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.

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

New IMpb Compliance Assessments

Although the dates are still somewhat fluid, we feel it’s important to tell you now that the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is implementing new Intelligent Mail® Package Barcode (IMpb) compliance assessments later this year. 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. On July 31 – just next month! – those assessments were originally scheduled to be extended to include the quality of those required elements. It now appears that implementation date will be pushed back to later in 2016.

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

Window Book, Inc. is Certified for the USPS® Electronic Verification System (eVS®)

Window Book, Inc. is pleased to announce their Postal Package Partner shipping and manifesting software is now certified for the USPS® Electronic Verification System (eVS®).
Window Book also offers an eVS On-Ramp Service for parcel shippers so they can make a smooth transition to eVS. Those who need hands-on service getting onboard with eVS are encouraged to call 800-524-0380 or email PostalSpecialist@windowbook.com.

“Now shippers can use our Postal Package Partner (PPP) to print the IMpb on their labels and process parcel mailings with the Postal Service using eVS electronic technology, meeting all the USPS requirements for IMpb and eVS. PPP and eVS will definitely help reduce costs and improve service for commercial mailers by eliminating paperwork, and the associated potential for human error, as well as simplifying the acceptance, verification, and induction of parcel mailings.” said Jeffery Peoples, Window Book’s President and CEO. PPP’s eVS capability is yet another way that Window Book is delivering solutions designed to create value for our clients.

What’s In YOUR Barcode?

Barcodes, barcodes, barcodes – they are everywhere you look these days. Especially in the mailing industry. You really can’t even talk about mailing without the word “barcode” slipping into the conversation. In fact, we see and talk about all these barcodes so much, we sometimes forget exactly what data is in those barcodes and what the barcodes are used for.

IM Piece Barcode

The first requirement for Full-Service is to place a unique barcode on the individual mailpieces. Even if you don’t claim any Full-Service discounts, you still need to print the Intelligent Mail® barcode on your mailpieces in order to claim any automation discounts. Due to the various types of processing equipment used by the USPS® to sort different types of mail, the barcode for Letter and Flat-sized mail (IMb) is different than the barcode for parcel size mail (IMpb).

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

More Changes This Fall 2014: Understanding How They Affect You

The August 24, 2014 PostalOne!® update, which coincided with the new Mail.dat® 14-2 release, included many changes and updates to Postal services and postage statements among other things. In addition, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) will be issuing another PostalOne! software update on November 9, 2014. The November update does not have any postage statement or Mail.dat modifications, but there are changes that may have an impact on your operations. Make note of the recently enacted and upcoming changes.

Highlights from the recent August Update

Changes to Mailing Services

Postage Statement Changes

There are changes in postage statements for Periodicals, First-Class Mail®, and Standard Mail®. With the exception of the Priority Mail statements, which will be mandatory due to the price changes, mailers may continue to use the January 2014 postage statements. However, if you wish to use any of the new products and/or services, you must switch to the September 2014 statements.

New Mail.dat version 14.2
There is a new Mail.dat specification version 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 versions and the dates on which they are supported by PostalOne!

Between August 24 and September 7 mailers can submit new mailings using Mail.dat version 14-2 or 14-1. During this period, mailings can also be submitted using 13-1, but ONLY for mail with mailing dates processed before Sept. 7. Between Aug. 24 and Sept. 7, mailers can also submit 13-1 files to update previously submitted mailings.

Political and Election Mail
The new 14-2 Mail.dat version now has fields in the Content Characteristics Record (CCR files) to identify political and election mail. These identifiers should be used only if 100% of the mailing contains these types of mail. This will then allow the appropriate postage statement check box to be marked, and will also indicate to mailers and the USPS that special tags are to be applied to this mail. Use Tag 57 for Political Mail and Tag 191 for Election Mail.

Is 14-2 mandatory?
The use of Mail.dat 14-2 is not mandatory. Mailers can continue to submit 14-1 files to PostalOne! DAT-MAIL’s new August update supports submission of either file format. Mailers can import 14-1 and 14-2 files and submit 14-2 to PostalOne!, but can not import 14-2 and submit 14-1.

