Logical vs. Physical Entry Points

If you drop ship mail to additional entry points, something that often causes confusion for mailers is the potential discrepancy between the ZIP code for the “logical entry point” vs. the ZIP code of the “physical entry point.” For example, the ZIP code on the destination line of pallet placards may not match the ZIP code of the postal facility where the mail is being entered. So, how exactly is a postal entry point identified, and how do mailers prepare their mail and postal documents for these entry points?

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

Charlie Brown Christmas Forever stamps kick-off national stamp collecting month

WASHINGTON — Oct. 2 marks the 65th anniversary of the “Peanuts” comic strip and December marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most popular holiday TV classics of all time — “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Why You Need to Use the Test Environment for Mailers

A common misconception in the mailing industry is that the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) section of PostalOne! was designed only for the process of getting certified for Intelligent Mail® Full-Service. Since this certification process is no longer required for mailers using pre-certified software such as Window Book’s DAT-MAIL™ solution, many mailers ignore the TEM portion of PostalOne! We are here now to set those people back on the straight path!

It is important to remember that TEM is a fantastic learning tool because it is – as it’s name clearly states – a test environment for mailers, and allows everyone to try out various file formats and mailing scenarios before submitting these mailings on the Production side of PostalOne! It is critical that mailers take advantage of the TEM environment to fully prepare themselves for how their mailing submissions will work in Production. Even if you are proficient in submitting files to PostalOne!, TEM is a great option for testing new processes, new file formats, new file sources, new data from new clients, and so forth.

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

USPS dedicates Paul Newman Forever stamp

Cleveland — The U.S. Postal Service today officially dedicated a Forever Stamp honoring Oscar-winning actor and philanthropist Paul Newman. The ceremony was held in the Playhouse Square District in Cleveland, Newman’s hometown.

ZIP codes and permits in Mail.dat Files

It certainly seems like there are an overabundance of fields for ZIP™ codes and postal permits in a Mail.dat® file. What exactly are all these ZIP codes and permits, and what are they used for? If this is confusing to you, you are definitely not alone. This week we’ve put together a Mail.dat file ZIP code and permit FAQ list:

First, why is the word “ZIP” always capitalized?
A little postal trivia here – the word “ZIP” isn’t really a word. ZIP is actually an acronym that stands for Zone Improvement Plan.

What is the verification postal facility ZIP Code™? How and why is it used?
This is the ZIP+4® of the post office where the mailer is having their mail verified, and this data is populated in the Segment record (SEG) of the Mail.dat file. It might be a Detached Mail Unit (DMU) or it might be a Bulk Mail Entry Unit (BMEU). PostalOne!® will look up the “Finance Number” associated with this ZIP Code and make sure that the Finance number associated with the mailer’s permit matches. Finance numbers have various important roles but one role is to restrict access to a mailer’s eDoc submission only to mail clerks that are linked to that same finance number.

What is a local permit and local permit ZIP code? How (or is) this different from the permit info used to pay for the mailing? And what the heck is a ghost permit?
The local permit (full name: Local Mail Owner’s Permit) is typically not used for postage payment. Instead it is one way of identifying a mail owner when a mailing is presented by a mail service provider, and this data is populated in the Mailers Postage Accounting file (MPA) of the Mail.dat file. The local post office used to set up what is termed a “ghost permit” to identify each client of a mail service provider. This used to be the primary means of identifying mail owners in Mail.dat files, but was changed by PostalOne! a while back so that now this information is looked up by the mail owner Mailer ID (MID) or Customer Registration ID (CRID) specified in the Mailers Postage Accounting file (MPA) or in the Component file (CPT) of the Mail.dat file. Today, Mail Owner MID’s and CRID’s take precedence and one of these is required for Full Service qualification, so the local permit (ghost permit) fields are not very much any more. The key is to make sure that if you do populate these fields the information matches what is populated in the Mail Owner MID/CRID field in the MPA and CPT files.

Mail Owner MID/CRID information… when does this need to be populated and why?
As mentioned above, the Mail Owner MID/CRID must be populated in either the Mail.dat CPT and/or MPA files when the number of mail pieces for any mail owner exceeds 5000 pieces in order to qualify for Full-Service. Either can be used, and it is advisable not to use BOTH in case they are not linked with each other. This condition is known as a “by/for conflict” and can negate a mailer’s Full-Service qualification – and discount. Again, the key here is consistency: make sure that you do not have any conflicting data populated in the CPT and the MPA files.

