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®) postponed the mandatory software update for the PostalOne! production system from its original planned implementation date in October 2014. This update, which was again 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.

Summary of some of the changes for the November 30 release:
• Nonprofit Authorization validation will include additional options of the Mail Owner Customer Reference ID (CRID) and Mail Owner Mailer ID (MID) in the electronic documentation (eDoc). Currently, only the Permit Number is used for this validation. This does not change the requirement for there to be a valid Nonprofit Authorization Number linked to the Mail Owner CRID, MID or Permit Number.
• The Customer Validation Tool will be enhanced with a “Bulk Search” capability. Mailers may enter up to 250 records in the input file to conduct the search. The input file must include a CRID, MID, Permit, or Nonprofit Authorization Number. The USPS will return an output file in Excel format with validated, corrected, or not found information.
• A variety of enhancements to the Business Reply Mail (BRM) system.
• Logic for postage assessment of Seamless Acceptance errors will be included in this release but the assessments will not be activated at that time. In January 2015, the dollar amounts will be shown for review purposes only, with planned implementation of actual assessments in April 2015, based on the mailings for the March 2015 calendar month. Bypass Seamless Acceptance functionality will no longer be supported by PostalOne!, but this field in the eDoc will remain in the Mail.dat specifications.
• New functionality added to the Online Enrollment via the Business Customer Gateway in order to facilitate accurate designation of a CRID when a customer attempts to add or modify a company name or business location.
• Corrections to known issues.

Details of the changes for these updates 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.

Date: Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Mailers submitting mailing jobs electronically to PostalOne! need to identify 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 in some cases a Local Permit number is also needed for identification purposes. For mail service providers, getting all of this straight can be intimidating and it can be challenging to collect all of these critical pieces of information for their clients too.

Come join us for this informative webinar to learn all the nuts and bolts on how to submit correct Mail Owner identification in eDoc.

Register: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/220523401

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) has proposed four promotion/incentive programs for 2015, with the intent of increasing the value of transactional and direct mail. Some of the promotions include features that encourage businesses to use USPS shipping products. As further indication that the USPS will still be moving forward with Full-Service, you will see many of these incentives require some measure of the Full-Service components… another good reason to adopt Full-Service if you have not already done so. Although these promotions are just in the proposal stage now, and must be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), it is anticipated that they will be approved and implemented as submitted.

The Promotions
Although there are fewer promotions proposed for 2015 than were offered by the USPS in 2014, the promotion periods run for longer periods of time.

Earned Value Promotion: April 1 through June 30, 2015
Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion: April 1 through September 30, 2015
Color TranPromo Promotion: June 1 through December 31, 2015
Mail Drives Mobile Engagement Promotion: July 1 through December 31, 2015

Participation
Participation in these promotions and incentives requires registration with the USPS using the Business Customer Gateway. Each promotion and incentive program requires separate registration.

Resources
Once the promotions are approved by the PRC, the USPS will provide a summary guide of the 2015 Mailing Promotions and Incentives. There will also be a web site dedicated to the promotion and incentive programs, which will include links to the technical specifications, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) and participation requirements for eligibility and participation.

Window Book’s DAT-MAIL software can help you process your Mail.dat files to meet the requirements for these promotions and incentives. Stay tuned for future updates on the finalization of these 2015 promotion and incentive programs.

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) recently published a guide to help mailers plan for some of the upcoming changes and deadlines with regards to various USPS programs. Called the Mail Entry Road Map, this guide breaks down these various USPS programs and provides details on the USPS plans and important deadlines for each.

DMU closings after October 31, 2014

If your mailing facility has an active Detached Mail Unit (DMU), you should have received a letter from the USPS telling you that DMU’s at facilities with less than 75% Full-Service mail will be scheduled to be closed this fall. That October 31, 2014 deadline is rapidly approaching. If your mailing operation depends on the DMU for efficient verification and acceptance of your mail, you need to make sure that at least 75% of the mail you process is Full-Service. If not, you stand a good chance of losing your DMU. If you have an active DMU and have not received this letter from the USPS, you should check with your DISTRICT Business Mail Entry Office to see if your facility is one of those potentially impacted by this deadline.

