USPS Proposes Changes to Address Quality Measurement and Assessment

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) filed a Federal Register notice on February 27, 2017 requesting comments from interested parties on the revision to their pending proposal regarding a new measurement and assessment procedure for evaluating mailing address quality. This new procedure would impact mailers who enter eligible letter- and flat-size pieces of First-Class Mail® and USPS Marketing Mail® (formerly Standard Mail®) that meet the requirements for Basic or Full-Service®mailings. In addition, the USPS is proposing to extend free Address Change Service (ACS™) to mailers who enter qualifying mailpieces. Comments regarding the published notice are due on or before March 29, 2017.

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

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!

PostalOne!® Mandatory Software Update Rescheduled

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.

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.

DMM Advisory

DMM Advisory

Pricing keeping you informed about the prices and mailing standards of the United States Postal Service

 June DMM Update

 Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date mailing standards. The Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) is fully searchable on Postal Explorer and features fly-out menus (menus that when moused over drop down to the side displaying subsections of the DMM), cross-reference links, and an extensive subject index.

Effective June 4, 2014, we introduced a streamlined version of the DMM. This is the first step in an initiative to reduce the size of the DMM without changes to content to make it quicker, easier, and more convenient to use.

Chapters 200, 300, and 400 have been consolidated to create a revised Chapter 200, “Commercial Letters, Flats, and Parcels.” We have eliminated redundant language and reorganized the remaining language for consistency and to improve flow and ease of use. Chapter 100, “Retail Letters, Flats, and Parcels,” has also been streamlined.

Additionally, the applicable Quick Service Guides (QSGs) have been renumbered to align with new Chapter 200 and updated with new DMM reference information. Applicable Customer Support Rulings have also been updated with new DMM reference information.

Our next scheduled DMM update is July 7, 2014.

The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) and DMM Advisories are available on Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com)

 

January DMM Update

DMM Advisory

Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date mailing standards. The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) is fully searchable on Postal Explorer and features fly-out menus, cross-reference links, and an extensive subject index. On January 26 we updated our mailing standards to include the following changes:

Physical Characteristics of Stacking Pallets
We revised 705.8.3.1 to provide an option for mailers to stack pallets up to six tiers high. We published this information in the October 31, 2013, Postal Bulletin.

Implementation of Full-Service Intelligent Mail Requirements for Automation Prices
We revised various sections of the DMM to modify eligibility requirements for mailers to qualify for automation prices. We published this information in the November 14, 2013, Postal Bulletin.

New Standards to Enhance Package Visibility
We revised various sections of the DMM to require the use of Intelligent Mail® package barcodes (IMpb) on all commercial parcels, and to require the transmission of supporting electronic documentation including piece-level address or ZIP+4® Code information. We published this information in the December 5, 2013, Postal Bulletin.

Domestic Competitive Products Pricing and Mailing Standards Changes
We revised various sections of the DMM to reflect changes to prices and mailing standards for Competitive Products. We published this information in the December 12, 2013, Postal Bulletin.

Products Mailable at Nonprofit Standard Mail Prices
We revised 703.1.6.11 to show that for 2014, the value of a low-cost item is $10.40 or less. We published this information in the December 12, 2013, Postal Bulletin.

New Extra Service Labels for Items Bearing an IMpb and New Process for Registered Mail Inquiries
We revised 503.1.0 and 503.2.0 to update the process for customers making inquiries for uninsured (with no declared value) Registered Mail™ items and to introduce two new non-barcoded labels for Registered Mail™ and Certified Mail®  items that already bear an Intelligent Mail®  package barcode (IMpb). We published this information in the December 26, 2013, Postal Bulletin.

New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services Products
We revised the DMM to implement the changes coincident with the price adjustments. We published this information in the December 26, 2013, Postal Bulletin.

Revised Standards for Shipments of Cremated Remains
We revised 601.12.0 to require mailers to use only Priority Mail Express™ service when shipping cremated remains. We published this information in the December 26, 2013, Postal Bulletin.

Our next scheduled DMM update is March 3, 2014.

