Archive of posts filed under the USPS News category.

PostalOne!® Mandatory Software Update Rescheduled

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) postponed the mandatory software update for the PostalOne! production system from its original planned implementation date in October 2014. This update, which was again postponed from the planned November 9, 2014 date, will now be implemented on Sunday, November 30, 2014.

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 in January each year. 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.

Summary of some of the changes for the November 30 release:

  • Nonprofit Authorization validation will include additional options of the Mail Owner Customer Reference ID (CRID) and Mail Owner Mailer ID (MID) in the electronic documentation (eDoc). Currently, only the Permit Number is used for this validation. This does not change the requirement for there to be a valid Nonprofit Authorization Number linked to the Mail Owner CRID, MID or Permit Number.
  • The Customer Validation Tool will be enhanced with a “Bulk Search” capability. Mailers may enter up to 250 records in the input file to conduct the search. The input file must include a CRID, MID, Permit, or Nonprofit Authorization Number. The USPS will return an output file in Excel format with validated, corrected, or not found information.
  • A variety of enhancements to the Business Reply Mail (BRM) system.
  • Logic for postage assessment of Seamless Acceptance errors will be included in this release but the assessments will not be activated at that time. In January 2015, the dollar amounts will be shown for review purposes only, with planned implementation of actual assessments in April 2015, based on the mailings for the March 2015 calendar month. Bypass Seamless Acceptance functionality will no longer be supported by PostalOne!, but this field in the eDoc will remain in the Mail.dat specifications.
  • New functionality added to the Online Enrollment via the Business Customer Gateway in order to facilitate accurate designation of a CRID when a customer attempts to add or modify a company name or business location.
  • Corrections to known issues.

Details of the changes for these updates may be found on the USPS RIBBS® web site for the November 2014 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.

 

Postal Service Letters FROM Santa Program Keeps Children’s Holiday Spirit Alive

NORTH POLE — Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And the Postal Service can help you prove it when Santa replies to your child’s letter to Santa — complete with a North Pole postmark!

Christmas Magi Stamps Celebrate Visitors Bearing Gifts

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service commemorates one of the most beloved stories of the holiday season by issuing the Christmas Magi Limited Edition Forever stamps today.

Rudolph all red-nosed over stamp of approval

WASHINGTON — “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the nation’s longest-running and highest-rated Christmas television special “went down in history” to receive its stamp of approval today. The set of four Limited Edition Forever stamps depicting Rudolph, Hermey, Santa and Bumble were created from still television frames from the special which premiered 50 years ago in 1964.

Postal Service to deliver packages seven days a week during holidays

WASHINGTON — The Postal Service kicked off the holiday shipping season today by announcing that it will be delivering packages seven days a week in major cities and high volume areas starting Nov. 17 through Christmas Day in response to expected double-digit package volume growth.

Holiday shipping tips and mailing deadlines

WASHINGTON — With Christmas just two months away, the U.S. Postal Service is offering holiday shipping tips to help customers ship the 15.5 billion cards, letters and packages expected to be delivered in time for Christmas.

Mail Entry Road Map

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) recently published a guide to help mailers plan for some of the upcoming changes and deadlines with regards to various USPS programs. Called the Mail Entry Road Map, this guide breaks down these various USPS programs and provides details on the USPS plans and important deadlines for each.

DMU closings after October 31, 2014
If your mailing facility has an active Detached Mail Unit (DMU), you should have received a letter from the USPS telling you that DMU’s at facilities with less than 75% Full-Service mail will be scheduled to be closed this fall. That October 31, 2014 deadline is rapidly approaching. If your mailing operation depends on the DMU for efficient verification and acceptance of your mail, you need to make sure that at least 75% of the mail you process is Full-Service. If not, you stand a good chance of losing your DMU. If you have an active DMU and have not received this letter from the USPS, you should check with your DISTRICT Business Mail Entry Office to see if your facility is one of those potentially impacted by this deadline.

What happens if your DMU gets closed? Unfortunately, you will no longer have the ability for USPS acceptance clerks to be on-site at your facility for verification and acceptance of your mail. Rather, you will be required to make arrangements to physically take the mail from your facility to your local Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) to have it verified and accepted there. Keep in mind that these facilities may have restricted hours and may not be able to efficiently handle your volume of mail. This could cause delays in getting your mail accepted, which may in turn impact Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) that you have in place with your clients.

Full-Service Non-compliance Assessments
In January 2015 the USPS plans to implement financial assessments for Full-Service mailings that do not meet the minimum compliance thresholds. These assessments will be charged based on your DECEMBER 2014 mailings, so you need to be working NOW to make sure your Full-Service mailings are meeting the compliance thresholds. Errors over the threshold will cause the removal of the Full-Service discount for the pieces in error above the threshold.

