Archive of posts filed under the USPS News category.

Patriotic Wave Stamp Unfurled Today

ATLANTA — Customers can add a patriotic appearance to packages, large envelopes and other mailings when using the new $2 Patriotic Wave stamp that began billowing at the nation’s Post Offices today. The stamp was unfurled at the Southeastern Stamp Expo in Norcross, GA.

Proposed shipping prices to capitalize on strong package growth

WASHINGTON — In a notice filed today with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the U.S. Postal Service seeks to keep Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail services at their current prices. It’s part of the Postal Service’s ongoing pricing strategy to capitalize on strong package growth. Priority Mail is the Postal Service’s flagship Shipping Services product and is a convenient and fast way to send documents and packages requiring expedited transportation and handling.

Temporary Emergency Committee of the Postal Service Board of Governors to Meet Feb. 6

WASHINGTON — The Temporary Emergency Committee of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service (“TEC”) will meet Feb. 6 in open session at Postal Service headquarters, 475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, Washington, DC.

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

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is issuing a mandatory software update for the PostalOne! production system this weekend. This update will be implemented on Sunday, January 25, 2015. The PostalOne! Production (PROD) system will not be available on Sunday morning January 25, 2015, 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 26, 2015. The PostalOne! TEM environment will not be available between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. CT on January 26.

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

Details of the changes for this update may be found on the USPS RIBBS® web site for the January 2015 changes.

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

Resources
The USPS sends out notifications of all PostalOne! outages and software updates using the DMM Advisory. You can subscribe to the DMM Advisory by sending an email to dmmadvisory@usps.com. In addition, detailed information regarding the changes in the PostalOne! software are available on the USPS RIBBS web site. Also available on the RIBBS site are the planned release schedules for these updates.

Window Book offers our Professional Services to users who may need assistance to download and install the Mail.dat Client software from the USPS, or to make any necessary updates or configuration edits to your Window Book software when these PostalOne! updates occur. Clients who use our EDM10X software don’t need to worry about updating the USPS MDR Client software, EDM10X will do that for you automatically!

 

Love: Forever Hearts stamps

RICHMOND, VA — The Postal Service will dedicate this year’s Love stamps in Richmond, the capital of the state with the slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers.”

Forever Stamp Prices Unchanged

WASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service today filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of a price increase for Mailing Services products based upon the Consumer Price Index (CPI) cap authority.

Labeling List Changes

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) announced changes to the Labeling List data, effective February 1, 2015, with an expiration date of March 31, 2015. The Labeling Lists affected are L001, L006, L007, L012, and L606.

The Labeling Lists are located on the Postal Explorer web site under the Additional Links tab.

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

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

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

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

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

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

USPS Resumes Facility Closures

As we reported in earlier e-Tips, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is implementing Phase 2 of the planned network consolidation and corresponding adjustment of delivery service standards starting this month, January 2015. The USPS originally laid out their Network Rationalization plan back in 2011 with a phased approach to closing and consolidating various postal facilities and making the necessary service standard adjustments to correspond with the new service network. The USPS goal in closing a large number of processing facilities is to cut costs and optimize their processing network to more closely align with the decreased volumes of mail.

Network facility changes
The first phase of the network optimization plan began in July 2012 and by the end of 2013 a total of 96 facilities were either closed or consolidated into others. The Phase 2 plan begins this month with consolidations scheduled for up to 82 facilities. According to numbers produced and reported by the USPS, the network consolidation has realized an annual cost savings to the USPS of $865 million with no employee layoffs. This next phase is expected to realize an additional $750 million in annual savings.

The Plan
The USPS provides detailed information regarding the planned facility consolidations and closures on a special Our Future Network web page. Included on that page is a link to the Phase 2 FAQ’s. Their Mail Move Plan is available in Excel spreadsheet format, and will be updated on a weekly basis. The USPS also provides information on these planned consolidations on its main web site and on the RIBBS web site.

What it means for mailers

So, what does all this mean for mailers? As the consolidations and closures take place, mailers will need to make sure their mailing software solutions – both presort and post-presort – are updated with the most recent postal destination data updates. This includes Labeling Lists, destination drop ship data files (including re-directions), etc. Mailers will also need to pay close attention to the proposed changes in the USPS service standards and monitor mail delivery so that any necessary adjustments can be made to mailing schedules. Stay tuned for further updates as this initiative progresses.

Your Solution
Window Book’s software allows you to easily keep your USPS destination data files, including Labeling Lists and drop ship data, up to date automatically. Our Automatic Postal Data Updater is a complimentary feature in our software, which requires a one-time configuration in the Window Book Automation Scheduler. Contact our technical support team for more details on how to configure your Window Book software for these automatic updates.

Window Book offers a FREE educational webinar on the topic of Labeling List Changes as well as many products and services to help you easily manage electronic documentation submissions. Call us at 1-800-524-0380 for more details or to sign up for your FREE Mailing Optimization Analysis!

Andrew Jackson’s Victory at Battle of New Orleans Commemorated on Limited Edition Forever Stamp

NEW ORLEANS — Jan. 8 marked the 200th anniversary of Major General Andrew Jackson’s triumphant victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans.

USPS delivers record holiday season

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service exceeded its holiday delivery projections this season, delivering approximately 524 million packages in December — an 18 percent increase over last year.