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.

If you drop ship mail to multiple entry points, you know how confusing all the postal facility acronyms can be. How do you know which facility should be the entry point for which portions of your mailing? Drop shipments require delivery appointments (with few exceptions) and it is often then that mailers find out that the USPS® is “re-directing” mail to a different postal facility. And all those Labeling Lists! Who can make sense of it all?

Postal Facilities
Let’s start by defining the primary types of postal facilities:
• Network Distribution Center (NDC): The new name for what was a BMC, or Bulk Mail Center. Highly mechanized mail processing plants that are part of the USPS network distribution system. These facilities distribute Standard Mail®, Periodicals Mail, and Package Services Mail in bulk volumes.
• Airport Mail Center/Airport Mail Facility (AMC/AMF): A postal facility at an airport that receives, concentrates, transfers, dispatches, and distributes mail transported by air.
• Auxilliary Service Facility (ASF): A mail processing facility that has its own service area and serves as a satellite processing hub for a particular Network Distribution Center (NDC)
• Sectional Center Facility (SCF): A postal facility that serves as the processing and distribution center (P&DC) for post offices in a designated geographic area as defined by the first three digits of the ZIP Code® of those offices. Some SCFs serve more than one 3-digit ZIP Code range.
• Area Distribution Center (ADC): A mail processing facility that receives and distributes mail destined for specific ZIP Codes. ADC’s and their associated ZIP Codes are in the DMM labeling list.
• Destination Delivery Unit (DDU): A postal facility, usually identified by a 5-digit ZIP code, that receives, sorts, and delivers the mail destined to the individual recipients within that 5-digit ZIP area.

Drop Shipping Mail
The USPS provides regulations and incentive pricing for mailers to transport mail at their own cost to postal facilities closer to the ultimate recipients of the mail. Mailers are permitted to drop ship this mail to any of the postal facility types listed above. Mailers may elect to drop ship mail in order to take advantage of the drop ship discounts, or they may drop ship mail in order to better control the delivery window. In any case, mail preparers who are processing drop ship mail must generate a clearance document, PS-Form 8125, for each entry point and must also make delivery appointments with the destination postal facilities. These delivery appointments are most commonly made using the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST) system. The FAST system includes all the updated information regarding the various postal facilities, including information on any re-directions to alternate postal facilities.

Redirections
The USPS often re-directs mail from its original intended destination facility to a different postal facility. These re-directions are done for a variety of reasons:
• Seasonal mail volume fluctuations, requiring some types of mail to be processed at alternate facilities to even out the flow of mail.
• Facility construction, remodeling, or equipment re-vamping, which requires some or all of the mail volume to be diverted to an alternate facility.
• Acts of nature, such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, snow storms, etc., which may require mail volumes to be diverted to other facilities.
• Production or workflow efficiencies, which may require certain types of mail to be temporarily sent to facilities with newer, more efficient equipment, or more flexible staffing.

Regardless of the reason, it is best if mailers can obtain this redirection information in a timely and efficient manner. This helps insure that the 8125 clearance documents are completed with the most up-to-date, accurate data, and that the logistics providers have the most accurate delivery address information for their drivers.

It is primarily due to these redirections that FAST is requesting mailers to properly identify the redirection facility on the 8125 forms whenever possible. To prevent confusion, the USPS asks that the intended drop ship entry facility information be placed in Box 15 of the 8125, which includes the facility type designator (e.g. NDC, SCF, etc.) and the ZIP code for the entry (e.g. SCF Houston 770). In Box 28 of the 8125, however, the entry facility name must be listed exactly as it appears in the drop ship destination database, which is available from FAST. In this database, most of the facility names do not include a facility type designator or a ZIP code. While that information is provided elsewhere in the database record for that facility, it is often not included in the facility name. In the case of the SCF Houston 770 facility given earlier, the facility name for this SCF as it appears in the FAST database is simply “Houston.” So, in Box 28 of an 8125 for a Houston SCF drop shipment, only the facility name Houston would appear, along with the delivery address, city, state and ZIP + 4 for the facility. As a result, the facility name appearing in Box 28 of the 8125 will rarely match exactly the facility information in Box 15, due to redirections, or simply due to the fact that the facility name as it is listed in the drop ship database is not exactly the same as the data required to be populated in Box 15.

