Accessing Your Mailer Scorecard

With all the talk about the upcoming assessments that the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is planning to begin in November 2016 (based on October data), we are strongly encouraging mailers to review their Mailer Scorecard data frequently. So, what if you have never accessed your Mailer Scorecard data before? Don’t feel badly, you are not alone! Today’s e-Tip is a primer on how to access your Mailer Scorecard so that you can be analyzing your mailing performance and taking corrective action before those assessments kick in.

Read more: http://www.windowbook.com/Learning/Postal-Concierge-E-tips

Managing Barcode Uniqueness on Trays, Sacks, and Pallets

As mailers prepare for the USPS® postage assessments that begin in November, one of the areas that mailers may struggle with is the uniqueness of the Intelligent Mail® barcodes on the tags for trays, sacks and pallets. Managing the uniqueness for these barcodes can be a challenge, particularly if you have a number of different mail processing workflows. The key is to remember that the barcodes must maintain uniqueness for a period of at least 45 days after the mailing date, and that each and every method you use for generating these barcodes needs to be included in your uniqueness management process.

Read more: http://www.windowbook.com/Learning/Postal-Concierge-E-tips

Improving Your Mailer Scorecard Results

Alright, alright, alright. So you’ve ramped up all your processes and systems for participation in Intelligent Mail Full-Service®, or at least for participation in eDoc. You’ve successfully submitted Mail.dat® files to PostalOne!® and have worked through the various validation errors or file rejections that you received when you first started this process. So, you’re golden, right???

Well, not so fast….even if your files are successfully transmitted to PostalOne!, that does not necessarily mean there are not still errors in your files. That’s right…errors can still exist, even if you don’t receive any error messages from PostalOne! How the heck are you supposed to find out what these errors are? That is where the Mailer Scorecard comes in.

Mailer Scorecard
Just like a report card back from your school days, the Mailer Scorecard tells you how you are doing as a mailer. The Mailer Scorecard, available on the USPS® Business Customer Gateway, provides a wealth of information and reports on your electronically submitted mailings.

The Mailer Scorecard includes a Mailer Information tab, which includes all the data regarding your mail volumes, breaking it down by class of mail, processing category and so forth. In addition, there are tabs for Full-Service validation, eInduction validation, and Seamless Acceptance validation. On each of those tabs is detailed information on the items that PostalOne! is validating, including the validation results on your mailings. The information on the Mailer Scorecard is tallied on a calendar month basis. The data is even color coded to help you hone in on any problem areas. For example, anything in green text means that your validation results have improved by 5% or more over the previous calendar month. Text in red indicates that your validation results have declined by 5% or more over the previous calendar month. And any items highlighted in yellow are areas where your mailings have exceeded the allowed error threshold.

For now, all of this data is informational only, intended to help mailers pinpoint areas where their mailings have quality issues so that mailers can take corrective action. However, some time later this year, likely in July, the USPS plans to start implementing postage assessments for mail that exceeds the allowed error thresholds. Bottom line, mailers need to be paying attention to their Mailer Scorecard results NOW so that any necessary process improvements may be made BEFORE those assessments kick in.

Common Mailer Scorecard Errors
One of the most common Mailer Scorecard errors for Full-Service validation is with the By/For information, which is the identification of the various entities involved in the mailing. The “For” part of this equation is the Mail Owner, or the entity responsible for the content of the mailpiece and who ultimately benefits from the mailing. The “By” part of the equation is the Mail Preparer (the entity physically preparing the mailing) and the eDoc Submitter (the entity submitting the Mail.dat files to PostalOne!).

All of these entities must be correctly identified in the Mail.dat files submitted to PostalOne! Typically, this identification is done using the Customer Registration ID (CRID) or Mailer Identification (MID). There is a variety of fields in the Mail.dat file where this data may be populated, so it is very critical that mailers understand where these fields are located, how to get them correctly populated, and to make sure there are no conflicts with this data. This, of course, assumes that you even have the correct CRID and MID data to begin with. Luckily, the USPS offers search capability on the Business Customer Gateway, so that mailers may validate the CRID/MID information. This search capability is provided for both individual searches and bulk searches, where files containing CRID or MID information for multiple clients may be submitted at one time for validation.

