Archive for October 11th, 2011

Direct Mail Hub

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From today’s USPS LiteBlue news –

HUB OF ALL ACTION. USPS has upgraded the Direct Mail Hub landing portal for added functionality.

New features include a tool designed to match small businesses with local mail service providers (MSPs). Businesses that fill out an online job requirement form will be connected within 24 hours to local vendors that can meet their needs.

In addition to matchmaking between businesses and MSPs, the redesigned Hub provides businesses with additional tools for completing mailpiece design, preparation and entry on their own.

Currently, the Hub is being tested in two markets: Raleigh, NC, and Austin, TX (Link, 10/7). Click here details.

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The Mail Service Provider link is to Direct Mail Quotes, a company that is NOT the USPS.

 

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 11th, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Posted in USPS

Mail.dat® Versions – Primer

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This info is courtesy of Window Book’s Postal Concierge, thank you for sharing!

Mail.dat® Versions

Mail.dat 09-1. Mail.dat 11-1. Now we hear Mail.dat 11-2 is getting ready – and 12-1 is not too far behind. Who can keep track of all of these numbers and what does it all mean? Mail.dat is the mailing industry standard format for the relational database file set that represents all of the details regarding a specific mailing (with the exception of the recipient names and addresses). The number is the version number of the specification for the Mail.dat file format. Mail.dat 11-1 is the version currently in use, but we are rapidly approaching the implementation of version 11-2, and there is another new version just around the corner.

Version changes
The Mail.dat specification is authored and maintained by IDEAlliance®. (www.idealliance.org) There have been a number of version updates since the inception of the Mail.dat specification. These version updates are necessary to bring the specification up to speed with changes from the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) regarding regulations and rates, and also changes in standard practices within the mailing industry. Minor documentation changes may be dealt with via errata updates, but more substantial changes require changes to the actual technical specification. The version numbering system begins with the last two digits of the calendar year in which the version becomes effective, followed by the version number. For example, the current version, 11-1, was first effective with the postal rate and regulation changes in January 2011. The upcoming version will address additional postal changes which will be effective in November 2011, so that version is named 11-2.

Version effective dates
Currently there are two essential dates for mailers to be cognizant of with respect to Mail.dat version changes. For each version, there is a “must catch” date and a “must send” date. The “must catch” date is the date by which users of Mail.dat files must be prepared to be able to read and process files in the new version format. The “must send” date is the date by which generators of Mail.dat files must be able to create Mail.dat files in the new version format. For the new 11-2 version, the “must-catch” date is October 17, 2011, and the “must-send” date is November 21, 2011. Another critical date is the date that the PostalOne!® system is ready to accept Mail.dat files in the new version format. In the case of the 11-2 version, this effective date is November 6, 2011.

What it means for mailers
What this means for mailers is that if you generate Mail.dat files, you will need to be able to generate these files in the new 11-2 file format no later than November 21, 2011, although you may generate them in the new format before that date. If you use Mail.dat files, you will need to be able to read and process these files in the new 11-2 format no later than October 17, 2011, although you may process 11-2 format files prior to that date. It is important for mailers to coordinate with their software providers to insure that the critical effective dates will be met. It is important to coordinate the “turn over” date to move to the new Mail.dat version so that all of the utilities used to generate or process Mail.dat files, as well as the various service providers who may perform these processes for you, are all ready to go with the new 11-2 version. Most importantly, mailers need to coordinate this so that the new format files are not transmitted to PostalOne! before it is ready to accept them. Most software providers, including Window Book, will permit mailers to export files in either the new version, or the immediate past version(s) of the Mail.dat format. This provides mailers the flexibility to provide or process Mail.dat files in whichever format is currently in use by the user.

What’s next?
The next version after 11-2 will be 12-1, and it will reflect the changes for the new postal regulations and rates planned for January 2012. For this version, the “must catch” date is January 8, 2012, while the “must send” date is January 22, 2012.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 11th, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Posted in USPS

Comment Period Reminder – Proposal to Revise Service Standards for First-Class Mail, Periodicals, and Standard Mail

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From the DMM Advisory

The Federal Register advance notice of federal rule making, highlighted in an earlier communication from Susan LaChance, USPS® Vice President Consumer & Industry Affairs, would revise service standards, eliminating the expectation of overnight service for First-Class Mail and Periodicals, narrowing the two-day delivery range, and enlarging the three-day delivery range. A major effect of the proposal would be to facilitate a significant consolidation of the Postal Service’s processing and transportation networks.

The comment period closes on October 21. Please send any comments to the special email address created for the mailing industry: industryfeedback@usps.gov.

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Lisa note:  This is much like voting — if you don’t take the time to comment, don’t bother complaining later.  Read the Federal Register notice.  Formulate an opinion.  Share it.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 11th, 2011 at 9:02 am

Posted in USPS

Committee Vote on Issa Ross Postal Bill

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 11th, 2011 at 8:38 am

Posted in USPS

Rep. Darrell Issa on the Future of the Post Office

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Two words come to mind…

“disingenuous”, and “propaganda”

http://youtu.be/kg4fe9rkpnI

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 11th, 2011 at 4:18 am

Posted in USPS