We have a dedicated team of expert professionals who not only provide outstanding technical support, but we help keep you up to date. Staying abreast of the ever-changing rules and regulations, policies and procedures in the mailing and shipping industry is a daunting task at best. We hope you will find this blog filled with pertinent information you can use to run your business more efficiently and profitably. As always, we welcome your feedback and comments.

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is issuing a mandatory software update for the PostalOne! production system this weekend. This update will be implemented on Sunday, January 25, 2015. The PostalOne! Production (PROD) system will not be available on Sunday morning January 25, 2015, between 12 midnight and 10 a.m. CT. PostalOne! will also be updating the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM); that update will occur on Monday, January 26, 2015. The PostalOne! TEM environment will not be available between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. CT on January 26.

Why the update?
The USPS periodically makes updates to the PostalOne! system to incorporate enhancements and bug fixes. Major updates are performed when there are significant changes to postal rates and/or regulations, such as when the USPS increases their prices, which is typically done in January (although this year is an exception). There are usually at least four PostalOne! software updates during the year: January, April, July, and October. There may also be interim updates to PostalOne! for immediate fixes or other system issues.

Details of the changes for this update may be found on the USPS RIBBS® web site for the January 2015 changes.

Handling Change
When these types of changes are announced, it is important for mailers to pay attention to the outage periods so that you can make adjustments in your mailing operations to accommodate the downtime. It is also extremely important for mailers to download and install the USPS Mail.dat Client software (also sometimes referred to as MD Client or MDR Client) as soon as it is available. This software can be downloaded from the Business Customer Gateway web site. Mailers also need to make any associated updates or configuration changes to software that interfaces with PostalOne! once their Mail.dat Client software is updated. For example, if you use DAT-MAIL’s eDocs Manager Plus or EDM10X, you will need to edit the configuration for this in the Window Book Automation Scheduler.

Resources
The USPS sends out notifications of all PostalOne! outages and software updates using the DMM Advisory. You can subscribe to the DMM Advisory by sending an email to dmmadvisory@usps.com. In addition, detailed information regarding the changes in the PostalOne! software are available on the USPS RIBBS web site. Also available on the RIBBS site are the planned release schedules for these updates.

Window Book offers our Professional Services to users who may need assistance to download and install the Mail.dat Client software from the USPS, or to make any necessary updates or configuration edits to your Window Book software when these PostalOne! updates occur. Clients who use our EDM10X software don’t need to worry about updating the USPS MDR Client software, EDM10X will do that for you automatically!

Watch this short video and learn how to optimize your use of PostalOne!

Postal Service Files Market Dominant Price Change
Proposes an Additional $0.9 Billion in Annualized Contributions

WASHINGTON ̶ On January 15, the Postal Service filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) a Market Dominant price change based on a Consumer Price Index (CPI) cap authority of 1.966%.

The Postal Service believes strongly in the value of mail and maintaining relevance for today’s customers, offering reasonable pricing, workshare incentives, and meeting its obligation to the American public to strengthen its financial condition.

All of the proposed price changes are based on CPI prices plus the Exigent Surcharge approved by the PRC in Docket Nos. R2013-10 and R2013-11.

Using the CPI, we estimate that this price change will generate an additional $0.9 billion in contribution on an annualized basis. If the PRC approves the filing, the proposed April 26 implementation of the prices will improve the FY 2015 financial outlook by $0.4 billion in contribution.

The key elements of the CPI case include the following:
• Above average price increases to address PRC concerns about underwater products
• Special Services simplification to reduce redundancy and improve customer ease of use
• Introduction of a separate Flats Sequencing System (FSS) pricing structure for Standard Mail and Periodicals
• Introduction of Carrier Route bundle and container pricing for non-FSS flats for Standard Mail and Periodicals
• Include four promotions (Earned Value Reply Mail, Color Transpromo, Emerging Technologies, Mail Drives Mobile)

Various industry webinars will be scheduled to offer depth and insight into the proposed changes.

In November, the Postal Service filed for the transfer of First-Class Mail Parcels to a competitive product and the elimination of Return Receipt for Merchandise as a special service. These matters are still pending with the PRC. For the purpose of this filing we are assuming that these products will remain in the Market Dominant category.

