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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 What happens if you use outdated data?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 Using out-of-date data can result in your mail getting held up at acceptance because it has not been sorted or labeled correctly according to the most current data.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.

Resources
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 valid.al 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.

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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

Frequency for USPS Data Updates Moves to Monthly

Effective June 1, 2014, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) will begin sending monthly updates to several critical data files, such as Labeling Lists, Mail Direction Files, and Zone Charts. (Currently the Labeling List data is updated quarterly.) This is a MAJOR change that will definitely impact mailers, possibly resulting in loss of postal discounts, or rejection of mailings if the mailing has not been processed using the correct data.

Use of the Data Files
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 access this Labeling List data in a file format, operating much like a look-up table.

The Mail Direction files are used to communicate any temporary re-directions of mail from the intended postal facility of entry to a different postal facility. These re-directions are done for many reasons, such as seasonal volume or staffing fluctuations, construction, deployment or moving of processing equipment, etc.

The Zone Charts are used to determine the postal zone of mail that has distance-sensitive postage prices, such as Priority Mail®, Periodicals Mail, and Package Services Mail. The zone is based on the distance of the destination ZIP code of the mail from the origin entry point ZIP code of the mail. There are nine postal zones, with Zones 1 and 2 designated for ZIP codes closest to the origin entry point, and Zone 8 for the farthest ZIP codes. Zone 9 is used for certain US territory mail.

Impact of this change
There are three dates that mailers need to pay attention to as a result of this change:
• The Mailing Date (induction date): the date the mail is entered at a USPS facility
• The Effective Date of the data files: The date that the data files can first be used to induct mail into a USPS facility
• The Expiration Date of the data files: The last date the data files can be used to induct mail into a USPS facility.
Essentially, mailers need to make sure that their mailing dates fall on or in between the Effective Date and the Expiration Date of the data files used to process the mailing. If the mailing date falls outside of this time period, loss of discounts could occur, or the mailing may even be rejected.

Transition period
The USPS provides for a transition period when these data file updates are announced, to allow software vendors time to update their software and for mailers to use up existing labels. During this period, the USPS encourages mailers to use the new data files as soon as possible, but it is acceptable to use the old data files until the expiration date. However, with updates coming monthly now, these transition periods are very short.

Handling Change
When these data file updates are announced, it is important for mailers to work with their software vendors and mail service providers to make sure that the new data files are implemented on a timely basis. This is critical so that the correct destination, re-direction and zone 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
As luck would have it, Window Book has an automated method to update all of these data files into your software. Once you have this FREE add-on tool installed with your DAT-MAIL software, you no longer have to remember to check for these data file 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!
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Don’t miss Window Book’s amazing NEW SOLUTION for
any mailer that sends eDoc to PostalOne!
Go to www.windowbook.com/eDM to learn more.

Jeff Peoples
Window Book, Inc.

P.S. Window Book is your partner in the mailing business and we PROTECT our clients. It is incredibly valuable for YOU to have someone hand-hold you through your transition to Full-Service..
• Are you afraid the transition to Full-Service will be too expensive or too time consuming??
• Maybe you don’t have the time or resources but you know YOU have to make the change..
Window Book has helped thousands of mailers to improve. You are next… We are here to help you get to the next level….Click on this link Mail Optimization Analysis and let Window Book take care of you..

Intelligent Mail Package Barcodes®, IMb™, First-Class™, Priority Mail Express™, Parcel Select®, Media Mail®, Standard Mail®, PostalOne!®, RIBBS, United States Postal Service® and USPS® 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).

Upcoming USPS Promotions

The USPS® is currently offering two promotions: the Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion and the Premium Advertising Promotion, which are both running now through June 30, 2014. And, approaching rapidly is the Mail & Digital Personalization Promotion, which is scheduled to run from May 1 through June 30, 2014.

