USPS Proposes IMb Technology Credits
In order to encourage mailers to convert to the Full-Service Intelligent Mail® barcode, the Postal Service is proposing to offer a Full-Service Technology Credit. This credit is intended to help offset the investment required to implement the necessary hardware and software infrastructure changes to support Full-Service mailings.
If approved, the Technology Credit Promotion will run from June 2013 to June 2014. Actual Tech Credits, which can range from $2,000 to $5,000, will be awarded to mailers who meet certain volume and eligibility requirements. For full details, visit usps.com.
USPS delays plans for 5-day delivery
In response to Congressional action, the Board of Governors of the US Postal Service has decided to delay plans to adopt a new delivery schedule this August. The proposed plan would have provided for mail delivery Monday through Friday and package delivery Monday through Saturday.
In a statement
released, the board commented: “Although disappointed with this Congressional action, the Board will follow the law and has directed the Postal Service to delay implementation of its new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule. The Board believes that Congress has left it with no choice but to delay this implementation at this time. The Board also wants to ensure that customers of the Postal Service are not unduly burdened by ongoing uncertainties and are able to adjust their business plans accordingly.”
Who protects your mail?
Every year, headlines remind us that that mail center managers are not only responsible for processing mail; they need to take steps to provide for the security and safety of staff and mail recipients.
In January 2013, The US Postal Inspection Service released a Guide to Mail Center Security (Pub166).
Here, experts from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service highlight ways you can assess your risks, secure your mail center from theft, screen for package bombs and explosives, and protect your team from hazardous substances.
As an organization, Pitney Bowes has been at the forefront of mail security for decades. We recommend that facility managers take time to understand the risks that suspicious mail can pose to their people, their facility, and the business processes they support. Consider how you can implement a screening process that’s right for your organization. For some, the screening process may be as simple as just spending a few extra seconds looking at each letter as it is being sorted. For others, the process may involve robust secure mail services
, which could include a specially designed offsite facility, complete with x-ray equipment, biohazard detection systems, chemical sensors, and decontamination equipment. In all cases, the process must be capable of dealing with the current level of risk to the organization and be capable of rapid upgrade in the event that the threat posed by suspicious mail changes quickly.
National Postal Forum promotes relevant, actionable mail
Technology and changing consumer expectations are helping to transform mail into an even more powerful communications channel, Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe told the nation’s largest annual gathering of mailing industry leaders.
“As the mailing industry, we must continue to work to drive innovation and leverage data and technology to improve the consumer experience and grow revenue," Donahoe said in his keynote address
at the National Postal Forum
. “Our challenge as an industry is to shape those moments when people are experiencing mail, and make them more powerful in the future. That’s part of getting our game on — shaping our future and building excitement about the power of mail and the future of mail.”
Mail already has an advantage over other ways of communicating, Donahoe said, because it is tactile and encourages users to interact with it. “People slow down and absorb what they receive. They process it. They retain it,” he said. To strengthen that experience, Donahoe urged the mailing industry to focus on four key ideas: making mail more personally relevant, more actionable, more functional and more creative.
Leaders from Pitney Bowes were on hand, leading a dozen sessions on topics ranging from Intelligent Mail® implementation
and list hygiene to direct mail effectiveness and ways to leverage USPS pricing strategies
. At the Pitney Bowes booth
, show attendees got a first-hand look at innovative solutions including White Paper Factory™ Solutions
, SendSuite® Live
shipping management, pbSmart™ Codes
and the RISO ComColor® Series printers
Delivery Confirmation is now USPS Tracking
The new USPS Tracking™ service, which replaces Delivery Confirmation™, is available at no additional cost for First-Class Mail® parcels, First-Class™ Package Service, Priority Mail®, Standard Post™ and Parcel Select®.
At the same time, the USPS is transitioning to a new Intelligent Mail® package barcode, which will be required on all parcels claiming presort or destination entry pricing (except for Standard Mail® parcels). Pitney Bowes customers have additional time to comply with this new requirement. Organizations that rely on shipping software to print labels (i.e. SendSuite® Shipping solutions) will have until October 2013 to comply. Mailing system customers will have until January 2014.
In the interim, Delivery Confirmation™ labels will be rebranded as USPS Tracking™ labels. Mailers can continue to use existing labels until the new ones are available. Learn more about the Intelligent Mail® package barcode.