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) announced changes to the Labeling List data, effective February 1, 2015, with an expiration date of March 31, 2015. The Labeling Lists affected are L001, L006, L007, L012, and L606.
The Labeling Lists are located on the Postal Explorer web site under the Additional Links tab.

Use of Labeling List Data
The Labeling List data is used to define the specific destination information to be printed on sack labels, tray labels, and pallet labels. This destination information is used to route the mail inside the sacks, trays and pallets to the correct postal facility for processing. The destination information is based primarily on 3-digit ZIP Code prefix, and varies based on the class of mail, processing category, and other criteria. Virtually all container labels are generated using computer software, which accesses this Labeling List data in a file format, operating much like a look-up table.

Why the changes?
There are many reasons why the USPS makes changes to the Labeling List data. Recently, many of the changes are being made as a result of their efforts to consolidate processing facilities to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Changes also take place when the USPS makes alterations to the service areas for certain processing facilities, which can be the result of shifts in population, mail volumes, staffing and many other reasons. Keep in mind that approximately 12% of the US population moves each year and there are about 1,800 new delivery addresses added each day. So, there are lots of ZIP Code changes happening all the time!

Time for change
The USPS modified the frequency of these updates last fall from quarterly to monthly. What this means for mailers is that Labeling Lists are now effective for a period of only two months. While these updates have always been important to insure proper direction of the mail, keeping up to date is now more critical than ever. Gone are the days when mailers could perform their postal presort process months in advance. Due to this change, the maximum advance time for the presort process is 60 days, and in reality probably less than that to accommodate production schedule fluctuations.
The scheduled and actual induction dates (mailing dates) also become much more critical as a result of this change. These dates are what is used by the USPS to determine if valid Labeling Lists have been used to process the mailing.

Handling Change
When these types of changes are announced, it is important for mailers to work with their software vendors and mail service providers to make sure that the changes are implemented on a timely basis. This is critical so that the correct destination information is populated into the Mail.dat® files, or any other files or printed documents that are used to process or submit postage statements (and other postal documentation) and to create sack, tray, and pallet labels. Keep in mind that the Labeling List changes involve not just the facility names, but the ZIP codes associated with those facilities. This affects the destination line on the tags and the mailpieces that are placed into the sacks, trays, and pallets. As such, these changes MUST be incorporated into the presort software first; if the data is incorrect during this process (and thus incorrect in the Mail.dat files), it cannot be corrected in Post-Presort software, such as DAT-MAIL™.

Automatic Postal Data Updates System
Window Book makes these updates easy for our clients by providing an automated method to update the Labeling List information into your Post-presort software. Once you have this FREE add-on tool installed with your DAT-MAIL software, you no longer have to remember to check for Labeling List updates, nor do you have to perform manual downloads because it will automatically be taken care of for you! You can just set it and forget it!

One of the more challenging aspects of submitting mailing jobs electronically to PostalOne! is properly identifying the various entities involved in the mailing job – specifically, the Mail Owner, the Mail Preparer, and the eDoc Submitter.

For the most part, these entities may be identified using their Mailing Identification number (MID) or their Customer Registration Identification number (CRID). However, in the case of the Mail Owner identification, there are a number of places in the eDoc where this needs to be identified, and the USPS has recently modified the types of data that is used to validate this information. For Mail Service Providers (MSP’s), getting all of this straight can be a bit intimidating and it can be a real chore to collect or verify all of these critical pieces of information for their clients too.

Uses of Mail Owner information
The USPS uses the Mail Owner data in eDoc for three main purposes:
1. To identify the Mail Owner for Full-Service compliance (this is the “For” part of the “By/For” relationship identification).
2. To validate nonprofit price eligibility when nonprofit prices are claimed.
3. To display the Mail Owners on postage statements.

Means of Identification
By/For Relationship: Currently, the Mail Owner MID, CRID or Mail Owner permit data may be used to identify the Mail Owner for this purpose. The Mail Owner is required to be identified when the owner represents 5,000 or more pieces in a mailing.