Mail & Digital Personalization
The goal of this promotion is to enhance the value of mail by encouraging mailers to use variable data printing (VDP) or other print technology that provides varying levels of mailpiece personalization and customization. Mailers are encouraged to utilize personalization through URLs, web pages, or mobile experiences with both messaging and content linked to the mailpiece. The eligible mail classes are First-Class Mail presort and automation letters, cards and flats and Standard Mail letters and flats (both Regular and Nonprofit).
The mailpiece must include information relevant and highly personalized to the individual recipient using VDP or other print technology. The personalized contents of the mailpiece must contain or be based on factual or behavioral information about the individual recipient, such as name, age, birthday, preferences, buying behaviors, etc. The address block alone does not qualify as an identifier for personalization/customization. The mailpiece itself must contain a personalized URL or mobile print technology, such as QR codes, that direct the recipient to an active and unique website. These websites must provide highly personalized content and have a unique URL that enables the mailer to track and monitor individual web activity. The web page must also contain content relevant to the mailpiece. If mobile print technology is used, the website must be optimized for performance on mobile devices.

The discount amount is two percent (2%) of eligible postage, which is calculated in PostalOne!® and applied to the postage statement at the time of mailing.

The registration period for this promotion started March 15, 2014 and runs through June 30, 2014. Both Mail Owners and Mail Service Providers must register for participation. As a reminder, the promotion period runs from May 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014.

Mailings must be submitted electronically using Mail.dat®, Mail.XML® or Postal Wizard. Mail Owners must be identified in the electronic documentation. The postage payment method must be Permit Imprint or Precanceled Stamp permit, although some Meter Permit mailings may qualify. The mailing must be tendered for acceptance during the promotion period of May 1 through June 30, 2014.

Additional information
More detailed information regarding this upcoming promotion can be obtained at the USPS RIBBS® web site. A Program Requirement Guide is available, as is a program FAQ document. The Mail Owner Enrollment Guide for all USPS promotion and incentive programs is also available, as is the Mail Service Provider Enrollment Guide. Questions may be directed via email to mobilebarcode@usps.gov.

Window Book is here to help
Window Book is currently celebrating its 26th year helping clients manage their operations more profitably. Why should you talk to Window Book? Because we help you to: Streamline mail processes to reduce operational costs! 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 Make More Money. Are you Keeping Up With Your Competition? Learn the KEY Shifts You Can Make… We Can Help YOU in Ways No Other Company Can! Call 1-800-524-0380 and talk with a Postal Expert Now.

To schedule a free Mailing Operations Analysis, visit www.windowbook.com/Services/Mail-Optimization-Analysis

Don’t miss Window Book’s amazing NEW SOLUTION for
any mailer that sends eDoc to PostalOne!
Go to www.windowbook.com/eDM to learn more.

Jeff Peoples
Window Book, Inc.

P.S. Window Book is your partner in the mailing business and we PROTECT our clients. It is incredibly valuable for YOU to have someone hand-hold you through your transition to Full-Service..
• Are you afraid the transition to Full-Service will be too expensive or too time consuming??
• Maybe you don’t have the time or resources but you know YOU have to make the change..
Window Book has helped thousands of mailers to improve. You are next… We are here to help you get to the next level….Click on this link Mail Optimization Analysis and let Window Book take care of you..

________________________________________

Window Book, Inc. and GrayHair Software, Inc. Announce
Business Partner Relationship
Complementary Solutions Enable Optimized Mail Production and Processing

March 13, 2014, Cambridge, MA and Mt. Laurel, NJ

Window Book, Inc., a leading provider of mailing, shipping and post-presort data management software, and GrayHair Software, Inc., a leader in delivering best practices for address hygiene and postal management, today announced an expanded relationship that enables mailers to achieve the full range of benefits available through the Intelligent Mail® barcode.

“Window Book and GrayHair together offer complementary solutions for mailers so everyone can benefit from expanded presort and post-presort systems. By having software and services from both of these industry-leading companies integrated in your mailing operation, everyone will be able to automate their daily process and fully optimize their mailing operations,” said Jeffery Peoples, Window Book’s CEO. “We are extremely pleased with this new partnership and look forward to expanding it even more in the future as we work together to make it easier for our mutual clients to pass data through each other’s solutions,” said Jeffery Peoples, Window Book’s CEO.

“We look forward to a fast growing and successful partnership. This agreement with Window Book enables GrayHair to offer its current and prospective clients advanced options to optimize their mail production,” said Raymond Chin, Vice President of Product Management and Marketing, GrayHair Software. “We consider ourselves the leader in services that provide mailers methods to optimize data visibility with their vendors and customers. This partnership will close the loop on how that data is delivered into the Postal Service.”

