New Full Service Certification (FSC) Program

The U.S. Postal Service announces the new Full Service Certification (FSC) Program which recognizes those mailers who are able to implement the full service mailing process and consistently meet all full service mailing criteria.

At this time there are two levels of certification being offered:

  • Standard Certification – Awarded to those mailers who meet or exceed Full Service Verification thresholds.
  • Platinum Certification – In addition to meeting the Full Service Verification thresholds, those mailers wishing to receive the Platinum Certification must pass an additional external quality audit completed by a Certified Quality Auditor (CQA).

Click this link for more information about the Standard and Platinum Certification. Both certifications will be featured prominently on the USPS RIBBS website for all potential clients to see.

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

USPS 2014 Promotion Calendar

Visit USPS RIBBS website at:https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mobilebarcode to view USPS 2014 Promotion Calendar.

eInduction is here!

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) recently launched eInduction on November 17, 2013.  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 electronic documentation (eDoc).

Join Window Book for an informative webinar on eInduction and discover what eInduction is, how to participate in eInduction , and the benefits of this new program. Most all, we will show you how you can easily implement eInduction by using DAT-MAIL post-presort software.

Webinar:  Benefits of Using eInduction

Date: Tues. Dec. 10, 2013, 10 AM – 11 AM EST

Register:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/763669809

Do Not Delay Your Full-Service Implementation!

just when you had your head wrapped around the Intelligent Mail® Full-Service deadline in January 2014, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) says the USPS® can’t mandate Full-Service in order to claim automation discounts – causing the USPS to announce a delay in their implementation schedule. So, now what do you do? STAY THE COURSE!

Read more.

 

New eNewsletter for Postal Industry Professionals

Window Book is very pleased to launch its new monthly eNewsletter, “Thinking Outside The Mailbox,” with mailing and shipping information tailored specifically for postal industry professionals just like you.  Our intent is to bring you cutting edge information along with some lighter fare for your entertainment.

Visit www.WindowBook.com/OutsideTheMailBox to read our current and archived newsletters.

To subscribe for these free eNewsletters, please email us at postalspecialist@windowbook.com.

Whether you are a Mail Owner, Mail Service Provider, or a shop floor employee, I am sure you will find a variety of useful and educational articles with ideas and recommendations that you can directly apply as part of your daily business practices.

Read Your Free eNewsletter

I hope you enjoy receiving our eNewsletter AND if you know other mailers and/or shippers who can benefit from this FREE eNewsletter, please email us at postalspecialist@windowbook.com.

Mail.dat® or Mail.XML™? Why Not Both!

A lot of people in the mailing industry are asking the same question recently:  which file format should I choose?  The answer is really quite simple.  Both!  We all know by now that a Mail.dat file is quite robust and contains large amounts of valuable mailing information.  This is very beneficial, except when you only need portions of the information that resides in the file.  In these cases, it can be time consuming and a strain on transmission and storage resources to send entire Mail.dat files back and forth between parties in the mailing supply chain. (We are not including the USPS® at this point. More on them later.)  This is when Mail.XML comes in handy.  When a full Mail.dat file is not necessary, you can use Mail.XML to transmit only the information that is being updated, modified or queried.

Breaking this down in English a bit more to help understand the differences between Mail.dat and Mail.XML, one can think of Mail.dat being the “encyclopedia” of a given mailing.  Then, think of Mail.XML as the “telegram” that you send to someone describing a portion of the encyclopedia.  If your recipient only needs a small segment of information, it is much easier (for both of you!) to send them a short telegram than to send them the entire encyclopedia.  That is essentially how Mail.XML works in relationship to Mail.dat.  Mailers using Mail.dat can continue to use it as a database, but use Mail.XML for communication, automation or business-to-business processing and get answers in near-real-time from other parties.

Mail.XML is designed to automate business processes and communication by reducing manual data entry labor, enable quick near real-time communication between business parties, increase efficiency and reduce costs.  One of the ways Mail.XML will be used in the future is conducting electronic transactions with the USPS.  For example, if you use PostalOne!® to transact business with the USPS, you will first upload a Mail.dat file for the mailing as a “planned” mailing.  Once all the final attributes of the mailing have been determined and all adjustments made to the Mail.dat file, you only need to transmit Mail.XML “telegrams” to the USPS to update your original Mail.dat file.  This eliminates the need to re-submit an entire Mail.dat file every time a change is made or a new transaction occurs.  It allows you to pay postage, make drop-ship appointments, and a variety of other transactions using much smaller chunks of data.

