Archive for October, 2008

USPS Move Update Methods – NCOALink

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After attending the IDEAlliance Postal Operations & Technologies Committee meeting yesterday, it is evident from the feedback of many of my colleagues that there is still and enormous amount of confusion amongst mailers of all sizes regarding Move Update requirements.

NCOALink is one of the methods that can be used in fulfilling the requirements.  Contact me directly if you would like a referral to a reputable, experienced NCOALink service provider.

This excerpt from the September/October issue of MailPro:

The NCOALink process improves mailpiece deliverability by providing mailers with current, standardized, delivery point-coded addresses for individual, family and business moves.

New address information is obtained from COA orders filed by postal customers. If a match is made with the name and old address information in the NCOALink file, then the move information — new address or undeliverable status — is made available to update the address record.

The full NCOALink product contains approximately 160 million records or four years worth of COAs and is available to Full Service Provider licensees. The limited NCOALink product contains approximately 60 million records or 18 months worth of COAs and is available to Limited Service Provider and End User licensees.

In addition to COA information, NCOALink also utilizes return codes to provide explanations of match and non-match status:

  • Return codes that indicate that a match was obtained are accompanied by a new address or undeliverable status such as moved, left no address, or no such number.
  • Return codes that indicate a match was not obtained provide the reason a match could not be made to the NCOALink file.

The analysis of return codes can help mailers determine the deliverability of specific address records in their files.

NCOALink provides the following benefits:

  • Reduces UAA mail and mailer’s costs by providing the most current address information for matches made to the NCOALink file.
  • Decreases “re-mailings” after address correction notices are received from a previous mailing, since the address correction is applied prior to the mailing.
  • Provides the opportunity for faster product/service marketing through accurate mail delivery.

Why bother checking for accuracy of your address list? Accurate and updated addresses are required to obtain Automation and Presort prices for First-Class Mail and all Standard Mail prices after Nov. 23. Also, consider these statistics:

  • 14 percent of Americans change addresses annually.
  • 43 million people move each year.
  • One out of every six families moves each year

How many of these people are your customers or members?

When you buy or rent a list, make sure it was processed through Coding Accuracy Support System certified address-matching software and NCOALink within 95 days of your projected mailing dates. If you are not sure, ask the vendor.


How is your company handling the Move update requirements?  Comments?

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 30th, 2008 at 5:22 pm

Posted in USPS

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PRC Chairman Predicts 5% Rate Hike for 2009

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PRC Chairman Predicts 5% Rate Hike for 2009


Key statement in this article is – “Anything is possible”.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 29th, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Posted in USPS

Commingling for Postal Optimization

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Commingling for Postal Optimization

Commingling was a big topic of interest at the DMA show, and is becoming a very hot topic for mailers looking for new ways to maximize the value of their mailings.  There are several “Co” programs, it is important to know which is which and what they actually are:

These definitions are from the USPS Quick Service Guide 800 Glossary of Postal Terms and Abbreviations found in the Domestic Mail Manual:

commingle To integrate dissimilar mail (such as subscriber and nonsubscriber copies or machinable and irregular parcels) into the same mailing.

copalletize To combine and present together on pallets mail from two or more different or separately produced mailstreams.

These definitions are my own take on the processes listed:

comailing, as opposed to copalletization, combines individual pieces of mail, rather than bundles, in order to create bundles with a higher presort threshold, allowing pieces to be married up with other pieces going to the same zip code, boosting qualification levels to get deeper piece discounts.

cobinding occurs during the actual manufacturing process, and allows mail of like trim sizes and comparable page make-ups for different finished products to be produced and sorted as a single mail stream.

Are you commingling, or planning to commingle?  Concerns, questions, advice for other mailers?  Comment this blog or drop me a note.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 29th, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Posted in USPS

USPS Intelligent Mail – Full or Basic Service, Part 1

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Over the next few weeks I will be posting information taken from the “Guide to Intelligent Mail for Letters and Flats”, which is a USPS document posted to the RIBBS site here  The Guide provides details on changes that will be required in order to support Full Service and Basic Service mailings.  It also identifies the data that will be provided back to mailers at no additional charge, as a reward for achieving Full Service compliance.

Here is a good look at what will be required for Intelligent Mail:

Basic Option
Intelligent Mail® barcode on the mailpiece
Letter or flat-sized mailpieces
The same CASS certified delivery point information that is included in the current POSTNET barcode
Mailer ID
Mail Class in the Service Type ID field
Optional endorsement line (OEL) if printed on a flat-sized mailpiece
There is also a Serial Number field that may be populated with any numbers the mailer chooses.

Full-Service Option
Unique Intelligent Mail barcodes on mailpieces
unique Intelligent Mail tray labels used on trays and sacks
unique Intelligent Mail container labels used on pallets or other containers (when containerized)
Mailer ID
Mail Class in the Service Type ID field
Optional endorsement line (OEL) if printed on a flat-sized mailpiece
Delivery point routing code information that has been CASS certified
Unique serial numbers in the Serial Number field
Electronic mailing documentation
Electronic Postage Statements
FAST drop-ship delivery appointments
Customer Supplier Agreement (CSA) compliance

Questions?  Comment this blog or drop me a note.  How are you getting prepared for Intelligent Mail?

