Archive for January 31st, 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