What happens if your DMU gets closed? Unfortunately, you will no longer have the ability for USPS acceptance clerks to be on-site at your facility for verification and acceptance of your mail. Rather, you will be required to make arrangements to physically take the mail from your facility to your local Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) to have it verified and accepted there. Keep in mind that these facilities may have restricted hours and may not be able to efficiently handle your volume of mail. This could cause delays in getting your mail accepted, which may in turn impact Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) that you have in place with your clients.

Full-Service Non-compliance Assessments
In January 2015 the USPS plans to implement financial assessments for Full-Service mailings that do not meet the minimum compliance thresholds. These assessments will be charged based on your DECEMBER 2014 mailings, so you need to be working NOW to make sure your Full-Service mailings are meeting the compliance thresholds. Errors over the threshold will cause the removal of the Full-Service discount for the pieces in error above the threshold.

The USPS is right now (October 2014) beginning to issue “For Review Only” invoice reports, which are generated based on an evaluation all of the mailings submitted in the previous calendar month. These are not payable invoices, but rather they are “simulated” invoices, representing what you would be paying in postage penalties if these assessments were already in place. Keep in mind that the assessable errors will be those in excess of any threshold; errors within the allowed threshold will not be assessed. Mailers can also see their potential additional postage due on their Mailer Scorecard. Mailers should be closely reviewing these simulated reports in October, November and December 2014 to identify any errors and make corrections BEFORE the actual assessments are implemented in January 2015.

Move Update Validation
The USPS has for a number of years required that mailers utilize Postal approved methods to periodically update mailing addresses in their mailings. Traditionally, adherence to this requirement was in the form of Move Update Validation as a sample-based process, measured on mailpieces verified through the MERLIN process. The USPS is changing this validation process to one that utilizes Mail Processing Equipment scans and electronic documentation (eDoc) to measure Move Update quality on all Basic-Service and Full-Service mailpieces claiming automation rates. The USPS started showing these new validation process results to mailers back in August 2014 on the Electronic Verification tab of their Mailer Scorecard. In November, the USPS will start generating “simulated” invoice reports to calculate potential postage assessments for all mailers who submit more than 75% of their eligible mail volume as Full-Service.

Starting in April 2015, assessments will be implemented for Move Update errors over the permitted threshold. Mailers should be analyzing their simulated invoice reports generated for January, February, and March 2015 and take care of any errors above the threshold BEFORE the actual assessments kick in.

Non-profit Eligibility
The USPS plans to enhance the Non-profit authorization process for eDoc mailings in November 2014. Currently, mailers submitting eDoc must populate the eDoc with either a postage paying permit or Mail Owner permit that is linked to a Non-profit authorization in order for the mailing to be eligible for Non-profit prices. For mailings including multiple Mail Owners, the eDoc includes only one linked permit, and the balance of the Non-profit Mail Owner data is provided on a separate hard-copy list. Starting in November 2014, PostalOne! will support the identification of Non-profit Mail Owners using the Mail Owner MID or CRID. PostalOne! will temporarily continue to check all of the allowable fields (Mail Owner MID, Mail Owner CRID, Mail Owner permit, or postage paying permit) for the necessary Non-profit Authorization link. However, this will end in April 2015 when only the Mail Owner MID or CRID will be allowed for this purpose. It is recommended that Mail Service Providers (MSP’s) confirm the non-profit status for each of their clients prior to November 2014. The PostalOne! Help Desk can assist with this process. MSP’s should submit a completed MSP Customer Validation spreadsheet to the PostalOne! Help Desk, which will then look up each of the identification numbers provided and return the applicable CRID, permits and non-profit status for each mail owner.

Other Programs
The USPS is also measuring various criteria of mailings participating in the eInduction and Seamless Acceptance programs. For these two programs, the USPS is currently limiting postage assessments for errors to those mailings that exceed what they call the “Egregious Threshold.” However, at some point later in 2015, the USPS will be implementing similar postage assessment processes as those described above for errors exceeding the minimum thresholds.

