What has and hasn’t been written about the Postal Service’s Mailer Scorecard?

12/01/2015

A lot has been written and a lot has changed.

A lot has been written because mail quality is important to ensure discounts and more importantly improve the chances of delivery. Regardless of your role, knowing the path data travels and the roles of the parties involved to launching a mailing effort are critical to getting to the root of mail quality.

Do not underestimate this effort, it can be a time consuming process to evaluate errors identified on the scorecard. Getting a handle on the process now is crucial versus waiting until additional assessments are in place. Now is the time to evaluate if there are areas that make sense for you to control more tightly or turn over to an expert to manage. For example, many Fairrington’s CoMAIL clients rely on Fairrington to manage their IMb assignment to reduce the risk of noncompliance.

For those that are just starting to ask… what is this Mailer Scorecard?

The Mailer Scorecard provides a summary view of all mailings over a calendar month. eDoc submitters, Mail Owners and Mail Preparers access the scorecard through the Business Customer Gateway. When the user loads the scorecard they are prompted to identify which type of user they are and the month of data they wish to review.

While the view for the eDoc submitter is different than that of the Mail Owner or Mail preparer, the information is similar and contains and has multiple tabs. The tabs represent streamlined mail entry initiative: Full Service, Move Update, eInduction, and Seamless Acceptance. For each initiative, the mail quality and mail preparation is measured against established thresholds.

Mailer Scorecard

Through the use of drill downs and reports, the user is able to access samples of the details for errors identified on the scorecard. Your role in the supply chain will determine how you research errors. For example:

  • Mail Owner Barcode Scenarios
    • If you are a Mail Owner and see quality errors regarding unique piece level barcodes and you are the one managing the barcode uniqueness requirement, you will look to your internal systems to understand the root cause of the errors and then validate that the barcodes you provided were utilized in the mailing process.
    • Perhaps you a Mail Owner that requests a service provider perform the assignment task. In that case, you will work with the provider responsible for the portion of the mail that is identified as a potential mail quality issue.
  • eDoc Submitter and Mail Preparers Barcode Scenarios
    • If you manage the barcode assignment process, you will look to your internal systems to understand the root cause of the errors.
    • But, we all know if it much more complicated than that for many eDoc Submitters and Mail Preparers. The first step will be to know the source of the barcodes and work with them to determine the root cause. It may be another provider in the supply chain or may trace back to the originator of the mailing effort.

While the above examples are basic in concept they are real scenarios faced evaluating the scorecard to know the true quality of the mail. These basic scenarios extend to future measurements such as Move Update.

Now and Next

Many in the industry have been working through these real life scenarios for well over a year… or has it been over two now?  It has been a time of change and challenges. The scorecard has changed in content, thresholds have moved, the system has hiccupped regularly and the quality of the scorecard data has varied. Even assessments dates have moved and they continue to be moving.

Certain areas of the scorecard such as Full Service are now stabilizing. The latest information is that starting soon, the industry will begin their testing and that by summer the automated process for Full Service assessments may begin. This has been stated publically, but has not been published in the Mail Entry Timeline section of the Mail Entry Roadmap.

Next, the Postal Service has their eye on more stabilization of the eInduction errors. This will lead to an automated process to replace the manual eInduction postage assessment for egregious thresholds.

Recently, the Postal Service also posted a draft guide to bring together details from many other guides. The draft Streamlined Mail Entry for Letters and Flats guide is now available on the Postal Service’s RIBBS site and plans to release a technology roadmap that will map out dates as they are known.

What you can do?

Keep watching for updates to the Postal Service’s guides. Understand the path data travels and the roles of the parties involved in your mail quality. Are there are areas that make sense for you to control more tightly or turn over to an expert to manage? Do not underestimate the effort it will take to troubleshoot errors. It will be a time consuming process.