Archive for August 14th, 2010

Good News, Bad Practices on Intelligent Mail Assessments

without comments

At MTAC at USPS HQ this week, it was announced by the USPS that the Full Service IMb Assessments (Penalty, Loss of Discount in other words) would be postponed to have an effective date of January 11, 2011.  The USPS had intended to release the reports that would enable mailers to investigate failures that could cost them the discount, and start collection on the assessments on the very same day in November.  This would have given mailers zero time to correct any errors that they were able to diagnose using the reports – as well as challenge any erroneous errors, like those which are occurring now. In addition, the USPS has adopted a much more economical and reasonable tolerance level for any Full Service errors detected of 30% errors/$150 minimum.  When originally presented, there was no tolerance whatsoever, and no minimum.  Mailers could potentially been forced to investigate and administer 25 cent penalties.

It is puzzling to me why the USPS crafts their plan and THEN goes out to get industry feedback, and THEN seem surprised at the reaction.  They then have to backtrack, or extend previously published deadlines and implementation dates.  Since they have the ear of the industry represented at MTAC, (which is an endless resource of free expert consulting to the USPS – the USPS likes consultants a lot, but it seems only when they have to pay for them) it would seem to be a no-brainer for the Postal Service to run their plans by the associations at MTAC for feedback prior to publishing the plans for implementation.  This would save them the time and bother of having to adjust and change plans mid-stream.

It also seems that the USPS has been taken completely off guard at the low adoption rate of Full Service IMb, and for IMb itself.  Even mailers who could be using Basic IMb are sometimes holding off, as there is no benefit to them to switch until mandated next May.  This is adversely affecting the ability of the USPS to fulfill its service reporting requirements and a time when they can ill afford looking bad to Congress.

Hopefully the USPS will get back to the old ways of consulting with MTAC, the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee, for the good advice that can be found there.  By pushing back the date on this specific initiative, it gives everyone time to test, and to get it right – the ultimate goal (which should never be collecting penalties over getting it right).

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 14th, 2010 at 10:58 am

Posted in USPS