Bottom line, mailers need to pay much stricter attention to their Mailer Scorecard so that any anomalies can be taken care of with PostalOne! and so that the errors exceeding thresholds can be corrected BEFORE the assessment implementation dates.

Resources
Window Book can assist you to increase your percentage of Full-Service mailings and to help improve your Full-Service compliance scores on your Mailer Scorecard. Our Full-Service On-Ramp Service (FSORS) has been successfully used by hundreds of mailers to implement Full-Service in their mailing operations. This same service may be used to help you increase the percentage of your Full-Service mailings or to help you resolve non-compliance issues that negatively impact your Mailer Scorecard results.
Window Book also provides a wealth of FREE educational resources to help you make sense of all the requirements. Webinars, white papers, and these weekly eTips help keep you educated and up-to-date.

Mailers submitting mailing jobs electronically to PostalOne!® need to identify the various entities involved in the mailing job – specifically, the Mail Owner, the Mail Preparer, and the eDoc Submitter. This information is sometimes referred to as the “By/For” relationship for mailings. In other words, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is asking that electronic documentation identify who is preparing the mail and who is submitting the eDoc (the “By” portion) and who is responsible for the content of the mailpiece and ultimately pays the postage for the mailings (the “For) portion.

For the most part, these entities may be identified in the eDoc 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 in some cases a Local Permit number is also needed for identification purposes. For mail service providers, getting all of this straight can be a challenge and it can be challenging to collect 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 number, regardless of the number of pieces per owner in the mailing. For mailings consisting of multiple mail owners, at least one mail owner must be identified in the eDoc; the remaining mail owners may be identified in a hard copy spreadsheet presented to the mail clerk at the time of mailing. Currently, the Mail Owner Permit may be used to identify the Mail Owner if the mail owner is paying their own postage using their own permit. For Mail Owners using a Mail Service Provider permit to pay postage, what is called a “Ghost Permit” is required. 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. This will be changing in November of this year, when the Mail Owner MID or CRID may be used for identification rather than the ghost permit.

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 eDoc. The third block is the name and address of the organization for which the mailing is prepared, i.e. Mail Owner. This block is populated using the data in the Local Permit. 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 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. This is also scheduled to change in November 2014, when it will be populated using the Mail Owner MID or CRID if the Local Permit is not available.

Mail Service Provider Challenges
If you are a Mail Service Provider, you 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.

Add to that the fact that PostalOne! has to be aware of all of this MID, CRID, and permit information and also have them all appropriately linked! If the appropriate linkage has not been made, this can result in errors when uploading files to PostalOne!. These types of errors can only be rectified by contacting the PostalOne! Help Desk to request that the appropriate MIDs, CRIDs and permits be linked. Another error that can occur is when the same MID/CRID information is populated in the eDoc for both the Mail Owner and the Mail Preparer. If your company is indeed both the owner of the mail and the preparer of the mail, PostalOne! needs to know that and verify that this is indeed the case. If you receive this type of error, again you need to contact the PostalOne! Help Desk for resolution.

If you receive validation errors when submitting files to PostalOne! that refer to permits, postage payment methods, MIDs or CRIDs, or if you are seeing excessive By/For errors on your Mailer Scorecard, you should use this check list:
1. Verify that the postage payment permit information you entered in your eDoc is correct for the client, the location, and the postage payment method.
2. Verify that the MID/CRID information you entered in your eDocs is correct for the Mail Owner, Mail Preparer, and the eDoc Submitter. The MID/CRID information for the Mail Owner should not be the same as for the Mail Preparer, unless your company actually does own the mail and also physically prepares the mail. If you are a Mail Service Provider, this means that you need to obtain the MID/CRID data for all of your clients, either directly from your clients or by submitting a request through the Business Customer Gateway.
3. Understand the difference between the Permit information and the Local Permit information in the Mailer Postage Account (MPA) file and verify that the correct permit information is being populated in each. The Permit information should be populated with the permit information that is being used to pay the postage for the mailing. The Local Permit information should be populated with the identical information as the Permit fields ONLY if the mail owner’s postal permit is being used to pay the postage. If the postage is paid from a Mail Service Provider’s permit, then the Local Permit information must be populated with Ghost Permit information as discussed above.
4. Verify with PostalOne! the MID/CRID information for your company and for the clients for which you prepare mail, and also verify that the postal permits have been properly linked.