Mobile Coupon and Click-to-Call Promotion
This spring, the USPS is offering mailers two ways to save on postage. To qualify for the upfront 2% postage discount, mailers must include a mobile barcode on their mailpiece that either leads the recipient to a digital coupon, or initiates a one-touch phone call on a mobile device. This promotion runs March 1 through April 30, 2013.
With the Mobile Coupon
option, the mailpiece must be a coupon that entitles the recipient to a discount off a particular product or service, as well as a scannable mobile barcode (e.g. QR Code)
With the Click-to-Call
option, the mailpiece must include a mobile barcode (e.g. QR Code) that links to a mobile website with a “click to call” button, or brings up a phone number automatically on the user’s phone.
Several restrictions apply. Learn more or register for this program.
If you need help creating a QR Code campaign, Pitney Bowes offers both QR Code
and Mobile Web
Parcel Post replaced after 100 year run
Parcel Post®, which celebrated 100 years of service this month, has been transferred to the USPS® competitive products list and renamed Standard Post effective Jan. 27, 2013. Standard Post, offered as a retail product, will remain the Postal Service’s most economical ground package delivery service for less-than-urgent oversized packages.
While service standards will remain the same, free USPS Tracking will be included in the price, offering world-class visibility. Pricing for Standard Post starts as low as $5.60 for packages up to one pound.
"The Postal Service is committed to identifying eCommerce growth opportunities to further strengthen its shipping business," said Gary Reblin, vice president of New Products and Innovation. “When compared to the competition, Standard Post offers consumers across the country exceptional value in the ground shipping market.”
As an alternative, shippers could also switch to Parcel Select. If you subscribe to a PC postage solution, there are no minimum quantity requirements, and you can weigh, address and ship packages from any Internet-connected PC. If you ship enough to qualify for presort discounts, you can save even more.
UPS and FedEx announce price increaseUPS
price changes take effect December 31, 2012, including an average net increase of 4.5 percent on all UPS Air and U.S. origin international services and 4.9 percent on UPS Ground services. Learn more
price changes take effect January 7, 2013. FedEx Express package and freight rates will increase an average of 5.9% for U.S., U.S. export and U.S. import services. The shipping rate increase will be partially offset by adjusting the fuel price at which the fuel surcharge begins, reducing the fuel surcharge by 2 percentage points. Learn more
New postal prices approved
The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has signed off on the price increases proposed
by the US Postal Service with one exception.
Rates for standard mail flats – the category affecting catalog mailers – could rise even more next year after the PRC remanded the proposed 2.57% increase to the U.S. Postal Service for further consideration because the category fails to cover its attributable costs. However, USPS officials are currently standing by their original request, noting that the proposed increase "reflected an appropriate balance between the need to improve cost coverage for Standard Mail Flats pursuant to the Commission's prior Order, and the need for the Postal Service to increase contribution in order to remain economically viable."
Revised Standards for Folded Self-Mailers
On January 5, 2013, new rules take effect for the preparation of Folded Self-Mailers (FSM). The revised standards are intended to provide mailers more mailpiece design options, while balancing design innovation and machinability to improve the overall supply chain.
With these changes, the final folded edge of a self mailer must be on the bottom, otherwise the piece will be charged the non-machinable rates, which are 20 cents extra per piece.
Other key points in the revised standards include new directives regarding tabs. For example:
- When tabs are used as the sealing method, a minimum of two are required
- Tabs must not contain perforations
- Tabs cannot be placed on the bottom edge of oblong pieces.
- Minimum tab size is now one inch
- The size and quantity of tabs will depend on the size of the mail piece as well as the paper stock used
For complete details, view the Folded Self Mailer Reference Guide
New USPS Rules Would Require Full-Service IMb by 2014
The U.S. Postal Service has published proposed rules that would require mailers to use the "full-service" Intelligent Mail® barcode in order to qualify for automation prices beginning January 2014.
This change would impact First-Class Mail®, Standard Mail®, Periodicals® and Bound Printed Matter® when mailing postcards, letters and flats. When using the full-service option, mailers would be required to:
- Apply unique Intelligent Mail barcodes
- Apply unique Intelligent Mail tray barcodes on trays, tubs and sacks
- Apply unique Intelligent Mail container barcodes on placards for containers
- Schedule appointments through Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST)
- Use an approved electronic method to transmit the Postal Service mailing documentation and postage statements
In addition to being eligible for automation prices, full-service IMb users will also benefit from improved mailstream visibility, mailpiece tracking and free address correction services. For details, please see the Federal Register