Assessments for eInduction Program to begin in May

The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced at the recent Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meetings that assessments for errors above published thresholds for eInduction mailings will begin in May 2017. The assessments will be based on April 2017 mailing data, and the invoice reports will be issued on May 11, 2017. The assessment process will mirror the process currently in place for the Full-Service® assessments.

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

Preparing For Postage Assessments

By now you are likely well aware that starting in November 2016 the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) plans to implement assessments (based on October 2016 data) for non-compliance with the requirements for a number of USPS initiatives such as Intelligent Mail® Full-Service, eInduction, Seamless Acceptance and more. November is not all that far away, so it is a good idea for you to become familiar with what these assessments involve, how they will work, and what you can do to try to minimize any potential assessments.

What mailings are evaluated?

There are four areas of USPS validation that will be impacted by the implementation of these postage assessments:
Intelligent Mail Full-Service

– Move Update
– eInduction
– Seamless Acceptance

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

Top Ten Reasons to Use eDoc

The value and benefits of using eDoc with the USPS have been both documented and proven now for quite a while. Amazingly enough, however, there are still a lot of mailers who only use it for their Full-Service mailings. Even worse, there are just as many – or more – who don’t use it at all!

It is very clear that the USPS intends to eliminate hard copy postage statements and other documentation. In recent postal and industry meetings, the USPS already indicated that this will become a reality in the not-too-distant future. If you are delaying implementation of eDoc, or implemented it only for Full-Service mailings, you need to gear up and make the transition. Read more: http://www.windowbook.com/Learning/Postal-Concierge-E-tips

eInduction

In November 2013 the USPS® opened a new program to mailers called eInduction. eInduction is intended to replace the current hard copy PS Forms 8125 and 8017 clearance documents used for drop shipments of origin and destination mail. This is all part of a 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 whether or not the containers have been properly verified and paid for at the origin post office. They continue their efforts to equip more and more facilities with these scanners.

How eInduction Works
With eInduction, the mailer tells the USPS that a pallet is “eInduction” by populating the “CSM eInduction Indicator” in the Mail.dat® pallet record with a “Y”. This can be done in the original PostalOne!® submission, the “ready to pay” submission or even in a “transportation update” after the postage is paid. When PostalOne! sees that a pallet is flagged for eInduction, the information about that pallet is pushed to the entry facility that is going to be inducting the mail, thereby making it available to the wireless “Surface Visibility” scanners at that facility. When a load arrives with eInduction pallets, the USPS personnel can scan the pallet and instantly know whether it is in the right place and that it has been paid for – no 8125 required at all. The date-and-time stamped scan – or “start-the-clock” event – is also provisioned back to the mailer as part of the Full-Service data they are entitled to receive (if the contents of the pallet are Full-Service qualified mail). This information is also available in the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST) as part of the close-out information for that appointment.

It’s important to note that it is also possible to do eInduction if the entry facility is not equipped with Surface Visibility scanners. The induction process uses updated Intelligent Mail® Data Acquisition System (IMDAS) software. At these sites, the USPS acceptance employees use IMDAS scanners to scan the IM container barcode and collect the appointment data. No validations take place at the entry point at Non-SV locations.

What’s In It For Me?
There are a number of reasons you will want to participate in eInduction:
1. To reduce the number of PS8125 and PS8017 forms you need to print and have “round stamped”.
2. To reduce or eliminate the rejection of shipments by an entry facility for problems with 8125 forms or other reasons. This is a benefit even if you ship mail to a consolidator under a Drop Shipment Manifest System (DSMS) agreement.
3. To streamline your mail induction process. Using this process speeds up processing of this mail, as it eliminates the need for postal clerks to manually reconcile containers against paper documentation, and it enables quicker appointment processing in FAST.
4. To obtain more reliable and timely information about the induction of your pallets through MicroStrategy Reports. Mailers have tools to actively manage their accounts and understand what is happening to their mail at the container level.

If you are shipping under a DSMS agreement, you currently don’t have to create 8125 forms. You would still enjoy the other three advantages listed above if you helped your consolidator take advantage of the eInduction program.

Participation
To participate in this program, you must notify the USPS that you wish to participate in eInduction. To do this, call the FAST Help Desk at 1-877-569-6614 and provide your name, company name, address, phone number and eDoc Submitter CRID. The USPS will make sure that your DMU clerks are properly trained for eInduction and will also help you set up a login to access special MicroStrategy reports for eInduction users. Following the training of your DMU or BMEU clerk, your CRID will be activated for eInduction and you will be notified that you are authorized to participate. You should also contact your postal logistics carrier and find out what documentation they would like you to provide for your eInduction pallets. DAT-MAIL users can simply provide them with an 8125 that says “eInduction” on it instead of being round-stamped (see example below), or you can still provide them with a round-stamped 8125 if they require it. If you provide a regular 8125, it will be very important to enable the option to print “eInduction” on your eInduction pallet placards.