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. These requests may be submitted in bulk by submitting an Excel spreadsheet with the client company name and location information. Likewise, MSP’s may actually apply for MID’s on behalf of their clients, again through the use of an Excel spreadsheet submission. In this case, MSP’s must also provide documentation that the mail owners have given their permission for the MSP to apply for the MIDs on their behalf. The USPS RIBBS web site also has some helpful information to clarify MIDs and CRIDs. The USPS recently published 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. 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 webinars on the topic of Identifying Mail Owners in eDoc and Common PostalOne! Errors, as well as our Mailing Optimization Analysis. Call us at 1-800-524-0380 for more details or to sign up for your FREE Mailing Optimization Analysis!

Don’t miss out on our educational mailing webinars! Log on to our webinar registration site to sign up.

U.S. Postal Service to Maintain Current Product and Service Prices

Oct. 1, 2014–The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service have decided not to seek a price change for mail and shipping products and services in January in part because of the uncertainty regarding the exigent price increase. This means that the current pricing of postal products and services will remain in effect through the holiday season and early part of 2015. The Board will continue to evaluate pricing strategies and will communicate about any potential price change filings in early 2015. As always, the Postal Service will provide customers advance notice of any price changes.

Yet another USPS® incentive promotion is rapidly approaching – Mail Drives Mobile Commerce Promotion. This promotion starts running on November 1, 2014 through the end of the year (December 31, 2014), but the registration for this promotion started on September 15, 2014.

Mail Drives Mobile Commerce Promotion
The goal of this promotion is to promote use of mobile technology in direct mail to create a convenient method for consumers to do their shopping. This promotion is offered to Standard Mail™ (including non-profit) Letters and Flats mailings that use mobile barcode technology on the mailpieces which, when scanned by a mobile device, leads to a mobile optimized web site.

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. Mailers may also be eligible for an additional one percent rebate on the postage of their qualifying mailings if a portion of their orders are fulfilled via Priority Mail® between November 3, 2104 and January 15, 2015. Mailers who wish to participate in the Priority Mail rebate must complete a separate claim form that is due no later than February 15, 2015.

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

Eligibility
Eligible mail pieces must include a mobile barcode or other equivalent print/mobile technology that when scanned by a mobile device, leads to a mobile optimized web site. The destination web pages must reside on a web site platform that contains or is deeply integrated with a checkout functionality that allows the customer to complete the purchase of the product referenced in the mailpiece through a complete mobile optimized experience.

• Mailpieces must contain an Intelligent Mail® Full-Service barcode.
• Directional copy must be included near the mobile barcode on the mailpiece providing guidance to the consumer to scan the barcode or image and information about the landing page.
• For purposes of this promotion, a product is defined as a tangible and physical item that needs to be distributed or manufactured and can be shipped via a mailing or shipping product offered by the USPS (delivery by the USPS is not required).
• 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, MID, or Permit number.
• 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 November 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 MailDrivesMobile@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.

Did the recent Mail.dat version change, PostalOne! software update, or Priority Mail price change catch you by surprise? On September 7, 2014, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) implemented a price adjustment for Priority Mail and also implemented new postage statements for Priority Mail and other classes of mail as well. This change required mailers to update their USPS MDR Client software from the Business Customer Gateway on August 24, 2014. Along with these changes, PostalOne! support for the old 13-1 Mail.dat version ended and the currently supported versions are the new 14-2 version and the prior version of 14-1. Window Book sends out numerous notifications of these changes in advance through these eTips, but there are other resources available as well to help insure these kinds of changes don’t catch you by surprise in the future.

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.

The August update was a major change to support new USPS products and services, postage statement changes, and other updates. The postage statement changes took effect on September 7, 2014.

At the same time, the Mail.dat® specification changed from 14-1 to 14-2. For purposes of submitting Mail.dat files to PostalOne!, the table below shows the various Mail.dat version numbers and the dates on which they are supported by PostalOne!