What is the Post Office of Mailing? How (or is) it different than the verification postal facility info, or the local permit info?
Typically, the Post Office of Mailing is the post office location where the permit used to pay postage is held. In Mail.dat, this is identified by the fields Permit City, Permit State, Permit ZIP + 4 code, and the Permit Number in the MPA record. Permits are usually issued by local post offices, and the numbering sequence for postal permits is only unique at each local post office. (More Interesting postal trivia: there are close to 33,000 Permit Number 1’s in the US since there are approximately that many local post offices across the country.) It is the combination of the permit number and Post Office of Mailing ZIP+4 that makes a permit unique. In past years the postage funds were held and managed by each individual post office. The permit could only be used within the finance area of that post office. For mailers that mail at different BMEU’s, this required them to have permits (and their clients to have permits) at each of these post offices.

A new wrinkle has been introduced here in that PostalOne! now has a centralized permit payment and funds management process. Under the new Mail Anywhere program, Full-Service mailers are allowed to mail anywhere in the US on the same permit number. As a result, the Post Office of Mailing may NOT be the office where the postage payment permit is held. In these cases, the Mail.dat file must be populated with a Payment Account Number in the MPA file. This is the postage payment account number associated with the permit, it is NOT the permit number itself.

How do mailers manage all this data in their Mail.dat files?
One way to manage this data is to populate it during the presort process. In many cases, however, that is just not practical because that data may not be available to the entity performing the presort. This data is more effectively managed using post-presort software, such as Window Book’s DAT-MAIL solution. In DAT-MAIL, there is a Client File, which represents a mail service provider’s mail owner list. It can also be linked to a file containing the mail owner MID’s and CRID’s. It is common for a mail owner to have multiple MID’s though not common to have multiple CRID’s. When a Mail.dat file has a Mail Owner MID or CRID populated in the MPA file, DAT-MAIL can determine which client it is for. When statements are generated, the company name and address of that client record will be used on the postage statement. In a commingled mailing, where many different companies are identified, DAT-MAIL can create separate postage statements for each client identified by MPA MID, MPA CRID or MPA Local Permit. If the mail owner MID or CRID is not populated, the DAT-MAIL user can look it up from the MPA View and populate it easily. The DAT-MAIL Permit File allows you to maintain a list of permits and select the one that is being used. If the Mail.dat files already have this populated, DAT-MAIL uses the link between the MPA Permit and PO of Mailing ZIP to lookup the permit holder’s name and address to correctly populate that data on the postage statements.

Window Book offers our DAT-MAIL™ post-presort software solution, with its Client, MID/CRID, and Permit files to help you manage all of this data. The USPS provides many resources for permit and MID/CRID information, including a batch upload process on the Business Customer Gateway (BCG) that Mail Service Providers can use to obtain updates to this data directly from PostalOne!

Window Book can help you automate your processes using our software and service solutions.

Window Book offers a free Mailing Optimization Analysis.

Call us at 1-800-524-0380 for more details or to sign up for your FREE Mailing Optimization Analysis!

Don’t miss Window Book’s NEW
Get Freedom thru Automation Campaign

  • Designed to give you FREE use of our Automation Software
  • Maximize your Time savings so you can be freed up to do other important work…

Go to www.windowbook.com/Automation4you
to watch a 4 minute video and learn more.

If you are having troubles / challenges with PostalOne! then read this:
Window Book’s newest smart business solution, PostalWeb™ helps you increase your mailing and PostalOne! productivity. Automate workflow processes for production floor personnel, IT staff, Customer Service Representatives (CSRs), distribution manager and accounting department. Systematize the downloading and distribution of critical postal data including; barcoded PostalOne! Confirmation Pages, Unpaid (UPD) and Finalized Postage Statements, financial data from these documents accurately into XML format for integrating into your enterprise reporting systems.


Don’t miss out on our educational mailing webinars! Log on to our webinar registration site to sign up.