The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) and DMM Advisories are available on Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com)

Important Sites, Links, and Numbers to Note

Every once in a while it becomes necessary to stop, dig through emails and stacks of paper on your desk to find a phone number, email address or website to use to get help or research something. You may want to keep the following information easily within your reach:

  • For all the latest Intelligent Mail information and guides, visit the USPS RIBBS website at: www.ribbs.usps.gov. Click the “Intelligent Mail Services” tab on the left side of the page.
  • Find your local Business Mail Entry (BME) Manager:
    http://www.usps.com/ncsc/locators/find-bme.html
  • Find your local Mailpiece Design Analyst (MDA):
    http://pe.usps.com/mpdesign/mpdfr_mda_lookup.asp
  • Subscribe to the DMM Advisory: send an email, with “subscribe” in the subject line, to:
    dmmadvisory@usps.com
  • On-line Intelligent Mailbarcode encoder and decoder:
    http://ribbs.usps.gov/onecodesolution/Default.aspx.
  • Information on OneCode ACS®: ACS Department, 877-640-0724, acs@usps.gov
  • Information on OneCode Confirm® and theConfirm service in general: Confirm Customer Help Desk,800-238-3150, option 1 or visit:https://mailtracking.usps.com
  • PostalOne! Help Desk:1-800-522-9085
  • Questions about addressing and/or move update requirements: National Customer Support Center, 1-800-238-3150
  • Information on Mail.dat and Mail.XML, including how to get a User License Code: www.idealliance.org

PMG Potter to Retire

From the October 26, 2010 DMM Advisory:

Postmaster General John E. Potter to Retire

To Be Succeeded by Deputy Postmaster General Donahoe

            

WASHINGTON — After nearly 10 years as U.S. Postmaster General and CEO of the U.S. Postal Service, John E. Potter today announced that he will retire on Dec. 3, after 32 years of service.

The Governors of the Postal Service named Patrick R. Donahoe, currently Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Operating Officer, to succeed Potter.

A New York City native, Potter is credited with modernizing management, introducing long-term, strategic thinking necessary in a complex and changing marketplace, and transforming the Postal Service into a service-driven customer-focused and cost-sensitive organization.

Potter’s accomplishments include:

  • Eliminating more than $20 billion in costs during the last 10 years, with cumulative savings of more than $50 billion.
  • Building a leaner, more flexible workforce and increasing efficiency and productivity through technology and the expansion of automation in mail processing and delivery.
  • Reducing career employment from 787,000 positions in 2001 to about 584,000 today through attrition, using strong and focused management practices.
  • Leading the Postal Service and the nation through the anthrax terrorist attack following 9/11.
  • Creating a 10-year action plan that is a blueprint for necessary operational, legislative and regulatory changes to the current business model to ensure a viable Postal Service for decades to come.

 

Potter expressed his pride in the performance of the men and women of the Postal Service, saying its accomplishments resulted from the thousands of employees who dedicated themselves to meeting customer needs in a rapidly changing technological and communications environment.

“I fully appreciate their support in maintaining the tradition of trust that dates back to Benjamin Franklin and the founding of our nation,” Potter said. “It is our people that define our organization and it is their dedication and sense of purpose that drives our business.”

Louis J. Giuliano, Board of Governors chair, noted Potter’s many accomplishments in thanking the Postmaster General for his years of service.

“You have been a steadying and far-sighted leader throughout a period of dynamic change in America’s use of the mail and during times of economic uncertainty,” Giuliano said. “The hallmark of your success was your ability to build respectful relationships with all stakeholders, customers and employees that built a trusted level of credibility. We unreservedly regard your tenure as one of great accomplishment.”

Donahoe, currently Deputy Postmaster General, will become the 73rd Postmaster General in December. Potter credits Donahoe and his entire service team with regularly exceeding demanding performance goals and setting new records for on-time delivery and operational efficiency.

Donahoe began his career as a clerk in Pittsburgh in 1975, and in 2001, became responsible for all facets of mail operations, including processing delivery, retail, engineering, transportation and facilities. He has served in a variety of senior management positions in operations and human resources before becoming Deputy Postmaster General in 2005.

Giuliano cited Donahoe’s outstanding performance as one of the main reasons the Board chose Donahoe to build on the Postal Service’s achievements and lead the organization through a changing business environment.

