barcodes
  • Tray Visibility Scan data
  • Bundle visibility Scan data (only the owner of the piece receives this scan or assumed scan besides the preparer of the bundle)
  • IMb Tracing (piece scan data – Only IMb Tracing subscribers whose Mailer ID is on the physical mail piece, with one exception, receives the postal piece scan data)

What is a Mailer ID (MID) and what is the difference between delegating MID management verses distributing your scanning data to a different entity?

I will spend more time in another article on Mailer ID (MID) and Customer Registration IDS (CRID) and “BY” (Preparer) and For (Owner) concepts for Full Service eDocs. For this article, I’ll be brief. Mailer ID is an ID that is designed to go in the IMb, IMcb and IMtb barcodes as an ID identifying a business entity. Each Business entity with an address can have one CRID and that one CRID can have one or more MIDs. If you find that by mistake your location has been assigned more than one CRID, because multiple people in your company or your MSPs requested CRIDS on your behalf, please contact the USPS help desk. There is a process in place to fix such duplication issues. CRIDs cannot go in a IMb or IMcb or IMtb because of the size limitations of the barcodes and the CRID is supposed to grow in size over time (currently 8 bytes, eDocs are designed to support up to 15 bytes), whereas the 6 digit and 9 digit MIDs should be enough for a very long time to support mailing industry identification needs inside the intelligent mail barcodes.

MID delegation means, I as company A am assigning all rights of managing my MID to company B. This delegation does not automatically start sending full service scanning data or ACS/Nixie, eDoc data quality for full service data to Company B, when Company A delegates its MID to Company B. This delegation allows company B to manage all data distribution setup and planning for company A in the MID data distribution profiles on BCG (Business Customer Gateway).

Data Distribution profile is driven by the Mailer ID. Where company A says give my data to company B by data type, i.e., Container scans/Start-the-Clock, Tray Scans, Bundle Scans, IMb Tracing data. The key thing to remember is that the “BY” / “For” in the eDocs (Mail.dat and Mail.XML Qualification data) must use MIDs, and Not CRIDs or Permits for the identification of “BY”/”For”, for Data distribution to a different entity to work through the Business Customer Gateway.

Is the Scanning information from Informed Visibility and IMb Tracing the only benefit of the Full Service Intelligent Mail Program?

The answer is No. The full service IMb program helps with postage costs, provides Address Correction COA and Nixie data, eDoc data Quality verification errors data for Free; besides the scanning data. If you setup your mailing environments correctly for the IMb program, you will enhance your inventory management and tracking, and will be clearly able to see the mail from your environment through partners and through the USPS as a single chain of events. This capability has extremely tangible and non tangible benefits.

You can better manage cash flow, knowing when your mail arrives for payments and when consumers pay; you can integrate sales and marketing calls based upon tracking data; you can use tracking for legal notification verifications and much more.

In conclusion, the USPS Full Service Intelligent Mail Informed visibility Program is a huge benefit to the mailers; so they can track their Full Service and Basic IMb mailings where IMb has been used throughout the supply chain (postal and non postal). The free information can literally means tangible benefits for the industry with marketing, compliance, legal, financial transactions. The same information i.e., the intelligent barcodes can be used between mailers as mail pieces or trays or pallets move from one mailer to a consolidator or to a Comingler or to a transporter and eventually delivered to the USPS and to the consumer.

Review the benefits of full service intelligent mail scan based reporting through TrackingAssurety solution.

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