Keeping updated
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. The DMM Advisory also provides notifications on pricing and postage statement changes, as well as Mail.dat and Mail.xml version changes. This information is also available on the RIBBS web site Release Schedule.

Handling Change
When these types of changes are announced, it is important for mailers to pay attention to the PostalOne! 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 our newly improved EDM10X, you will need to edit the configuration for this in the Window Book Automation Scheduler.

Likewise, mailers need to pay attention to Mail.dat and Mail.xml version changes and USPS data file updates (Labeling Lists, Zone Charts, Drop Ship files, etc.) and coordinate with their presort and post-presort software so that the correct versions are used.

The August 24, 2014 PostalOne!® update, which coincided with the new Mail.dat® 14-2 release, included many changes and updates to Postal services and postage statements among other things. In addition, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) will be issuing another PostalOne! software update on November 9, 2014. The November update does not have any postage statement or Mail.dat modifications, but there are changes that may have an impact on your operations. Make note of the recently enacted and upcoming changes.

Highlights from the recent August Update

Changes to Mailing Services

Postage Statement Changes

There are changes in postage statements for Periodicals, First-Class Mail®, and Standard Mail®. With the exception of the Priority Mail statements, which will be mandatory due to the price changes, mailers may continue to use the January 2014 postage statements. However, if you wish to use any of the new products and/or services, you must switch to the September 2014 statements.

New Mail.dat version 14.2
There is a new Mail.dat specification version associated with this update; the current version is 14-1; while the new Mail.dat version is 14-2. For purposes of submitting Mail.dat files to PostalOne!, the table below shows the various Mail.dat versions and the dates on which they are supported by PostalOne!

Between August 24 and September 7 mailers can submit new mailings using Mail.dat version 14-2 or 14-1. During this period, mailings can also be submitted using 13-1, but ONLY for mail with mailing dates processed before Sept. 7. Between Aug. 24 and Sept. 7, mailers can also submit 13-1 files to update previously submitted mailings.

Political and Election Mail
The new 14-2 Mail.dat version now has fields in the Content Characteristics Record (CCR files) to identify political and election mail. These identifiers should be used only if 100% of the mailing contains these types of mail. This will then allow the appropriate postage statement check box to be marked, and will also indicate to mailers and the USPS that special tags are to be applied to this mail. Use Tag 57 for Political Mail and Tag 191 for Election Mail.

Is 14-2 mandatory?
The use of Mail.dat 14-2 is not mandatory. Mailers can continue to submit 14-1 files to PostalOne! DAT-MAIL’s new August update supports submission of either file format. Mailers can import 14-1 and 14-2 files and submit 14-2 to PostalOne!, but can not import 14-2 and submit 14-1.

DFSS:

Effective August 1st a new PS-8125 form became available that supports Flat Sequencing System (FSS) entry points. In the new PS-8125 Form, under the Mailer Information section, DBMC has been removed and DNDC and DFSS have been added for “Entry Discounts Claimed” options. Note: the old 8125 form can still be used for 6 months until further notice.

Air Boxes:
Although not mandatory, mailers who use Air boxes are being strongly encouraged by the USPS to update to DAT-MAIL’s new August update so they can generate new PS-8125 forms. Air boxes are an alternate container from trays/sacks/pallets that Periodicals mailers use to get mail drop shipped in an expedited manner for time-sensitive materials.

Priority Mail:
Priority mailers using Mail.dat must update to DAT-MAIL’s new August update in order to be able to use new rates and generate Postage Statements, which are effective September 7, 2014.

New 8125
The August release of DAT-MAIL includes the new 8125 which should be used by mailers that do the following:
-Drop ship to DFSS facilities
-Use air boxes (Periodicals mail)
-Use DAT-MAIL to mail Priority Mail eDoc

Full-Service eDoc Verification & Invoicing
PostalOne! reports for Intelligent Mail® Full-Service verification will have postage charges for non-compliance visible on the reports, but the USPS will NOT actually be assessing these charges. Not yet, anyway! But, mailers need to pay very close attention to these reports because it is only a matter of time before the USPS does implement these charges.