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You can now Automate your interaction with PostalOne! Find out how with
Window Book’s eDM10X solution (the latest version is here NOW!)

Mail.dat and Mail.XML are trademarks of the International Digital Enterprise Alliance (IDEAlliance).
PostalOne!, RIBBS, Intelligent Mail, United States Postal Service and USPS and trademarks owned by the United States Postal Service.

The U.S Postal Service® has launched a new help desk platform to streamline Mailpiece Design Analyst (MDA) customer service. The MDA Customer Service Help Desk is a centralized process that connects customers directly with MDAs who have specialized mailpiece design expertise. The new MDA Customer Service Help Desk system will automatically route customer calls and emails to help:
• Minimize customer handling and wait time
• Improve the customer call-back process by expediting customer connectivity with the MDA assigned to their ticket through the telephone menu option
• Enhance and simplify the customer experience through new telephone menu options
• Internally monitor customer interactions and responses to measure quality

Get directly connected with an MDA by calling 1-855-593-6093 or send an email to MDA@usps.gov. The MDA Customer Service Help Desk is available to all customers, internal and external, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central Time, excluding holidays.

Open Line webinars will be hosted to provide mailers with an opportunity to ask questions or provide feedback about the new MDA Customer Service Help Desk process. In addition, MDA Help Desk customers are invited to complete a customer survey on their MDA customer service experience. A survey link is included in of each ticket resolution email or you can Click Here to tell us about your latest MDA Customer Service Help Desk experience.

New Link! To join the MDA Customer Service Help Desk Open Line Call, click on the link below no more than 15 minutes before the start of the call.

Webinar Dates: Monday through Friday, August 18, 2014, through September 18, 2014
Time: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time
Meeting Number: 740 139 426
Log On: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?J=740139426
——————————————————-
Teleconference information
Provide your phone number when you join the meeting to receive a call back or
Call: 1-855-860-7461 (US)
Conference Code: 260 841 5474

Additional information about the MDA Customer Service Help Desk can be found at RIBBS.usps.gov under the MDA Customer SVC Help Desk tab.

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) announced that Phase 2 of the planned network consolidation and corresponding adjustment of delivery service standards will be resumed beginning in January 2015. As we reported in earlier e-Tips, the USPS originally laid out their Network Rationalization plan in 2011 with a phased approach to closing and consolidating various postal facilities and making the necessary service standard adjustments to correspond with the new service network. Phase 2 of that plan was scheduled to be implemented on February 1, 2014, but the USPS postponed those plans. The USPS goal in closing a large number of processing facilities is to cut costs and optimize their processing network to more closely align with the decreased volumes of mail.
Network facility changes

The first phase of the network optimization plan began in July 2012 and involved 48 facilities. The USPS halted closures during the busy mailing season of September through December 2012, but resumed the first phase closure plans in January 2013. The USPS again halted the closures after July 2013 for the busy mailing season through the end of the year (consolidating a total of 141 facilities), and then planned to resume Phase 2 in early 2014. The Phase 2 plan will begin in January 2015 with consolidation of up to 82 facilities. The network consolidation so far has realized an annual cost savings to the USPS of $865 million and required no employee layoffs. This next phase is expected to realize an additional $750 million in annual savings.

The Plan
The USPS provides detailed information regarding the planned facility consolidations and closures on a special Our Future Network web page. Included on that page is a link to the Phase 2 FAQ’s. Their Mail Move Plan is available in Excel spreadsheet format, and will be updated on a weekly basis. The USPS also provides information on these planned consolidations on its main web site.

What it means for mailers
So, what does all this mean for mailers? As the consolidations and closures take place, mailers will need to make sure their mailing software solutions – both presort and post-presort – are updated with the most recent postal destination data updates. This includes Labeling Lists, destination drop ship data files (including re-directions), etc. Mailers will also need to pay close attention to the proposed changes in the USPS service standards and monitor mail delivery so that any necessary adjustments can be made to mailing schedules. Stay tuned for further updates as this initiative progresses.

Your Solution
Window Book’s software allows you to easily keep your USPS destination data files, including Labeling Lists and drop ship data, up to date automatically. Our Automatic Postal Data Updater is a complimentary feature in our software, which requires a one-time configuration in the Window Book Automation Scheduler. Contact our technical support team for more details on how to configure your Window Book software for these automatic updates.

More changes are coming for the rest of 2014. Do you know what they are?