“Pat and Jack have been a very effective team,” Giuliano said. “We’re very sorry to see Jack leave, but we’re grateful for the significant contributions his transformative approach to our organization and the nation it serves. We wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

Donahoe said he appreciated the confidence of the governors in naming him the next Postmaster General.

“It’s been an honor to serve with Jack,” Donahoe said. “Our challenge going forward is to implement the ambitious plan now in place to assure the continued viability of the Postal Service in fulfilling its mission of providing reliable, self-supporting, universal mail service to our nation. While we are confronted by challenges, I am confident we will succeed.”

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of products and services to fund its operations.

 Monica Lundquist

Postal Affairs Manager

Window Book, Inc.

617-395-4570

mlundquist@windowbook.com

New Federal Register Notices

From the DMM Advisory on Friday:

September 17, 2010

DMM Advisory

Pricing keeping you informed about the prices and mailing standards of the United States Postal Service

Published Federal Register Notices

The following two Federal Register notices were published today and are now posted on the Postal Explorer® website at pe.usps.com. We encourage you to check them out:

Intelligent Mail Package Barcode This advanced notice of proposed rulemaking incorporates standards for the optional use of Intelligent Mail® package barcodes (IMpb) no later than January 2011; and requires the mandatory use of IMpb on all domestic packages beginning in January 2012. The IMpb will provide valuable piece-level package information. We’re looking forward to receiving and considering mailing industry feedback on the proposed timeline before publishing the final standards. Customers are encouraged to respond on or before September 27, 2010.

Express Mail Open and Distribute and Priority Mail Open and Distribute — We are proposing to revise the service commitment for Express Mail Open and Distribute as a guaranteed end of day product to reflect the way it is processed. We are also proposing to add a minimum five-pound weight requirement for Express Mail® Open and Distribute and Priority Mail® Open and Distribute sacks so that they won’t be mistaken for empty sacks and delayed in handling. Customers are encouraged to respond on or before October 18, 2010.

The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) is available on Postal Explorer (pe.usps.com). To subscribe to the DMM Advisory, send an e-mail to dmmadvisory@usps.com. Simply indicate “subscribe” in the subject line.

DMM Updates

The following was published in the DMM Advisory today:

September DMM Update

Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date mailing standards. The Domestic Mail Manual is fully searchable on Postal Explorer and features fly-out menus, cross-reference links, and an extensive subject index. Today we updated our mailing standards to capture the following changes:

Alternative Addressing Format Options
We revised 507.1.0 and 602.3.0 to permit the use of certificates of mailing, Confirm service, Delivery Confirmation, and special handling extra services when using an alternative address format.

Contents of Periodicals Mail
We revised 707.3.0 to incorporate “content” changes to the standards governing pages, supplements, products and product samples, and mailpiece design.

New Endorsement for Returned Mailpieces
We revised Exhibit 507.1.4.1 to add a new endorsement, “Returned to Sender, Item Contains Nonmailable Contents,” for mailpieces that are returned due to contents that are nonmailable.

Commercial Flats Clarification
We revised 301.1.0 to update commercial flats text with minor editorial updates, and to rearrange the DMM reference text for better flow.

Clarification of Standards for Parcel Select
We revised 453.3.0 to remove standards for loyalty and growth rebates. We also revised 602.1.5.3 to note that all Parcel Select pieces must have a return address.

Delivery Address Visibility in Window Envelopes
We revised 202.2.1 and 302.2.1 to add a reference to current standards that require the delivery address to be completely visible within a window envelope, when used.

New Font Size Option for Optional Endorsement Lines
We revised 708.7.2 to provide a new font size option for mailers applying an optional endorsement line (OEL) to their mailpieces that do not bear a traditional Address Change Service (ACS) participant code.

Confirmation Services to the Northern Mariana Islands—ZIP Code 96952
We revised 503.9.2.4 and 503.10.2.3 to eliminate the Northern Mariana Islands (ZIP Code 96952) from the tables of ineligible ZIP Codes to receive Delivery Confirmation and Signature Confirmation services.

Our next scheduled DMM update is October 4.