Alternate Postage presents an easy and convenient way to send Single-Piece First-Class Mail® letters and postcards without affixing a stamp. To use the new price category, participating businesses produce and distribute pre-approved envelopes and postcards according to specific design requirements established by the Postal Service™. Businesses may also enhance the value of their pre-approved envelopes by applying a Picture Permit Imprint indicia at no additional charge. After purchasing Alternate Postage items, individual consumers can mail those items without the extra steps associated with using regular postage e.g., determining the price, going to a Post Office to purchase stamps, and affixing postage.
Rather, in order to collect the necessary payment, Alternate Postage relies on Intelligent Mail barcode® IMb technology to identify and count each pre-approved mailpiece as it moves through the postal system. Once a mailpiece is scanned and counted, the participating company’s Centralized Automated Processing System is debited the appropriate amount. The participating company will pay postage in two stages: 1 they will pay the agreed upon prefunded portion of the total postage at the time they produce or distribute the Alternate Postage mailpiece and 2 they will pay the remaining portion when the IMb on the Alternate Postage mailpiece is scanned during normal mail processing.
The mailpieces may have handwritten addresses, or be pre-addressed to a single destination within the United States. Alternate Postage mailpieces may be deposited into the mailstream in the same way as other Single-Piece First-Class Mail. The mailpieces follow First-Class Mail handling procedures, and will be processed and delivered according to Single-Piece First-Class Mail standards
.In summary, the key features of Alternate Postage are:
> Added ease and convenience when sending Single-Piece
First-Class Mail letters and postcards no need to affix postage
> IMb Technology to identify, scan, and count each unique mailpiece
>Ability to send mailpieces from multiple locations to multiple destinations using a convenient postage payment feature
>Offer Picture Permit Imprint indicia at no additional charge.
via Cover Story.
If you will be attending National Postal Forum, be sure to stop by and see me at the Intelisent Booth #2116, or at one of my speaking engagements.
Monday, March 17
Period 8 1:30-2:30
Mailpiece Tracking Tips and Tricks – Beyond Operations
Lucie Jameson and Lisa Bowes
Tuesday, March 18
Period 14 2:45-3:45
MTAC – Overview and Activities Update
Wednesday, March 19
Period 18 3:15-4:15
Mining Postal Resources – Getting the Most out of Postal Resources on the Web
For those areas that observe daylight savings time set your clocks forward one hour on Sunday, March 09, 2014 at 2 a.m.
“Prior to implementing this change, the Postal Service worked with a mail industry work group to conduct a test of the load-leveling concept. The test confirmed that extending the delivery date for Standard Mail entered Friday or Saturday helps balance delivery volume during the following week.”
The first sentence above is sort of correct, the USPS “worked with” a mail industry work group to conduct a test.
The second sentence is not correct. At all. The load leveling “test” was a controlled exercise AT A SINGLE LOCATION, and was not a realistic test. The work group asked for further testing, and to keep the work group open to review additional testing, and was denied.
From a USPS Industry Alert:
Final Rule Published in the Federal Register
39 CFR Part 121-Service Standards for Destination Sectional Center Facility Rate Standard Mail
The Postal Service is revising the service standards for Standard Mail that is eligible for Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) rates. These changes will allow a more balanced distribution of DSCF Standard Mail across delivery days.
Standard Mail pieces that qualify for the Destination Sectional Center Facility rate generally are delivered in three days. With its new rules, USPS is extending delivery expectation to four days for mail entered on Friday and Saturday. This change will improve delivery efficiency and reduce the traditional heavy Monday workload by spreading the delivery of these Standard Mail pieces across the week. This change does not affect First-Class Mail or Periodicals Mail and the Postal Service is not proposing any other revisions to its service standards at this time.
The final rule is available on the Federal Register. The effective date is April 10, 2014.
The table below summarizes the impact on DSCF Standard Mail with delivery in the continental United States.
