An Important Set of Keys

We all have keys to lock and unlock our homes, offices, vehicles and other critical items in our lives. What then, you may ask, do keys have to do with mailing? To aid in the proper identification of postal facilities, particularly in eDoc, the USPS has assigned unique identification codes, called Locale Keys, to each postal processing and delivery facility. This allows for very precise identification of the postal facilities that mailers are using for their origin entry and for any additional entry points at which mail is entered.

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Preparing for Move Update Changes

As we mentioned earlier, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is implementing Move Update price and classification changes, effective in March 2018. The Move Update postage assessment for non-compliance will increase from $0.07 to $0.08 per piece, but the Move Update verification method will also be changing. What exactly does this mean for your mailing operation?

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Why Aren’t You Using eInduction?

The USPS program eInduction has been around since 2013, but we continue to see many mailers who are still not taking advantage of it. eInduction is intended to replace the old hard copy PS Forms 8125 and 8017 clearance documents used for drop shipments of origin and destination mail – part of the continuing effort by the USPS to convert hard copy postal documentation into eDoc. Since the program began, the USPS has equipped acceptance facilities with scanners, which scan the container barcodes to ascertain that the containers have been properly verified and paid for at the origin post office. eInduction may be used for any drop ship entry facility, even if they are not yet equipped with these scanners. Mailers can even use it for origin mail.

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Where Is Your Mail Headed?

Mail Service Providers (MSP’s) spend a lot of time and money making sure that mailings are addressed and presorted properly. They also check that their mailing facilities have bundled and trayed/sacked the mail according to postal regulations. Finally, MSP’s understand the need to be sure mail is palletized properly, all the tray/sack/pallet tags are correct, and that mail was shipped to the correct entry points. Or was it?!

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Shelter from the Storms

You don’t need to look very far these days to see reports regarding disasters impacting thousands of people here in the United States. Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, the many fires devouring acres of land in the upper Northwest. Our thoughts are with the many people impacted by these disasters, as well as the emergency responders and volunteers providing assistance. Situations like these also prompt us to pause to consider how well our businesses would withstand such emergencies. Do we have a disaster recovery plan? Do we have a back-up plan for our business data? In too many cases, the answers to those questions is “no.”

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Seamless Acceptance

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) recently re-opened the Seamless Acceptance program to new participants. Seamless Acceptance is designed to streamline the verification, acceptance, payment and induction of mail. This program has benefits for both mailers and the USPS. To participate in this program, mailers must have 90% or more of their mail volume submitted as Full-Service® mail. The mailpieces must be uniquely barcoded and submitted electronically (eDoc). If the mailer is preparing Detached Mail Unit (DMU) verified origin entry or destination entry drop shipments, participation in eInduction is also required. Prior to participating in Seamless Acceptance, mailers must participate in an intermediate step called Seamless Parallel. This is essentially a testing period, during which time the mailer works with the USPS to insure the volume and mail preparation and submission requirements are being met.

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New IMpb Compliance Assessments coming in July

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is implementing new Intelligent Mail® Package Barcode (IMpb) compliance assessments starting in July 2017. If you recall, back in January 2015 the USPS implemented a non-compliance fee of $.20 per package for package mailings not meeting the requirements for Intelligent Mail, such as having the IMpb on the packages. Starting in July– just a few months away! – those assessments will be extended to include the quality of those required elements.

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No More FTP Package Shipment Transmissions

As we mentioned awhile ago, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is eliminating the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) method for transmitting package shipment files to comply with recent audit findings, and to provide more secure data transmissions. FTP is currently one of the acceptable transmission methods for submitting shipment files to the Product Tracking and Reporting (PTR) and Electronic Verification System (eVS) systems, but this option will no longer be available effective August 31, 2017.  

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Informed Delivery™

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) has been pilot testing a program called Informed Delivery, which allows participants to receive a daily email notification, including black and white mailpiece images, of the mail that will be delivered to their mailbox later that day. The email notifications may contain up to 10 mailpiece images, which may be viewed on any computer or smart phone. If you receive more than 10 pieces of mail, additional images are available for viewing on an online dashboard. The pilot test is currently limited to areas of California, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. However, this program will be rolled out nationally sometime in May.

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Informed Visibility®

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is introducing Informed Visibility (IV®), to provide the mailing industry with more powerful insight into the USPS mailstream. This new program is designed to provide a one-stop shop for mail tracking data, consolidated into one system, as opposed to tracking the data via IMb Tracing® and PostalOne!®. The key to the success of this new program is the near real-time expanded visibility into mailings as the mail moves through the mailstream, that is much more powerful than the tracking data that exists today which can sometimes be delayed. Another benefit is a user-friendly data provisioning and data delegation, so it is much easier for mailers to specify what data they want, when they want it, and who receives the data. The result is increased value of the mail, enabling mailers to better plan mailing campaigns and resources.

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