PRC Approves 2018 Price Adjustments

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) filed a case back in October with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for a proposed price adjustment for all classes of mail. This price adjustment, if approved by the PRC, will be implemented on January 21, 2018. The PRC issued a notification that it has approved the proposed price changes for both competitive products and for the market dominant (non-competitive) products.

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

USPS Files for 2017 Price Adjustments

Last week the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) filed a case with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for a proposed price adjustment for all classes of mail. This price adjustment, if approved by the PRC, will be implemented on January 22, 2017. The USPS earlier this year filed for, and received, PRC approval for six promotions for the 2017 calendar year. These promotions will be implemented starting January 1, 2017 and then continue throughout the calendar year.

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

Get Ready For Shipping Products Price Changes

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved the price change notice the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) filed in October requesting an average price change of approximately 9.5%. This means that there will be price changes to the Shipping Services (a/k/a “competitive”) products effective January 17, 2016. This price change does NOT include any price increase for First-Class Mail® or any other Mailing (a/k/a “market dominant”) products.

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

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.

Keeping Up to Date

Did the recent Mail.dat version change, PostalOne! software update, or Priority Mail price change catch you by surprise? On September 7, 2014, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) implemented a price adjustment for Priority Mail and also implemented new postage statements for Priority Mail and other classes of mail as well. This change required mailers to update their USPS MDR Client software from the Business Customer Gateway on August 24, 2014. Along with these changes, PostalOne! support for the old 13-1 Mail.dat version ended and the currently supported versions are the new 14-2 version and the prior version of 14-1. Window Book sends out numerous notifications of these changes in advance through these eTips, but there are other resources available as well to help insure these kinds of changes don’t catch you by surprise in the future.

Why the update?
The USPS periodically makes updates to the PostalOne! system to incorporate enhancements and bug fixes. Major updates are performed when there are significant changes to postal rates and/or regulations, such as when the USPS increases their prices in January each year. There are usually at least four PostalOne! software updates during the year: January, April, July, and October. There may also be interim updates to PostalOne! for immediate fixes or other system issues.

The August update was a major change to support new USPS products and services, postage statement changes, and other updates. The postage statement changes took effect on September 7, 2014.

At the same time, the Mail.dat® specification changed from 14-1 to 14-2. For purposes of submitting Mail.dat files to PostalOne!, the table below shows the various Mail.dat version numbers and the dates on which they are supported by PostalOne!

Keeping updated
The USPS sends out notifications of all PostalOne! outages and software updates using the DMM Advisory. You can subscribe to the DMM Advisory by sending an email to dmmadvisory@usps.com. In addition, detailed information regarding the changes in the PostalOne! software are available on the USPS RIBBS web site. The DMM Advisory also provides notifications on pricing and postage statement changes, as well as Mail.dat and Mail.xml version changes. This information is also available on the RIBBS web site Release Schedule.

Handling Change
When these types of changes are announced, it is important for mailers to pay attention to the PostalOne! outage periods so that you can make adjustments in your mailing operations to accommodate the downtime. It is also extremely important for mailers to download and install the USPS Mail.dat Client software (also sometimes referred to as MD Client or MDR Client) as soon as it is available. This software can be downloaded from the Business Customer Gateway web site. Mailers also need to make any associated updates or configuration changes to software that interfaces with PostalOne! once their Mail.dat Client software is updated. For example, if you use DAT-MAIL’s eDocs Manager Plus or our newly improved EDM10X, you will need to edit the configuration for this in the Window Book Automation Scheduler.

Likewise, mailers need to pay attention to Mail.dat and Mail.xml version changes and USPS data file updates (Labeling Lists, Zone Charts, Drop Ship files, etc.) and coordinate with their presort and post-presort software so that the correct versions are used.

More Changes This Fall 2014: Understanding How They Affect You

The August 24, 2014 PostalOne!® update, which coincided with the new Mail.dat® 14-2 release, included many changes and updates to Postal services and postage statements among other things. In addition, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) will be issuing another PostalOne! software update on November 9, 2014. The November update does not have any postage statement or Mail.dat modifications, but there are changes that may have an impact on your operations. Make note of the recently enacted and upcoming changes.

Highlights from the recent August Update

Changes to Mailing Services

Postage Statement Changes

There are changes in postage statements for Periodicals, First-Class Mail®, and Standard Mail®. With the exception of the Priority Mail statements, which will be mandatory due to the price changes, mailers may continue to use the January 2014 postage statements. However, if you wish to use any of the new products and/or services, you must switch to the September 2014 statements.

New Mail.dat version 14.2
There is a new Mail.dat specification version associated with this update; the current version is 14-1; while the new Mail.dat version is 14-2. For purposes of submitting Mail.dat files to PostalOne!, the table below shows the various Mail.dat versions and the dates on which they are supported by PostalOne!

Between August 24 and September 7 mailers can submit new mailings using Mail.dat version 14-2 or 14-1. During this period, mailings can also be submitted using 13-1, but ONLY for mail with mailing dates processed before Sept. 7. Between Aug. 24 and Sept. 7, mailers can also submit 13-1 files to update previously submitted mailings.