Additional information

For more detailed information on the eInduction program, download the Postal Service eInduction Guide for Mailers. There is also a guide to the Microstrategy Reports for eInduction. Mailers may also check with their District Business Mail Entry office to obtain more information or to ask questions.

Getting Help From the Window Book Experts
Window Book can help you participate in eInduction using our DAT-MAIL solution. Window Book also offers our Mailing Optimization Analysis. Call us at 1-800-524-0380 for more details or to sign up for your FREE Mail Optimization Analysis!

Guide to Postage Assessments

If you’ve been paying attention to previous e-Tips, our newsletters and webinars, you are likely well aware that the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) plans to implement assessments for non-compliance with the requirements for a number of USPS initiatives such as Intelligent Mail® Full-Service, eInduction, Seamless Acceptance and more. Luckily, the USPS has postponed implementation of these assessments until later this year, but many mailers still have questions on just exactly how this assessment process is going to work. Well, you are in luck, because the USPS has just issued a new Guide to Postage Assessment on the RIBBS web site.

What mailings will be impacted?

There are four areas of USPS validation that will be impacted by the implementation of these postage assessments:
• Intelligent Mail Full-Service
• Move Update
• eInduction
• Seamless Acceptance

Any mailings that are evaluated by the USPS in these areas have the potential to be subject to additional postage assessments if mailings exceed the designated error thresholds. These thresholds vary for the individual validations performed by PostalOne!®, the results of which are available to mailers on the Mailer Scorecard. The evaluation results data are collected on a calendar-month basis, and it is the error threshold data for each calendar month that is subject to assessments. For example, the full-service program uses the submitted eDoc to verify the Mailer ID (MID) in a piece’s barcode. A MID error is logged for each piece in the mailing that fails this verification. When the number of MID errors exceeds the established threshold, the eDoc submitter will be assessed on those errors over the threshold for the calendar month. If the percentage of error is below the established threshold or if the additional postage due is less than $50, then no additional postage is assessed. If the percentage of error is above the established threshold, the additional postage due (the assessment) is calculated using the number of mailing pieces represented by the error percentage over the threshold for the calendar month. For example, if the error threshold is 2% and your error percentage is 3%, the assessment would apply to 1% of the mailpieces submitted during the calendar month of the evaluation. The amount of the assessment is based on the type of error, e.g., for Full-Service errors, it is loss of the Full-Service discounts. Using the same example as above, there would be a loss of the Full-Service discounts on 1% of the mailpieces for the calendar month.

Assessment Process
When there are errors above the established thresholds for a calendar month, the USPS will issue an Invoice Report via email notification for the assessment. This invoice report will be sent to the Verification Assessment Evaluator (VAE) designated for the PostalOne! account. That VAE is then responsible to review the invoice report and either make arrangements for payment of the assessment, or request a review by the USPS if the assessment is in dispute. The payment or the request for review must be made within 10 days of receipt of the email notification.

Preparing for Assessment
Mailers should be monitoring their Mailer Scorecard data NOW so that any problem areas can be addressed prior to the implementation date of the assessments. Also, mailers should be working on developing their procedures for handling the invoice reports, assessment payment and USPS review requests so that when this is all implemented, mailers will be able to handle these in a timely manner.

Resources

Window Book has many utilities available to assist mailers with Mailer Scorecard errors, such as our DAT-MAIL™ software, which allows users to make edits to the Mail.dat files to either prevent or correct errors. Also, our automated PostalOne! transmission utility, EDM10X™, which not only automates the transmissions, but its QuickFix capability allows for quick, easy correction of errors. And, we offer tailored consulting services, including on-site services, to help mailers better understand their Mailer Scorecard data and how to improve their scores.

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! And now available: automatically download your barcoded confirmation pages!

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!)

Drop Shipping to Additional Entry Points?

If you drop ship mail to additional entry points, you definitely need to check out eInduction, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) program to replace the current hard copy PS Forms 8125 and 8017 clearance documents used for drop shipments of origin and destination mail. Not only does this program eliminate these pesky hard copy postal forms, but it can actually speed up verification, acceptance, and loading of your drop ship mail.

Join Window Book for a FREE informative webinar on eInduction and discover what eInduction is, how to participate in eInduction, and the benefits of this program. Moreover, we will show you how easy it is to implement eInduction in your mailing operation using DAT-MAIL.

Register: https://www.windowbook.com/Lp/webinarreg?key=2813579149982307586

Tuesday, December 09, 2014
2:00 PM EST

Join the electronic evolution – come and learn the Benefits of Using eInduction!

Avoid Getting an Invoice for Full-Service Errors: Keep Track of Your Mailer Scorecard

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

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.

Free Educational Webinar: Common PostalOne!® Errors: Understanding and Correcting

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