With the information presented here, it’s now easy for mailers and mail service providers to answer the “Mail.dat or Mail.XML” question.  Everyone should be able to conclude that “both” is, indeed, their final answer!

Seamless Acceptance

Intelligent Mail® Full-Service requires using unique Intelligent Mail barcodes on your mailpieces, handling units, and containers. It also requires you to transmit electronic documentation (eDoc) using the PostalOne!® system. Through these requirements, the Postal Service™ is taking one more step towards realizing a concept and implementing a system called Seamless Acceptance. This technology will help streamline and automate acceptance, verification, payment and induction of business mailings into the USPS® mail stream. By employing unique IMb’s on mail pieces, handling units, and containers, and by submitting eDoc to the Postal Service, you can locate and fix errors prior to the actual mailing. You will be able to improve address accuracy, mail preparation quality, validate correct postage, and track mail. Seamless Acceptance uses sample scanning at induction and Mail Processing Equipment (MPE) scans to evaluate mail quality, payment, and location. Currently, the Postal Service is conducting pilot tests for Seamless Acceptance by major mailers in New Jersey, Minnesota and Nebraska.

There are benefits to mailers of participating in Seamless Acceptance such as faster induction. There is also the potential of dramatic cost savings for the USPS. It is these cost savings that is going to drive very rapid adoption of Seamless Acceptance by larger mailers in 2014, whether they want to implement it or not. Mailers that are unable to accurately prepare and electronically document their mail will be subject to additional postage costs up to 30 days after the mailing takes place. It is important to understand what the USPS will be looking for and position yourself to meet Seamless requirements so you don’t have to worry about paying additional postage costs that you could otherwise avoid. By understanding and preparing for Seamless Acceptance you will be able to enjoy its benefits rather than having it become a financial burden.

Include Local Post Office in Your Full-Service Implementation Plan

As mailers feverishly work on implementation of Intelligent Mail® Full-Service before the January 26, 2014 deadline to retain automation discounts, there are a lot of tasks on your “to-do” list.  One task that may get overlooked is the ongoing communication with the local postal acceptance staff to review the changes in mail acceptance and verification.

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is also working hard to get prepared for the January 2014 deadline, and that includes training and documentation for postal acceptance units.  That is a daunting task given the sheer size of the USPS, so there are definitely offices where this training has not yet taken place.

The issue this creates for mailers is that your local postal resources may not be able to provide much guidance for you during your Intelligent Mail implementation process.  In some cases, the local postal acceptance staff may even be providing incorrect or misleading information due to this lag in training.  Some examples that our clients have experienced include requests for hard copy documentation when electronic documentation is being used, conflicting information regarding when palletization is required for Full-Service mail, requests for qualification reports representing partial mailings rather than the full mailings, and others.   In some cases, mailers are even being told that their post office does not (and will not, even in January 2014) support Intelligent Mail Full Service!

This situation can make an already challenging process even more frustrating.  However, mailers do have resources you can use in cases such as these.   The best advice is to work with the USPS Business Mail Entry (BME) office that services your local post office, along with the Business Service Network (BSN).   These resources can not only provide the up-to-date information you need to complete your implementation project, but they can help to get training and other resources for your local postal acceptance unit.

We strongly encourage mailers to get Full-Service implemented in advance of the January 2014 deadline so that you don’t risk loss of lucrative automation discounts.   Keep in mind that the Full-Service deadline occurs at the same time that the USPS postage rate changes for 2014 go into effect, which also includes new versions of Mail.Dat® and Mail.XML™.   Add to the mix the busy mailing and holiday season, and you have even more reason not to procrastinate.   As part of your implementation project, make sure you include your local postal acceptance unit early on, and reach out to the BME and BSN as needed to make sure you will have a smooth transition to Full-Service.

IMb Services Update from the DMM Advisory

“Reaping the Benefits of Intelligent Mail®,” the next Postal Service™ webinar designed to assist mailers in transitioning from the POSTNET™ barcode to the Intelligent Mail barcode, will take place on August 30, 2012, at 1 p.m. EDT.

This webinar will cover Service Type IDs (STIDs) and how they can help you keep your address lists up to date, as well as various Full-Service feedback reports and where you can find them.

To join the online event:

1.      Click here. Or copy and paste the following link to a browser: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=994338681

2.      Click “Join Now.”   (This event does not require a password.)

To join the teleconference only:

Dial toll-free call-in number (US/Canada) 1-877-668-4493; use event number 994 338 681.

 

 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.