Vietnam Medal of Honor Forever stamps

WASHINGTON — Sun., March 8, marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the ground war in Vietnam with the deployment of 3,500 Marines. By war’s end on April 30, 1975, nearly 3 million service men and women fought in the conflict that would take the lives of more than 58,000 Americans.

USPS previews Maya Angelou stamp image

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service previewed the Dr. Maya Angelou Forever Stamp image today and announced that the First-Day-of-Issue stamp dedication ceremony will take place at 11 a.m., Tue., April 7, at the Warner Theater in Washington, DC. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. The stamps may be pre-ordered now at this link for delivery shortly after April 7.

What is YOUR Contingency Plan?

Did the PostalOne!® outage on Friday, Feb 13 catch you off-guard? (trust us, the black cat that crossed your path that morning had nothing to do with it!) Were you wondering how you were going to process your mailings and not lose Full-Service discounts? Did you struggle trying to figure out how to properly process your mailings with hard copies? If so, you are not alone. This type of situation can occur not just when there is a PostalOne! outage, but when your own systems may not be operating as expected. Whether it is a server crash, a software hiccup, loss of internet service, or even bad weather or natural disasters, the fact is that “stuff happens” – and when it does, you need to be prepared. The key to managing situations like this is to have a good contingency plan documented, communicated and practiced so that any time something prohibits you from uploading files to PostalOne!, you will know exactly how to process your mailings and, more importantly, not lose any discounts.

 

The PostalOne! Contingency Plan
Believe it or not, the Postal Service™ actually has a published contingency plan guide for mailers to use in situations such as February 13, 2015, when there is an extended PostalOne! outage. The guide clearly details the steps that mailers should take to submit their mailings using hard-copy forms, following up with the electronic submissions once PostalOne! is back up and running. Mailers should download, read and become very familiar with this guide.

 

YOUR Contingency Plan
As important as it is to know the PostalOne! contingency plan, it is just as crucial for mailers to create their own contingency plans, based on the PostalOne! contingency plan, and to put steps into place to handle internal situations that prevent mailers from submitting files to PostalOne! If your computer systems go down, your internet service is disrupted, your mailing software has a glitch, your power goes out, whatever your situation may be, the USPS understands that things happen beyond your control and will work with you to insure mailings are submitted properly without losing Full-Service discounts.

 

The key here is to use the PostalOne! contingency plan as a guide for your own internal plan, as the steps for submitting your mailings will be similar. You’ll need to take into account the various situations that could possibly occur and how you would work around them. Equally important is the communication with the USPS when these types of situations occur. It is vital that you notify your local post office as soon as possible that you have a situation preventing you from processing electronic documentation as usual, and that you need to implement your contingency plan. It is also key to document your plan carefully, and include your local post office when developing your plan. And just like fire drills in school, it is also important that you go through some rehearsals of your contingency plan so that both your internal staff and your local post office become familiar with the plan and the steps to process your mailings during this down time.

 

Handling Change
It is important for mailers to put these contingency plans in place sooner rather than later. If you don’t already have such a plan in place, or if your plan needs tweaking, better to put those changes into place BEFORE you or PostalOne! has a system outage. It is also critical that you review this plan periodically to incorporate any necessary changes in your mailing processes or with PostalOne! Also, it is critical to include your local post office in these reviews, and also to perform periodic “dry runs” of your contingency process.

 

Automating PostalOne! activities
When your systems and PostalOne! are clicking on all cylinders, Window Book makes automated communication with PostalOne! extremely simple, both for uploading files to PostalOne! (eDocs Manager Plus™ or EDM10X™), and now even for downloading finalized statements from PostalOne! Window Book’s newest Smart Postal Solution, PostalWeb™, completes the PostalOne! automation circle by providing easy and automated downloading of finalized PostalOne! postage statements directly to your servers, and includes options for email notifications and even emailing of these finalized postage statements!

New Password Requirements for USPS Business Customer Gateway

If you use PostalOne!® to submit mailings to the United States Postal Service® (USPS®), or log on to the Business Customer Gateway (BCG) to access other services, you need to pay close attention to this e-Tip!

The USPS modified the password requirements for the BCG, effective November 13, 2014. New registrants on the BCG since the November 13, 2014 date have been required to use these new password requirements. However, any registrants who signed up to use the BCG prior to that date will need to change their passwords!

New Password Requirements
The new password requirements include a minimum password length of 10 characters, which must include both upper and lower case, at least one number and may optionally include a special character. These new requirements were implemented for increased security reasons.

Time frame
Mailers are encouraged to log on to the BCG to change their passwords as soon as possible. However, the new password requirements become mandatory April 30, 2015, at which time the old passwords will no longer work to access the BCG. Starting in March 2015, users will be prompted to change their passwords when they log in to the BCG.

Handling Change
It is important for mailers to make these password changes as soon as possible, and certainly before the old format passwords stop working on April 30, 2015. Once these passwords stop working, you will no longer be able to log into the BCG to make the change; at that point you will need to contact the PostalOne! Help Desk to make this change. In the meantime, you will not be able to process any jobs on PostalOne!