Nonprofit Price validation: For each nonprofit mailing, all mail owners must be identified and must have a valid Nonprofit Authorization (NPA) number, regardless of the number of pieces per owner in the mailing. For mailings consisting of multiple mail owners, all of the mail owners must be identified in the eDoc; it is no longer permitted to provide the mail owner information using a hard copy spreadsheet presented to the mail clerk at the time of mailing. Another recent change involves the data used to validate nonprofit eligibility. Previously, the only data used for this validation was Permit data; either that of the Mail Owner if using their own postal permit to pay the postage, or what is called a “Ghost Permit” (Local Permit) if the Mail Owner used a MSP’s postage permit for payment. In either case, those permits are required to be linked to a valid NPA number in PostalOne! These ghost permits are established by request at the post office where the mailing is verified and paid for. These are non-paying postal permits, used for identification purposes only. Effective with the November 30, 2014 PostalOne! release, the USPS added the options of the Mail Owner MID or the Mail Owner CRID in addition to the Permit data for this nonprofit validation. As with the permit data, the Mail Owner MID and CRID data must be linked to a valid NPA Number in PostalOne! In cases where some of these validation fields are blank in the Mail.dat files, or when there is data populated in multiple validation fields in the Mail.dat files, the chart below shows the order of precedence that PostalOne! uses to determine which data is used for the validation. What this means is that it is very critical to pay attention to this order of precedence to make sure that your Mail.dat files are populated with the correct data in the correct fields, and that you do not have any conflicting or invalid data in these fields.

Display Owner on Postage Statements: On the first page of postage statements, there are three blocks for Mailer information. The first block is the Permit Holder, and the data displayed in this block is that of the owner of the permit used to pay for the mailing, identified using that permit number. The second block is the Mailing Agent or Mail Preparer. This is identified by the CRID or MID of the Mail Preparer in the Mailer Postage Accounting (MPA) file of the Mail.dat file. The third block is the name and address of the organization for which the mailing is prepared, i.e. Mail Owner. The USPS also changed the data used to populate this section effective with the November 30, 2014 PostalOne! release. This block is now populated using one of the following: the Mail Owner MID, Mail Owner CRID, or the data in the Local Permit field. If the Mail Owner uses their own permit to pay the postage, this data should be identical to the data in the first block. However, if the Mail Owner uses the postal permit of the Mail Preparer, a valid Mail Owner MID, CRID or Ghost Permit is needed to correctly display the Mail Owner in this block. That ghost permit number should be populated in the Local Permit field of the Mailer Postage Account file (MPA) in the Mail.dat file. Ghost permits should be identified as “V” for Virtual in the Permit Type field. The charts below show the order of precedence that PostalOne! uses to determine which validation field to populate these blocks on the postage statement. Again, it is very critical to understand the order of precedence so that you are populating your Mail.dat files with the correct, non-conflicting data.

Mail Service Provider Challenges
If you are a Mail Service Provider, you may need to obtain not only the CRID’s and MID’s of your clients, but also the Local Permit Numbers, which may actually be a ghost permit number if the mail owner is not paying postage through their own permit account.

This can become a bit of a challenge for mail preparers, who may have hundreds of clients using hundreds of postal permits to pay for their postage. Associating each of the clients and permits with the appropriate MID’s can be a daunting task to say the least.

Mail Service Providers often ask, which piece of information should I get from my clients, their MID or their CRID? Currently, either piece of data may be used in eDoc, but that may change in the future. For that reason, we encourage Mail Service Providers to obtain both pieces of data for all their clients so that they are prepared should the USPS change the identification requirements in the future.

Resources
So, how do you try to make sense of all of this? The best resources are the Business Customer Gateway and PostalOne! A Mail Service Provider (MSP) may also verify or gather the MID and CRID data for their clients using the Business Customer Gateway. There is a new Bulk Search utility available to MSP’s on the BCG for this purpose. MSP’s may use this utility to upload text files containing client Permit, MID, CRID, or NPA data to PostalOne!, which then returns an Excel file with the validated or corrected data. Up to 250 records per file may be uploaded, so this is a great way for MSP’s to validate or request the various client identification data for numerous clients at one time. Even if you think your client data is up to date, we strongly encourage MSP’s to take advantage of this free utility to validate your data. The USPS RIBBS web site also has some helpful information to clarify MIDs and CRIDs, as well as an excellent Guide to Mail Owners in eDoc.

