In a previous article, we covered the Postal Service’s goal of moving all Intelligent Mail Barcode Full-Service mailers to Seamless Acceptance by 2021. The Postal Service has taken the next step in making this goal a reality by filing a proposed Federal Register notice. The Seamless Acceptance FRN was published on Wednesday, January 8, 2020. A 30-day comment period is currently in progress; all comments are due by Friday, February 7, 2020.
As recommended, several dates will be necessary for mailers to be aware of:
March 1, 2020:
All Full-Service DMU (Detached Mail Unit) and BMEU (Bulk Mail Entry Unit) mailers must participate in Seamless Parallel. It does not change your mail acceptance process, but it does activate the Seamless Acceptance section of your Mailers Scorecard.
February 1, 2021:
DMU Full-Service mailers must have enrolled in the Seamless Acceptance Program. Note: If you are a DMU mailer and will not be able to comply with this requirement, you must request an extension by November 1, 2020, and be able to specify the date that you will be able to meet.
July 1, 2021:
BMEU Full-Service mailings will be verified using automated sampling and verification processes. Manual verifications will be retired for all Full-Service mailings. Note: BMEU mailers will not be required to enroll in the Seamless Acceptance Program.
These are proposed dates that are open to industry comment and feedback. As your company prepares to make a move to Seamless Parallel or Seamless Acceptance, the following information can help develop and possibly prevent some of the common problems associated with the Seamless portion of the Mailers Score Card.
There are several reasons why Undocumented errors occur. The most common cause is often related to how single-piece rate mail is being processed. If single-piece rate mail is being barcoded, but not included in eDoc, it will show up as undocumented. Another common scenario is an error made at a co-mingling facility. Here, mail pieces from several mailers are consolidated to achieve economies of scale. In this process, sometimes the wrong Mailer IDs (MIDs) can be attached to certain mail pieces. Other reasons Undocumented errors occur include:
- Simple user error—someone at the mailer forgot to upload the electronic data.
- Manually presorted mail accidentally entering the mail stream before payments are made.
- Sortation hardware malfunctions. Like double feed.
- Previously lost mail showing up in the mail stream long after it was paid for.
- National Change of Address (NCOA) mail pieces being reprocessed in the mail stream by mistake.
Mailers need standard operating procedures, robust data collection, and reporting systems to participate in the Full-Service and Seamless Acceptance programs without issues and to be able to tackle Undocumented errors when they occur.
Larger, more sophisticated commercial mailers generally compile and analyze data to prove whether the USPS’s claims of Undocumented errors are valid. But smaller to mid-size mailers that have become part of the Seamless Acceptance program (not all small mailers are) often do not have access to the same level of visibility required to help them verify and resolve an Undocumented error.
For Seamless Acceptance Full-Service mailers, the USPS evaluates seven mailing metrics each month. If one of those metrics exceeds a certain allowable threshold, an assessment could result after it occurs more than three times in a rolling twelve-month period.
Seamless Metric Thresholds
- ” Undocumented” (.3% threshold): Mail pieces tied to a Seamless Acceptance mailer that doesn’t have any electronic payment record found in eDocs.
- Delivery Point (2%): The Delivery Point information or 5, 9, or 11-digit routing code in the IMb is invalid.
- Nesting/Sortation (MPE) (1%): Nesting Sortation information-driven by MPE scans that reconstruct a tray does not match the eDoc preparation or destination ZIP information provided by the mailer.
- Postage (Sampling) (PAF* 1.05%): The Postage affixed amount or postage payment method of the sampled piece does not match eDoc information.
- Weight (Sampling) (PAF 1.05%) Weight of a sampled piece does not match the weight provided in the eDocs and crosses a weight threshold for pound prices.
- Mail Characteristic (Sampling) (PAF 1.05%): The shape, class, or non-profit eligibility of the sampled piece does not match the eDoc information.
- Barcode Quality (Sampling) (PAF 1.05%) The barcode is absent or un-readable on a sampled scanned piece.
- *PAF = Postage Adjustment Factor
These metrics are reported on a mailer’s Mailer Scorecard, so it’s important to check it often to ensure allowable thresholds aren’t being routinely exceeded.
The best way to resolve an Undocumented error is to find and upload the payment data for the mail pieces in question within the first ten days of the next calendar month. And the best way to make that job as efficient and accurate as possible is to bring all of your postal presort and consolidation information into a single repository for the entire mailing enterprise, such as AIMS plus™ Software platform from Assurety built on a scalable, centralized Microsoft SQL Server platform. Easy lookup of undocumented errors, proactive checks on Seamless errors is all part of the AIMS plus™ platform. By centralizing all postal information, reporting and addressing payment disputes becomes dramatically more relaxed, and a mailer can create a single workflow that supports all aspects of your postal processes and functions. The comminglers can work with their hardware vendors to capture piece images to be able to prove that the undocumented pieces did not come from the commingler. A single system that allows seamless communication between your presort team, comminglers or co-palletizers, transporters, and other parties. Enables organizations to have ready access to the information necessary to prevent Undocumented errors from occurring in the first place. And to resolve them quickly should one occur.
The best way to get ready for Seamless Acceptance is through a centralized AIMS plus™ Software platform that provides beyond post-presort capabilities at affordable prices. Advanced technology makes accessibility easier from anywhere and provides BI and Analytics capabilities through the AnalyticsAssurety™ model. Ask us for a demo today.