The business synergy between Window Book and GrayHair products will result in improved production and workflow processes that can benefit many of the companies’ mutual customers. This workflow integration will make it even easier for GrayHair customers to utilize Window Book capabilities and vice versa, providing added benefits and efficiencies before, during and after presorting mail.

For more information about Window Book and/mailing and shipping software, visit www.WindowBook.com, call 1-800-524-0380 or email PostalSpecialist@WindowBook.com.

For more information about GrayHair, visit www.grayhairsoftware.com or call 1-856-727-9372.

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For more information about Window Book and/or DAT-MAIL, visit www.WindowBook.com,
call 1-800-524-0380 or email PostalSpecialist@WindowBook.com.

For more information about GrayHair, visit www.GrayHairSoftware.com or call 1-856-727-9372.

About Window Book:
Window Book is currently celebrating its 26th year helping clients manage their operations more profitably. Why should you talk to Window Book? Because we help you to: Streamline mail processes to reduce operational costs! 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 Make More Money. Are you Keeping Up With Your Competition? Learn the KEY Shifts You Can Make… We Can Help YOU in Ways No Other Company Can! Call 1-800-524-0380 and talk with a Postal Expert Now. www.WindowBook.com

About GrayHair

GrayHair is an innovator and industry leader in the development of solutions that improve the return-on-investment of business mail. GrayHair Advisors is the source for strategic and tactical consulting services. The company’s experience on the cutting edge of postal issues for the largest companies is key to helping mailers increase response rates, manage postal expenses, optimize mailing operations and integrate mail with digital communications. GrayHair Software provides critical services through its cloud platform SelectSolutions® including address quality (domestic and global), IMb™ assignment, mail tracking, mail monitoring, presort analysis, postage reconciliation, and global hybrid mail. For more information, visit www.GrayHairSoftware.com and www.GrayHairAdvisors.com.

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
PostalSpecialist@WindowBook.com
www.WindowBook.com

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©2014 Window Book, Inc. All rights reserved. DAT-MAIL and eDocs Monitor are trademarks of Window Book, Inc. The following trademarks are owned by the United States Postal Service: Intelligent Mail, IMb and PostalOne! The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. Contact Window Book for current information.

©2014 GrayHair Software, Inc. All rights reserved. GrayHair Software, the GrayHair Software logo and SelectSolutions are trademarks or registered trademarks of GrayHair Software. Intelligent Mail, IMb and PostalOne! are trademarks of the United States Postal Service®. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners. Specifications are subject to change without notice. Performance and results may vary depending upon specifications, user environment and other variables.

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300 Franklin Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139-3781
United States
(617) 395-4500

Postal Alert More Changes Around the Corner

Jeffery Peoples
CEO & Founder
Window Book, Inc.

By now you have probably heard about the recent announcement from the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) about deferring the requirement to use Intelligent Mail® Full-Service to qualify for automation prices on January 26, 2014. You must also be wondering whether Full-Service will become a requirement in the near future. USPS and Industry associations recommend that rather than slowing down or stopping any Full-Service implementation efforts, you should continue to move to Full-Service. It is too early to tell when there will be a new Full-Service requirement for automation rates, but the USPS has a number of other options to get the industry to meet most of Full-Service’s requirements.
Intelligent Mail Full-Service implementation date has been delayed. So, I can relax now, right?

No, it may be far more important for you to implement Full- Service than it was before!

Full-Service mail has better visibility to the USPS and is frequently given priority handling since that is how the USPS measures processing performance. A Full-Service mandate would have “leveled the playing field” for all mailers but without a mandate, ONLY Full-Service mailers enjoy faster and more reliable processing and delivery without having to pay extra. Not only do they not pay extra for this improved service, they even get a small discount!

But, Full-Service was really never about that discount in the first place, it was about adding value to mail by providing better visibility. Many mailers and mail owners are getting Full-Service IMb Tracing and ACS data and using it to improve the effectiveness and value of their mail. This data has spawned a whole industry to make this data actionable and almost as important as the mail itself. So, Full-Service mail service providers have a significant advantage over those who don’t mail under Full-Service. More and more mail owners are discovering this every day putting non-Full-Service mail service providers at a competitive disadvantage.

