Processing shortage or spoilage in eDoc

A frequent question we receive from mailers regards how to properly report spoilage or shortage when submitting files to PostalOne!® There are a multitude of reasons why mailers need to report spoilage or shortage: perhaps some of the mailpieces get damaged during processing, or you may run out of some of the mailpiece components before the job is finished. We’ve all heard the saying “stuff happens” (paraphrased here of course!). Mailpiece production and mailing processes are essentially manufacturing processes, and regardless of the quality assurance procedures you have in place, it is almost inevitable that some pieces need to get removed from the mailing. Whatever term you use to call these pieces…pulls, deletes, mutes, rejects, spoils, shorts…these are pieces that get pulled from your mailings for any number of reasons. Mailers likely already have procedures in place to handle this from a manufacturing perspective, but what about making the adjustments to report these types of spoilages or shortages in your eDoc submissions to PostalOne!?

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

Electronic submissions with shortage or spoilage

Mailpiece production and mailing processes are essentially manufacturing processes, and regardless of the quality assurance procedures you have in place, it is almost inevitable that some pieces need to get removed from the mailing. Perhaps some of the mailpieces get damaged during processing, or you may run out of some of the mailpiece components before the job is finished. There are lots of words to describe these pieces…pulls, deletes, mutes, rejects, spoils, shorts…sound familiar? Whatever you call them, these are pieces that get pulled from your mailings.

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

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

As we told you earlier, 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 May 31, 2015.

Again – the final implementation date for these price changes is May 31, 2015. That’s this Sunday!

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.

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 also a new Mail.dat file format specification version going into effect at the same time, version 15-1. From the USPS RIBBS web site for the 2015 PostalOne! releases:

There was also a mandatory PostalOne! update on May 17, 2015, which meant that mailers who submit eDoc, needed to download and install the new USPS MDR Client software on the 17th.*

Is There Anything Else?
Of course there is! In addition to the price changes, the USPS is offering the following four (4) new incentives/promotions:

1. Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion, May – July 2015
2. Advanced and Emerging Technology Promotion, May – October 2015
3. Color Transpromo Promotion, June – November 2015
4. Mail Drives Mobile Engagement Promotion, July – December 2015

Additional Resources
Window Book released the new rates version of DAT-MAIL™ software on May 14, 2015, with the balance of the software products scheduled for release today (May 28). Software subscribers may sign up to receive email notifications for any of our software product updates on our web site.

Better Manage Spoilage and Shortage in eDoc

We all know that “stuff happens” during the mailing process, and when it does, you may need to pull some pieces from your mailings. There are lots of words to describe these pieces…pulls, deletes, mutes, rejects, spoils, shorts…sound familiar? Whatever you call them, these are pieces that get pulled from your mailings for a variety of reasons. Perhaps some of the mailpieces get damaged during processing, or you may run out of some of the mailpiece components before the job is finished. So the question becomes, “How do I make the adjustments to report these types of spoilages or shortages in my eDoc?” And that’s a very good question because in the eDoc world, you not only need to submit accurate postage statements, but the Mail.dat® files that represent the mailing job also need to be adjusted.

PostalOne!® accepted reporting methods
Within the Mail.dat file set, there are three (3) different files that may be used to report Spoilage/Shortage: the Piece Detail Record (PDR), the Piece Barcode Record (PBC) or the Postage Adjustment Record (PAR). A Guide to Intelligent Mail for Letters and Flats from the USPS provides information on four (4) methods for reporting spoilages or shortages using PostalOne! The acceptable methods vary depending on the type of mailings you are processing – and only Method 4 (below) is allowed for postage-affixed mail. Here are the four current acceptable methods:

1. Available for situations where the postage for wasted and shorted pieces is paid as part of the total postage detailed on the postage statement. This method is used if the mailer wishes to re-use the unique Intelligent Mail® Barcode (IMB®) from the spoiled or shorted pieces and the postage has already been paid. In this case, the PDR or PBC files must be edited to identify the spoiled or shorted pieces, however, the only way to obtain a refund for the spoiled pieces is to submit a hard copy PS-3533 (yes, hard copy!) along with documentation of the spoiled pieces. Important note: refunds are not granted for shorted pieces.

