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USPS to Sunset FTP Package Shipment Transmissions

In an effort to comply with recent audit findings, and to provide more secure data transmissions, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is eliminating the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) method for transmitting package shipment files effective January 31, 2017. FTP is currently one of the acceptable transmission methods for submitting USPS Shipping Service Files (SSF) to the Product Tracking and Reporting (PTR) and Electronic Verification System (eVS) systems.

Acceptable transmission methods
Shippers who currently use FTP for their file transmissions will need to switch to one of three other secure communication methods offered by the USPS: PDX (preferred), SFTP or AS2. Shippers should be working with their software vendors NOW to insure that any shipping software will support these alternate transmission methods prior to the FTP cutoff date of January 31, 2017. The USPS supports these alternate methods right now, so there is no need to put off updating to these other methods prior to the deadline.

Implementation Phases
The USPS will be making this transition in phases. Letters to customers were already sent out on March 1, 2016 informing them of this change.

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USPS Publishes New Prices and Statements for April 2016

The USPS recently published new prices and postage statements for the market dominant product lines, including First-Class Mail®, Standard Mail®, Periodicals, Library Mail, Media Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Other and Extra Services and Qualified Business Reply Mail.

Before you get into a panic about postal prices going up again – relax! – this is actually a price DECREASE!

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Window Book Releases New DAT-SHIP™ solution

February 1, 2016, Cambridge, MA

Window Book, Inc. is pleased to announce the release of their latest breakthrough: A new Multi-Carrier Shipping solution, DAT-SHIP, which is designed to help shippers truly optimize their shipping operation.

DAT-SHIP provides shippers with the ability to rate shop to get the best shipping discounts and services across multiple carriers, process all modes of transit, print all the necessary paperwork, and avoid unanticipated costs of non-compliance. DAT-SHIP is offered as Software-as-a-Service (SAAS / cloud technology). and it is fully compliant with UPS®, FedEx, DHL, and USPS® regulations.

Because DAT-SHIP uses budget-friendly transaction-based pricing, you can get the best system for your needs, regardless of volume. Whether you are a low or high volume shipper you can use DAT-SHIP to rate shop based on the most logical mode of transport – B2B, B2C, Residential, etc. DAT-SHIP can even optimize between small package shipments and LTL.

“Now shippers can use DAT-SHIP to simplify their workflow, save time by batch printing labels and easily manage shipping for all their carriers with the same system.” said Jeffery Peoples, Window Book’s CEO.  “We are continually looking for better ways for shippers and mailers to increase efficiencies in the process. DAT-SHIP integrates with their in-house systems and I am certain many shippers will realize tremendous time and money savings from using DAT-SHIP and increase their profitability in the process,”  added Peoples.

Shippers who wish to see and learn more about DAT-SHIP are encouraged get a free Shipping Optimization Analysis by visiting or call 1-617-395-4585 to learn how can optimize your shipping operation.

About Window Book
Window Book is currently celebrating its 28th year helping clients manage their mailing and shipping operations more profitably. We help you to: Streamline mail and shipping processes to reduce operational costs and increase productivity! Implement Full-Service and Seamless Acceptance to minimize the risk of downstream quality issues and be in a better position to defend your preparation processes. Grow with Emerging Technologies. Automate Your PostalOne! Submissions. Move to the Cloud to Optimize Your Operations. Use Your Data to keep up with beating the competition. One shipping solution that rate shops your options: DAT-SHIP!

Intelligent Mail, PostalOne!, FAST, USPS, Express Mail, Priority Mail Open and Distribute and Delivery Confirmation are registered trademarks owned by the
United States Postal Service in the United States and/or other countries.

Mail.dat and Mail.XML are trademarks owned by the
International Digital Enterprise Alliance (IDEAlliance).

Contact information:
Window Book, Inc.
300 Franklin Street
Cambridge, MA 02139-3781
Ph: 800-524-0380
Fax: 617-395-5900


Mail Anywhere FAQ’s

Since the USPS began offering the Mail Anywhere program, which allows customers to use the same postage payment permit regardless of what mailing location they use to enter the mail, many mailers have taken advantage of its benefits. The Mail Anywhere program is an added benefit offered to Full-Service customers, allowing them to use a single permit to present Full-Service or mixed Full-Service mailings at any Business Mail Acceptance site. Not only does this greatly simplify permit management, but it also saves permit application and renewal fees for customers who mail at numerous locations.

As with any new program, mailers may have a lot of questions regarding participation and mail preparation under this program. This week’s e-Tip deals with some of the more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s).

Q: What are the eligibility requirements to participate in Mail Anywhere?

