Move Update Change Postponed until April

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is implementing Move Update price and classification changes, including a change in the assessment amount and the verification method. The Move Update postage assessment for non-compliance will increase from $0.07 to $0.08 per piece. These assessments were originally scheduled to become effective in March based on February data. The USPS has now postponed this implementation to April 2018, with the assessments based on March data.

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Are You Ready for Move Update Changes?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is implementing Move Update price and classification changes, effective in March 2018. The Move Update postage assessment for non-compliance will increase from $0.07 to $0.08 per piece, but the Move Update verification method will also be changing. These assessments will be effective in March, but will be based on February data, which is just around the corner. Have you made the necessary changes in your mailing operation to avoid these assessments?

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Preparing for Move Update Changes

As we mentioned earlier, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is implementing Move Update price and classification changes, effective in March 2018. The Move Update postage assessment for non-compliance will increase from $0.07 to $0.08 per piece, but the Move Update verification method will also be changing. What exactly does this mean for your mailing operation?

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Are YOU Ready For Postage Assessments?

In just one short month from now, we hope you are not of those that receive a hefty invoice from the United States Postal Service (USPS). Why? Because starting in November 2016, the 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. You need to become familiar NOW with what these assessments involve, how they will work, and what you can do to try to minimize any potential assessments. Do not wait until you get that invoice!

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Improving Your Mailer Scorecard Results

By now you are probably tired of hearing about the assessments the USPS® plans to implement starting in July 2016 for Full-Service® mailings exceeding the published error thresholds. Tired of hearing about it, and probably more than a little bit nervous. How can you tell what the impact of these assessments will be for your company? Where do you get the information about how well your mailings are complying with the rules and thresholds? And, how do you go about improving areas where your mailings are exceeding the thresholds? Even if your files are successfully transmitted to PostalOne!®, that does not necessarily mean there aren’t 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.

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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.

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!)

Obtaining or Validating By/For Identifiers

With the November 30, 2014 release of PostalOne!®, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) added a new “Bulk Search” capability on the Business Customer Gateway (BCG). This new bulk search option is a great way for Mail Service Providers (MSP’s) to request By/For identifiers from the USPS for their clients. The ability to do individual look-ups for Mailer Identification numbers (MID’s) and Customer Registration numbers (CRID’s) has existed on the BCG for some time, but this new utility allows MSP’s to submit these requests in bulk quantities using text files. MSP’s can request additional information from the USPS, such as related postal permit numbers, Nonprofit Authorization numbers (NPA’s) and the company name and address information as it appears in the PostalOne! database. Be advised, your PostalOne! account must be designated as a Mail Service Provider in order to access this new utility.

File format requirements
The files that MSP’s upload to the BCG must be in pipe delimited ASCII text format. The files may contain the existing identifier information that MSP’s have in their databases for their clients. MSP’s then upload these files with the existing identifier data to the USPS, which then validates whether that existing data is correct, provides the correct data if it isn’t, or provides a message indicating that the data could not be found. The resulting data from the USPS is provided in the form of an Excel format file, which may be downloaded from the BCG. MSP’s must submit each type of identifier data in its own file; MID’s, CRID’s, Permits, and NPA’s must be uploaded using separate files. MSP’s may request to receive back from the USPS the MID, the CRID, the permits, or the NPA’s associated with the identifiers uploaded, or they can request that all available information be returned by the USPS. File size for the uploads is limited to 250 records; if MSP’s have more client records than this, multiple files may be uploaded.

This is a great time-saver for Mail Service Providers who may be struggling with By/For errors on their Mailer Scorecards. Obtaining or validating these identifiers using file uploads and downloads for their entire client database is much faster and more efficient than trying to do individual look-ups. The validation process is very quick, and return files for downloading may be ready in just a few minutes, or up to an hour in cases where there are larger file sizes or the site is experiencing heavy traffic. The validated or corrected data can be used to update client databases and other applications that are used to populate these identifiers in the electronic documentation (eDoc) submitted to PostalOne! Using the same data that is in the PostalOne! database means that the chances of validation errors or Mailer Scorecard errors for these elements is greatly reduced!

Managing the data

The returned files from the USPS should be analyzed very carefully before making any updates to your client databases or other applications. Keep in mind that while the USPS has been very diligent in cleaning up and maintaining their database, there is still the possibility that the data returned in the files is not completely accurate. For example, there are reported instances of multiple CRID’s being issued to the same company at the same location, so it is important in these cases to validate which CRID is actually correct. Likewise, companies are permitted to have multiple MID’s, so it is also important to validate which MID is the correct one for the MSP to be using. Similarly, old legacy NPA’s may have been replaced with new, national NPA’s, so this information may also need to be validated. As with any database maintenance, it is important to review and analyze any new data to look for discrepancies and get validation for any changes that may look suspect.

Window Book makes taking advantage of this new utility easy for our clients by providing an automated method to generate these upload files from your client files in the DAT-MAIL software. Users may select which type of identifier data you wish to upload, and DAT-MAIL will automatically generate the file in the proper format for uploading to the BCG. DAT-MAIL will even automatically create separate files if you have more than 250 records in your client list, and will also remove any duplicates or any house accounts. This is a free utility available in DAT-MAIL version or higher. We will be adding an additional import utility in future DAT-MAIL versions, to allow users to automatically import the downloaded, updated files from the BCG into their client files in the DAT-MAIL software, so stay tuned!

Are you having problems with your “By/For” score on your Mailer Scorecard?

Are you having problems with your “By/For” score on your Mailer Scorecard? Are you experiencing PostalOne! validation failures on your non-profit jobs because they don’t have the right Non-Profit Authorization number? A brand “bulk search” feature on the Business Customer Gateway can help mail service providers resolve these problems much easier than before.

Come and learn how you can do bulk search to get the latest information and identifiers on your clients. There are some important business rules you need to know and you will also need to understand how this feature works.

Join us for an informative webinar and discover how DAT-MAIL can help you avoid validation failures which can be costly for your operation.

Webinar: New USPS Business Customer Gateway Capability Helps Mail Service Providers Improve Mailer Scorecard
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 3:00 PM EST

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:   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….

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Correcting By/For Errors in eDoc

As more mailers are now starting to pay closer attention to their Mailer Scorecard on PostalOne!®, a common issue that shows up on their scorecards is By/For errors. So, you ask, what the heck is “By/For” and how do mailers get these errors to go away?

For Full-Service mailings, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) requires that electronic documentation (eDoc) includes identification of the Mail Owner, the Mail Preparer, and the eDoc Submitter. This is often referred to as the “By/For” data: the Mail Preparer is the company who is preparing the mail (the “By” part) and the Mail Owner is the company responsible for the content of the mailpiece and receives the benefit of the mailing (the “For” part). Likewise, the eDoc Submitter is the company submitting the electronic documentation (“By”) for the Mail Owner (“For”). All of these entities are identified in the eDoc using their Mailer ID numbers (MIDs) or Customer Registration ID Numbers (CRIDs). For companies preparing and submitting their own mailings, all of these entities may be the same company. For companies that use Mail Service Providers, these three entities may be three different companies.

Where is the data?
The MID and CRID data used to identify the Mail Owner and Mail Preparer in the mailing is located in the Mailer Postage Account (MPA) file of the Mail.dat® file. The CRID data to identify the eDoc Submitter is located in the Header (HDR) file of the Mail.dat file. The eDoc Submitter data is also located in the Segment (SEG) file, but that is for mailing industry use; PostalOne! uses the data in the Header file.

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