2. Available for First-Class Mail® and Standard Mail® only: The postage is adjusted on the postage statement so postage is paid for only the pieces that actually get mailed. As in Method 1, the unique IMB from the spoiled or shorted pieces may be re-used, and the PDR or PBC files must be edited to identify the spoiled or shorted pieces. In this case, because postage has not yet been paid, the Mail.dat files may be edited and submitted to PostalOne! as an updated release, so the postage is not paid for the spoiled or shorted pieces.

3. Available for First-Class Mail and Standard Mail only: The postage adjustment is reported as a dollar amount and piece count for the entire mailing. For this method, the PAR file is used. In this method, the unique IMB’s may not be re-used, and the spoilage is reported as a percentage or number of pieces rather than reporting each individual spoiled or shorted mailpiece. Since this method does not tie back to the individual mailpiece ID, it CANNOT be used for manifest mailings.

4. The electronic documentation in either Mail.dat or Mail.XML™ states only the pieces mailed. This method is used when there is either no spoilage or shortage to report, these pieces have already been identified and removed from the Mail.dat files before they are submitted to PostalOne!, or the mailer plans to request a postage refund using PS-3533 and does not need to make any count adjustments in PostalOne! This method may be used for any class of mail. Currently this is the ONLY spoilage method available for postage affixed mailings, such as metered mail, stamped or precancelled stamp mailings.

Note: For Periodicals mailings, spoilage/shortage may be reported, but is ignored by PostalOne!

Reporting spoilage/shortage
If you are submitting your mailings electronically (eDoc), you can no longer just edit the postage statements for spoilage/shortage, rather you need to adjust the Mail.dat files themselves. The reason for this is that PostalOne!, not your mailing software, generates the electronic postage statements and qualification reports. PostalOne! generates these documents based on the information submitted within your Mail.dat files. The only way PostalOne! can generate accurate documents is for the Mail.dat files themselves to be accurate, which is why being able to edit these files is so critical.

So, how do you go about making these types of Mail.dat file edits? The easiest way to perform these edits is by using post-presort software, such as Window Book’s DAT-MAIL™ software. Using post-presort software, mailers are able to enter a percentage or number of spoiled pieces to update their files and documentation for Method 3 above. Mailers also have the opportunity to enter individual mailpiece ID numbers, or to import a file containing these ID numbers for the shorted/spoiled pieces so that the Mail.dat files can be accurately flagged with the appropriate spoiled/wasted indicators for the other methods. DAT-MAIL even allows users to scan the IMB’s from the spoiled pieces and import the scanned barcode file into the software to automate the process of making the necessary adjustments. Once these adjustments are made, the edited files can be submitted to PostalOne! and users may use DAT-MAIL to generate numerous reports to document the spoilage/shortage claimed.

Timing
Unless you rarely have any edits to make to your Mail.dat files, it is a good idea to submit your files first as an Original Release to PostalOne! This allows you to make any necessary edits or changes to the file prior to paying for postage. In the case of reporting spoilage/shortage, it is necessary to make the Mail.dat file edits and submit the edited files BEFORE the file has been submitted as Ready to Pay or been finalized by the USPS. Once the files have been submitted as Ready to Pay, the only way to alter them is to cancel the job on PostalOne! and start over. Once the USPS has finalized the statements the only way to make any changes is to request that PostalOne! cancel the job or reverse the postage payment and re-submit.

As always, we STRONGLY recommend that you practice submitting jobs with spoilage/shortage, including cancellation of jobs, using the TEM environment of PostalOne! prior to going into production. This practice allows you to become familiar with how this process works and iron out any bumps in your internal processes.