Even though the USPS® has deferred the requirement for Full-Service, the USPS is making this a requirement for participation and eligibility in many programs. There are postage statement changes coming up, back-to-back mandatory PostalOne! updates, Mail.dat and Mail.XML specification changes, changes in Mail Owner postage statement display data, changes in nonprofit authorization number linkage, potential Seamless Acceptance postage penalties…are you prepared for all of this change?

Join Window Book for a timely, informative webinar on the many postal changes coming up this fall that you may NOT be aware of. Don’t miss this one!

Title: USPS Changes for Fall 2014
Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT

Reserve your seat now for this complimentary webinar:

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/531086304

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) announced changes to the Labeling List data, effective September 1, 2014, with a mandatory use date of September 30, 2014. The Labeling Lists affected are L001, L006, L007, L012 and L606. Please note that the format for the L006, L007 and L012 lists now have each ZIP Code™ listed individually in the first column. For label changes, the ZIP™ column will be followed by the change from/change to label names and an indicator as to whether or not that ZIP is being added to a new label or moved to another existing label. For adds and deletes, the new/old Column B label name will be listed for each ZIP.

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 provides for a transition period when these changes are announced, to allow software vendors time to update their software and for mailers to use up existing labels. During this period, the USPS encourages mailers to use the new Labeling List data as soon as possible, but it is acceptable to use the old Labeling List data until the mandatory date. In the case of this most recent update, the mandatory date is September 30, 2014.

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!

And if you think that’s cool – ask us about how we can automate the process of downloading and installing new MDR Client software from PostalOne!®

Window Book is here to help
Window Book’s industry-leading post-presort solution, DAT-MAIL™ can help you take advantage of these USPS incentive promotions. To schedule a free Mail Optimization Analysis, visit www.windowbook.com/MOA.

Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP on April 8, 2014 which meant no more security updates, non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options and online technical content for Windows XP users. Without doubt, this can cause serious consequences for companies that still run Windows XP. But what are the major risks companies still using WinXp face and how to mitigate those risks?

Increased Attacks
When the support ended in April, the number of infections increased by 66%, leaving Windows XP exposed to attackers who find vulnerabilities by reverse-engineering security updates for newer Windows versions. This way they can discover precisely where that weakness is and how the vendor repaired it.

Browser Risks
Users who still use Windows XP are left behind because no later version of Internet Explorer® (IE) than IE8 is compatible with the platform. One solution is to use alternative browsers, but this may pose threats, too, due to browser exploits.

Vulnerable Endpoints
Another potential security danger is that vulnerable endpoints are used as launch pads for next-generation malware that outdated systems like Windows XP might find difficult to handle. Any PC running Windows XP is a major weak spot leaving the system exposed to highly targeted attacks using software exploits to get into the systems.

Business Costs and Consequences
Users of Windows XP who prefer not to switch to Windows 7 are familiar with the interface and know the platform of XP inside out. However, this can cause unpredictable costs to businesses. The financial cost of maintaining Windows XP after support ended is rising due to availing custom support services. Administering, managing and using Windows XP systems are also significantly more expensive than doing the same for Windows 7. In terms of time management and costs that come with such, handling operational Windows XP system activities takes up a lot of resources, therefore inhibiting business continuity.

For companies that are using their Windows XP systems it is recommended to have an additional layer of protection stopping unwanted malicious applications on endpoints, like Trend Micro OfficeScan.

We still, however, advise users to upgrade to the newest Windows OS version. Here are a few tips that help companies avoid future problems:
 Virtualise your Windows XP environment to have an additional layer of protection and more efficient management.
 Using RODC (Read-Only Domain Controller) like Windows 2008, 2008 R2, 2012 or 2012 R2 on Windows XP LAN. We recommend using a domain controller on the same LAN switch connected to Windows XP systems to remotely manage Windows systems more effectively without causing problems on the security of the entire network.
 Windows XP machines should not communicate outside the internal network. If so, Web proxy or an application-layer firewall should be used. Updates to third-party software should be done manually if needed.
 Companies should use alternate browsers.
 When new Windows XP vulnerabilities are announced, patches are not released anymore because of EOL (End of Life) making it easy for exploits to target this vulnerability. Virtual patching is the answer here. Virtual Patching shields vulnerabilities in critical systems as permanent protection in the case of EOL or unpatchable systems. Solutions like Trend Micro Deep Security’s virtual patching help organisations save money by preventing system downtime, as well as by reducing the risk of breach disclosure expenses.

