Webinar: Identifying Mail Owners in PostalOne!

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

By/For Errors in eDoc

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.

Color Print in First-Class Mail Transactions Promotion

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.

Back-to-Back PostalOne!® Mandatory Software Updates

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.

Correcting By/For Errors in eDoc

As more mailers are now starting to pay closer attention to their Mailer Scorecard on PostalOne!®, a common issue that shows up on their scorecards is By/For errors. So, you ask, what the heck is “By/For” and how do mailers get these errors to go away?

By/For
For Full-Service mailings, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) requires that electronic documentation (eDoc) includes identification of the Mail Owner, the Mail Preparer, and the eDoc Submitter. This is often referred to as the “By/For” data: the Mail Preparer is the company who is preparing the mail (the “By” part) and the Mail Owner is the company responsible for the content of the mailpiece and receives the benefit of the mailing (the “For” part). Likewise, the eDoc Submitter is the company submitting the electronic documentation (“By”) for the Mail Owner (“For”). All of these entities are identified in the eDoc using their Mailer ID numbers (MIDs) or Customer Registration ID Numbers (CRIDs). For companies preparing and submitting their own mailings, all of these entities may be the same company. For companies that use Mail Service Providers, these three entities may be three different companies.

Where is the data?
The MID and CRID data used to identify the Mail Owner and Mail Preparer in the mailing is located in the Mailer Postage Account (MPA) file of the Mail.dat® file. The CRID data to identify the eDoc Submitter is located in the Header (HDR) file of the Mail.dat file. The eDoc Submitter data is also located in the Segment (SEG) file, but that is for mailing industry use; PostalOne! uses the data in the Header file.

Read more.

 

Identifying Mail Owner and Mail Preparer in Full-Service Electronic Documentation

Full‐Service Requirement: Mailing Agent (By) and Mail Owner (For) information must be identified in the electronic documentation for all Full-Service mailings.  Mail Owner and Mailing Agent data may be provided through a Mailer ID (MID), Customer Registration ID (CRID), Permit Number, or Publication Number.  The USPS recommends providing only one of the fields for any Mail Owner in the mailing.  Read more.

Via USPS RIBBS

Intelligent Mail®: Understanding MID’s and CRID’s

 

Anyone who works with the United States Postal Service® (USPS) knows their penchant for using acronyms, and the Intelligent Mail (IM) program is no different. One of the areas that causes confusion for mailers is the registration for and use of Mailer Identification numbers (MID’s) and Customer Registration Identification numbers (CRID’s).

 

The Mailer ID is a numeric identification number which is used by the USPS to identify a mail owner or mailing agent. The MID must be included in the IM barcode and in the electronic files and documents that are submitted to the USPS for IM. The MID is either a 6-digit number or a 9-digit number, based on historical mail volume or the need to maintain the 45-day uniqueness requirement. For example, mailers can manage the 45-day uniqueness requirement for 1 million pieces of mail using a 9-digit MID (9-digit MID’s allow for 6-digit serial numbers in the barcode), whereas it can be managed for 10 million pieces with a 6-digit MID (6-digit MID’s allow for 9-digit serial numbers in the barcode). Alternatively, multiple 9-digit MID’s can be assigned for increments of 1 million pieces as another method of managing the uniqueness requirement.

 

The Customer Registration ID is also a numeric identification number (up to 15 digits) which is used to uniquely identify a USPS customer at a location. Essentially it identifies the various physical locations of customers. For example, if a USPS customer has five different mailing facilities, they will be assigned five CRID’s, one for each physical location. The CRID’s are used in the electronic files and documents for IM, but are NOT included in the IM barcode.

 

These MID’s and CRID’s may be applied for using the Business Customer Gateway. Mailers should allow for 2 to 5 days for this application process. There are some situations which may require that these applications be made manually using hard copy forms; if applicable this will be specified on the Business Customer Gateway.

 

As part of the IM program, the various participants in a mailing are uniquely identified using these MID’s and CRID’s in the electronic files and documents, and also by specifying the relationship between the various participants. This is known as the “By/For” relationship.

For example, a mailing may involve a mail owner, a mail preparer, and a logistics provider. The mail owner designs the mailpiece and pays the postage, the mailing is printed, sorted and mailed BY the mail preparer FOR the mail owner, and the mail is transported and drop ship appointments are made BY the logistics provider FOR the mail owner to drop ship entry points. Since each of these participants is involved with some portion of the electronic transactions with the USPS for the mailing, they must all be identified.

 

Every mailer has their own unique needs, so it is important that mail owners work with mail service providers to determine which MID to use for the barcodes, and to correctly assign the BY/FOR relationships. In addition, delegation of data can also be done using what is called “Cast of Characters.” For example, if a mail owner utilizes a fulfillment bureau to handle their address corrections from the USPS, the mail owner can delegate the receipt of the Address Change Service (ACSTM) data to this fulfillment bureau.

 

The real key is to map out your process flow for your mailings, including all of your service providers. You can then use this information, along with mail volumes and frequencies, to help manage the uniqueness and to properly register for and utilize the appropriate MID’s and CRID’s.

 

The USPS has numerous guides and checklists available on their Rapid Information Bulletin Board Site (RIBBSTM), and has recently added a PowerPoint presentation specifically explaining MID’s and CRID’s. Mailers should access these resources and devote some time to reading and understanding these documents. Although this may seem tedious, it can actually help save you time as you go through the IM integration process.

Monica Lundquist, Postal Affairs Manager, Window Book, Inc.