Seamless Acceptance

Overview

Seamless Acceptance automates the entry and verification of commercial mailings by leveraging electronic documentation, Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMbs), and information collected from handheld sampling devices and mail processing equipment scans.  The USPS requires a mailer to participate in the Seamless Parallel program and remain below the Seamless Acceptance error thresholds for at least 30 days before they can move into full Seamless.

USPS Seamless Eligibility Requirements 

There are several eligibility requirements for participating in Seamless Acceptance, each of which mailers need to understand and be prepared for: 

  • Enroll in eInduction
  • Mail more than 90% of eligible IMb Full-Service pieces as Full-Service
  • Remain below all Seamless Acceptance error thresholds for at least one calendar month in Seamless parallel status
  • Complete the known undocumented process for undocumented piece volumes between 0.1% and 0.3%
  • Submit electronic documentation with unique barcodes for all mailpieces 

Seamless Acceptance, as well as Full-Service, Move Update, and eInduction are covered in detail in the USPS' Guide to Streamlined Mail – Letters and Flats – Publication 685.  NAPM recommends all mailers considering Seamless Acceptance becomes familiar with this USPS Publication. 

Seamless Acceptance Parallel Process

Mailers meeting the eligibility requirements and considering a move into Seamless Acceptance are first put in a USPS “parallel” Seamless process. During the parallel process, both the USPS and the mailer can view results of automated Seamless verifications, but the mailer continues to be assessed using the traditional manual acceptance and verification processes. This allows the USPS and mailer time to evaluate and resolve mail quality issues, business processes, and any software issues. During Seamless Parallel mailers are not responsible for any Seamless Acceptance Postage Assessments – These are “informational” only on the USPS Mailer Scorecard the mailer should be checking. 

The USPS requires that mailers in Seamless parallel successfully maintain all mail quality measurements above the error threshold for at least one calendar month (NAPM recommends at least 90 days – see below guidance).

What’s the Difference between IMb Full-Service Verification and Seamless Acceptance Verifications?

IMB Full-Service verification is a PART of the Seamless Process in that these verifications on the eDoc continue in the Seamless Acceptance process.

The USPS re-caps that in the IMb Full-Service verification environment, “mail is verified manually by an acceptance employee before entry and finalization. The employee performs a cursory review, collects Full-Service initial verification mail samples, conducts Performance-Based Verification (PBV) requested in-depth verifications, and finalizes the postage statement.”

Seamless Acceptance automates the verification process, streamlining entry verifications. The USPS notes that in Seamless Acceptance:

  • The mailer’s eDoc will be validated to ensure it has met the Seamless participation criteria
  • Postage statement will be automatically finalized by the system on the Postage Statement Mailing Date
  • BME clerk will sample mail using the Full Service –Intelligent Mail Device (FS-IMD as flagged based on mailer’s sampling frequency) or using the emulator tool
  • Clerk will perform Seamless sampling scans on each mailing
    • 1 container, 3 Sacks/Trays/Bundles, and 30 mailpieces (10 pieces/Handling Unit)
  • Mail Processing Equipment (MPE) scans will be collected as the mail is processed.
  • Data gathered from the FS-IMD, MPE, and Surface Visibility (SV) scans will be compared to the eDoc to identify mail preparation errors.

Note that under Seamless Acceptance, all verifications become trend-based verification where mailers no longer have the option to rework the mail. The verification results and postage assessments are calculated on the quality of your total mailings for the entire month.

Additional Resources (available to all)

Additional Resources (NAPM members only -- login required)

  • NAPM Training Video on Undocumented Pieces (Members Only) -- Video
  • NAPM Training Video on Undocumented Pieces (Members Only) -- Slides Only
  • NAPM Training Video on Known Undocumented Log (KUL) (Members Only) -- Video
  • NAPM Training Video on Known Undocumented Log (KUL) (Members Only) -- Slides Only
  • NAPM Presentation at NAPM Annual Conference (Feb 2020) on Seamless Acceptance (Members Only)
  • NAPM Webinar:  Streamlined Mail -- Full-Service, Move Update and eInduction (Members Only) (MP4 File of Webinar with Slides)
  • NAPM Webinar:  Seamless Acceptance Part 1 (Members Only) (MP4 File of Webinar with Slides)
  • NAPM Webinar:  Seamless Acceptance Part 2 (Members Only) (MP4 File of Webinar with Slides)
  • NAPM Undocumented Best Practices (Members Only)
  • NAPM Sample Known Undocumented Log (Members Only)
  • NAPM Streamlined Acceptance Committee information (Members Only)

NAPM’s Guidance on Things to Consider

NAPM strongly advises its members to fully review and consider the requirements and benefits of Seamless Acceptance before moving into full Seamless unless mandated by the USPS.  NAPM stresses to its members that a decision to move into full Seamless Acceptance should be made only after your business has spent some time in the Seamless Parallel process and achieved a period of at least 90 days of high quality Seamless mail (with no assessable error tolerances being exceeded).

NAPM’s Strategic Planning Committee continues to work closely with the USPS to resolve issues and make improvements to its Seamless Acceptance program. The Committee cautions NAPM members that currently there are two significant issues with full Seamless Acceptance that the USPS needs to address:

  • The Container Nesting Validation postage assessment process business rules and postage assessment methodology must be clearly defined and documented (Note: this issue is not restricted to just Seamless Acceptance, as the USPS is now saying this verification is not part of Seamless Acceptance and may be performed on any mailer).
  • A Postage Deficiency assessment Appeal process must be clearly defined and documented
  • Also, please be reminded that one of the requirements for participation in Seamless Acceptance is use of eInduction. NAPM also stresses the importance of ensuring that your USPS CSA (Customer/Supplier Agreement) is updated and approved by the USPS during the Seamless Acceptance parallel process.

Based on discussions with our members who have participated in the Seamless parallel process or are approved Seamless mailers, NAPM strongly recommends that mailers consider business process changes necessary to successfully implement Seamless Acceptance on the mailer’s side, such as having employee skill sets to monitor online mail quality reports and perform data analysis, changing processes/practices to ensure constant monitoring occurs and root analyses can be performed quickly to make changes in production operations, etc. to avoid continuance of identified errors, and monitor/review automated invoicing and postage assessments and any necessary appeals process documentation.

NAPM does not recommend mailers lacking these resources and processes move into full Seamless Acceptance unless and until the USPS mandates it.

NAPM since its conceptualization has supported the strategy and goals behind Seamless Acceptance in terms of supporting a different way of doing business, as long as that way provides significant benefits to the value of mail and the supply chain. As USPS initiatives and processes based on Informed Visibility and Enterprise Analytics mature, we think there are benefits to be gained if the USPS supports and enables them, such as:

  • Timely continuous information flow back to the mailer to improve their mail quality processes,
  • Identification of specific mailing defects to determine root cause and ownership,
  • Objective mailing quality and compliance analysis, Identification of systemic quality defects – not just incidental production errors due to human mistakes or manufacturing glitches,
  • Ability to identify mail production trends impacting manufacturing quality and make corrections in a timely matter to ensure the customer’s mail is able to get delivered to the right place and according to the service standards, and the mailer can avoid costly mail compliance assessments
  • Continuous flow of mail into the USPS mail stream going to the right entry facility at the right time
  • Quality improvements that subsequently reduce costs through development of greater efficiencies,
  • Creating a simplified error resolution process for mailings presented with an error discovered after the edoc is uploaded.