DFSS:

Effective August 1st a new PS-8125 form became available that supports Flat Sequencing System (FSS) entry points. In the new PS-8125 Form, under the Mailer Information section, DBMC has been removed and DNDC and DFSS have been added for “Entry Discounts Claimed” options. Note: the old 8125 form can still be used for 6 months until further notice.

Air Boxes:
Although not mandatory, mailers who use Air boxes are being strongly encouraged by the USPS to update to DAT-MAIL’s new August update so they can generate new PS-8125 forms. Air boxes are an alternate container from trays/sacks/pallets that Periodicals mailers use to get mail drop shipped in an expedited manner for time-sensitive materials.

Priority Mail:
Priority mailers using Mail.dat must update to DAT-MAIL’s new August update in order to be able to use new rates and generate Postage Statements, which are effective September 7, 2014.

New 8125
The August release of DAT-MAIL includes the new 8125 which should be used by mailers that do the following:
-Drop ship to DFSS facilities
-Use air boxes (Periodicals mail)
-Use DAT-MAIL to mail Priority Mail eDoc

Full-Service eDoc Verification & Invoicing
PostalOne! reports for Intelligent Mail® Full-Service verification will have postage charges for non-compliance visible on the reports, but the USPS will NOT actually be assessing these charges. Not yet, anyway! But, mailers need to pay very close attention to these reports because it is only a matter of time before the USPS does implement these charges.

Changes to Shipping Services

Priority Mail® Price Changes
Great news for shippers who are eligible for Commercial Base and Commercial Plus rates. Effective September 7, 2014 those rates are decreasing! The new Postage Statements reflecting these price changes are available at pe.usps.gov.

-Commercial Base: 0.9% average decrease
-Commercial Plus: 2.3% average decrease
-Retail prices: 1.7% average increase

IMpb Compliance Threshold Increases
The USPS is already charging a non-compliance fee for Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb) mailings. This fee is $.20 per piece, and can add up in a real hurry if you mail any sort of volume at all. The compliance threshold to avoid those fees is increasing as well.

Single piece parcel shipments
Good news! Mailers will now be able to use their volumes from multiple classes of mail to meet the volume minimums for parcel shipments mailed using Manifesting with a Permit Imprint payment method. The minimum volume is 50 pieces or 50 pounds, which used to apply to each class of mail separately. Now, volumes from various classes of mail can be combined to meet this minimum.

IMpb requirement changes:
Mailers will now need to use Intelligent Mail Package Barcodes (IMpb) on more categories of mail. This requirement includes Standard Mail parcels, Parcel Select Lightweight, and the remaining portions of Priority Mail previously exempted from IMpb.

Changes to USPS Data

Labeling List Update Frequency Changes to Monthly
Previously, these files were updated on a quarterly basis, but this is changing to a MONTHLY cycle starting in August. The USPS announced changes to the Labeling List data, effective September 1, 2014, with a mandatory use date of September 30, 2014.

Mailers need to be much more vigilant about using these updated files since they will no longer be able to presort their mailing list files months in advance. There will only be two months of Labeling List data permitted at any given time, which means presorts cannot be performed more than 60 days in advance of the estimated date of mailing.

This means that the estimated and actual ship dates in the Mail.dat files become MUCH more critical. These are the dates that will be used to validate that the correct Labeling List files have been used, so it’s essential for mailers to accurately populate those data fields.

HUB list: There is a new Labeling List going into effect called the HUB list. This is a list of postal facilities that just cross-dock or transfer mail, and do not do any actual mail processing. These facilities are intended to be used by mailers to improve mail delivery by drop shipping to these hubs, which will then cross-dock the mail to outbound transportation bound for the final destination facility.

Upcoming Changes

PostalOne!® November 9 Update
The second PostalOne! update, originally scheduled for October 26, 2014, is now November 9. The November 9 update does not have any postage statement changes, but there are other changes associated with postage statement mail owner CRID display, Nonprofit authorization numbers, Postage assessment of Seamless Acceptance errors, Move Update, new functionality for the Business Customer Gateway (BCG) and Mailer ID. Visit November 2014 changes for more details.

