Counting The Steps

You’ve probably heard the advice from fitness experts: count the steps you walk during the course of a day; the more steps you take, the better your fitness level will be. In fact, these experts encourage people to add steps to their daily routine in order to help increase fitness levels. This is definitely sound advice for your physical fitness, but what about the steps you take in your daily work processes? We’re not talking about footsteps here, but process steps. In that case, the total opposite is true: the fewer process steps you perform, the more productive you are – and this is especially true for routine, redundant tasks. We often hear from mailers who say that they only use electronic documentation (eDoc) for Full-Service mailings, and that they use hard copy for everything else because eDoc is not required. At first blush that may make sense, but the reality is that going back and forth between eDoc and hard copy is actually creating extra steps.

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

PostalOne!® Mandatory Software Update in August

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is issuing a mandatory software update for the PostalOne! production system, scheduled for August 2016. This update will be implemented on Sunday, August 14, 2016. The PostalOne! Production (PROD) system will not be available during this update; more details on the outage period will be provided closer to the implementation date. Likewise, PostalOne! will also be updating the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM); that update will occur on Monday, August 15, 2016. The PostalOne! TEM environment will also have an outage period on August 15. The new Mail.dat® client download for the Production Environment will be version 44.0.0.0_PROD; all previous versions of the Mail.dat client will be expired.

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

Submitting eDoc for USPS Promotions

Virtually all of the USPS® Promotions and Incentives programs require that mailings be submitted electronically into PostalOne!®. Because of this, we often get questions from mailers regarding what specific data needs to be in the Mail.dat® files to claim the incentives, or, how to troubleshoot issues when submitting these files to PostalOne!

Promotion and Incentive Eligibility
Mail Owners and Mail Service Providers (MSPs) need to become familiar with the eligibility and enrollment requirements for the various promotions and incentive programs. The requirements are different for each program, so it is important to access the requirements guide for each individual program.

Eligibility may be dependent on the class of mail, processing category, Full-Service participation, postage payment method, previous mail volumes, and many other variables – not to mention the content of the mailpieces themselves.

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

Mail Anywhere FAQ’s

Since the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) began offering the Mail Anywhere program, which allows customers to use the same postage payment permit regardless of what mailing location they use to enter the mail, many mailers have taken advantage of its benefits. The Mail Anywhere program is an added benefit offered to Full-Service customers, allowing them to use a single permit to present Full-Service or mixed Full-Service mailings at any Business Mail Acceptance site. Not only does this greatly simplify permit management, but it also saves permit application and renewal fees for customers who mail at numerous locations.

As with any new program, mailers may have a lot of questions regarding participation and mail preparation under this program. This week’s e-Tip deals with some of the more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s).

Q: What are the eligibility requirements to participate in Mail Anywhere?

The eligibility requirements for Mail Anywhere are:
• The Mail Anywhere service is available to customers who mail at 90% or higher Full-Service levels for the customer’s given business location and meet the electronic Full-Service verification criteria during the month prior to their request to participate in Mail Anywhere.
• Mail Anywhere is available for Full-Service First-Class Mail® (Cards, Letters and Flats only); Standard Mail® (Letters and Flats only, including Nonprofit); Bound Printed Matter (Flats only); and Periodicals (Letters and Flats only).
• Permit types that are eligible include Permit Imprint; Pre-canceled Stamps and Metered. A variety of postage statement types are also supported in Mail Anywhere, including Single Permit; Combined Mail; Comail; Mixed-Class Comail, and Copal.
• Mailers may submit their electronic data via Mail.dat®, Mail.XML™, Postal Wizard (First-Class and Standard Mail only, Full-Service only); or IMsb (First-Class and Standard Mail Only).

Q: Do I have to make an application to the USPS to use Mail Anywhere?

A: Yes, participation in this program does require an application process. This process applies to the individual that is preparing the mail. For example, if a Mail Owner wishes to participate, but employs a Mail Service Provider (MSP) to prepare their mailings, the Mail Owner needs to request their MSP contact the PostalOne!® Help Desk to go through the authorization process.

The first step is to verify that the participants meet all of the eligibility requirements. The best way to do that is to access the Mailer Scorecard data to review both the Full-Service mail volumes for the previous month, as well as to verify that none of the error thresholds for the electronic verification have been exceeded during that time.

Once eligibility is verified, the application email should be sent to the PostalOne! Help Desk at postalone@usps.gov. Included in the email should be:
• Request for Mail Anywhere participation
• Preparer’s Customer Registration ID (CRID) for the location where the mail is prepared (if multiple preparation locations will be used, the CRID for each location must be provided)
• Preparer’s Contact Name, Company Name, Business Address, City, State and ZIP code
• Mail Owner’s permit numbers and BMEU’s City, State and ZIP code where the permit was opened
• Postal Facilities where you plan on dropping your mail
• Permit numbers that you wish to be consolidated

Q: Do I get a new permit number once approved for Mail Anywhere?