Creative Drop Shipping

Mailers have to be creative these days to stay competitive. Drop shipping mail to additional entry points is one way of staying competitive because you save money on postage and have better control over in-home delivery. But, there may be situations where drop shipping is beneficial, and you just have not thought of using it. For example, if you think you don’t have enough volume to fill a truck or even enough to send to a consolidator, there may be another option to try. What about those last few residual sacks or trays from a larger mailing that you are drop shipping using your normal methods? Do you have pesky mail delivery complaints in certain areas of the country? How about wanting to improve the delivery time for your Standard Mail®, but not being able to afford bumping it up to First-Class Mail®? If you have ever run into these situations, the answer just might be Priority Mail® Open and Distribute (PMOD).

What is PMOD?
Priority Mail Open and Distribute is a USPS® service offering that provides an alternate method of transporting drop-shipped mail. Rather than using traditional transport methods (truck, rail, airfreight, etc.) for drop shipping, this service allows mailers to use the expedited delivery service offered by Priority Express or Priority Mail to transport the smaller volume mail to additional postal entry points. Mailers can place their prepared mail sacks or trays into special PMOD sacks or tray boxes, and tag these handling units with special PMOD tags. These tags indicate to the USPS that the mail inside the sacks or tray boxes is drop ship mail, and that it needs to be opened and then distributed as it would normally be processed, hence the name “open and distribute.”

Why use PMOD?
Drop shipping mail can result in some nice postage discounts, or it can be an effective way to better control the in-home delivery date of mail. But some mailings just don’t lend themselves to the more traditional methods of transporting drop-shipped mail from the original entry point to the destination entry post offices. Drop shipping traditionally involves the use of over-the-road or rail transportation to get the mail closer to the destination point. It works very well for many types of mailings, but smaller mailings make it tougher to take advantage of drop shipping benefits without paying high minimum charges to logistics providers. Since Priority Express has next day delivery service and Priority Mail has 2- to 3-day delivery service, PMOD can be a very quick way to transport the mail to the additional entry points. This is ideal for time-sensitive mail or for delivery trouble spots.

Uses for PMOD
Some typical users of PMOD are small volume mailers, who just do not consistently have enough mail volume to meet the minimum shipment requirements of most logistics providers. Another common use is a mailer sending time-sensitive mailings that just doesn’t have the budget for First-Class Mail prices. This type of mail can be prepared and paid for at Standard Mail prices, but using PMOD drop shipping can closely approximate the delivery service of First-Class Mail at a much lower price. Mailers who experience repetitive delivery delays to more remote areas, such as Alaska or Hawaii, often use PMOD for this mail to help improve delivery times. The same is true for Periodicals mail that encounters subscriber delivery complaints to certain geographic areas. Using PMOD for these cities can help eliminate those subscriber complaints. Even large mailings that use traditional drop ship methods use PMOD to handle those remaining few sacks or trays that would normally get entered at the origin.

Taking Advantage of PMOD
Window Book offers our DAT-MAIL™ post-presort software solution, with its PMOD export option, along with our Postal Package Partner™ solution to generate the special PMOD labels and tags. These solutions can make using this USPS service very quick and easy. We can even analyze your mailing files to determine how PMOD can benefit your mailing operation.

The USPS provides many resources for PMOD information, including both Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail options.

Window Book can help you implement PMOD in your mailing operation and automate your processes using our software and service solutions.

Window Book offers a free Mailing Optimization Analysis.
Call us at 1-800-524-0380 for more details or to sign up for your FREE Mailing Optimization Analysis!

Charlie Brown Christmas Forever stamps bring cheer to holiday greetings and packages

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service begins celebrating the holiday season by dedicating the Charlie Brown Christmas Forever stamps Oct. 1. The booklet of 20 stamps features 10 still frames from the 1965 TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (two of each design) celebrating the classic’s 50th anniversary.

Do YOU Have A Contingency Plan?

Have all the recent PostalOne!® outages and issues caught you off-guard? 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. AND – you need to put this contingency plan in place NOW. Do not wait until you are in the middle of the outage and then start scrambling.


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

Top Ten Reasons to Use eDoc

The value and benefits of using eDoc with the USPS® have been both documented and proven now for quite a while. Amazingly enough, however, there are still a lot of mailers who only use it for their Full-Service mailings. Even worse, there are just as many – or more – who don’t use it at all!

It is very clear that the USPS intends to eliminate hard copy postage statements and other documentation. In recent postal and industry meetings, the USPS already indicated that this will become a reality in the not-too-distant future. If you are delaying implementation of eDoc, or implemented it only for Full-Service mailings, you need to gear up and make the transition.

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