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 28th, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Posted in Intelligent Mail,USPS

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Deadlines approaching for holiday mail to military

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Deadlines approaching for holiday mail to military | Seattle Times Newspaper

November 13 is the deadline for sending holiday packages to troops stationed overseas using Parcel Post to all Air/Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) ZIP codes.

Support our troops!

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 27th, 2008 at 10:36 pm

Posted in USPS

Post office plans to privatize bulk mail –

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 27th, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Posted in USPS

UAA Undeliverable as Addressed Mail

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This item caught my eye today, from

The  Associated Press has reported that “The IRS on Thursday announced its own little economic bailout plan, worth about $266 million, for taxpayers who didn’t get their economic stimulus checks or regular income tax refunds the first time around because they couldn’t be found. The tax agency said it couldn’t deliver about 279,000 rebate checks worth about $163 million coming from the economic stimulus package that Congress enacted last February. It said the U.S. Postal Service returned about 104,000 regular refund checks totaling about $103 million because of address errors.” [EdNote: Now that puts a really personal price tag on UAA mail.]


That bears repeating — “the U.S. Postal Service returned about 104,000 regular refund checks totaling about $103 million because of address errors.” Much has been communicated regarding the cost of UAA mail to the Postal Service, and to mailers – this is a great example of the cost of UAA mail to mail recipients.  What other critical mail items are recipients missing, completely unaware?

Food for thought, this makes UAA efforts even more important for both mailers and mail recipients.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 24th, 2008 at 9:33 am

Posted in USPS

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Holiday Mailing

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I hate even thinking of Christmas before Halloween, but wanted to pass along this USPS Holiday Facts sheet.  This is a good one-pager to print out and post, it contains a good reference for holiday mail-by dates and services required in order to meet those dates:

This sheet is from the USPS Postal Bulletin, a twice-monthly USPS publication.

Best wishes,


Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 23rd, 2008 at 8:50 am

Posted in Resources,USPS

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New MTAC Work Groups Forming

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Two new MTAC Work Groups are forming:

# 125 “First-Class Mail Growth”

# 126 “Growing Marketing Mail”

I will be participating on #126:
Issue Statement: Define Opportunities for Marketing Mail Growth

Impact on Other Issues/Procedures
This new initiative will affect and require changes to current business processes. Some of the impacted organizations or functional areas are identified as, but not limited to:

1. Business Mail Acceptance – current acceptance and verification process
2. Mailing Standards and Preparation – current regulation assessment and development of new requirements
3. USPS Mail Processing Operations – current preparation to processing assessment, business process integrity, data collection/management, and exception reporting
4. Shipping and Mailing Services – new products or services

Desired Results:
The workgroup will focus on the following:

1. Identify opportunities to grow Marketing Mail volume
2. Identify and eliminate obstacles that hinder Marketing Mail growth
3. Develop products or services that make mail more valuable and attractive to business customers

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 22nd, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Posted in MTAC,USPS

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USPS Move Update

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As we get closer and closer to the November implementation date, a clear understanding of the new USPS Move Update requirements are essential.

Two address quality initiatives will become effective November 23, 2008:

1) Increase the minimum frequency of Move Update processing from 185 days to 95 days priorto the mail date.

2) Extend the Move update requirement standards to include all Standard Mail®

Who is affected?
>all First-Class® mailings at automation and presort pricing
New>ALL Standard Class Mail®

When do changes take effect?
The new Move Update Requirement takes effect on November 23, 2008. Any mail with a mail date on or after November 23
rd has to contain only addresses that have been updated after August 20, 2008.

How do mailers comply?
By using an approved Move Update process like NCOALink and OneCode ACS AddressCorrection Service.

There are 5 Move Update processes that will enable mailers to meet the requirement. The most common is NCOALink

  1. NCOALink

  2. ACS or OneCode ACS

  3. FastForward (MLOCR)

  4. Ancillary Service Endorsements

  5. Other Certified Alternate Methods

    Common Questions:

Q)  What is Form 6014?  When is it needed?

Form 6014 is “Certification of Move Update” Compliance. This document identifies the mail owner and the mail preparer, and the Move Update methods used to ensure compliance. Mail preparers will need to request this form for any mailing lists for which they are not doing the Move Update processing themselves. This form is valid for up to one year from date signed. This form must be made available to the USPS by mail owner or mail preparer on 24 hours notice.

Q) What is the penalty for non-compliance?

Although the penalty has not yet been announced, the USPS proposed a possible 7 cents per every piece in the mailing as a non-compliance penalty.

Questions? Need more info or further reference materials?

Comment the blog or comment me for more information, or questions. Move Update compliance is coming quickly!  Be prepared.

Best wishes,


Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 17th, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Posted in USPS

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