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

New Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb) Requirement Effective January 26, 2014

The Postal Service is revising Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) to require the use of Intelligent Mail® package barcodes (IMpb) on all commercial parcels, and to require the transmission of supporting electronic documentation including piece-level address or ZIP+4® Code information. Included in these new requirements is a per-piece price adjustment for mailpieces not complying with the IMpb standards.

The Postal Service is also adding DMM reference to a future requirement to use a complete destination delivery address or an 11-digit delivery point validated ZIP CodeTM in the mailer’s electronic documentation.

Read more:  Federal Register (Vol. 78, No. 243).

Visit USPS RIBBS website for information on Shipping Services File (SSP Version 1.6).

January 2014 Price Change and PostalOne! Release Webinars

Webinars will be held on January 8, 10 and 15th which will cover Price Changes and changes to the PostalOne! system that will be implemented January 26, 2014. Topics will include the new requirements for Intelligent Mail parcel barcodes, the new Metered price and Flat Sequencing System mail preparation.

Read more

Via USPS RIBBS

Promotions & Incentive Programs for First-Class™ & Standard Mail®

Registration for promotions and incentives can be made through http://gateway.usps.com. Once logged into the Business Customer Gateway, select “Incentive Programs”. From this link, programs open to registration will display. Each incentive or promotion requires separate registration.

Via USPS

Labeling List Changes for January 2014

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) announced changes to the Labeling List data, effective January 1, 2014, with a mandatory use date of January 31, 2014. The Labeling Lists affected are L001, L002, L006, L007, L008, L012, L602, L605, and L606.  Read more.

New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services Products

December 18, 2013

New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services Products

Today the final rule New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services Products Federal Register Notice for the January 2014 price change was published. It is on the Federal Register site and on Postal Explorer® pe.usps.com under the Federal Register Notices link on the left-hand side.

This final rule contains revisions to the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) to accompany the price adjustments filed with the PRC on September 26, including new pricing eligibility for retail and commercial nonpresorted First-Class Mail® letters, several mail classification changes, and some condensing of current standards for Periodicals publications.

The effective date is January 26, 2014.

The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) and DMM Advisories are available on Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com)

Via USPS DMM Advisory

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.

Will You be Ready for the January Postal Price Increases and Mail.dat 14-1?

In just barely more than a month, the USPS® will implement their annual price increases for mailing and shipping products. At that same time, a new Mail.dat® specification will be implemented: version 14-1. The current Mail.dat specification is version 13-1.

PostalOne!® will be updated in January 2014 to accommodate the new prices as well as the new 14-1 Mail.dat version. Mailers will need to be prepared to submit the new postage statements and the new Mail.dat file version.

The chart below shows the PostalOne! timelines for the various postage statement versions and Mail.dat file versions.

Read more.

 

Become More Efficient using Mail.dat®

As mailers and mail service providers face tighter turnaround times and rapidly approaching in-home delivery dates, they are constantly looking for ways to become more efficient and get the mail processed and submitted to the Postal Service™ faster than ever before.  One sure way to help improve efficiency and increase your chances of hitting those in-home dates is by incorporating the use of Mail.dat files into your processing.

When your customers give you their presort data in Mail.dat file format, you can reduce the cost and time it takes to process the associated postal paperwork by as much as eighty-three percent over manual data entry. With Mail.dat and the appropriate Post-Presort software, mailers report that two people can now accomplish what they formerly needed twelve people to do.  Free up your most valuable assets—your employees—to be able to concentrate on other value-added services for your company and your customers.  Also, with the right post-presort software you can edit Mail.dat files and easily generate professional postage statements for all of your mailings.

With Mail.dat, mailers can not only generate postage statements that actually reflect a day’s mailing, but they are also in a better position to deal quickly with last-minute changes or circumstances.  Say, for example, that you do not get the final counts on a mailing until the end of the day.  With Mail.dat, you can tag only what is going to be mailed that day, and print the appropriate statements.  If last-minute work comes in, the software adapts to changes in the hardware configurations or schedules in order to get jobs out or make last-minute changes.  Another classic example is changing the piece weight after the presort is complete because the original weight used was just an estimate.  This happens all the time and is easily handled by using Post-Presort software to edit the Mail.dat files before printing the postage statements or other required reports, saving you countless hours having to re-run the presort job.

