Window Book Publishes eDoc White Paper

Well, it was a long time coming, but the time is, indeed, here.  The publication of our 4th white paper – “eDoc and PostalOne! They’re What’s Best for You and the USPS.” 

This paper explores the world of electronic documentation (eDoc) and the USPS PostalOne! system.  It looks at why the Postal Service is really pushing for mailers to switch to eDoc, what PostalOne! is and how using it benefits you, the 3 ways to particpate in eDoc, the benefits of eDoc and why you should begin implementing eDoc right now.  It also discusses the very latest information and instructions for getting started using eDoc and PostalOne! – including the new TEM procedures detailed in the latest eDoc and Full-Service Authorization Guide for Mail.dat.

And – just as with all of our previous white papers – this brand new 21-page paper is available at no cost. 

Please click here to access and download this incredible new white paper from the postal experts here at Window Book.

– Wallace Vingelis

Vice President, Business Development & Marketing

617-395-4569

wvingelis@windowbook.com

 

USPS to Extend Mobile Barcode Discount Promotion to Non-Profit Mailers

Although the Postal Service has not formally announced this yet, the FAQs document about the Mobile Barcode Promotion has been updated to reflect that non-profit mail will be eligible to take advantage of the 3% mobile barcode discount as long as all other requirements of the program are met.  This information was also confirmed by several employees of the USPS on an MTAC User Group 1 teleconference this morning.  They also let everyone on the call know that formal announcement of this is expected sometime next week.

The below Q&A is copied directly from page 3 of the most recent FAQs document:

14.  Is non-profit mail eligible for the promotion?

A.  Yes, non-profit mail is eligible for this promotion discount, as long as all other program requirements are met.

To get all the details about the Mobile Barcode Promotion and download a copy of the most recent FAQs document, visit:  https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mobilebarcode

Also discussed on the MTAC call this morning was that there will be a call this afternoon between the USPS and members of MTAC to discuss and clarify issues concerning commingled mailings and their participation in this program.

Wallace Vingelis

Vice President, Business Development & Marketing

Window Book, Inc.

Phone:  (617) 395-4569

email:    wvingelis@windowbook.com

URL:       www.windowbook.com

Postal Service to File Price Increase Request Today

Mailing industry leaders met with USPS PMG Pat Donahoe this morning where he announced that the Postal Service plans to file an inflation-based price increase request this afternoon.  The proposed implementation date will be April 17, 2011. 

They will seek an overall increase of 1.741% increase.

First-Class Mail will see an overall increase of 1.7%, but the $0.44 Forever stamp will remain unchanged.

Standard Mail will also see a 1.7% increase.  Letters will go up by 1.8%.  Flats will go up 0.8%.  The big hit in Standard are Parcels and NFMs, which will go up 11.3%.

USPS officials also announced that the May 2011 implementation date for switching to Intelligent Mail barcodes to qualify for automation rates is being pushed back, however, no new date has been announced yet.

More to follow after the filing!

Wallace Vingelis

Vice President, Business Development & Marketing

Window Book, Inc.                

Phone:  (617) 395-4569

Fax:        (617) 395-5969

email:    wvingelis@windowbook.com

URL:       www.windowbook.com

USPS Grants Small Extension for Postage Statements

Along with the announced price changes for the USPS competitive products (e.g. Express Mail, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, etc.), the USPS is also offering several pricing initiatives (Reply Rides Free and Saturation and High Density Standard Mail), all of which result in format changes to many postage statements. These postage statement changes are effective with the implementation of the new rates on January 2, 2011. However, since the information regarding the format of the revised postage statements was not published until just recently, the USPS has communicated plans to provide extensions until January 28, 2011 for mailers not able to produce the new format postage statements by January 2. This information was communicated in a notice published to members of the Major Mailers Association, the text of which is shown below:

The headquarters Business Mail Acceptance has developed the following plan for customers who will not be able to present the new postage statement on January 2, 2011:

– The field BMEUs will be notified to continue accepting the old postage statement from customers that cannot make the change by Jan 2nd, and continue to do so until Jan 28, 2011 if necessary. No exception request will be needed for customers who expect to be capable of producing the new postage statements by Jan 28th.