In this modern age of technology the process of attacking organisations is becoming more and more simplified causing massive damages. We always recommend users running vulnerability scans regularly (once a quarter) to check for breaches and stop unidentified threats from attacking their entire network.

Via Smarttech: http://smarttech.ie/blog/windows-xp-risks/#

Yet another USPS® incentive promotion is rapidly approaching – Color Print in First-Class Mail Transactions. This promotion starts running at the same time as the Emerging Technology Promotion that we told you about last month – August 1, 2014. However, unlike the Emerging Technology Promotion, which ends on September 30, 2014, the Color Print promotion runs all the way to December 31, 2014.

Color Print in First-Class Mail Transactions Promotion
The goal of this promotion is to encourage producers of bills and statements to produce and mail statements that create a greater connection and response from customers by using color messaging, to increase the value of First-Class Mail®, and to encourage mailers to invest in color print technology. This promotion is offered to First-Class™ mailers who use dynamic/variable color print for marketing and consumer messages on their bills and statements.

The incentive is a 2% up front postage discount, which is calculated in PostalOne!® and applied to the postage statement at the time of mailing.

The registration period for this promotion started June 15, 2014 and runs through December 31, 2014. As a reminder, the promotion period runs from August 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014.

Eligibility
Eligible mail pieces must include a full color consumer or marketing message such as on “onsert” or “onstatement” to qualify, which is printed in-stream on a physical piece of paper within the content of the letter or statements. The onsert or onstatetement must include a graphic to text in full color using a dynamic variable print process and must be on a transactional mail piece which is required to be mailed as First-Class Mail.

  • Mailpieces must be part of a Intelligent Mail® Full-Service mailing.
  • Mailings must be submitted via eDoc using Mail.dat®, Mail.XML™ or the Postal Wizard. The eDoc must identify the mail owner and mail preparer in the By/For fields using the CRID.
  • All pieces covered by a postage statement claiming the discount must meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Mail must be tendered for acceptance during the promotion period of August 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014.
  • Postage payment for the eligible mailings must be paid using Permit Imprint or Pre-canceled Stamp permit. Some Meter Permit mailings may qualify.

More detailed program requirements are available online, as well as a Mail Owner enrollment guide and a Mail Service Provider enrollment guide.

Additional information
More detailed information regarding these upcoming promotions can be obtained at the USPS RIBBS® web site, or questions may be directed via email to FCMColorPromotion@usps.gov.

Window Book is here to help
Window Book’s industry-leading post-presort solution, DAT-MAIL™ can help you take advantage of these USPS incentive promotions. To schedule a free Mail Optimization Analysis, visit www.windowbook.com/MOA.

July 26th, 2014 is the 239th Birthday of the U.S. Postal Service. The Post Office (which was later renamed the U.S. Postal Service) was officially established at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia on July 26th, 1775. Benjamin Franklin was named the first postmaster general and held that position when the Declaration of Independence was signed almost a year later. That makes the Post Office older than the USA. Happy Birthday!

Via PostalMag

postalplane

 

Download your FREE July eNewsletter from Window Book with lots of new postal information that will keep you up to date on the latest trends in the mailing and shipping industry.

http://www.windowbook.com/Learning/Postal-Industry-News

Window Book’s monthly eNewsletter is tailored specifically for postal industry professionals just like you. Our intent is to bring you cutting edge information along with some lighter fare for your entertainment.

 

 

 

As we told you earlier, there have been some major issues over the last few weeks with the labeling list and drop ship data that USPS® issued in June for July consumption.

This weekend, the USPS provided another update to July’s labeling list and drop ship data that corrected the issues we reported late last week.

If you have been delaying updating your destination files due to these issues, the data in the files from the USPS is now considered accurate and you should go ahead with updating your destination data files.

Reason #212 to use our
Automatic Postal Data Updates System

As you may have heard from us in the past, Window Book has an automated method to update all of these data files into your software. Once you have this FREE add-on tool installed with your DAT-MAIL software, you no longer have to remember to check for these data file updates, nor do you have to perform manual downloads because it will automatically be taken care of for you. No matter how many times the USPS updates the data – we always validate it before making it available. You can just set it and forget it!