The eligibility requirements for Mail Anywhere are:

  • The Mail Anywhere service is available to customers who mail at 90% or higher Full-Service levels for the customer’s given business location and meet the electronic Full-Service verification criteria during the month prior to their request to participate in Mail Anywhere.
  • Mail Anywhere is available for Full-Service First-Class Mail® (Cards, Letters and Flats only); Standard Mail® (Letters and Flats only, including Nonprofit); Bound Printed Matter (Flats only); and Periodicals (Letters and Flats only).
  • Permit types that are eligible include Permit Imprint; Pre-canceled Stamps and Metered. A variety of postage statement types are also supported in Mail Anywhere, including Single Permit; Combined Mail; Comail; Mixed-Class Comail, and Copal.
  • Mailers may submit their electronic data via Mail.dat®, Mail.XML™, Postal Wizard (First-Class and Standard Mail only, Full-Service only); or IMsb (First-Class and Standard Mail Only).

Q: Do I have to make an application to the USPS to use Mail Anywhere?

A: Yes, participation in this program does require an application process. This process applies to the individual that is preparing the mail. For example, if a Mail Owner wishes to participate, but employs a Mail Service Provider (MSP) to prepare their mailings, the Mail Owner needs to request their MSP contact the PostalOne!® Help Desk to go through the authorization process.

The first step is to verify that the participants meet all of the eligibility requirements. The best way to do that is to access the Mailer Scorecard data to review both the Full-Service mail volumes for the previous month, as well as to verify that none of the error thresholds for the electronic verification have been exceeded during that time.

Once eligibility is verified, the application email should be sent to the PostalOne! Help Desk at Included in the email should be:

  • Request for Mail Anywhere participation
  • Preparer’s Customer Registration ID (CRID) for the location where the mail is prepared (if multiple preparation locations will be used, the CRID for each location must be provided)
  • Preparer’s Contact Name, Company Name, Business Address, City, State and ZIP code
  • Mail Owner’s permit numbers and BMEU’s City, State and ZIP code where the permit was opened
  • Postal Facilities where you plan on dropping your mail
  • Permit numbers that you wish to be consolidated

Q: Do I get a new permit number once approved for Mail Anywhere?

A: No, participation in this program does not require that mailers establish a new permit. Mailers may use already existing permits. Most participants in this program eventually consolidate the multiple permits at multiple locations that they currently have and are able to use just a few permits for all of their mailings. Keep in mind, mailers must still maintain the different permit types for the different postage payment methods, such as permit imprint, meter, stamp, or reply mail. For example, let’s say that Mailer A, headquartered in Chicago IL, has permit imprint permits in Chicago, Boston, Tampa, and Los Angeles. Under this program, Mailer A can consolidate all of these permit imprint permits into a single permit at their Chicago headquarters location, closing the other permits in Boston, Tampa and Los Angeles. Using Mail Anywhere, Mailer A is able to use that single permit to mail at all of those locations, and more.

Q: Do I need to change the way my mail or Mail.dat® files are prepared?

A: Participation in this program means that Mail Owners or Mail Service Providers may need to adjust some of the data that is submitted electronically to PostalOne! via the Mail.dat files.

The PostalOne! Help Desk can provide more detailed instructions on how to correctly populate the Mail.dat files for mailings that participate in Mail Anywhere. We strongly encourage people to test submitting these types of mailings using the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) prior to submitting them for live production.

Two very critical pieces of information for these jobs are:

1) The Payment Account Number in the Mailer Postage Accounting (MPA) file, field MPA-1127. This number is different than the postage permit number, and is assigned by the USPS when the application for Mail Anywhere is submitted. Typically, there is a Payment Account Number assigned for each postage permit that is participating in the Mail Anywhere program.

Note: The Payment Account Number is different than the CAPS account number and the USPS Finance Number. USPS Finance Numbers are not supported in the Mail.dat file specification: these numbers are looked up by PostalOne! in the USPS database, based upon the permit numbers and payment account numbers provided in the Mail.dat file.

2) The Verification Post Office. Since the postage payment permit in this program may be located anywhere, the post office where the mail is verified and accepted may be different than the post office where the postage payment permit is held. The verification post office data is populated in the Segment (SEG) file of the Mail.dat file (fields SEG-1118 and SEG 1119).

If you encounter issues uploading Mail.dat files to PostalOne! for Mail Anywhere jobs, we suggest you open a help desk ticket with PostalOne! by sending an email to Include a description of the issue, and attach the Mail.dat file that you are working with, along with screen shots of the errors you are getting.

Mailers should not need to change anything with regard to the indicias (permit imprints) printed on their mailpieces or their metering information – unless some permits have been closed out or consolidated as part of this application process. Mailers should work with the PostalOne! Help Desk or their local District Business Mail Entry office for guidance on any changes in these areas.

Q: What happens if a Mail Owner switches to a different Mail Service Provider?

