Preparing Pallets for Full-Service®

We frequently receive questions on this topic because mailers are often confused about when (or if), trays and sacks need to be placed onto pallets or other containers such as APC’s or Gaylords for Full-Service mail. Luckily, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) has recently updated a fact sheet intended to offer guidance to mailers on Full-Service palletization.

Is palletization required for Full-Service?
The short answer is NO. Mailings of loose sacks and trays may be submitted at Full-Service prices as long as all the requirements for Full-Service participation are met. However, if these loose handling units are placed on or into any type of container, that container does need to have pallet placards affixed to the outside of the container, and that placard must be printed with a unique Intelligent Mail® Container barcode. The updated fact sheet from the USPS provides more detail regarding when these loose handling units MUST be placed on or in a container and placarded. These requirements vary by class and processing category of mail.

First-Class Mail®
Pallet preparation and placarding is required for First-Class mail in these scenarios:
• There is 72 feet of tray mail or 24 flat tubs of mail or more
• The mail within the container is prepared according to a labeling list destination and there is at least 48 feet of letter trays or 16 flat tubs or more
• The mailer has an active Customer Supplier Agreement (CSA) in place
• The pallet is flagged in your eDoc as participating in the eInduction program

Pallet preparation and placarding is NOT required – although it is preferred – in these scenarios:
• There is less than 72 feet of trays or 24 flat tubs of mail
• The mail within the container is NOT prepared according to a labeling list destination and there is at least 48 feet of letter trays or 16 flat tubs or more
• The pallet is NOT flagged in your eDoc as participating in the eInduction program

Periodicals, Standard Mail® and Bound Printed Matter

Pallet preparation and placarding is required in these scenarios:
• The mail is equal to or greater than 500 pounds of bundles/sacks or 72 feet of tray mail or 24 flat tubs of mail
• The pallet is flagged in your eDoc as participating in the eInduction program

OR

• The pallet is prepared according to a labeling list destination and is:
-Under 500 pounds of flats entered directly at a DDU
-Between 100 and 249 pounds of bundles/sacks or 12 feet of trays entered at a destination NDC, ASF, ADC or SCF
-Between 250 and 499 pounds of bundles/sacks or 36 feet of trays
-Flagged in eDoc as participating in the eInduction program

Pallet preparation and placarding is NOT required – although it is preferred – in these scenarios:
• The mail is less than 500 pounds of bundles/sacks or 72 feet of trays or 24 flat tubs AND mail within the pallet is not prepared according to a labeling list destination
• The pallet is NOT flagged in your eDoc as participating in the eInduction program

Resources
The updated fact sheet from the USPS is available on the RIBBS web site. Window Book has many utilities available to assist mailers with palletization, including barcoded placards, such as our DAT-MAIL™ software.

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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.