Political and Election Mail
The new 14-2 Mail.dat version now has fields in the Content Characteristics Record (CCR files) to identify political and election mail. These identifiers should be used only if 100% of the mailing contains these types of mail. This will then allow the appropriate postage statement check box to be marked, and will also indicate to mailers and the USPS that special tags are to be applied to this mail. Use Tag 57 for Political Mail and Tag 191 for Election Mail.

Is 14-2 mandatory?
The use of Mail.dat 14-2 is not mandatory. Mailers can continue to submit 14-1 files to PostalOne! DAT-MAIL’s new August update supports submission of either file format. Mailers can import 14-1 and 14-2 files and submit 14-2 to PostalOne!, but can not import 14-2 and submit 14-1.

DFSS:

Effective August 1st a new PS-8125 form became available that supports Flat Sequencing System (FSS) entry points. In the new PS-8125 Form, under the Mailer Information section, DBMC has been removed and DNDC and DFSS have been added for “Entry Discounts Claimed” options. Note: the old 8125 form can still be used for 6 months until further notice.

Air Boxes:
Although not mandatory, mailers who use Air boxes are being strongly encouraged by the USPS to update to DAT-MAIL’s new August update so they can generate new PS-8125 forms. Air boxes are an alternate container from trays/sacks/pallets that Periodicals mailers use to get mail drop shipped in an expedited manner for time-sensitive materials.

Priority Mail:
Priority mailers using Mail.dat must update to DAT-MAIL’s new August update in order to be able to use new rates and generate Postage Statements, which are effective September 7, 2014.

New 8125
The August release of DAT-MAIL includes the new 8125 which should be used by mailers that do the following:
-Drop ship to DFSS facilities
-Use air boxes (Periodicals mail)
-Use DAT-MAIL to mail Priority Mail eDoc

Full-Service eDoc Verification & Invoicing
PostalOne! reports for Intelligent Mail® Full-Service verification will have postage charges for non-compliance visible on the reports, but the USPS will NOT actually be assessing these charges. Not yet, anyway! But, mailers need to pay very close attention to these reports because it is only a matter of time before the USPS does implement these charges.

Changes to Shipping Services

Priority Mail® Price Changes
Great news for shippers who are eligible for Commercial Base and Commercial Plus rates. Effective September 7, 2014 those rates are decreasing! The new Postage Statements reflecting these price changes are available at pe.usps.gov.

-Commercial Base: 0.9% average decrease
-Commercial Plus: 2.3% average decrease
-Retail prices: 1.7% average increase

IMpb Compliance Threshold Increases
The USPS is already charging a non-compliance fee for Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb) mailings. This fee is $.20 per piece, and can add up in a real hurry if you mail any sort of volume at all. The compliance threshold to avoid those fees is increasing as well.

Single piece parcel shipments
Good news! Mailers will now be able to use their volumes from multiple classes of mail to meet the volume minimums for parcel shipments mailed using Manifesting with a Permit Imprint payment method. The minimum volume is 50 pieces or 50 pounds, which used to apply to each class of mail separately. Now, volumes from various classes of mail can be combined to meet this minimum.

IMpb requirement changes:
Mailers will now need to use Intelligent Mail Package Barcodes (IMpb) on more categories of mail. This requirement includes Standard Mail parcels, Parcel Select Lightweight, and the remaining portions of Priority Mail previously exempted from IMpb.

Changes to USPS Data

Labeling List Update Frequency Changes to Monthly
Previously, these files were updated on a quarterly basis, but this is changing to a MONTHLY cycle starting in August. The USPS announced changes to the Labeling List data, effective September 1, 2014, with a mandatory use date of September 30, 2014.

Mailers need to be much more vigilant about using these updated files since they will no longer be able to presort their mailing list files months in advance. There will only be two months of Labeling List data permitted at any given time, which means presorts cannot be performed more than 60 days in advance of the estimated date of mailing.

This means that the estimated and actual ship dates in the Mail.dat files become MUCH more critical. These are the dates that will be used to validate that the correct Labeling List files have been used, so it’s essential for mailers to accurately populate those data fields.

HUB list: There is a new Labeling List going into effect called the HUB list. This is a list of postal facilities that just cross-dock or transfer mail, and do not do any actual mail processing. These facilities are intended to be used by mailers to improve mail delivery by drop shipping to these hubs, which will then cross-dock the mail to outbound transportation bound for the final destination facility.

Upcoming Changes

PostalOne!® November 9 Update
The second PostalOne! update, originally scheduled for October 26, 2014, is now November 9. The November 9 update does not have any postage statement changes, but there are other changes associated with postage statement mail owner CRID display, Nonprofit authorization numbers, Postage assessment of Seamless Acceptance errors, Move Update, new functionality for the Business Customer Gateway (BCG) and Mailer ID. Visit November 2014 changes for more details.

Mail Entry Road Map

The USPS has published its “Mail Entry Road Map” showing mailers what is in store for them with changes to acceptance, verification and payment between now and mid-2015.