A: It is important to note that the application for participation in Mail Anywhere is done by the entity preparing the mail, which in most cases is the Mail Service Provider. The application includes a listing of the clients and permits that the MSP wants to get approved for Mail Anywhere. The approval is based at the MSP level, so if the Mail Owner switches to a new MSP, the new MSP will need to apply for Mail Anywhere approval if they have not already done so, including the new Mail Owner’s name and permit information. If the new MSP has already been approved for Mail Anywhere, they would need to notify PostalOne! of any new Mail Owner clients (and their permit information) in order for those Mail Owners to continue to participate in Mail Anywhere at the new MSP.

The USPS offers a Fact Sheet and a Customer Participation Guide for Mail Anywhere, both of which are available on the USPS RIBBS web site. Window Book’s DAT-MAIL software fully supports Mail Anywhere mailings. Window Book also offers a free educational webinar on Mail Anywhere.

Window Book can help you implement Mail Anywhere 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!

Is Your Mail Headed in the Wrong Direction?

What kind of question is this? Of course your mail is headed in the right direction! Isn’t it? It was addressed properly, presorted properly, your mailing facility bundled it, trayed or sacked it according to postal regulations, palletized it properly, all the tray/sack/pallet tags are correct, and it was shipped to the correct entry points. Or was it????

When was the last time you updated your mailing and shipping software to the most recent destination data files from the USPS? Just where does all the ZIP code and postal facility data come from? You know… that first line of information that prints out on your tray tags, sack tags and pallet placards? And what about the facility information that prints out on your 8125 clearance documents for drop shipping? Where does all that data come from, and how is it kept up to date? What happens if you use outdated data?

You’ve most likely heard terminology such as Labeling Lists, Drop Ship Destination Data, City-State Files, Zone Chart Data, and so forth, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out what all these terms really mean, and why they are important to your mailing operations. The short answer – the USPS provides mailers “Destination Data Files” which may be downloaded from the USPS web site. There are a number of different files included in this group, all of which are critical to insure that your mail is prepared properly and is labeled and routed to the correct postal facilities for processing and delivery. This data can – and does – change frequently, so it is critical that mailers pay attention to these changes and update their presort and post-presort software with the new data as soon as it becomes available.

Why is this important? Using out-of-date data can result in your mail getting held up at acceptance because it has not been sorted or labeled correctly according to the most current data. Even if it does get past USPS acceptance, if the destination data is old, all that mail that you so carefully prepared is going to end up headed in the wrong direction to incorrect postal facilities. This will cause delivery delays because the mail will need to be reworked and redirected to the correct locations. And this can all wind up as a bad mark on your Mailer Scorecard. Keep in mind, the USPS plans to start implementing postage assessments starting in July. Bad marks on your Mailer Scorecard will start costing you money later this year!

Labeling List Files
These files contain the Labeling List information, which is used to properly label bundles, sacks, trays, and pallets of mail. This information is used by presort software to correctly sort the mailing list and to correctly populate the destination data line on sack tags, tray tags and pallet placards. This information dictates which ZIP codes may be combined together into the handling units, such as trays and sacks, as well as which ZIP codes may be combined together on containers, such as pallets. These files are updated monthly, and are announced in the Postal Bulletin. Mailers often confuse the Labeling List data with the Drop Ship data (see below), but the two are used for completely different purposes. To avoid confusion, it is helpful to think about the titles of the data files: Labeling List data is used to sort and label the mail, while Drop Ship data is used to direct the shipment of the mail.

Drop Ship Product Files
These files are used to properly identify postal facilities which may be used by mailers to transport (drop ship) mail to facilities closer to the final destination of the mail. This is a group of files that include the postal facility listings along with detailed data such as the operating hours, classes and processing categories of mail handled by the respective facility, contact information, driving directions, ZIP codes serviced, and so on. Included in this group of files is the Mail Direction File, which is used to identify when postal facilities “re-direct” mail to other postal facilities. For example, if a postal facility is undergoing renovation, some of the mail classes or processing categories it would normally process are re-directed to a nearby facility during the renovation period. This is a temporary condition, so this information is communicated using the Mail Direction File rather than making short term changes to the actual facility listings. The drop ship data is used in both presort and post-presort software to identify drop ship entry points and to correctly populate the drop ship clearance documents – PS Form 8125’s. These files are provided from the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking System (FAST) and the Mail Direction Files are updated monthly. This update frequency is the required frequency for mailers to perform updates, but in actuality this data is being updated on a daily basis. For mailers who do frequent drop shipping, it is recommended to get this data updated daily rather than just the minimum required frequency.

Other Files
There are other files, such as the Zone Chart files and City State Files, which are also important as they are used to assign postal zones within mailings that are subject to zone-rated postage and used in combination with other destination data files to insure accurate assignment of city and state names. Zone charts are updated quarterly, while the City State Files are updated six times per year.