If I don’t mail under Full-Service can I avoid having to do all of the things required of Full- Service mailers?

Not likely for much longer. The USPS should be able to require mailers to meet many of the original Full-Service requirements without actually forcing them to mail under Full-Service.

The three major requirements of Full-Service are unique piece and container barcoding, submitting eDoc for mailings over 10,000 pieces, and identifying yourself and your clients in your eDoc (by/for).

Unique barcode identification of trays and pallets. You will soon have to do this for trays anyway since the 10 digit tray tag will soon be retired. You already have to do this for trays that will be copalletized. Don’t be surprised if unique pallet barcoding pops up as a requirement for pallet placards on all drop shipped mail. With most presort programs, this is a matter of doing a simple configuration change. If not, some (not all) post-presort software can handle this for you and print your tags and placards as well.

Unique barcode identification of mail pieces. If you or your clients are using IMb Tracing or ACS, you are most likely already doing this. If not, many presort programs make this surprisingly easy. There are also exemptions for certain small mailings.

Submitting eDoc for mailings over 10,000 pieces. You already have to do that if you want to copalletize your trays. Some large mailers have been doing eDoc for over 15 years. Why? Because once you get the hang of it, it is way more efficient than presenting paper postage statements or entering data into the Postage Statement Wizard™. Don’t be too surprised to see this pop up as a requirement for a larger number of mailings. You may have been one of the businesses that waited too long to use the Internet in your business – now you can’t live without it… Full-Service offers the similar major advantages to operational efficiencies… Don’t wait.

By/For Identification of your clients. If you are a mail service provider mailing on your own permit and want your client’s name and address to print on your postage statement, you are already identifying your client (mail owner). How you will do this will change for eDoc, but once you get the information you need, this is not a super-difficult requirement to meet and you will still have to do it in order for your clients to qualify for USPS promotions. Exemptions still exist when there are fewer than 3,000 pieces present in a mailing for a single mail owner.

There are also other changes taking place this year which will make it important to implement eDoc and provide uniquely barcoded tray and pallet barcodes. In fact, once you go that far, you are not far away from meeting all Full-Service requirements so you might as well “go all the way”.

eInduction – No more hard copies of PS 8125: If you drop ship, the eInduction program will help you save time by eliminating the need to print and round stamp PS 8125 clearance documents for most DSCF, DADC and DNDC drop ship entry points. This program provides a paperless induction method for validating container payments at the destination facilities. But, even if you are mailing under a DSMS agreement without 8125’s, there is still an advantage of eInduction: faster trailer unloading and acceptance.

Currently, the program is rolling out nationally but you have to submit eDoc and have unique “IMCb” barcodes on your pallet placards. If you are interested in this program, please contact me and we will assist you with more detailed information. eInduction can save mailers, logistics companies and the USPS a LOT of money, you owe it to yourself to take a good look at exactly what you may be missing. Adopt now, Full-Service is too important to the USPS… it is not going away it will simply show up dressed a little differently.

Seamless Acceptance: This technology uses scanning at induction and by Mail Processing Equipment (MPE) to evaluate mail quality, payment, and address data. Physical piece sampling will also be added. It will cut way down on the cost of mail acceptance and verification to both mailers and the USPS but both Full Service and eInduction are prerequisites. These savings could allow the USPS to offer incentives to participate in Seamless Acceptance that may be more compelling than what is currently offered to mail under Full-Service.

New Rates and Postage Statement, January 26, 2014: You will need to update your software with the new price changes to be able to generate accurate postage statements and mailing documentation. Will these rates reflect just the CPI index increase or those plus the Exigent Rate Case? Time will tell.

New Mail.dat 14-1, January 26, 2014: Your software will need to be updated with the updated Mail.dat specification in order for you to be able to properly upload files to PostalOne!® and exchange files with your partners. A number of types of mail including Standard and BPM flats and many First-Class™ mailings which include Single Piece Rate mail will require that mailers switch to 14-1 on January 26th!