Postage Refund Requests
Mailers who are not able to make spoilage or shortage adjustments electronically must use hard copy form PS-3533 to request a postage refund from the USPS. These forms were revised a number of years ago to be uniquely barcoded, which is why these forms are no longer available online or through mailing software. Mailers may request these forms from their local post office and follow the instructions on the form for completion. Keep in mind that mailers may be required to provide specific documentation of the spoiled pieces in order to receive a postage refund. This documentation is outlined in the form instructions, or may also be included in any agreements mailers may have in place with the USPS, such as Optional Procedure agreements.

Resources
The PostalOne! Help Desk is available to provide assistance to mailers who need help in understanding the various methods of reporting spoilage/shortage or to help them trouble-shoot errors in submitted Mail.dat files.
Window Book has various spoilage/shortage methods available in our DAT-MAIL software. We also offer educational webinars on the spoilage reporting process, and even offer FREE Mail Optimization Analyses to help you get your mailing operation optimized to submit mailings, including those with spoilage or shortage, electronically.
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!)

Mail Drives Mobile Commerce Promotion

Yet another USPS® incentive promotion is rapidly approaching – Mail Drives Mobile Commerce Promotion. This promotion starts running on November 1, 2014 through the end of the year (December 31, 2014), but the registration for this promotion started on September 15, 2014.

Mail Drives Mobile Commerce Promotion
The goal of this promotion is to promote use of mobile technology in direct mail to create a convenient method for consumers to do their shopping. This promotion is offered to Standard Mail™ (including non-profit) Letters and Flats mailings that use mobile barcode technology on the mailpieces which, when scanned by a mobile device, leads to a mobile optimized web site.

The incentive is a 2% up front postage discount, which is calculated in PostalOne!® and applied to the postage statement at the time of mailing. Mailers may also be eligible for an additional one percent rebate on the postage of their qualifying mailings if a portion of their orders are fulfilled via Priority Mail® between November 3, 2104 and January 15, 2015. Mailers who wish to participate in the Priority Mail rebate must complete a separate claim form that is due no later than February 15, 2015.

The registration period for this promotion started September 15, 2014 and runs through December 31, 2014. As a reminder, the promotion period runs from November 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014.

Eligibility
Eligible mail pieces must include a mobile barcode or other equivalent print/mobile technology that when scanned by a mobile device, leads to a mobile optimized web site. The destination web pages must reside on a web site platform that contains or is deeply integrated with a checkout functionality that allows the customer to complete the purchase of the product referenced in the mailpiece through a complete mobile optimized experience.

• Mailpieces must contain an Intelligent Mail® Full-Service barcode.
• Directional copy must be included near the mobile barcode on the mailpiece providing guidance to the consumer to scan the barcode or image and information about the landing page.
• For purposes of this promotion, a product is defined as a tangible and physical item that needs to be distributed or manufactured and can be shipped via a mailing or shipping product offered by the USPS (delivery by the USPS is not required).
• Mailings must be submitted via eDoc using Mail.dat®, Mail.XML™ or the Postal Wizard. The eDoc must identify the mail owner and mail preparer in the By/For fields using the CRID, MID, or Permit number.
• All pieces covered by a postage statement claiming the discount must meet all eligibility requirements.
• Mail must be tendered for acceptance during the promotion period of November 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014.
• Postage payment for the eligible mailings must be paid using Permit Imprint or Pre-canceled Stamp permit. Some Meter Permit mailings may qualify.

More detailed program requirements are available online, as well as a Mail Owner enrollment guide and a Mail Service Provider enrollment guide.

Additional information
More detailed information regarding these upcoming promotions can be obtained at the USPS RIBBS® web site, or questions may be directed via email to MailDrivesMobile@usps.gov.

Window Book is here to help
Window Book’s industry-leading post-presort solution, DAT-MAIL™, can help you take advantage of these USPS incentive promotions. To schedule a free Mail Optimization Analysis, visit www.windowbook.com/MOA.

Complimentary Webinar: USPS Changes for Fall 2014

More changes are coming for the rest of 2014. Do you know what they are?

