The August 24, 2014 PostalOne!® update, which coincided with the new Mail.dat® 14-2 release, included many changes and updates to Postal services and postage statements among other things. In addition, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) will be issuing another PostalOne! software update on November 9, 2014. The November update does not have any postage statement or Mail.dat modifications, but there are changes that may have an impact on your operations. Make note of the recently enacted and upcoming changes.
Highlights from the recent August Update
Changes to Mailing Services
Postage Statement Changes
There are changes in postage statements for Periodicals, First-Class Mail®, and Standard Mail®. With the exception of the Priority Mail statements, which will be mandatory due to the price changes, mailers may continue to use the January 2014 postage statements. However, if you wish to use any of the new products and/or services, you must switch to the September 2014 statements.
New Mail.dat version 14.2
There is a new Mail.dat specification version associated with this update; the current version is 14-1; while the new Mail.dat version is 14-2. For purposes of submitting Mail.dat files to PostalOne!, the table below shows the various Mail.dat versions and the dates on which they are supported by PostalOne!
Between August 24 and September 7 mailers can submit new mailings using Mail.dat version 14-2 or 14-1. During this period, mailings can also be submitted using 13-1, but ONLY for mail with mailing dates processed before Sept. 7. Between Aug. 24 and Sept. 7, mailers can also submit 13-1 files to update previously submitted mailings.
Political and Election Mail
The new 14-2 Mail.dat version now has fields in the Content Characteristics Record (CCR files) to identify political and election mail. These identifiers should be used only if 100% of the mailing contains these types of mail. This will then allow the appropriate postage statement check box to be marked, and will also indicate to mailers and the USPS that special tags are to be applied to this mail. Use Tag 57 for Political Mail and Tag 191 for Election Mail.
Is 14-2 mandatory?
The use of Mail.dat 14-2 is not mandatory. Mailers can continue to submit 14-1 files to PostalOne! DAT-MAIL’s new August update supports submission of either file format. Mailers can import 14-1 and 14-2 files and submit 14-2 to PostalOne!, but can not import 14-2 and submit 14-1.
Effective August 1st a new PS-8125 form became available that supports Flat Sequencing System (FSS) entry points. In the new PS-8125 Form, under the Mailer Information section, DBMC has been removed and DNDC and DFSS have been added for “Entry Discounts Claimed” options. Note: the old 8125 form can still be used for 6 months until further notice.
Although not mandatory, mailers who use Air boxes are being strongly encouraged by the USPS to update to DAT-MAIL’s new August update so they can generate new PS-8125 forms. Air boxes are an alternate container from trays/sacks/pallets that Periodicals mailers use to get mail drop shipped in an expedited manner for time-sensitive materials.
Priority mailers using Mail.dat must update to DAT-MAIL’s new August update in order to be able to use new rates and generate Postage Statements, which are effective September 7, 2014.
The August release of DAT-MAIL includes the new 8125 which should be used by mailers that do the following:
- Drop ship to DFSS facilities
- Use air boxes (Periodicals mail)
- Use DAT-MAIL to mail Priority Mail eDoc
Full-Service eDoc Verification & Invoicing
PostalOne! reports for Intelligent Mail® Full-Service verification will have postage charges for non-compliance visible on the reports, but the USPS will NOT actually be assessing these charges. Not yet, anyway! But, mailers need to pay very close attention to these reports because it is only a matter of time before the USPS does implement these charges.
Changes to Shipping Services
Priority Mail® Price Changes
Great news for shippers who are eligible for Commercial Base and Commercial Plus rates. Effective September 7, 2014 those rates are decreasing! The new Postage Statements reflecting these price changes are available at pe.usps.gov.
- Commercial Base: 0.9% average decrease
- Commercial Plus: 2.3% average decrease
- Retail prices: 1.7% average increase
IMpb Compliance Threshold Increases
The USPS is already charging a non-compliance fee for Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb) mailings. This fee is $.20 per piece, and can add up in a real hurry if you mail any sort of volume at all. The compliance threshold to avoid those fees is increasing as well.
Single piece parcel shipments
Good news! Mailers will now be able to use their volumes from multiple classes of mail to meet the volume minimums for parcel shipments mailed using Manifesting with a Permit Imprint payment method. The minimum volume is 50 pieces or 50 pounds, which used to apply to each class of mail separately. Now, volumes from various classes of mail can be combined to meet this minimum.
IMpb requirement changes:
Mailers will now need to use Intelligent Mail Package Barcodes (IMpb) on more categories of mail. This requirement includes Standard Mail parcels, Parcel Select Lightweight, and the remaining portions of Priority Mail previously exempted from IMpb.
Changes to USPS Data
Labeling List Update Frequency Changes to Monthly
Previously, these files were updated on a quarterly basis, but this is changing to a MONTHLY cycle starting in August. The USPS announced changes to the Labeling List data, effective September 1, 2014, with a mandatory use date of September 30, 2014.
Mailers need to be much more vigilant about using these updated files since they will no longer be able to presort their mailing list files months in advance. There will only be two months of Labeling List data permitted at any given time, which means presorts cannot be performed more than 60 days in advance of the estimated date of mailing.
This means that the estimated and actual ship dates in the Mail.dat files become MUCH more critical. These are the dates that will be used to validate that the correct Labeling List files have been used, so it’s essential for mailers to accurately populate those data fields.
HUB list: There is a new Labeling List going into effect called the HUB list. This is a list of postal facilities that just cross-dock or transfer mail, and do not do any actual mail processing. These facilities are intended to be used by mailers to improve mail delivery by drop shipping to these hubs, which will then cross-dock the mail to outbound transportation bound for the final destination facility.
PostalOne!® November 9 Update
The second PostalOne! update, originally scheduled for October 26, 2014, is now November 9. The November 9 update does not have any postage statement changes, but there are other changes associated with postage statement mail owner CRID display, Nonprofit authorization numbers, Postage assessment of Seamless Acceptance errors, Move Update, new functionality for the Business Customer Gateway (BCG) and Mailer ID. Visit November 2014 changes for more details.
Mail Entry Road Map
The USPS has published its “Mail Entry Road Map” showing mailers what is in store for them with changes to acceptance, verification and payment between now and mid-2015.
September 2014 – eInduction pilot of a scan process for non-SV sites starts. If successful, this will be rolled out in early 2015 and allow all entry points to participate in eInduction without having to link pallet barcodes to FAST appointments.
October 2014 – Full-Service Verification Error Postage Assessments will be visible to mailers; however, they will not actually be billed until January 2015 (based on December 2014 data). Pay attention to these assessments and correct what is causing them before December!
October 2014 – Mailers will need be processing and submitting 75% of their eligible mail as Full-Service if they want to retain their DMUs.
November 2014 – PostalOne! Release 39 – many changes here. This is the first release that will use actual induction date as the basis of verifying the validity of the labeling list used to do the presort. There are also expected to be a number of changes that will impact all mailers doing eDoc. Watch for Window Book webinars and subsequent communications about the changes coming in PostalOne! Release 39.
Learn more about Postal Changes for Fall 2014 from Free Educational Resources:
USPS Changes for Fall 2014: Do you know what they are?
Changes are Coming in 2014: Do You Know What They Are?