Intelligent Mail Full-Service: Though the mandate for mailers to continue receiving postage automation discounts has been delayed to a future date, there is little point in avoiding the inevitable since you will have to comply with most of the Full Service requirements sooner than later.

Top Ten Reasons to Not Delay Your Full-Service Implementation

Wow, just when you had your head wrapped around the Intelligent Mail® Full-Service deadline in January 2014, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) says the USPS® can’t mandate Full-Service in order to claim automation discounts – causing the USPS to announce a delay in their implementation schedule. So, now what do you do? STAY THE COURSE!

It’s obvious the USPS now has a number of decisions to make regarding their response to the PRC, but in the meantime, we urge you to not stop that Full-Service train that’s been rushing down the tracks simply because no one knows what those USPS decisions will be. Plus, you’ve already put a lot of time and effort into your Full-Service implementation. Don’t let that investment go to waste by shelving your efforts and having to do everything all over again in the future.

Now let’s look at the Top 10 Reasons to Not Delay Your Full-Service Implementation… (drum roll, please)

Reason #10
You are currently missing out on Full-Service discounts. And before you scoff at what those discounts are, consider how much money you’ve already passed up by waiting even this long – and how that money could be used to offset some or all of any investment you need to make to get into Full-Service mailing. Remember, current discounts are $3/1000 pieces for First-Class Mail® and $1/1000 pieces for Periodical and Standard Mail®. Not huge for smaller mailers, but something is better than nothing. And – what about future discounts? Since the USPS has been restricted from mandating Full-Service for automation rates right now, one alternative they may consider is increasing the current discounts for using Intelligent Mail Full-Service as an added incentive. If the USPS does decide to sweeten the Full-Service discount pot, will you be ready to take advantage of those bigger discounts or will you continue to wait until a point that they completely remove ANY discount? Then you have absolutely nothing (zip, zero, zilch, nada) to help with your return on investment. We already know the USPS is increasing prices, so this is one way of helping alleviate the pain of some of that increase as well.

Reason #9
Better USPS Service for YOU – a “secret” benefit. One of the reasons the Intelligent Mail program was created was to be able to provide more accurate and timely ways to measure USPS delivery performance. As the old saying goes, what gets measured gets improved. Full-Service mail is no different. Since this mail is inherently more visible – with unique barcodes on pieces, trays and pallets – it’s easier for the Postal Service™ to see any processing or delivery trouble spots and fix them quickly. Full-Service mail gets better service delivery, a benefit many mailers are ignoring. This reason alone may be worth finalizing your Full-Service implementation.

Reason #8
Full-Service is not going away! Not by a looong shot. It’s here to stay no matter how far you shove your head into the sand. Intelligent Mail is already providing tremendous benefits for mailers – big and small – who are taking advantage of it. And while the USPS may not be able to mandate its use at this brief moment in time for automation discounts, this is only a bump in the road; the mandate will come eventually (much sooner than later) because they are reaping benefits from it, too! And you can bet that the USPS will make Full-Service more enticing to mailers in the interim.

Reason #7
Knowledge is power. “There’s a lot of data in them there barcodes.” (Said with a twang in our voice and a twinkle in our eyes.) And a lot more data in those Mail.dat® files you use for eDoc. So, go above and beyond Full-Service qualification and compliance. Find out how you can capture and use all of that data to automate or otherwise improve functions in your mailing operation. Take a deeper look into all this data because you just don’t know what you don’t know. Window Book can help you understand… call us and let’s have a simple discussion about it. Big Data and those who use it will have the competitive advantage moving forward… don’t lose your clients to a smarter mailer.

Reason #6
Free is good – real good. And for you, free mailing data is even better! Valuable data – such as IMb Tracing® data, Start-The-Clock data, and Address Change Service (ACS™) data, is currently provided FOR FREE as part of Intelligent Mail Full-Service. Granted, the data from the USPS is pretty raw in format, but there are plenty of service providers out there who can help you turn that raw data into usable information. And, if you’re a Mail Service Provider (MSP), you may even be able to monetize the provision of this information to your clients. Again, there is no guarantee that the USPS will continue to offer this data at no charge in the future, so why not take advantage of it now while it is still free?

OK. We’re halfway there. Hang with us….