Correcting Mailer Scorecard Errors
Once you have analyzed the data available on your Mailer Scorecard, it is important to use this data to review your mailing process to determine where in your process these errors are occurring and make any necessary changes. The Mailer Scorecard includes a “drill down” function that allows users to drill down to the specific mailing jobs with errors and then to the specific errors. The Mailer Scorecard will provide error codes and a recommended solution. The error codes can also be looked up in the PostalOne! technical guides.

Some of the error messages, however, might be a little cryptic, so you may need to submit a ticket to the PostalOne! Help desk to ask for help in deciphering the error message and, more importantly, how to correct the error. Your presort and post-presort software vendors can also be helpful in this area.

Resources
The PostalOne! Help Desk is available to provide assistance to mailers who need help in understanding the Mailer Scorecard data and the various error messages. They can also help you trouble-shoot errors in submitted Mail.dat files. There is a guide available for making a request for more detailed Mailer Scorecard error data.

Window Book has many utilities available to assist mailers with improving their Mailer Scorecard results. Our DAT-MAIL™ software provides easy access to make edits and corrections in Mail.dat files, particularly with regard to the often troublesome By/For data. DAT-MAIL also includes a BCG Export and Import utility, both of which may be used to easily take advantage of the bulk search capability on the BCG for your clients MID, CRID, permit and Nonprofit Authorization data. We also offer educational webinars on the Mailer Scorecard, and even offer FREE Mail Optimization Analyses to help you get your mailing operation optimized to submit mailings electronically. We even provide on-site or remote consulting services to help you review your Mailer Scorecard results and help you pinpoint areas in your process where the corrections may be made.

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

Window Book’s newest smart postal solution, PostalWeb™, completes the PostalOne! automation circle by providing easy downloading of finalized PostalOne! postage statements directly to your servers, and includes options for email notifications and even emailing of these finalized postage statements! (Coming soon: automatically download your confirmation pages!)

PostalOne!® Mandatory Software Update This Weekend

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!

Obtaining or Validating By/For Identifiers

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!

Are you having problems with your “By/For” score on your Mailer Scorecard?

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

Don’t Forget!: PostalOne!® Mandatory Software Update This Weekend

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.

Keeping Up to Date

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.

Color Print in First-Class Mail Transactions Promotion and Emerging Technology Promotion

2014 USPS Mailing Promotions Registration Starts June 15

Mailers and mail service providers can register via the Business Customer Gateway (https://gateway.usps.com).  Please note that participants are required to register for each promotion separately.

The Color Print in First-Class Mail Transactions promotion provides an upfront 2% postage discount to mailers who use dynamic/variable color print for marketing and consumer messages on their bills and statements to create a greater connection and response from consumers.

The goal of this promotion is to grow the value of First-Class Mail and encourage mailers to invest in color print technology.

The Emerging Technology promotion provides an upfront 2% discount to mailers who include “enhanced” augmented reality or Near Field Communication on or in their mailpieces.

The goal of this promotion is to encourage mailers to adopt and invest in new technologies that can be integrated into their mailing campaigns

Questions? Contact FCMColorPromotion@usps.gov or EmergingTechPromo@usps.gov

Attention Business Customer Gateway Users

Business Customer Gateway/eAdmin Release 8.0 Deployment Notification for March 2, 2014

The Business Customer Gateway/eAdmin Release 8.0 will be deployed to Production during maintenance window on Sunday, March 2, 2014 from 4:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. CT. The release will be completed in rolling fashion with no planned outages.

This release will include additional enhancements in the BCG application.

Release Notes for the Business Customer Gateway/eAdmin will be provided prior to deployment.

Via PostalOne! Help Desk