Surface Visibility (SV) may sound like a nautical or even aeronautical term, but to the U.S. Postal Service it refers to multiple systems integrated to scan and track mail transported within the postal network. In fact, if you've ever used USPS Tracking to find where a package is, SV scanning has helped provide the answer.

SV helps improve postal transportation by scanning different items such as mail containers and packages at various points in their journey. For instance, scanning incoming mail on the loading dock of a USPS processing and distribution center (P&DC) allows for advance notification of the volume of entering mail. For departing mail, scanning provides accurate information for planning purposes at downstream facilities.

The Postal Service’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 national scan-compliance goal is 94 percent. As of February 2, 2018, the reported rate was 90 percent. Individually, however, scan-compliance rates can vary significantly among some P&DCs.

To identify best practices that could improve scanning compliance, we recently looked at two high-performing sites and two low-performing sites in the Capital Metro Area based on their respective FY 2017 compliance rates. The Greensboro and Norfolk P&DCs reported average scan-compliance rates of 93 percent, and the Northern Virginia and Peachtree P&DCs reported 80 percent.

Management at the high-performing sites – Norfolk and Greensboro – reviewed daily scan data to identify problem areas, conducted spot checks of those areas to correct issues, and ensured scans were conducted. Additionally, supervisors discussed any problem areas with individual employees and during stand-up talks. These measures formed the basis of our recommendation on implementing best practices.

Problems at the low-performing sites included our finding that 23 scanners at the Northern Virginia P&DC and 20 scanners at the Peachtree P&DC could not be located, and none of them had connected to the SV network in the 30 days prior to our visits. At all four sites, we observed that about 48 percent of selected incoming mail containers and about 12 percent of selected outgoing mail containers did not have barcoded placards for scanning.

As a postal employee, what ideas do you have to improve scanning and SV?

Comments (1)

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  • anon

    Nesting is fundamental! Its a waste of time and resources when employees and management fail to under stand the basic concept of scanning. This results in a loss of confidence in our products ability to be tracked. Also often time employee's assign, build, and close containers that fail to get a load scan or get loaded because employee shortage or no trailers to load. I find it ironic, and inexcusable for the scanner information which clearly shows pre-load information to not be in line with ensuring transportation meets it goal of providing safe, serviced trailers for transportation of scanned mail volume to the appropriate stc, bmc, p&dc. or any kind of facility that process, and prepair scanned volume for its awaiting destination.

    May 19, 2018

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