Mail Entry Road Map

The USPS has published its “Mail Entry Road Map” showing mailers what is in store for them with changes to acceptance, verification and payment between now and mid-2015.

September 2014 – eInduction pilot of a scan process for non-SV sites starts. If successful, this will be rolled out in early 2015 and allow all entry points to participate in eInduction without having to link pallet barcodes to FAST appointments.

October 2014 – Full-Service Verification Error Postage Assessments will be visible to mailers; however, they will not actually be billed until January 2015 (based on December 2014 data). Pay attention to these assessments and correct what is causing them before December!

October 2014 – Mailers will need be processing and submitting 75% of their eligible mail as Full-Service if they want to retain their DMUs.

November 2014 – PostalOne! Release 39 – many changes here. This is the first release that will use actual induction date as the basis of verifying the validity of the labeling list used to do the presort. There are also expected to be a number of changes that will impact all mailers doing eDoc. Watch for Window Book webinars and subsequent communications about the changes coming in PostalOne! Release 39.

Stay Informed
Learn more about Postal Changes for Fall 2014 from Free Educational Resources:

Webinar Recording:

USPS Changes for Fall 2014: Do you know what they are?
http://www.windowbook.com/recordedwebinars

White Paper:

Changes are Coming in 2014: Do You Know What They Are?
https://www.windowbook.com/Lp/USPS-2014-Changes

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.

Get the Fact about Intelligent Mail Package Barcode

The IMpb will provide piece-level data to enable the Postal Service to increase efficiency, add value to its package product line, and enhance its package tracking capabilities.

Mpb FAQs

IMpb Fact Sheet and Certified Solutions Providers

Intelligent Mail Package Barcode Specification

Read more.

Via USPS RIBBS

Intelligent Mail package barcodes (IMpb) Webinar Series: Returns Containing Mailable Hazardous Materials

Intelligent Mail package barcodes (IMpb) Webinar Series

Returns Containing Mailable Hazardous Materials

May 13, 2014 at 10 a.m. (EDT)

This webinar outlines the new requirements for the use of Service Type Codes and Shipping Service File indicators relative to mailable hazardous and perishable material. We will also briefly discuss packaging and marking requirements for these materials.

Please visit the USPS Industry Outreach website to view the upcoming webinar schedule and webinar archive presentations.

Instructions for participating in the webinar appear below:

Attendee Information:
Event number: 993 015 716
Event address for attendees: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?d=993015716&t=a
——————————————————-
Teleconference information
——————————————————-
U.S./Canada Attendee Dial-in: (888) 890-1547
Conference ID: 7015413

Webinar on IMpb impacts on Returns

March 11, 2014 (10-11 a.m. EDT)
IMpb impacts on Returns
The USPS is hosting a series of informational webinars intended to assist mailers with their transition to the use of Intelligent Mail package barcodes (IMpb). The first in the series–IMpb Impact on Returns focuses on the general requirements for IMpb implementation applicable to returns. Topics include: concatenated IMpb construct (including ZIP + 4), unique IMpb for Merchandise Return Service (MRS) and other returns labels, elimination of Business Reply Mail (BRM) parcels, tools for creating unique IMpb labels, and IMpb compliance issues/fees for return.

Attendee information:
Event number: 994 664 694
Event address for attendees: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?d=994664694&t=a

Teleconference information:
U.S./Canada Attendee Dial-in: (888) 890-1547
Conference ID: 7010893

Window Book has been a certified IMpb service provider since January 2013.  Our Postal Package Partner, shipping and manifesting software, has already helped over 200 of their clients get certified for IMpb.

Get certified for Impb
Those who need help with getting certified for IMpb are encouraged to contact Window Book at 800-524-0380 for assistance.  In addition to Postal Package Partner, we also provide IMpb On-Ramp Service.  This hands-on service will help you get certified to meet all the new requirements for using IMpb.

IMpb Non-compliance Fees

If you ship or mail parcels through the USPS at commercial prices and you are not printing the IMpb on your packages and submitting an SSF to the USPS, you may be facing some stiff surcharges. Starting February 28, 2014, which is just one (1) short week away, the USPS will implement a $.20 per piece non-compliance fee for each piece not meeting these requirements.

Read more