Reason #5
Who doesn’t want a money saving promotion? Well, the USPS plans to offer you one. Well, to be more accurate, they plan to offer you nine of them! That’s right; the USPS has proposed nine promotion/incentive programs for 2014 that require Full-Service for participation. And some of these promotions are quite lucrative! The trick is you need to use at least some elements of Intelligent Mail Full-Service in order to be eligible for these promotions, such as Intelligent Mail barcodes on the mailpieces and submitting eDoc to PostalOne!®. If you can get these elements in place, you are already half-way to Full-Service, so keep on moving!

Reason #4
“Hey, Paul. What do they say about practice?” “Well, Dave. The ‘they’ I know say practice makes perfect!” And so say us, too! The sooner you start implementing Full-Service, the sooner you can get it incorporated into your production environment in a smooth and efficient manner. Going through the TEM process (which is really just a series of practice sessions) can take some time, but it is time well spent to insure that everything will work smoothly once you flip the switch to production. AND – the Postal Service recently removed the TEM certification requirement for mailers using pre-certified software, such as Window Book’s DAT-MAIL. With the hint of new enticements from the USPS for utilizing Full-Service, don’t wait until the last minute to try to do this implementation; it will be like trying to run a marathon without doing any training.

Reason #3
Hanukah is here. Christmas is coming. You need to buy presents for your wife, kids, parents, neighbors, mail carriers, etc. And you can’t do that if you don’t have a job. As you continue to wait, your competitors are not. They have either already converted or are converting right now. And if they can offer your customers discounts and services you can’t, how long will those customers remain yours? About as long as the Christmas ham stays whole on the dinner table, I would expect. And if you’re a mail owner enjoying the autonomy of mailing in-house, why give your powers-that-be the extra opportunity to explore outsourcing options?? Either way, MSP or in-house mailer… get in the game! This could be a fight for your very survival!

Reason #2
The hits just keep on coming. And coming. And coming. (OK. You get the point.) What else happens in January each year, besides breaking your New Year’s resolutions? Postage increases! Mail.dat and Mail.XML™ specification changes! Postage statement changes! And it doesn’t stop there…with the uncertainty of the economy, and not knowing what the USPS will decide regarding the Full-Service mandate, your plate is going to be full enough in 2014 as it is. Get Full-Service implementation under your belt and into production and you’ll be far better prepared to move on to new opportunities and tackle new challenges.

And now, the #1 Reason to not delay your Full-Service implementation:
STAY THE COURSE! You’ve already spent plenty of time strategizing for this move to Full-Service. Don’t waste that time. We know it’s already the busiest time of year for most of you, but since you already had Full-Service implementation in your schedule and your budget, why stop now? This brief bit of breathing room from postponing the mandate is a gift… use it wisely. Do not try to get the ball rolling again down the road when you can take advantage of the momentum you already have going. It is much easier and more cost-effective to complete what you started NOW!

Window Book is here to help
Window Book’s industry-leading Full-Service On-Ramp Service will make your transition much easier. We offer the best assistance – bar none. We can do things for you that no other company can. Additionally, our post presort solution, DAT-MAIL, can help you manage your Full-Service mailings easier and more efficiently.

We have plenty of other resources to help you get through this implementation too, but DON’T WAIT! To schedule a free Full-Service Readiness Analysis, visit www.windowbook.com/4you.

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

Well there you have it. See you next week for another informative Postal e-Tip!

Jeff Peoples
Window Book, Inc.
P.S. Window Book is your partner in the mailing business and we PROTECT our clients. It is incredibly valuable for YOU to have someone hand-hold you through your transition to Full-Service.
• Are you afraid the transition to Full-Service will be too expensive or too time consuming?
• Maybe you don’t have the time or resources but you know YOU have to make the change.
DON’T WORRY! Window Book has helped 100’s of companies. We will lead you step-by-step with our proven and tested methods to walk you through the process. Click on this link www.windowbook.com/4you and let Window Book take care of you.

Verification Procedures for Full-Service January 2014

As we have told you many times, Intelligent Mail® Full-Service will be required by the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) effective January 26, 2014 in order for mailers to retain their automation discounts. So, how will the USPS® verify these mailings to make sure that they meet all the requirements? And, more importantly, what happens if a mailing doesn’t meet the requirements?