Without Mail.dat, you would never be able to process statements in time for postal verification.  Not only is it more efficient than non-Mail.dat processing, but it also allows you the speed and flexibility to deal with increasing volumes, which often come in the form of last-minute jobs.  When done by hand, processing statements for postal verification may not occur fast enough to get the mail out the door in time.  Mailers need to be able to accept these jobs to keep existing customers or capture new business, and Mail.dat makes it possible to meet seemingly impossible in-home deadlines on last-minute jobs with speed and accuracy.

Priority Mail Open and Distribute Made Easy by Monica Lundquist, Postal Affairs Mgr., WindowBook Inc

Priority Mail Open and Distribute Made Easy

Back when I was in the printing business, I used to cringe whenever a client brought up the possibility of using Priority Mail Drop Shipping for distribution of their mail. As printing companies, we did not often recommend this delivery option to clients because it was, quite frankly, a real pain to implement. Luckily, that is no longer the case, due to true innovations in mailing and shipping software. For some mailers, Priority Mail Drop Shipping is a well-kept secret that they are not aware of, and as a result they are missing out on some great opportunities to improve delivery and reduce costs.

For those of you not familiar with this service, it is technically termed Priority Mail Open and Distribute (PMOD) by the United States Postal Service® (USPS). It is a method of drop shipping mail to additional postal entry points using Priority Mail as the shipping method rather than more traditional methods such as truckload, less-than-load (LTL) or air freight. The same service is available using Express Mail Open and Distribute (EMOD), although it is more expensive due to the quicker delivery time (next day service).

Regardless of which level of service is used, Open and Distribute is a pretty nifty way to drop ship to entry points with smaller volumes of mail which make the more traditional shipping methods cost prohibitive. It works by entering the mailpieces at their normal postage prices (e.g. Periodicals, Standard, etc.) and then placing those trays or sacks of mail into Priority Mail sacks for delivery to the postal entry point. By use of special sack tags, these Priority Mail sacks are identified to the USPS as containing drop shipped mail, which the USPS then opens and distributes the sacks inside as they would normally be routed. The Priority Mail postage is paid on the weight of the mail inside the PM sack (and tare weight of the sacks/trays inside the PM sack), and essentially replaces the shipping charges that would have been charged by freight carriers if the more traditional shipping methods had been used.

In years past, this process was a real pain because this mail had to be manually separated, manually tagged with the PMOD tags, and postage statements were manually generated. Now, however, there are software solutions that allow these functions to be automated to the point that it is much more time and cost effective to use PMOD.

How can mailers take advantage of PMOD? There are three major benefits to using PMOD:

1) If you are experiencing delivery delays to remote or distant locations (e.g. Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico), or any location for that matter, PMOD can be a great way to shorten the delivery time. Priority Mail has delivery standards of 2-3 days, so the mail gets entered into the postal entry points much more quickly than if the mail was locally entered at the printing plant or letter shop.

  • 2) You can take advantage of drop ship discounts even for entry points with low mailing densities, such as Butte, MT or Fargo, ND.
  • 3) You can mail at the less expensive Standard rates, but get very close to First-Class delivery standards if you use PMOD to drop ship to additional entry points.

Your mailings can be easily analyzed to determine whether PMOD will be beneficial for you to use. Using a mail.dat file, you can process this file through post-presort mail.dat management software in a “quick plan” mode. This will allow you to see all the possible drop ship entry points for which your mailing would qualify. You can then go a step further by applying freight charges to the entry points with significant mail volumes. Any entry points with small volumes can then be exported into PMOD software to determine the estimated cost of PMOD shipping.

If you do not have post-presort mail.dat management software, you can ask your printer/mailer to perform these analyses for you, or you can contact a provider of this type of software to request a demo or trial of the software. If you have been hesitant to use PMOD in the past due to implementation concerns, or if you are completely new to PMOD, you owe it to yourself and your company to check out the possibilities of this great USPS program.