Getting Help From the Experts
Window Book’s DAT-MAIL™ software allows you to easily manage MID and CRID information as well as see all the By/For relationships in the Mail.dat files using the Navigator View. This also allows you to quickly edit this information if necessary. Mail Service Providers can maintain the MID, CRID and Local Permit data in master client and permit files within DAT-MAIL.

DAT-MAIL even has great new BCG Gateway Export and Import features, which allow MSP’s to take advantage of the new BCG’s Bulk Search option with just a few mouse clicks. And, if you are a Bell and Howell BCC Mail Manager user, there is an interface available that allows you to import your client data from BCC Mail Manager into DAT-MAIL.

Window Book offers a FREE educational webinar on the topic of Identifying Mail Owners in PostalOne!, as well as many products and services to help you easily manage electronic documentation submissions. Call us at 1-800-524-0380 for more details or to sign up for your FREE Mailing Optimization Analysis!

With the November 30, 2014 release of PostalOne!®, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) added a new “Bulk Search” capability on the Business Customer Gateway (BCG). This new bulk search option is a great way for Mail Service Providers (MSP’s) to request By/For identifiers from the USPS for their clients. The ability to do individual look-ups for Mailer Identification numbers (MID’s) and Customer Registration numbers (CRID’s) has existed on the BCG for some time, but this new utility allows MSP’s to submit these requests in bulk quantities using text files. MSP’s can request additional information from the USPS, such as related postal permit numbers, Nonprofit Authorization numbers (NPA’s) and the company name and address information as it appears in the PostalOne! database. Be advised, your PostalOne! account must be designated as a Mail Service Provider in order to access this new utility.

File format requirements
The files that MSP’s upload to the BCG must be in pipe delimited ASCII text format. The files may contain the existing identifier information that MSP’s have in their databases for their clients. MSP’s then upload these files with the existing identifier data to the USPS, which then validates whether that existing data is correct, provides the correct data if it isn’t, or provides a message indicating that the data could not be found. The resulting data from the USPS is provided in the form of an Excel format file, which may be downloaded from the BCG. MSP’s must submit each type of identifier data in its own file; MID’s, CRID’s, Permits, and NPA’s must be uploaded using separate files. MSP’s may request to receive back from the USPS the MID, the CRID, the permits, or the NPA’s associated with the identifiers uploaded, or they can request that all available information be returned by the USPS. File size for the uploads is limited to 250 records; if MSP’s have more client records than this, multiple files may be uploaded.

Benefits
This is a great time-saver for Mail Service Providers who may be struggling with By/For errors on their Mailer Scorecards. Obtaining or validating these identifiers using file uploads and downloads for their entire client database is much faster and more efficient than trying to do individual look-ups. The validation process is very quick, and return files for downloading may be ready in just a few minutes, or up to an hour in cases where there are larger file sizes or the site is experiencing heavy traffic. The validated or corrected data can be used to update client databases and other applications that are used to populate these identifiers in the electronic documentation (eDoc) submitted to PostalOne! Using the same data that is in the PostalOne! database means that the chances of validation errors or Mailer Scorecard errors for these elements is greatly reduced!

Managing the data

The returned files from the USPS should be analyzed very carefully before making any updates to your client databases or other applications. Keep in mind that while the USPS has been very diligent in cleaning up and maintaining their database, there is still the possibility that the data returned in the files is not completely accurate. For example, there are reported instances of multiple CRID’s being issued to the same company at the same location, so it is important in these cases to validate which CRID is actually correct. Likewise, companies are permitted to have multiple MID’s, so it is also important to validate which MID is the correct one for the MSP to be using. Similarly, old legacy NPA’s may have been replaced with new, national NPA’s, so this information may also need to be validated. As with any database maintenance, it is important to review and analyze any new data to look for discrepancies and get validation for any changes that may look suspect.

