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.

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!

Back in June of this year, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) planned to implement an increase in the frequency of the updates to several critical destination data files; to monthly from the previous quarterly update schedule. Due to the postponement of the planned July 13, 2014 PostalOne! release to August 24, 2013, the USPS also decided to postpone implementing the monthly updates until September.

What you may NOT be aware of is that 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.

The USPS recently provided an update to July’s labeling list and drop ship data that corrected these issues, but unfortunately another problem was found with the expire dates in the data. The USPS is aware of this situation and its urgency to the mailing industry. We are hopeful that the USPS will make the necessary corrections to these data files and get them posted for the mailing industry as soon as possible.

As soon as this data is fixed and an update is provided by the USPS, Window Book and other software vendors, will process it and make it available to software users. In the interim, you may receive automated notifications that the destination data files are getting ready to expire. Normally we would not encourage software users to ignore these alerts, but in this case there are no updated files to access until the USPS publishes the corrected 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!

On July 1, 2014 the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) filed a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for price adjustments to Priority Mail®. The implementation date for the new prices is September 7, 2014. While this filing must be approved by the PRC before the new prices are implemented, it is anticipated that the PRC will approve this request.

Price Changes
The Priority Mail pricing structure will remain as it currently exists. The proposal calls for an increase in the Retail Priority Mail prices at an average of 1.7%. Commercial prices will actually see a decrease, with Commercial Base prices going down an average of 0.9% and Commercial Plus prices decreasing an average of 2.3%. This is great news for commercial shippers, just in time for the holiday shipping season.

New postage statements reflecting these new prices will be introduced for the September 7, 2014 implementation date, and will be made available in late August.

Details of the proposal, including the new rate charts, may be found on the PRC web site. The USPS has also posted the new postage statements online on Postal Explorer, as well as the rate charts in Excel format.

Handling Change
This is an extremely short notice of this price change, so software vendors are feverishly working to incorporate these new prices into their software products. On a related note, the USPS is also making format and verbiage changes to postage statements for many other classes of mail, also effective on September 7, 2014. There is also a Mail.dat® specification version change taking place at the same time, from the current version 14-1 to the new 14-2 version. Window Book anticipates having updated releases of our software reflecting these new prices, new postage statements, and supporting the new 14-2 Mail.dat version available in August.

Resources
These changes will also require a PostalOne!® software update, which is scheduled for August 24, 2014. 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.

 

Do you ever wonder how your mailings measure up to all the latest United States Postal Service® (USPS®) requirements?

How can you be sure if you are meeting all the requirements or barely meeting the thresholds set by the USPS?

Did you know that the USPS will implement financial penalties as early as July 2014 for Full-Service mailings not meeting the requirements?

Now the USPS has a new reporting system called the “Mailer Scorecard.” That’s right. You get scored on how well or badly you are performing when processing mailings using USPS programs. The Mailer Scorecard is a report that tracks your mailing performance trends across months and years for various USPS programs.

The Scorecard provides a complete summary of performance for Full-Service Electronic, eInduction, Seamless Acceptance, Mail Anywhere™ and SingleSource ACS™. You can easily view the metrics in numbers and percentages on a dashboard by logging in through the USPS Business Customer Gateway: https://gateway.usps.com/eAdmin/view/signin.   Once logged in, select Mailing Reports and then Mailer Scorecard.

Use it to your advantage

Each month your mailings will be aggregated to create your scores, and the areas which need attention will be highlighted in Green, Red, and Yellow….

Read more: http://www.windowbook.com/Learning/Mailing-and-Shipping-Articles-of-Interest

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) will be issuing back-to-back software updates for the PostalOne! production system this fall. The first update, which was postponed from the planned July 13, 2014 date, will now be implemented on August 24, 2014. The second update is for the regularly scheduled October update, and that implementation date is October 26, 2014. In both cases, the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) update will take place the following day.

Why the update?
The USPS periodically makes updates in the PostalOne! system to incorporate enhancements and bug fixes to the software. Major changes are performed when there are significant changes to postal rates 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 is a major change to support new USPS products and services, postage statement changes, and other updates. The postage statement changes take effect on September 7, 2014.

There is a Mail.dat® specification version change 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 version numbers and the dates on which they are supported by PostalOne!

Submit Date Postage Statement Mailing Date Postage Statement Version 13-1 14-1 14-2
Before 8/24/14 Up to and including 9/6/14 January 2014 Supported Supported Not Supported
8/24/14 and after Up to and including 9/6/14 January 2014 Supported Supported Not Supported
8/24/14 and after 9/7/14 and after January 2014 or September 2014 Updates Only Supported Supported

Summary of some of the changes for the August release:

  • Periodicals Statement of Ownership: The Requester Publications Only (PS Form 3526) and Requester and General Category Periodicals Publications Only (PS Form 3526-X) will be combined into a single automated online form.
  • Manifested Parcels for Domestic & International Mailings: Customers who currently ship single piece mailings and who use the manifest mailing system with the permit imprint payment method can now meet volume minimums of 50 pieces or 50 pounds by combining parcels volumes of various classes of mail.
  • Shipping Services File conversion: Additional classes of mail will be converted from Mail.dat to the Shipping Services File format for Standard Mail, Parcel Select Light Weight, and the remaining portions of Priority Mail.
  • HUB Facilities FAST Appointment Scheduling: The FAST system will be updated to allow customers to schedule appointments for drop ship to HUB facilities.
  • Full-Service eDoc verification & Invoicing: Reports which provide metrics for Full-Service errors will be launched and known issues will also be fixed. Reporting metrics will be made available for mailer-review on August 24. Whereas actual charges for assessments of postage will be visible on the reporting, assessments of postage will not be activated.
  • Seamless Acceptance will add reports and enhancements to correctly assess Seamless errors.
  • eInduction will enhance numerous electronic processes to increase visibility.