A: No, participation in this program does not require that mailers establish a new permit. Mailers may use already existing permits. Most participants in this program eventually consolidate the multiple permits at multiple locations that they currently have and are able to use just a few permits for all of their mailings. Keep in mind, mailers must still maintain the different permit types for the different postage payment methods, such as permit imprint, meter, stamp, or reply mail. For example, let’s say that Mailer A, headquartered in Chicago IL, has permit imprint permits in Chicago, Boston, Tampa, and Los Angeles. Under this program, Mailer A can consolidate all of these permit imprint permits into a single permit at their Chicago headquarters location, closing the other permits in Boston, Tampa and Los Angeles. Using Mail Anywhere, Mailer A is able to use that single permit to mail at all of those locations, and more.

Q: Do I need to change the way my mail or Mail.dat® files are prepared?

A: Participation in this program means that Mail Owners or Mail Service Providers may need to adjust some of the data that is submitted electronically to PostalOne! via the Mail.dat files.

The PostalOne! Help Desk can provide more detailed instructions on how to correctly populate the Mail.dat files for mailings that participate in Mail Anywhere. We strongly encourage people to test submitting these types of mailings using the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) prior to submitting them for live production.

Two very critical pieces of information for these jobs are:

1) The Payment Account Number in the Mailer Postage Accounting (MPA) file, field MPA-1127. This number is different than the postage permit number, and is assigned by the USPS when the application for Mail Anywhere is submitted. Typically, there is a Payment Account Number assigned for each postage permit that is participating in the Mail Anywhere program.

Note: The Payment Account Number is different than the CAPS account number and the USPS Finance Number. USPS Finance Numbers are not supported in the Mail.dat file specification: these numbers are looked up by PostalOne! in the USPS database, based upon the permit numbers and payment account numbers provided in the Mail.dat file.

2) The Verification Post Office. Since the postage payment permit in this program may be located anywhere, the post office where the mail is verified and accepted may be different than the post office where the postage payment permit is held. The verification post office data is populated in the Segment (SEG) file of the Mail.dat file (fields SEG-1118 and SEG 1119).

If you encounter issues uploading Mail.dat files to PostalOne! for Mail Anywhere jobs, we suggest you open a help desk ticket with PostalOne! by sending an email to postalone@usps.gov. Include a description of the issue, and attach the Mail.dat file that you are working with, along with screen shots of the errors you are getting.

Mailers should not need to change anything with regard to the indicias (permit imprints) printed on their mailpieces or their metering information – unless some permits have been closed out or consolidated as part of this application process. Mailers should work with the PostalOne! Help Desk or their local District Business Mail Entry office for guidance on any changes in these areas.

Q: What happens if a Mail Owner switches to a different Mail Service Provider?
A: It is important to note that the application for participation in Mail Anywhere is done by the entity preparing the mail, which in most cases is the Mail Service Provider. The application includes a listing of the clients and permits that the MSP wants to get approved for Mail Anywhere. The approval is based at the MSP level, so if the Mail Owner switches to a new MSP, the new MSP will need to apply for Mail Anywhere approval if they have not already done so, including the new Mail Owner’s name and permit information. If the new MSP has already been approved for Mail Anywhere, they would need to notify PostalOne! of any new Mail Owner clients (and their permit information) in order for those Mail Owners to continue to participate in Mail Anywhere at the new MSP.

Resources
The USPS offers a Fact Sheet and a Customer Participation Guide for Mail Anywhere, both of which are available on the USPS RIBBS web site. Window Book’s DAT-MAIL software fully supports Mail Anywhere mailings. Window Book also offers a free educational webinar on Mail Anywhere.

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Window Book can help you implement Mail Anywhere in your mailing operation and automate your processes using our software and service solutions.
Window Book offers a free Mailing Optimization Analysis.

Call us at 1-800-524-0380 for more details or to sign up for your FREE Mailing Optimization Analysis!

Don’t Forget: USPS Price Changes Take Effect This Weekend!

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved all of the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) proposed price increases. The implementation date for these approved prices is January 17, 2016.

Again – the final implementation date for these price changes is January 17, 2016. That’s this Sunday! 3 days from today!

Overall Changes
The new prices are available in Excel and .csv format on the Postal Explorer web site. The draft postage statements are also available on the same web site. Please note that this price change does not impact all mailing classes, so for some mailings the new January 2016 postage statements will be required, whereas for other mailings, the current May 2015 postage statements may still be used.