September 2014 – eInduction pilot of a scan process for non-SV sites starts. If successful, this will be rolled out in early 2015 and allow all entry points to participate in eInduction without having to link pallet barcodes to FAST appointments.

October 2014 – Full-Service Verification Error Postage Assessments will be visible to mailers; however, they will not actually be billed until January 2015 (based on December 2014 data). Pay attention to these assessments and correct what is causing them before December!

October 2014 – Mailers will need be processing and submitting 75% of their eligible mail as Full-Service if they want to retain their DMUs.

November 2014 – PostalOne! Release 39 – many changes here. This is the first release that will use actual induction date as the basis of verifying the validity of the labeling list used to do the presort. There are also expected to be a number of changes that will impact all mailers doing eDoc. Watch for Window Book webinars and subsequent communications about the changes coming in PostalOne! Release 39.

Stay Informed
Learn more about Postal Changes for Fall 2014 from Free Educational Resources:

Webinar Recording:

USPS Changes for Fall 2014: Do you know what they are?
http://www.windowbook.com/recordedwebinars

White Paper:

Changes are Coming in 2014: Do You Know What They Are?
https://www.windowbook.com/Lp/USPS-2014-Changes

Priority Mail Price Changes

On July 1, 2014 the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) filed a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for price adjustments to Priority Mail®. The implementation date for the new prices is September 7, 2014. While this filing must be approved by the PRC before the new prices are implemented, it is anticipated that the PRC will approve this request.

Price Changes
The Priority Mail pricing structure will remain as it currently exists. The proposal calls for an increase in the Retail Priority Mail prices at an average of 1.7%. Commercial prices will actually see a decrease, with Commercial Base prices going down an average of 0.9% and Commercial Plus prices decreasing an average of 2.3%. This is great news for commercial shippers, just in time for the holiday shipping season.

New postage statements reflecting these new prices will be introduced for the September 7, 2014 implementation date, and will be made available in late August.

Details of the proposal, including the new rate charts, may be found on the PRC web site. The USPS has also posted the new postage statements online on Postal Explorer, as well as the rate charts in Excel format.

Handling Change
This is an extremely short notice of this price change, so software vendors are feverishly working to incorporate these new prices into their software products. On a related note, the USPS is also making format and verbiage changes to postage statements for many other classes of mail, also effective on September 7, 2014. There is also a Mail.dat® specification version change taking place at the same time, from the current version 14-1 to the new 14-2 version. Window Book anticipates having updated releases of our software reflecting these new prices, new postage statements, and supporting the new 14-2 Mail.dat version available in August.

Resources
These changes will also require a PostalOne!® software update, which is scheduled for August 24, 2014. USPS sends out notifications of all PostalOne! outages and software updates using the DMM Advisory. You can subscribe to the DMM Advisory by sending an email to dmmadvisory@usps.com.

 

New Pricing Strategy to Grow Priority Mail

WASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service today filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to change Priority Mail prices, including a reduction in prices on average for businesses and other customers who use Commercial Plus and Commercial Base online shipping services. The price change will include a modest increase for Priority Mail prices at Post Offices and other postal retail outlets. The proposed changes, which would go into effect in September 2014, are intended to offer more competitive pricing and build on Priority Mail’s popularity with customers.

http://prc.gov/prc-pages/library/detail.aspx?docketId=CP2014-55&docketPart=Documents&docid=89958&docType=Notice

http://www.presortmailer.org/members/EmailOptPreferences.aspx?id=25171453&e=mlundquist@windowbook.com&h=a59d0729011311f99d260f9166b317681bf2868c

Speed, Agility, and Reliability

USPS.com: We’re teaming up with one of summer’s most exciting movies to bring you the speed, agility, and reliability you expect from domestic Priority Mail® — with a superhero twist. Find a location near you to get Amazing Spider-Man 2 postage or order free Priority Mail Flat Rate® Boxes delivered right to your door. As always, you’ll get a specified delivery date1, USPS Tracking™, and free insurance for most shipments valued up to $502.

https://www.usps.com/amazing

 

 

Priority Mail Gets Amazing Endorsement from Spider-Man

USPS and Sony Pictures Team Up to Cross-promote Priority Mail and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’

WASHINGTON — To put some Super Hero Spidey-power into its promotion of Priority Mail, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is teaming up with Sony Pictures for the release of the highly anticipated motion picture “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” in theaters nationwide on May 2, 2014.

In a campaign to promote Priority Mail and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” the Postal Service and Sony Pictures are collaborating on a high-profile, multi-channel marketing campaign that begins this week and continues through the end of May.

“Our Priority Mail products share many qualities with a Super Hero of Spider-Man’s caliber, namely those of speed, agility and reliability,” said Nagisa Manabe, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer at USPS.  “Like Spider-Man, our priority has always been the people we serve. We pride ourselves on our commitment to public service and delivering for our customers, and we are excited about enlisting Spider-Man to help promote our Priority Mail offerings.”  Read More.

Sony Pictures logo

Via USPS