The following items will be available September 7, 2014:

  • Call Return Tag: This new service allows Merchandise Returns Labels to be generated and delivered by the Postal Service to a customer on behalf of a merchant.
  • Premium Forwarding Services Commercial: This new service will allow commercial mailers to consolidate mail received from multiple Post Office boxes and street addresses, or both, into a single package for delivery to a single address. The Mailer can sign-up through the Business Customer Gateway (BCG).
  • Political and Election Mail: New indicators for Mail.dat and Mail.XML™ can be used in the eDoc. This will help USPS better tabulate election mail volume by entry point to help with current and future planning.
  • Intelligent Mail® for Package barcode (IMpb) Non-compliance: The Non-compliance threshold will increase slightly.

The October update does not have any postage statement changes associated with it, but here is a sample of some of the other changes:

  • For postage statement Mail Owner display, the company name and address of the Mail Owner that is displayed on the postage statement will be based on the eDoc submitted when the Mail Owner is identified by a Mailer ID (MID), Customer Registration ID (CRID), or Permit.
  • The nonprofit authorization numbers must be attached to the CRID, i.e. company location, instead of attached to a permit as is the case currently. The eDoc Submitter may identify each nonprofit organization by a MID, CRID or Permit when using Mail.dat files.
  • Postage assessment of Seamless Acceptance error for certain error types will be automated.
  • Move Update will no longer be measured in MERLIN, but assessed as a census verification for all eDoc Submitters over 75% Full-Service and residual Address Change Services (ACS) will be provided for pieces received from these eDoc Submitters at no charge.
  • The Incentive Programs and Online Enrollment services area of the Business Customer Gateway (BCG) will have a new look and feel.
  • New functionality will be added to the BCG and Mailer ID in order to facilitate accurate designation of a CRID when a customer attempts to add or modify a company name/business location.

Details of the changes for these updates may be found on the USPS RIBBS® web site for both the August 2014 changes and for the October 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, 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.

WASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service today filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to change Priority Mail prices, including a reduction in prices on average for businesses and other customers who use Commercial Plus and Commercial Base online shipping services. The price change will include a modest increase for Priority Mail prices at Post Offices and other postal retail outlets. The proposed changes, which would go into effect in September 2014, are intended to offer more competitive pricing and build on Priority Mail’s popularity with customers.

http://prc.gov/prc-pages/library/detail.aspx?docketId=CP2014-55&docketPart=Documents&docid=89958&docType=Notice

http://www.presortmailer.org/members/EmailOptPreferences.aspx?id=25171453&e=mlundquist@windowbook.com&h=a59d0729011311f99d260f9166b317681bf2868c

The United States Postal Service® is continuously launching new programs which require using the PostalOne! system such as Full-Service, USPS® promotions and incentives, eInduction, and Seamless Acceptance just to name a few.

If you submit mailings to PostalOne! you know how stressful and time consuming it can be to monitor all the jobs you have uploaded to PostalOne!, not to mention if your submissions incur failures! If you have the right tools, you can quickly fix validation errors and easily resubmit files to retain postage discounts, and maintain operational consistency.

Come join us for an informative webinar (including a live demo!) on some of the frequently encountered validation errors mailers experience on PostalOne!, and how you can easily make corrections using DAT-MAIL™. Make sure to bring questions you may have when processing eDoc!

 

Tue, Jul 1, 2014 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

Reserve your seat at:

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/128525560

The United States Postal Service is planning to resume the rationalization of our network of mail processing facilities which began in 2012.  To provide adequate time for planning and preparation, the Postal Service is providing this six-month advance notice of consolidations, for up to 82 facilities, which will begin early January 2015 and be completed by the fall mailing season.

The Postal Service will provide detailed information about its network rationalization planning in the coming weeks.  As with prior network rationalization efforts, the Postal Service will work closely with customers to mitigate potential issues associated with transportation and logistical requirements.

In 2012 and 2013, the Postal Service consolidated 141 mail processing facilities. This rationalization was highly successful, resulted in negligible service impact, generating annualized cost savings of $865 million and required no employee layoffs.  The Postal Service expects the completion of this phase of network rationalization will generate an additional $750 million in annual savings.

Why are we taking this step now?

Over the past three years, the Postal Service recorded financial losses of $26 billion. The Postal Service receives no tax-payer funds to pay for operating costs and derives all of its revenues from the sale of our products and services, and continues to face significant financial challenges associated with the decline of First-Class Mail volume and revenue, wage and benefit inflation, increasing operating costs, as well as legislative mandates and significant debt pressures.  Moreover, the uncertainty regarding legislative reform and review of postal rates in the courts continues to delay needed capital investments to acquire package sorting equipment and replace an aging mail delivery fleet.

We believe strongly that this phase of network rationalization will establish the low-cost, technology-centric delivery platform necessary to serve the mailing and shipping industry for decades to come.  We look forward to discussing our specific plans for our network in the coming weeks.

The list of facilities to be consolidated after January of 2015 is available at http://usps.com/ourfuturenetwork .

Please visit us on the USPS Industry Outreach website.

Thank you for your support of the United States Postal Service. 

–Consumer and Industry Affairs

One of the ways you can lower your postage costs while improving delivery service is to co-palletize your mail either in-house or through a logistics company. Tray-based Co-palletization, also known as “Co-Tray” mailing, supports deeper penetration into the postal system. Bypassing a number of postal processing steps allows you to benefit from greater postage discounts, better tracking and more consistent and timely delivery of your mailings.

Bypassing a number of postal processing steps allows you to benefit from greater postage discounts, better tracking and more consistent and timely delivery of your mailings

Download the Free White Paper and learn more.