Even though the USPS® has deferred the requirement for Full-Service, the USPS is making this a requirement for participation and eligibility in many programs. There are postage statement changes coming up, back-to-back mandatory PostalOne! updates, Mail.dat and Mail.XML specification changes, changes in Mail Owner postage statement display data, changes in nonprofit authorization number linkage, potential Seamless Acceptance postage penalties…are you prepared for all of this change?

Join Window Book for a timely, informative webinar on the many postal changes coming up this fall that you may NOT be aware of. Don’t miss this one!

Title: USPS Changes for Fall 2014
Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT

Reserve your seat now for this complimentary webinar:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/531086304

Color Print in First-Class Mail Transactions Promotion

Yet another USPS® incentive promotion is rapidly approaching – Color Print in First-Class Mail Transactions. This promotion starts running at the same time as the Emerging Technology Promotion that we told you about last month – August 1, 2014. However, unlike the Emerging Technology Promotion, which ends on September 30, 2014, the Color Print promotion runs all the way to December 31, 2014.

Color Print in First-Class Mail Transactions Promotion
The goal of this promotion is to encourage producers of bills and statements to produce and mail statements that create a greater connection and response from customers by using color messaging, to increase the value of First-Class Mail®, and to encourage mailers to invest in color print technology. This promotion is offered to First-Class™ mailers who use dynamic/variable color print for marketing and consumer messages on their bills and statements.

The incentive is a 2% up front postage discount, which is calculated in PostalOne!® and applied to the postage statement at the time of mailing.

The registration period for this promotion started June 15, 2014 and runs through December 31, 2014. As a reminder, the promotion period runs from August 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014.

Eligibility
Eligible mail pieces must include a full color consumer or marketing message such as on “onsert” or “onstatement” to qualify, which is printed in-stream on a physical piece of paper within the content of the letter or statements. The onsert or onstatetement must include a graphic to text in full color using a dynamic variable print process and must be on a transactional mail piece which is required to be mailed as First-Class Mail.

  • Mailpieces must be part of a Intelligent Mail® Full-Service mailing.
  • Mailings must be submitted via eDoc using Mail.dat®, Mail.XML™ or the Postal Wizard. The eDoc must identify the mail owner and mail preparer in the By/For fields using the CRID.
  • All pieces covered by a postage statement claiming the discount must meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Mail must be tendered for acceptance during the promotion period of August 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014.
  • Postage payment for the eligible mailings must be paid using Permit Imprint or Pre-canceled Stamp permit. Some Meter Permit mailings may qualify.

More detailed program requirements are available online, as well as a Mail Owner enrollment guide and a Mail Service Provider enrollment guide.

Additional information
More detailed information regarding these upcoming promotions can be obtained at the USPS RIBBS® web site, or questions may be directed via email to FCMColorPromotion@usps.gov.

Window Book is here to help
Window Book’s industry-leading post-presort solution, DAT-MAIL™ can help you take advantage of these USPS incentive promotions. To schedule a free Mail Optimization Analysis, visit www.windowbook.com/MOA.

Emerging Technology Promotion

Registration for the upcoming USPS® Emerging Technology Promotion begins on June 15, 2014. The promotion period starts August 1, 2014 and runs through September 30, 2014. The goal of this promotion is to encourage mailers to integrate direct mail with mobile technology. This promotion highlights the use of Near Field Technology (NFC), which is a form of communication between devices such as smartphones, tablets, or items embedded with NFC chips, tags or similar technology. Read more.

Mail Anywhere

The Postal Service has launched the new “Mail Anywhere” service that allows customers to use the same permit at every mailing location.  Get the facts.

Via RIBBS

International and Domestic Market Dominant Federal Register Notices

Today the proposed International and Domestic Market Dominant Federal Register Notices for the January 2014 price change were posted on pe.usps.com under the Federal Register Notices tab of the left-hand side. The official 30 day comment period will start once the Federal Register Office reopens and posts these notices on the federalregister.gov web site. We look forward to feedback from the mailing industry.

Via USPS RIBBS