Archive for January, 2011

What Can You Do About the Weather?

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Let me start by saying that I grew up in Chicago, so I am no stranger to snow.  For the past 20 years, I have lived on the Connecticut shore, enjoying sea breezes in the summer, and mild (well, milder than inland) winters.  This winter, however, has broken the record books.  The cycle of storms here in the Northeast have been unrelenting, and it looks like there is no end in sight.  Transportation networks have been snarled, with no break in the action to allow for a full recovery.

For time-sensitive direct mailers, the weather can throw a real monkey wrench into delivery and in-home projections and planning.  Sometimes, circumstances beyond control, like the weather, results in mail delays.  These delays can sometimes affect only a portion or geographic region on a mailing.  When will my mail piece get there?  Did it get there?  Without any visibility, it is impossible to predict and adjust accordingly.

Unless, of course, the mail piece carries an Intelligent Mail® barcode, supercharged with OneCode Confirm®.  OneCode Confirm® mail piece tracking can be done with either Basic or Full Service Intelligent Mail®.  Piece tracking is not available by using Full Service alone. Although POSTNET and Planet Code barcodes can be used, OneCode eliminates the need for two separate barcodes taking up valuable space on the mail pieces.  Using OneCode, only one barcode is needed, the tracking information and service request is imbedded within the Intelligent Mail® barcode.  In any case, Confirm® service can be added.

OneCode Confirm® data can aid marketers in managing near-real time delivery information.  Marketers gain visibility, and thus more control, over their mailings.

Here are just a few of the OneCode Confirm® benefits:

  • accurately predict delivery
  • manage retail store staffing
  • manage call center staffing
  • manage and enhance customer service and customer satisfaction
  • maximize marketing costs with increased efficiencies-keep follow-up mailings from overlapping
  • monitor supply chain

I will be speaking on OneCode Confirm® at two upcoming premiere mailing industry events, Mailcom and the National Postal Forum, representing intelisent.  The Mailcom session will cover the basics and how to get started; the NPF presentation will be more advanced, and will include some real-life case studies.  If you would like more information in the meantime, feel free to contact me directly at Lisa.Bowes@intelisent.com

You can’t control the weather.  But you can gain visibility and marketing insight to make the most of your mailings, by utilizing OneCode Confirm®.  Intelisent can show you how.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 31st, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Posted in USPS

PostalOne Release 26

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On Friday, January 28th, the USPS distributed Final Release notes for PostalOne Release 26.  This is a problem with PostalOne that continues – Final Release notes for a release that went into production 26 days prior? This is version 5 of the release notes, which makes the notes a constantly changing, moving target, with consequences for mailers if something critical is missed.

Within the release notes, there are more than 20 Known Issues, paired with Workarounds. Most of these were slated to be fixed during the month of January, but some of them are open ended.  Several have to do with optional FSS preparation, which is new and some growing pains are to be expected.  Several more have to do with faulty Mail.dat Validation messages that are incorrect, and will either be corrected or completely removed.

A continuing issue has to do with the requirement in some releases, this one included, for mailers to download, install, and utilize a new Mail.dat client application.  If you didn’t read all the release notes prior to the release, you missed this critical piece of information.  I know of at least one mailer that spent an entire day trying to upload files that would hang up with no error message or direction.  There is no mechanism within the Mail.dat client to alert users that they must make a mandatory update.  In addition, the update required a Java Runtime Environment update to coincide with the new client application installation.  This process needs to be streamlined and made far more intuitive and far less onerous for the users.

In all fairness, the release notes have come a long way in communicating requirements.  Great strides have been made, and there is a terrific change log that helps a great deal.  However, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 31st, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Posted in USPS

Auditors raise concerns over USPS bookkeeping

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 30th, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Posted in USPS

New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services

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From the DMM Advisory:

Yesterday the Federal Register published the final rule to revise domestic pricing and eligibility standards associated with the April 17, 2011, Mailing Services price change.

Revisions include the introduction of commercial base and commercial plus pricing for First-Class Mail® parcels. We also will implement changes previously proposed to eliminate the sale of Standard Mail® (including nonprofit) stamped envelopes. Further, with this final rule, the Postal Service revises the standards for determining single-piece weights for flats mailed at Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail®, and Library Mail prices.

The final rule can be viewed on the Postal Explorer® website at pe.usps.com by clicking on “Federal Register Notices” in the left frame.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 28th, 2011 at 10:39 am

Posted in USPS

Postal Service Shrinking its Urban Footprint

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Courier, Express, and Postal Observer: Postal Service Shrinking its Urban Footprint.

Great observations on how the media, and then public perception, gets twisted and molded incorrectly on postal subjects.  Recent comments made by Senator McCain have also highlighted the fact that even intelligent people can be misinformed by being exposed to only part of a story, some of the facts, or even in some cases – complete fabrications.

The USPS needs to close facilities and morph into a model similar to that of the banks that are in grocery stores. Change will take place.  There will be growing pains.  The alternative is whithering away and dying off.  There really is only one viable choice.

I did a project back in school where I compared daily articles covering the same topic or event in the national editions of the New York Daily News and the New York Post.  The different accounts sometimes made the same story as different as night and day.  Add in the use of misleading headlines, and a casual reader or skimmer could come away with a totally mistaken impression.

I hope the decision makers will gather all the facts, and make the right choices.  They will be difficult choices, but it is something that must be done.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 25th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Posted in USPS

USPS Do Not Deliver Clarification

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via a USPS Press release:

U.S. Postal Service Clarifies Do Not Deliver Requests –
Consumers Should Contact the Mailer, Not Their Carrier

The Postal Service wishes to clarify erroneous information in at least two recent news articles regarding requests for non delivery of mail with simplified addressing.

Consumers who do not wish to receive mail with a simplified address must make the request through the mailer, not their carrier. The mailer will then notify the local delivery unit through the same processes currently established for rural routes. Market research indicates that requests for non delivery will be minor.

Simplified Addressing enables a mailer to use mail delivery route information to reach target customer groups in specific areas without applying names or exact addresses.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 24th, 2011 at 11:21 am

Posted in USPS

Postal Service ‘Discovers’ A Way To Grow Direct Mail

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 21st, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Posted in USPS

Senator Carper Reacts to USPS Job Cuts

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 21st, 2011 at 1:17 am

Posted in USPS

Susan Collins files brief opposing USPS in exigent rate case appeal

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Senator Collins’s brief argues that the PRC’s decision is consistent with the text, legislative history, purpose, and intent of the comprehensive rate system included in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) – a 2006 law that she authored. Senator Collins further notes that the Postal Service’s current financial condition is the result of numerous non-exigent factors. Under the law, these factors cannot support an exigent rate increase because they have no connection to an “extraordinary or exceptional circumstance” that the Postal Service could not reasonably be expected to have accounted for in the normal course of business.

Susan Collins files brief opposing USPS in exigent rate case appeal – postalnews blog.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 19th, 2011 at 11:32 am

Posted in USPS

USPS shrinks workforce, changes pension

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 17th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Posted in USPS