It is also important for mailers to note that once these password changes are made, any software that interfaces with PostalOne! or the BCG in an automated fashion will also need to be updated to reflect the new passwords.

For example, if you already made the great business decision to license Window Book’s eDocs Manager Plus or EDM10X to automatically communicate with and/or upload files to PostalOne!, you will need to modify the configuration settings to work with your new passwords.

Automating PostalOne! activities
Window Book makes automated communication with PostalOne! extremely simple, both for uploading files to PostalOne! (eDocs Manager Plus or EDM10X), and now even for downloading finalized statements from PostalOne!

Maya Angelou to be Honored with Forever Stamp

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service will honor Maya Angelou — the beloved author, poet, actress and champion of equality — with a Forever Stamp.

Vintage Rose and Tulip stamps perfect for wedding invitations and RSVP cards

RIVERSIDE, CA — To add a special touch to Valentine’s Day, the Postal Service dedicated two stamps today for couples planning to step up to the altar — the elegant Vintage Rose Forever stamp and the 2-ounce Vintage Tulip stamp. The stamps were dedicated at the American Philatelic Society Ameristamp Expo show.

Vintage Rose and Tulip stamps perfect for wedding invitations and RSVP cards

RIVERSIDE, CA — To add a special touch to Valentine’s Day, the Postal Service dedicated two stamps today for couples planning to step up to the altar — the elegant Vintage Rose Forever stamp and the 2-ounce Vintage Tulip stamp. The stamps were dedicated at the American Philatelic Society Ameristamp Expo show.

Labeling List Changes Effective March 1, 2015

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) announced changes to the Labeling List data, effective March 1, 2015, with an expiration date of April 30, 2015. The Labeling Lists affected are L001, L006, L007, L012, and L606. The Labeling Lists are located on the Postal Explorer web site under the Additional Links tab.

Use of Labeling List Data
The Labeling List data is used to define the specific destination information to be printed on sack labels, tray labels, and pallet labels. This destination information is used to route the mail inside the sacks, trays and pallets to the correct postal facility for processing. The destination information is based primarily on 3-digit ZIP Code prefix, and varies based on the class of mail, processing category, and other criteria. Virtually all container labels are generated using computer software, which accesses this Labeling List data in a file format, operating much like a look-up table.

Why the changes?
There are many reasons why the USPS makes changes to the Labeling List data. Recently, many of the changes are being made as a result of their efforts to consolidate processing facilities to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Changes also take place when the USPS makes alterations to the service areas for certain processing facilities, which can be the result of shifts in population, mail volumes, staffing and many other reasons. Keep in mind that approximately 12% of the US population moves each year and there are about 1,800 new delivery addresses added each day. So, there are lots of ZIP Code changes happening all the time!

Time for change
The USPS modified the frequency of these updates last fall from quarterly to monthly. What this means for mailers is that Labeling Lists are now effective for a period of only two months. While these updates have always been important to insure proper direction of the mail, keeping up to date is now more critical than ever. Gone are the days when mailers could perform their postal presort process months in advance. Due to this change, the maximum advance time for the presort process is 60 days, and in reality probably less than that to accommodate production schedule fluctuations.

The scheduled and actual induction dates (mailing dates) also become much more critical as a result of this change. These dates are what is used by the USPS to determine if valid Labeling Lists have been used to process the mailing.

Handling Change
When these types of changes are announced, it is important for mailers to work with their software vendors and mail service providers to make sure that the changes are implemented on a timely basis. This is critical so that the correct destination information is populated into the Mail.dat® files, or any other files or printed documents that are used to process or submit postage statements (and other postal documentation) and to create sack, tray, and pallet labels. Keep in mind that the Labeling List changes involve not just the facility names, but the ZIP codes associated with those facilities. This affects the destination line on the tags and the mailpieces that are placed into the sacks, trays, and pallets. As such, these changes MUST be incorporated into the presort software first; if the data is incorrect during this process (and thus incorrect in the Mail.dat files), it cannot be corrected in Post-Presort software, such as DAT-MAIL™.

Automatic Postal Data Updates System
Window Book makes these updates easy for our clients by providing an automated method to update the Labeling List information into your Post-presort software. Once you have this FREE add-on tool installed with your DAT-MAIL software, you no longer have to remember to check for Labeling List updates, nor do you have to perform manual downloads because it will automatically be taken care of for you! You can just set it and forget it!

And if you think that’s cool – ask us about how we can automate the process of downloading and installing new MDR Client software from PostalOne!®

Robert Robinson Taylor – 38th Honoree into Black Heritage Stamp Series

WASHINGTON — Robert Robinson Taylor, believed to have been both the first African-American graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the nation’s first academically trained black architect was inducted into the Postal Service’s Black Heritage Stamp series today as the 38th honoree. His great granddaughter, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett joined Postmaster General Megan Brennan in dedicating the stamp.

2015 Year of the Ram Forever stamp – Stamp release

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Postal Service welcomes the Year of the Ram today by issuing the eighth of 12 stamps in its Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony for the Forever stamp took place today at the Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco.