Archive for August, 2010

USPS Webinars: Migrating to IMb

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Webinar.pdf

The USPS will be hosting informational webinars on migrating to the Intelligent Mail barcode.  The time to do so is now, with the POSTNET barcode retiring in May 2011.  Take advantage of this educational offering, ask questions, and learn as much as you can about Intelligent Mail.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 31st, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Posted in USPS

Full Service vs Basic Intelligent Mail

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There is a press release making the rounds that makes some misguided statements regarding Full Service Intelligent Mail.  The assumption that mailers MUST go directly to Full Service is not 100% accurate.  Yes, in order to get the postage discount of $1 per thousand for Standard mail, and $3 per thousand for First-Class mail, Full Service is required.  However, Full Service comes at a COST.  There is a cost associated to mail service providers in order to be able to offer this service.  There needs to be management of unique barcodes for pieces, sacks, trays, and pallets.  Pallet placards must be affixed to the outside of pallet wraps, requiring some form of adhesive that is not needed otherwise.  There are more electronic requirements, including use of PostalOne!, and FAST.  Yes, there is a postage discount.  In many cases, the cost of providing the service far outweighs that discount.

Another fact is that in May 2011, the Intelligent Mail barcode will be required for automation discounts, as the POSTNET barcode will be retired.  All mailers should be migrating to the Intelligent Mail barcode, if they have not done so already.  For many mailers and mail owners, the right choice for them is going to be Basic Intelligent Mail – that is why the USPS offers the two choices in the first place.  For those who want to take advantage of Full Service benefits, they need to weigh cost vs benefit and make the right choice for each mailing’s unique requirements.

Basic Intelligent Mail barcode use will enable a mailing to receive automation discounts, both now and in May 2011 when usage will be required.  Basic Intelligent mail users who need address correction services can utilize optional OneCode ACS.  Basic Intelligent mail users (and Full Service users, for that matter) who need visibility and tracking services can take advantage of OneCode Confirm.

The key is education and understanding of not only the rules and requirements, but also understanding of the costs and the benefits-a complete picture.  It’s not just about postage discounts.  Get the most out of your mailing by getting all the facts, and making an educated decision as to how to proceed.  The USPS has choices to suit your needs today, while maintaining and expanding upon more options for both now and in the future.  Now that Intelligent Mail is well established, utilize the experience of mail service providers, and from other mailers to help make the right choices.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 31st, 2010 at 11:00 am

Posted in USPS

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New FAST Help Desk

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The USPS continues to strive to improve customer service and support.  One of the latest efforts is the FAST Help Desk –

New FAST Help Desk (August 30, 2010): As announced in the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST®) 14.3.0 Release Notes (August 15, 2010), the Postal ServiceTM will launch the new FAST Help Desk effective Monday, August 30. The FAST Help Desk will be available to assist with application and operation-related issues by:

• Email at FAST@usps.gov.
• Telephone at 877-569-6614. The FAST Help Desk telephone number efficiently directs calls through a new IVR network to ensure prompt routing of customer inquiries.

The FAST Help Desk hours of operation will be Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CT. Telephone support will be available outside of these hours including weekends and holidays.

If the Help Desk is unable to provide an immediate resolution, a Remedy Ticket will be activated and escalated to the appropriate postal functional entity. All FAST Remedy Tickets will follow the established Issue Resolution Process.

The FAST Welcome pages have been updated to reflect the new FAST Help Desk contact information.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 28th, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Posted in USPS

New USPS FAST Resources

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New Resources available in pdf format, at he t USPS FAST website.  This is just a small sampling of the information available at the page.  Be sure to check it out.

http://tinyurl.com/25d4qkx

Added:
Creating Drop Ship Appointments
Creating Origin Entry Appointments
Facility Profile Information
Managing Drop Ship Appointments
Managing Origin Entry Appointments

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 27th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Posted in USPS

PostalOne! Outage – Duration = 2 Hours

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PostalOne! experienced some downtime this afternoon.  Communications from the PostalOne! Help Desk: email at 3:05pm EDT: “PostalOne! Production Performance Issues! You are receiving this email because a Priority Urgent ticket has been opened by the PostalOne Help Desk for an issue that is affecting PostalOne external users. The issue is currently under investigation, and the root cause is unknown. More information will be provided as it becomes available. ” Update email at 5:14 pm EDT “Attention PostalOne!® Users We have identified the cause of this problem and have taken down a server that was impacting user access/performance. We believe access to PostalOne has been restored for internal/external user. I will provide an update once we confirm system availability with Help Desk.” Update email at 5:36pm EDT: “Attention PostalOne!® Users We have completed restoring service to the remaining server/cell that was taken down earlier this afternoon. The system has now been fully restored and response times should have returned to normal levels. Today’s outage impacted both internal users who access PostalOne through blue page and external users who access PostalOne services through Business Customer Gateway. The outage did not impact eDoc submission via mail.dat.”

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 25th, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Posted in Service,USPS

POSTNET Barcode Retirement Communications

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Mailers across the country started receiving a communication letter from the USPS regarding the retirement of the POSTNET barcode in 2011. While I applaud the Postal Service’s effort to get the word out, several mailers have commented that they received multiple, identical, letters in their mailboxes.

In one example, the identical letters had variations in the addressed company name (as an example, one letter said Company A, one said Company A, Inc.) or different variations of street addresses – all of which got delivered). Many companies are reporting 3 or 4 (or more) of these identical notices, while some major mailers didn’t get any.

Quality databases produce quality lists, and it looks like the USPS could do with some basic database clean up.  I’m sure the intention was good, as they want to reach everyone.

A fact sheet entitled “Intelligent Mail Services – Increase the value of your mail with the latest technology” accompanied each letter. The fact sheet does a nice job of providing information on both Basic and Full Service Intelligent Mail. There is also a list of add-on services such as OneCode ACS and OneCode Confirm. The only issue I have with the fact sheet is that it says “Receive Free Full Service ACS with the Intelligent Mail Full Service option”.  Yes, you can get free ACS with Full Service – on the automated portion of your mailing only, and you run the risk of possibly losing that information if any issues arise with your Full Service job, which can happen very late in the cycle.There is also some liability, as Full Service Free ACS forces you to update your mailing list with the new address returned, even if you don’t want to, or face charges for subsequent notices. “Free” does not always turn our to be “without cost”.

Last thing to note – there is no mention of the other Full Service benefit that is usually touted – Start the Clock information.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 25th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Posted in USPS

ACS Data Outage

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The USPS ACS department sent out a communication regarding ACS RIBBS fulfillment for August 28 and 29.   OneCode ACS fulfillment information is handled via RIBBS, and with RIBBS down for maintenance these days, ACS will also be inaccessible.   The records that would be returned during this period will be returned at the next scheduled fulfillment date.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 25th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Posted in USPS

Solution for USPS debt?

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The Postal Service ends the third quarter with a $3.5 billion dollar loss. But there are ways for the Postal Service to get back to black. Lorie Nelson is the Director of Financial Reporting for the USPS Office of Inspector General. She joins us the Federal Drive to explain how the Postal Service might be able to use at least $5.5 billion of the $6.8 billion surplus in the Federal Employees Retirement System.

Federal News Radio 1500 AM: Solution for USPS debt?.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 24th, 2010 at 10:14 am

Posted in USPS

NC Postmaster: USPS Must Re-Evaluate Its Management Culture to Face Challenges Ahead

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excerpts of comments by North Carolina Postmaster Mark Jamison submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission regarding exigent rate case

PostalReporter News Blog » Blog Archive » NC Postmaster: USPS Must Re-Evaluate Its Management Culture to Face Challenges Ahead.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 23rd, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Posted in USPS

USPS RIBBS Maintenance

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The USPS information portal, RIBBS, will be down for scheduled maintenance from 7am CDT on August 28, through 11pm CDT on August 29th.  It is easy to take RIBBS for granted – it is the very best source of information on everything from Intelligent Mail to Move Update – so plan accordingly.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 23rd, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Posted in USPS