Software Updates
If you have not already done so, mailers will need to update their mailing and shipping software to accommodate these new prices. There is no new Mail.dat® file format specification version associated with this price change. Here is what will be supported as of January 17th:

January 17, 2016
-USPS will support Mail.dat 14-2 Errata versions 14.2.1.8 and 15-1 Errata 15.1.0.4
-USPS will continue to support all Mail.dat 14-2, errata versions including 14.2.1.8
-USPS will continue to support all Mail.dat 15-1, errata versions including 15.1.0.4

As a reminder – there was a mandatory PostalOne! update on January 3, 2016, which means that if you are a mailer who submits eDoc, you should have downloaded and installed the new USPS MD Client software on the 3rd.

IMPORTANT NOTE: PostalOne! will be releasing a patch to the MD Client software on Sunday, January 17, 2016. This patch is to correct issues with Mail Anywhere submissions, so if you submit Mail Anywhere mailings, you will need to download and install this patch. This is not a mandatory update, so non-impacted mailers are not required to download and install this patch, but are encouraged to do so.

Don’t Forget! 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 3, 2016. The PostalOne! Production (PROD) system will not be available on Sunday morning January 3, 2016, 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 4, 2016. The PostalOne! TEM environment will not be available between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. CT on January 4. The new Mail.dat® client download for the Production Environment will be version 42.0.0.0_PROD; all previous versions of the Mail.dat client will be expired.

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

Local Keys

If you are submitting electronic documentation (eDoc) to PostalOne!®, one of the critical pieces of information required to identify postal facilities are the locale keys. Locale keys are unique identification codes that are assigned by the USPS® 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. There are a number of fields in the Mail.dat® file where these locale keys may be populated for communication of this information to the USPS and other entities in the mailing process.
Read More: http://www.windowbook.com/Learning/Postal-Concierge-E-tips

Are you working harder or smarter?

If you’re submitting electronic files to PostalOne!® for just the Full-Service mailings you process, chances are you’re working a lot harder than you really need to be. Oh, you say, “but sending files to PostalOne! is a lot more work than submitting hard copies.” On the surface, that may appear to be the case, especially if you do not do electronic submissions very often. The fact is, though, if you have two different process flows, one for Full-Service mailings and one for everything else, you ARE working harder than necessary. And, who wants to work harder than they need to? Any workflow is easier if all the jobs are processed in the same manner, and submitting jobs to PostalOne! is no exception.

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

Common Mail.dat File Errors

If you submit Mail.dat® files to PostalOne!®, you already know how frustrating it can be when you get error messages, indicating that there is a problem with the data in your Mail.dat files. Identifying just what those errors are, and then pinpointing where in the Mail.dat file those errors are located, and knowing how to fix the errors can be complicated. This week, we share some of the more common errors we see when assisting clients.

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

New Mail.dat Process Automation Tool: AWAM

Window Book Releases New Mail.dat Process Automation Tool: Advanced Workflow Automation Manager (AWAM

Window Book, Inc. is pleased to announce the release of their latest breakthrough in Mail.dat® processing automation, Advanced Workflow Automation Manager (AWAM™). This new software works with Window Book’s DAT-MAIL software to help mailers save time and improve productivity with high performance, automated Mail.dat importing and processing.

AWAM is server-based for maximum speed and reliability and lets you process up to 20 Mail.dat files at once. It supports an unlimited number of import hot folders, each linked to a different workflow process for multiple clients or job types. Mailers also have the option to have AWAM look for new Mail.dat files in job subfolders on a network and automatically import them as soon as they are created.

Besides importing Mail.dat files, a large number of different operations with these files can be done automatically including applying mass updates, changing mailing and shipping dates, correcting bad container data, performing palletization and entry point optimization sets, exporting data to PostalOne!® or other applications, running reports, and much much more.

“From working with the mailing industry for almost 30 years, we know that not all jobs are handled the same way. You need different workflows for different job types such as. First-Class and Standard Mail. Now AWAM offers more flexibility when importing jobs, processing them and then saving them in multiple profiles so you can easily locate them again later,” said Jeffery Peoples, Window Book’s CEO.

“We have been told by many mailers that they spend way too much time locating and moving Mail.dat files around on workstations. AWAM is a new robust and flexible system that will help automate mailer’s daily tasks and save time getting the job done,” added Peoples.

Mailers who wish to see and learn more about AWAM are encouraged to call 800-524-0380 or email PostalSpecialist@windowbook.com to learn how they can benefit from using AWAM in their workflow process.

About Window Book
Window Book is currently celebrating its 27th year helping clients manage their operations more profitably. We help you to: Streamline mail processes to reduce operational costs! Implement Full-Service and Seamless Acceptance to minimize the risk of downstream quality issues and be in a better position to defend your preparation processes. Grow with Emerging Technologies. Automate Your PostalOne! Submissions. Move to the Cloud to Optimize Your Operations. Use Your Data to keep up with competition.