You’ve likely gone to a post office to mail a parcel to a friend or family member. Sometimes the postal clerk simply weighs the package, and other times the clerk also measures the dimensions. Or perhaps you have used the U.S. Postal Service’s flat-rate boxes and paid the flat fee. Did you ever wonder how this process works for large mailers who give the Postal Service thousands of different-sized packages daily?
The Postal Service used to manually process packages to check postage, but in recent years it has moved toward a less manual, more data-driven method called Seamless Acceptance. With this new process, mailers provide USPS with detailed electronic documentation about all the parcels they are mailing and the postage they expect to pay. The Postal Service then uses census and sampling verification to validate postage and assess mail quality to ensure it meets all requirements to qualify for the various postal rates. When it finds errors, USPS works with mailers to correct them and improve mail quality.
So, how well does Seamless Acceptance work in identifying errors and problems with mail quality? That question was the topic of our recent audit. We found a few opportunities for USPS to improve Seamless Acceptance. For example, the verification process could be improved by ensuring postal employees consistently follow sampling procedures. In addition, in five of the six sites we visited, postal personnel told us there were problems with the scanners, including sudden malfunctions and failures. And when scanners don’t work, sampling doesn’t work.
Does your organization or another one you know use Seamless Acceptance? If so, tell us how it worked.