Existing Verification Procedures
The USPS® will perform verifications on these mailings just as they do today. The existing verification items include, but are not limited to, validation of the mailpiece dimensions, shape, weight, flexibility, barcode quality, content, presort makeup, and automation eligibility. Should a mailing fail existing verifications, the mailer may choose to have the disqualified mailing returned for re-work or pay additional postage. The existing thresholds used to verify and qualify automation mailings will apply.

Full-Service Verification Procedures
In addition to the existing verifications described above, USPS® acceptance employees perform more in-depth verification of Full-Service mailings to ensure that Intelligent Mail® barcodes are present and readable on mailpieces, trays, and containers and that the mailings are presented with proper electronic documentation (eDoc). The existing thresholds used to verify and qualify Full-Service mailings for readable barcodes and submission of eDoc will apply. Should a mailing fail existing verifications, the mailer may choose to have the disqualified mailing returned for re-work or pay additional postage to mail at non-automation prices.

Electronic Verification Procedures
The USPS® will be verifying a number of items submitted in the eDoc. These items include the following:
• Service Type ID: The service type ID that is provided in the Intelligent Mail® Barcode (IMb®) and contained in the eDoc is appropriate for the class of mail and service level of the mailpiece.
• Mailer ID: The mailer ID that is provided in the IMb®, Intelligent Mail® Tray Barcode (IMtb), and/or Intelligent Mail® Container Barcode (IMcb) and contained in the eDoc is valid (issued by the USPS®).
• Unique Piece Barcodes: The IMb’s® in the eDoc are unique across mailings for at least 45 days.
(Exception: Small mailings that have fewer than 10,000 pieces, where postage is affixed to each piece at the correct price or each piece is of identical weight and the mailpieces are separated by price, can use the same serial number for all pieces in the mailing. In this case, uniqueness is required for the serial number at the mailing level. A different serial number should be used for each mailing and the serial number cannot be repeated within 45 days.)
• Unique Tray Barcodes: The IMtb’s in the eDoc are unique across mailings for 45 days.
(Exception: Small mailings that have fewer than 10,000 pieces can use the same serial number for all trays in the mailing, if postage is affixed to each piece at the correct price, or the pieces are of identical weight and separated by price.)
• Unique Container Barcodes: The IMcb’s in the eDoc are unique across mailings for 45 days.
• Co-Palletization: Co-palletized mailings must have eDoc submitted by both the origin facility and the consolidator to describe the movement of trays and sacks.
• Entry Facility: Entry facility provided in the eDoc (Locale key or ZIP Code) is a valid USPS® facility.
• By/For: Electronic documentation is checked to ensure that the mail owner and mailing agent identifications are accurately populated.
• By/For Invalid: Mail Owner and Mail Preparer were identified by a valid USPS-assigned CRID, MID, or Permit
• By/For Matching: Mail Owner and Mail Preparer were identified as the same entity
• By/For Owner Identified as Mail Service Provider: A Mail Service Provider (submitted eDoc in the last 90 days or is a registered MSP) was identified as the Mail Owner

The table below shows the error tolerances for the electronic verifications. These are initial thresholds and will be re-evaluated after the implementation date on January 26, 2014.

Reporting and Invoicing
There will be no financial penalties to mailers for non-compliance until July 1, 2014. After that date, invoice reports for any penalties will be sent to the Verification Assessment Evaluator (VAE) 10 days after the end of each month. Mailers will need to designate their VAE for each CRID using the Business Customer Gateway. The penalty is the additional postage of the pieces in error at the non-automation rates. Mailers will have the opportunity to review the invoicing reports and request a review if they feel any of the penalties are in error.

Preparing for Change
Mailers should be working NOW both internally and with their Business Mail Acceptance offices to make sure mailings prepared as Full-Service are meeting these requirements. Mailers should also make sure they have a VAE designated on the Business Customer Gateway and that they have an internal process in place to review the invoice reports and a process for the review. It is much better to have these plans in place NOW so that you are not caught off-guard in January.