Timing of updates
The USPS establishes mandatory use dates for all of this data to help make sure that mail is prepared and routed correctly. Mailers should update this data in both their presort and post-presort software as often as possible, but certainly no less frequent than the minimum requirements. Failure to do these updates on a timely basis may result in your mailings getting delayed or even worse, stopped at the point of verification. It is recommended that mailers work with their software vendors and service providers to coordinate the timing of these updates so that any potential conflicts are minimized. Window Book recommends updating this data on a weekly basis, or if you do frequent drop shipping, on a daily basis.

The major release schedules for this data may be found on the USPS RIBBS web site. Information regarding the drop ship data may be found on the FAST web site. Window Book posts updated destination data files to our software downloads web page each Friday. These updates may be manually downloaded and installed to your Window Book software, but you can do these updates automatically at a frequency you can dictate by using the Automated PostError! Hyperlink reference not Data Updater plug-in of the Window Book Scheduler. There is no additional charge for this utility, so users should definitely take advantage of this convenient means to automatically update this critical data.

Window Book can help you implement the destination data changes 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 Optimizati

Don’t Forget: USPS® Price Changes Take Effect This Weekend!

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved all of the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) proposed price increases. The implementation date for these approved prices is January 17, 2016.

Again – the final implementation date for these price changes is January 17, 2016. That’s this Sunday! 3 days from today!

Overall Changes
The new prices are available in Excel and .csv format on the Postal Explorer web site. The draft postage statements are also available on the same web site. Please note that this price change does not impact all mailing classes, so for some mailings the new January 2016 postage statements will be required, whereas for other mailings, the current May 2015 postage statements may still be used.

Software Updates
If you have not already done so, mailers will need to update their mailing and shipping software to accommodate these new prices. There is no new Mail.dat® file format specification version associated with this price change. Here is what will be supported as of January 17th:

January 17, 2016

  • USPS will support Mail.dat 14-2 Errata versions and 15-1 Errata
  • USPS will continue to support all Mail.dat 14-2, errata versions including
  • USPS will continue to support all Mail.dat 15-1, errata versions including

As a reminder – there was a mandatory PostalOne! update on January 3, 2016, which means that if you are a mailer who submits eDoc, you should have downloaded and installed the new USPS MD Client software on the 3rd.

IMPORTANT NOTE: PostalOne! will be releasing a patch to the MD Client software on Sunday, January 17, 2016. This patch is to correct issues with Mail Anywhere submissions, so if you submit Mail Anywhere mailings, you will need to download and install this patch. This is not a mandatory update, so non-impacted mailers are not required to download and install this patch, but are encouraged to do so.


USPS® Fascinating Facts

Here are some interesting and little-known information about the United States Postal Service® (USPS®).

Size and Scope

The USPS delivers more mail to more addresses in a larger geographical area than any other post in the world. The USPS handles forty percent (40%) of the world’s mail volume. The USPS is a huge business: if it were a privately held company, it would rank 43rd in the 2014 Fortune 500 list! And to de-bunk a common myth, the USPS receives NO tax dollars for operating its services!

To further testify to the huge scope of the USPS, check out these statistics:

Number of delivery points nationwide: 153.9 million
Annual mailpieces processed and delivered: 155.4 billion
Number of USPS-managed retail post offices: 31,662
2014 FY revenue: $67.8 billion
Number of career employees: 486,822
Number of non-career employees: 130,432
Number of vehicles: 211,264 (one of the largest civilian fleets in the world)

The USPS is the core of the mailing industry, which is a $1.3 trillion industry that employs more than 8 million people. AND, it’s growing: 971,543 new delivery points were added in 2014!

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Don’t Forget! PostalOne!® Mandatory Software Update This Weekend

The USPS is issuing a mandatory software update for the PostalOne!® production system this weekend. This update will be implemented on Sunday, January 3, 2016. The PostalOne! Production (PROD) system will not be available on Sunday morning January 3, 2016, between 12 midnight and 10 a.m. CT. PostalOne! will also be updating the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM); that update will occur on Monday, January 4, 2016. The PostalOne! TEM environment will not be available between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. CT on January 4. The new Mail.dat® client download for the Production Environment will be version; all previous versions of the Mail.dat client will be expired.

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New Year’s Resolution: Make A Contingency Plan!

As the year 2015 draws to a close and our thoughts turn to the new year, we can’t help but consider what our New Year’s Resolutions might be. With all the recent PostalOne!® outages and issues, a great resolution to add to your list is to make a contingency plan!   No doubt the recent PostalOne! outages caught you off-guard. You were probably scrambling trying to figure out 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, don’t let this happen again! 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.

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