DSCF Standard Mail Dropped before 4 pm* on
Delivery Days Meeting Service Standard Current
Delivery Days Meeting Service Standard Proposed
|Thursday||Friday, Saturday, Monday||Friday, Saturday, Monday|
|Friday||Saturday, Monday||Saturday, Monday, Tuesday|
|Saturday||Monday, Tuesday||Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday|
|Sunday||Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday||Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday|
*The current Critical Entry Time (CET) for Standard Mail is 4 pm
Please feel free to send questions to: IndustryFeedback@usps.gov. The Standard Mail DSCF Load Leveling Frequently Asked Questions document located on RIBBS (under Important Updates) will be updated as needed.
Clearly the USPS doesn’t care what the PRC comes back with for an advisory opinion, and didn’t care from the get go. If this isn’t a wake up call of the dangers of an unregulated Postal Service (who will be unmanageable and will destroy themselves if they go unregulated), I don’t know what is.
How’s delivery been lately, folks? Comment this blog. Per the uptick of service issues and news stories lately, I bet not all that good, and certainly not all that predictable.
This opens the door to whenever the Postal Service cannot meet their obligations, well they can just change them. Guaranteed success.
From the OIG Address Management System Data Audit Report
“We estimated address corrections costing about $14 million were not made to the Address Management System in FYs 2012 and 2013. Effective controls over address corrections would increase delivery efficiency and avoid future costs of about $16 million for FYs 2014 and 2015. Incorrect addresses increase business mailers’ costs to process returned mail. Inaccuracies could also cause mailers to lose confidence in the effectiveness of mail, which could significantly reduce postal revenue.”
In addition – Full Service ACS requirements, regulations, restraints, and the threat of potential penalties and charges is also limiting the use of Address Change Services that are available.
Penny wise and pound foolish…
The information in dispute includes:
>Measures to protect the sanctity of the mail;
>Training of Staples employees;
>Criteria for determining any Postal Service compensation to Staples;
>Discounts, if any, to be offered by Staples, and
>Cost analyses of the Staples project.
The APWU is demanding that postal employees staff the postal counters at Staples stores. If Staples refuses, the union plans to ask Staples customers to take their business elsewhere. Postal management, on the other hand, plans to expand the program to Staples’ 1,600 stores across the country.
The union submitted an extensive set of questions about the pilot program to postal management in November, shortly after the deal was announced. In January, management brushed off the request, claiming that the Staples project was a pilot that was not covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The APWU has filed a national-level dispute over the Postal Service’s contract violations.
I don’t usually post labor issues, but this one is getting so misrepresented by most articles I have seen, it’s important to circulate some facts, and I am glad the APWU is trying to get some of those – facts.
Much of the media coverage I have seen portrays the postal workers as resistant to any change at all. In my opinion, that is not the case. Items like the bullet points quoted from the article above should not be a secret — and hopefully, at least exist in some form.
I think the push to make postal products more accessible is admirable. I would like, and would utilize, a postal counter at the local Staples in my town – if there was a postal employee behind said counter. No offense to Staples workers intended – Postal is HARD. There is a lot to it! It should not be minimized in order to fit this new business model. The complexity and security issues are there, address them by utilizing your workforce differently, not by minimizing them, and putting profits over your own people.
USPS, that last word is Service. Not corporation. I’m sure Staples isn’t in this out of the goodness of their hearts, it really is our Postal Service, and we should be in on the details.
Hiding things, and railroading things through with force annoys me. After my experience with “load leveling”, and the complete lack of USPS cost savings data to support a cost savings initiative, that seems to be the norm rather than an aberration. Is the data the USPS doesn’t want to share painting a similar (blank?) picture?
Items of late like this one also highlight the extreme need for regulation. Congressional discussions minimizing the importance of the PRC and USPS regulation frightens me to no end. Even regulated, things are not good.
On the Staples push, it’s sort of like having a burglar in your house, and you call the police, and instead the Boy Scouts show up. I like the Boy Scouts, don’t get me wrong, but I’d prefer to have a trained officer respond.