Resources
The USPS® published these verification procedures so that mailers can review them in detail and discuss them internally and with USPS® mail acceptance staff. Mailers should also take advantage of webinars from the USPS® regarding Full-Service Feedback. The USPS® provides mailers with Mail Quality and other MicroStrategy feedback reports through PostalOne!® to help communicate issues with mailings. Mailers should become familiar with these reports so that potential penalty issues can be identified early on and corrected prior to the penalty implementation in July.

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

Well there you have it. See you next week for another informative Postal e-Tip!

Jeff Peoples
Window Book, Inc.
P.S. Window Book is your partner in the mailing business and we PROTECT our clients. It is incredibly valuable for YOU to have someone hand-hold you through your transition to Full-Service.
• Are you afraid the transition to Full-Service will be too expensive or too time consuming?
• Maybe you don’t have the time or resources but you know YOU have to make the change.
DON’T WORRY! Window Book has helped 100’s of companies. We will lead you step-by-step with our proven and tested methods to walk you through the process. Click on this link www.windowbook.com/4you and let Window Book take care of you.

Lower your Postage Costs while Improving Delivery Service with Tray-based Co-Palletization

Did you know that one of the ways you can lower your postage costs while improving delivery service is to co-palletize your mail? “Tray-based Co-palletization” (sometimes referred to as “Co-Tray” mailing) supports deeper penetration into the postal system by bypassing a number of postal processing steps. This also allows you to benefit from greater postage discounts, better tracking and more consistent and timely delivery of your mail.

Easily Integrate Tray-based Co-palletization into Your Mailing Operation.
We just published a new educational white paper titled, “Tray Based Co-Palletization for Standard Mail®” that reviews what “Tray Based Co-palletization” is, as well as the requirements, the process, and how you can easily implement it by using Window Book’s Tray-based Co-palletization system in DAT-MAIL. DAT-MAIL supports co-palletization programs offered by major consolidators as well as in-house co-palletization for mailers that have the volume and staging space to do this on their own.

By using DAT-MAIL’s Tray-Based Co-palletization system you can:
• Get the best entry point discounts mailing for even small number of trays
• Avoid those expensive minimum drop fees consolidators charge
• Determine entry points of trays that will be co-palletized without taking them off of the original pallets they were associated with during the presort, which facilitates easier production
• Process “Hybrid” jobs with regular drop-shipped pallets, origin mail and mail that will be co-palletized
• DAT-MAIL easily separates copal mail from non-copal mail for verification and shipment by generating “COPAL ONLY” pallet labels
• Update Mail.dat® files for PostalOne!® to create separate statements for copal and non-copal
• Work with “Co-tray” and “Tray-Based Co-palletization” programs available from a number of major postal logistics companies
• Process “in-house” internal tray co-palletization if you are a mailer with the volume and staging space to do this
• And so much more…
Download your free white paper (http://www.windowbook.com/CoPal-White-Paper) now and learn more about Tray-based Co-palletization, COPAL requirements, and solutions offered by DAT-MAIL for easily integrating Tray-based Co-palletization into your operation.

U.S. Postal Service Statement: Air Cargo Network Contract Award to FedEx

WASHINGTON – On April 23, 2013, the United States Postal Service awarded Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) a seven-year Air Cargo Network contract to provide domestic air transportation service for Priority and Express Mail. The current contract with FedEx ends in September 2013, and the new contract will begin in October 2013.

 

Read more…..

Live Discussion: Your Profits From Implementing Full Service Now

In January 2014, all commercially mailed letters and flats must meet Full-Service Intelligent Mail requirements to continue qualifying for Automation discounts. Some mailers are reluctant to invest in the software and operational changes that may be required but Full-Service Intelligent Mail has benefits many mailers are not aware of. Waiting until the last minute to comply with these requirements may cost your business more than the actual cost of moving to Full-Service!

Tuesday
March 5, 2013
2:00 PM EST

This webinar will show you:
• How compliance with Full-Service Intelligent Mail requirements can benefit your company and its bottom line
• How to overcome obstacles to Full-Service adoption
• How to implement Full-Service Intelligent Mail – with a step-by-step description

With the right resources it is not as hard as you might think! Join Mailing Systems Technology and Window Book for this important webinar that will provide valuable insights and actionable information.
Click here to register: http://video.webcasts.com/events/rbpu001/45348/