The USPS is right now (October 2014) beginning to issue “For Review Only” invoice reports, which are generated based on an evaluation all of the mailings submitted in the previous calendar month. These are not payable invoices, but rather they are “simulated” invoices, representing what you would be paying in postage penalties if these assessments were already in place. Keep in mind that the assessable errors will be those in excess of any threshold; errors within the allowed threshold will not be assessed. Mailers can also see their potential additional postage due on their Mailer Scorecard. Mailers should be closely reviewing these simulated reports in October, November and December 2014 to identify any errors and make corrections BEFORE the actual assessments are implemented in January 2015.

Move Update Validation
The USPS has for a number of years required that mailers utilize Postal approved methods to periodically update mailing addresses in their mailings. Traditionally, adherence to this requirement was in the form of Move Update Validation as a sample-based process, measured on mailpieces verified through the MERLIN process. The USPS is changing this validation process to one that utilizes Mail Processing Equipment scans and electronic documentation (eDoc) to measure Move Update quality on all Basic-Service and Full-Service mailpieces claiming automation rates. The USPS started showing these new validation process results to mailers back in August 2014 on the Electronic Verification tab of their Mailer Scorecard. In November, the USPS will start generating “simulated” invoice reports to calculate potential postage assessments for all mailers who submit more than 75% of their eligible mail volume as Full-Service.

Starting in April 2015, assessments will be implemented for Move Update errors over the permitted threshold. Mailers should be analyzing their simulated invoice reports generated for January, February, and March 2015 and take care of any errors above the threshold BEFORE the actual assessments kick in.

Non-profit Eligibility
The USPS plans to enhance the Non-profit authorization process for eDoc mailings in November 2014. Currently, mailers submitting eDoc must populate the eDoc with either a postage paying permit or Mail Owner permit that is linked to a Non-profit authorization in order for the mailing to be eligible for Non-profit prices. For mailings including multiple Mail Owners, the eDoc includes only one linked permit, and the balance of the Non-profit Mail Owner data is provided on a separate hard-copy list. Starting in November 2014, PostalOne! will support the identification of Non-profit Mail Owners using the Mail Owner MID or CRID. PostalOne! will temporarily continue to check all of the allowable fields (Mail Owner MID, Mail Owner CRID, Mail Owner permit, or postage paying permit) for the necessary Non-profit Authorization link. However, this will end in April 2015 when only the Mail Owner MID or CRID will be allowed for this purpose. It is recommended that Mail Service Providers (MSP’s) confirm the non-profit status for each of their clients prior to November 2014. The PostalOne! Help Desk can assist with this process. MSP’s should submit a completed MSP Customer Validation spreadsheet to the PostalOne! Help Desk, which will then look up each of the identification numbers provided and return the applicable CRID, permits and non-profit status for each mail owner.

Other Programs
The USPS is also measuring various criteria of mailings participating in the eInduction and Seamless Acceptance programs. For these two programs, the USPS is currently limiting postage assessments for errors to those mailings that exceed what they call the “Egregious Threshold.” However, at some point later in 2015, the USPS will be implementing similar postage assessment processes as those described above for errors exceeding the minimum thresholds.

Bottom line, mailers need to pay much stricter attention to their Mailer Scorecard so that any anomalies can be taken care of with PostalOne! and so that the errors exceeding thresholds can be corrected BEFORE the assessment implementation dates.

Resources
Window Book can assist you to increase your percentage of Full-Service mailings and to help improve your Full-Service compliance scores on your Mailer Scorecard. Our Full-Service On-Ramp Service (FSORS) has been successfully used by hundreds of mailers to implement Full-Service in their mailing operations. This same service may be used to help you increase the percentage of your Full-Service mailings or to help you resolve non-compliance issues that negatively impact your Mailer Scorecard results.

Window Book also provides a wealth of FREE educational resources to help you make sense of all the requirements. Webinars, white papers, and these weekly eTips help keep you educated and up-to-date.

Batman Stamps Dedication Ceremony Kicks Off New York Comic Con 2014

GOTHAM CITY — Today, the U.S. Postal Service, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment, took over the Javits Center to kick-off New York Comic Con 2014 by dedicating the Limited Edition Forever Batman Stamps.

Delivering the Holidays to Diplomatic and Military Service Members Worldwide

WASHINGTON — Making sure those serving in the nation’s armed forces and diplomatic service receive their presents and care packages in time for the holidays is a priority the U.S. Postal Service and for friends and family members of military and diplomatic personnel serving around the world. Helping to get packages on their way, the Postal Service offers a $2 per box postage discount on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate box at, $15.45, for mail being sent to APO/FPO/DPO (Air/Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office and Diplomatic Post Office) destinations worldwide.