Resources
Window Book makes taking advantage of this new utility easy for our clients by providing an automated method to generate these upload files from your client files in the DAT-MAIL software. Users may select which type of identifier data you wish to upload, and DAT-MAIL will automatically generate the file in the proper format for uploading to the BCG. DAT-MAIL will even automatically create separate files if you have more than 250 records in your client list, and will also remove any duplicates or any house accounts. This is a free utility available in DAT-MAIL version 11.14.02.01 or higher. We will be adding an additional import utility in future DAT-MAIL versions, to allow users to automatically import the downloaded, updated files from the BCG into their client files in the DAT-MAIL software, so stay tuned!

You’ve heard about the new USPS® program called Seamless Acceptance, but what exactly is it?

Why has the USPS implemented this program, and more importantly, what is in it for me as a mailer?

Seamless Acceptance is designed to help streamline and automate acceptance, verification, payment and induction of business mailings performed during postal processing of the mail.
Join Window Book for an educational webinar and get an overview of Seamless Acceptance, the requirements for participation, and the benefits of using the system.

Title:Seamless Acceptance 101
Date:Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Time:2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2451403318457243138

Are you having problems with your “By/For” score on your Mailer Scorecard? Are you experiencing PostalOne! validation failures on your non-profit jobs because they don’t have the right Non-Profit Authorization number? A brand “bulk search” feature on the Business Customer Gateway can help mail service providers resolve these problems much easier than before.

Come and learn how you can do bulk search to get the latest information and identifiers on your clients. There are some important business rules you need to know and you will also need to understand how this feature works.

Join us for an informative webinar and discover how DAT-MAIL can help you avoid validation failures which can be costly for your operation.

Webinar: New USPS Business Customer Gateway Capability Helps Mail Service Providers Improve Mailer Scorecard
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 3:00 PM EST

https://www.windowbook.com/Lp/webinarreg?key=5040007733121385474

If you drop ship mail to additional entry points, you definitely need to check out eInduction, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) program to replace the current hard copy PS Forms 8125 and 8017 clearance documents used for drop shipments of origin and destination mail. Not only does this program eliminate these pesky hard copy postal forms, but it can actually speed up verification, acceptance, and loading of your drop ship mail.

Join Window Book for a FREE informative webinar on eInduction and discover what eInduction is, how to participate in eInduction, and the benefits of this program. Moreover, we will show you how easy it is to implement eInduction in your mailing operation using DAT-MAIL.

Register: https://www.windowbook.com/Lp/webinarreg?key=2813579149982307586

Tuesday, December 09, 2014
2:00 PM EST

Join the electronic evolution – come and learn the Benefits of Using eInduction!

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is issuing a mandatory software update for the PostalOne! production system this weekend. This update, which was postponed from the planned November 9, 2014 date, will now be implemented on Sunday, November 30, 2014.

Why the update?
The USPS periodically makes updates to the PostalOne! system to incorporate enhancements and bug fixes. Major updates are performed when there are significant changes to postal rates and/or regulations, such as when the USPS increases their prices in January each year. There are usually at least four PostalOne! software updates during the year: January, April, July, and October. There may also be interim updates to PostalOne! for immediate fixes or other system issues.

Details of the changes for this update may be found on the USPS RIBBS® web site for the November 2014 changes.

Handling Change

When these types of changes are announced, it is important for mailers to pay attention to the outage periods so that you can make adjustments in your mailing operations to accommodate the downtime. It is also extremely important for mailers to download and install the USPS Mail.dat Client software (also sometimes referred to as MD Client or MDR Client) as soon as it is available. This software can be downloaded from the Business Customer Gateway web site. Mailers also need to make any associated updates or configuration changes to software that interfaces with PostalOne! once their Mail.dat Client software is updated. For example, if you use DAT-MAIL’s eDocs Manager Plus or EDM10X, you will need to edit the configuration for this in the Window Book Automation Scheduler.

Resources
The USPS sends out notifications of all PostalOne! outages and software updates using the DMM Advisory. You can subscribe to the DMM Advisory by sending an email to dmmadvisory@usps.com. In addition, detailed information regarding the changes in the PostalOne! software are available on the USPS RIBBS web site. Also available on the RIBBS site are the planned release schedules for these updates.

Window Book offers our Professional Services to users who may need assistance to download and install the Mail.dat Client software from the USPS, or to make any necessary updates or configuration edits to your Window Book software when these PostalOne! updates occur.