Changes to Shipping Services

Priority Mail® Price Changes
Great news for shippers who are eligible for Commercial Base and Commercial Plus rates. Effective September 7, 2014 those rates are decreasing! The new Postage Statements reflecting these price changes are available at pe.usps.gov.

-Commercial Base: 0.9% average decrease
-Commercial Plus: 2.3% average decrease
-Retail prices: 1.7% average increase

IMpb Compliance Threshold Increases
The USPS is already charging a non-compliance fee for Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb) mailings. This fee is $.20 per piece, and can add up in a real hurry if you mail any sort of volume at all. The compliance threshold to avoid those fees is increasing as well.

Single piece parcel shipments
Good news! Mailers will now be able to use their volumes from multiple classes of mail to meet the volume minimums for parcel shipments mailed using Manifesting with a Permit Imprint payment method. The minimum volume is 50 pieces or 50 pounds, which used to apply to each class of mail separately. Now, volumes from various classes of mail can be combined to meet this minimum.

IMpb requirement changes:
Mailers will now need to use Intelligent Mail Package Barcodes (IMpb) on more categories of mail. This requirement includes Standard Mail parcels, Parcel Select Lightweight, and the remaining portions of Priority Mail previously exempted from IMpb.

Changes to USPS Data

Labeling List Update Frequency Changes to Monthly
Previously, these files were updated on a quarterly basis, but this is changing to a MONTHLY cycle starting in August. The USPS announced changes to the Labeling List data, effective September 1, 2014, with a mandatory use date of September 30, 2014.

Mailers need to be much more vigilant about using these updated files since they will no longer be able to presort their mailing list files months in advance. There will only be two months of Labeling List data permitted at any given time, which means presorts cannot be performed more than 60 days in advance of the estimated date of mailing.

This means that the estimated and actual ship dates in the Mail.dat files become MUCH more critical. These are the dates that will be used to validate that the correct Labeling List files have been used, so it’s essential for mailers to accurately populate those data fields.

HUB list: There is a new Labeling List going into effect called the HUB list. This is a list of postal facilities that just cross-dock or transfer mail, and do not do any actual mail processing. These facilities are intended to be used by mailers to improve mail delivery by drop shipping to these hubs, which will then cross-dock the mail to outbound transportation bound for the final destination facility.

Upcoming Changes

PostalOne!® November 9 Update
The second PostalOne! update, originally scheduled for October 26, 2014, is now November 9. The November 9 update does not have any postage statement changes, but there are other changes associated with postage statement mail owner CRID display, Nonprofit authorization numbers, Postage assessment of Seamless Acceptance errors, Move Update, new functionality for the Business Customer Gateway (BCG) and Mailer ID. Visit November 2014 changes for more details.

Mail Entry Road Map

The USPS has published its “Mail Entry Road Map” showing mailers what is in store for them with changes to acceptance, verification and payment between now and mid-2015.

September 2014 – eInduction pilot of a scan process for non-SV sites starts. If successful, this will be rolled out in early 2015 and allow all entry points to participate in eInduction without having to link pallet barcodes to FAST appointments.

October 2014 – Full-Service Verification Error Postage Assessments will be visible to mailers; however, they will not actually be billed until January 2015 (based on December 2014 data). Pay attention to these assessments and correct what is causing them before December!

October 2014 – Mailers will need be processing and submitting 75% of their eligible mail as Full-Service if they want to retain their DMUs.

November 2014 – PostalOne! Release 39 – many changes here. This is the first release that will use actual induction date as the basis of verifying the validity of the labeling list used to do the presort. There are also expected to be a number of changes that will impact all mailers doing eDoc. Watch for Window Book webinars and subsequent communications about the changes coming in PostalOne! Release 39.

Stay Informed
Learn more about Postal Changes for Fall 2014 from Free Educational Resources:

Webinar Recording:

USPS Changes for Fall 2014: Do you know what they are?

http://www.windowbook.com/recordedwebinars


White Paper:

Changes are Coming in 2014: Do You Know What They Are?

https://www.windowbook.com/Lp/USPS-2014-Changes

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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