– The old postage statement covers existing products only and does not include new package products such as Critical Mail and Regional Rate Boxes. Any customer using products that are not included on the old postage statement must complete a hardcopy postage statement for those products until they are capable of producing the new mailing statement.

– The BMEU staff will maintain a questionnaire for each of the customers that continue to use the old statement with the primary purpose of ascertaining when the customer will be able to comply and produce the new postage statements.

– Customers that do not anticipate meeting the Jan 28th cutoff date for accepting the old postage statements will need to request an exception through the normal exception process and the local BMEU will assist with that process.

– No postage statement is created for eVS manifest mailers consequently no process change will be required unless an existing eVS customer is using a new product. Any eVS customer mailing one of the new products available after Jan 2 that cannot complete the new postage statement should work one on one with their Strategic Account Manager or Business Alliance Manager to ensure a seamless acceptance process.

Due to the short time frame, it is not expected that the USPS will publish this as an “official notice” so mailers should work with their local Business Mail Acceptance offices if they need to take advantage of the extension.

Mailers are strongly encouraged to implement the new postage statements as soon as possible as it is very costly for the USPS to support both old and new postage statements.

Proof of Mailing: Say Goodbye to the Red Round Stamp, Monica Lundquist, Postal Affairs, Window Book, Inc.

 

Proof of Mailing: Say Goodbye to the Red Round Stamp

As the United States Postal Service® (USPS) and the mailing industry are busy with the integration of Intelligent Mail® (IM), one item of particular concern to the ultimate postage payer seems to have fallen by the wayside. That item is the official proof that the mail has been accepted and paid for. For years, postage payers of bulk mailings have relied upon the red round dated stamp on the postage statements or other USPS documents as proof of mailing. That red round stamp still exists today, but be prepared for it to fade into the sunset soon.

Why is the red round stamp disappearing? It is due to the increasing use of electronic documentation (e-docs) rather than hard copy documents. With Intelligent Mail Full Service, use of e-docs is required, which will eliminate the ability for postal clerks to apply the red round stamp to hard copy postage statements. What then, is to be used to provide proof of mailing?

The USPS does provide for an electronic receipt file once postage statements have been processed through PostalOne!, however these receipts do not contain any detailed information about the mailing. These receipts can be obtained either individually or in batch mode, but in either case, it requires an active effort by the mailer or postage payer to obtain these receipt files. This does not sound like a big deal unless you are a large volume mailer, or a mail preparer who processes mail for numerous clients. This change in USPS process creates the need for a new mailers process that is not required when hard copy statements are used.

Moreover, since the receipts are not attached in any way to the postage statements  themselves, it also creates an additional process of reconciling the receipt file to the postage statements. There are USPS statement numbers, register numbers, and mailing group ID numbers on both documents for purposes of reconciliation, but this would be a manual process. Also of concern is that it is not clear how long this receipt information will remain on the PostalOne! site, so access after the fact may prove to be troublesome.

Inevitably, software developers and other mailing process suppliers will create more automated means to obtain and reconcile this information, likely even including an electronic facsimile of the old red round date stamp. However, these methods will vary depending on the supplier, so postage payers who do business with multiple mail preparers will be faced with a variety of representations of the USPS proof of mailing.

The mailing industry has been calling for the USPS to respond to this issue by asking them to provide a more automated, easy to use proof of mailing. The USPS has not been very responsive to this request, mostly because they have their hands full implementing other more critical components of IM and because their budgets do not allow for additional programming to accomplish this.

As a result, postage payers and mail preparers need to be made aware of this issue and prepare for it. You should be working with your postal contacts and mailing associations to raise the awareness of this problem with the USPS. You should also be planning for the worst-case scenario, which is that the USPS will not be able to provide an automated solution anytime soon. In this case, you need to work with your software developers to come up with some workable interim solutions. You will also need to be prepared to handle these additional processes and to educate your staff and clients as to the interim solution.

We all can agree that hard copy postal documents need to be eliminated and replaced with electronic documents. However, this should not be done at the price of creating additional work for postage payers. Only by making your voices heard through your mailing associations, and by making plans in advance of IM implementation will you make yourself prepared for this change in USPS processes.

Monica Lundquist, Postal Affairs, Window Book, Inc.