Archive for October 18th, 2012

Newsweek magazine to stop printing, go all-digital

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Newsweek magazine to stop printing, go all-digital – Yahoo! News.

(Reuters) – Newsweek, the venerable U.S. weekly current affairs magazine, will publish its final print edition on December 31 and move to an all-digital format early next year, the latest example of how print media have had to adapt to changing reading habits.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 18th, 2012 at 11:40 am

Posted in USPS

Details from the Full Service IMb Federal Register Notice

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Excerpts and commentary on:

Implementation of Full-Service Intelligent Mail Requirements for Automation Prices

SUMMARY: The Postal Service is proposing to revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) throughout various sections to modify eligibility requirements for mailers to obtain automation prices for First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Bound Printed Matter when mailing postcards, letters, and flats. Effective January 2014, use of “full-service” Intelligent Mail would be required to obtain automation prices.

Additionally, the 10/24 transitional barcoded tray label format would be eliminated and mailers would be required to use the 24-digit Intelligent Mail barcode format on tray, tub, and sack labels.

When using the full-service option, mailers are required to:

>Apply unique Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMb)

>Apply unique Intelligent Mail tray barcodes (IMtb) on trays, tubs, and sacks

>Apply unique Intelligent Mail container barcodes (IMcb) on placards for containers, such as pallets

>Schedule appointments through Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST)

>Use an approved electronic method to transmit to the Postal Service mailing documentation and postage statements.

If the mailing is being prepared or presented on behalf of another entity, the electronic documentation (eDoc) should include additional information to support the by/for mailing relationships. Effective January 2014, the requirements relative to the by/for relationships would be enforced.

Advantages for Mailers(LMB:  according to the USPS)

Mailers would be provided with comprehensive information on the status of mailings as they progress through the postal mail. Visibility would enable mailers to respond more effectively to customer inquiries on the status of valuable bills, statements, catalogs, and publications.
(LMB:  This visibility already exists and is available via IMb Tracing for both Basic and Full Service IMB)

Mailers would have access to free address correction and tracking information of mailpieces from mail entry to destination.

The mailer’s annual mailing fee for permits would be waived when postage statements contain 90 percent or more of full-service mailpieces.

Mailers would be allowed to use the “Mail Anywhere” model, which allows the use of a single permit at any PostalOne! site for mailings containing 90 percent or more of full-service mailpieces (applies to FCM, Standard Mail, Periodicals,and BPM).

Mailers would be able to more effectively plan operations, assess the success of advertising campaigns, and improve customer interaction.  (LMB:  Again, this already exists for IMb Tracing users, and is currently available for both Basic and Full Service)

Advantages for the Postal Service

Visibility into the flow of mail through the postal mail stream would enable enhanced diagnostics of service performance.

Scan data on containers, trays, and mailpieces would allow the Postal Service to measure the number of hours and minutes between operations.

Scan data would allow the Postal Service to identify operational bottlenecks and continue to improve service for commercial FCM, Standard Mail, and Periodicals.

The ability to provide real-time alerts to postal operations would enable them to respond to and avoid potential service failures. (LMB:  This functionality, at least the real-time aspect,  does NOT currently exist, it is a proposal for the future)

Advance notification of volumes and makeup of commercial mail would enable improved resource planning.

Accurate tracking of mail volumes as they move through the postal network would enable improved management and staffing of operations.

Simplified mail acceptance processes would increase productivity and reduce costs.  (LMB:  Any mailer who is currently presenting Full Service mailings will attest that this is not true currently.  Mail acceptance procedures on Full Service mailing are more complex and time consuming for both the USPS and the mailer at this point.)

The ability to measure service performance would be available for each full-service mailer.

In support of the proposal to transition to full-service Intelligent Mail and the elimination of automation discounts with the use of POSTNET barcodes, the Postal Service proposes to offer the following self-service tools, process enhancements, on-boarding simplifications, and postage incentives:

>Intelligent Mail Small Business Tool–Intelligent Mail for Small Business Mailers (IMsb) is an online, self-service tool which allows a mailer to produce a unique IMb. This online tool is accessible through the Business Customer Gateway. It is intended for small volume mailers who enter mailings consisting of 5,000 pieces or fewer pieces with an annual maximum threshold of 125,000 pieces. The tool may be used for FCM and Standard Mail letter or flat mailings. The tool allows the mailer to upload an address file which is then processed for Delivery Point Validation. Standardized addresses with Intelligent Mail barcodes are returned in a .pdf format, which may be printed directly on an envelope or label by the mailer. Mailers are able to print unique tray labels. Mailers using the tool may qualify for the full-service Mixed Automated Area Distribution Center (MXD AADC) and Mixed Area Distribution Center (MXD ADC) automation prices. Postage statements are submitted electronically through Postage Wizard.  (LMB:  My personal advice to these small mailers is to use one of the many robust and easy to use commercially available options rather than this tool  Always be wary when the USPS tells you that this route would be “easier”.  It rarely is.  You get what you pay for, in this case “Free” may end up being costly.)

>Simplified On-Boarding Process–To provide ease of use for full-service mailers, the Postal Service proposes to enhance the Business Customer Gateway (BCG). (LMB:  On this one, there is certainly PLENTY of room for improvements!)  In addition, the enhancement would allow for identification of mail service providers as well as the ability to request MIDs and services on behalf of customers. (LMB:  This is functionality which mailers have been begging for nearly four years now.  This section goes on to list enhancements to PostalOne! error messages, the Test Environment for Mailers, etc — all items which the mailing community has been asking for since the beginning of Full Service.)

>Full Service Technology Credit (LMB:  This one requires a blog post of its own, look for a future installment on the Postal Affairs Blog.)

LMB:  In response to comments that Full Service implementation costs outweigh the benefits –  The Postal Service strongly disagrees that the investment of full-service is not worth the benefits gained
(LMB:  This is ridiculous to include, and is evidence of the USPS tendency to wear blinders and plunder ahead.  When you are selling a product, if your consumer audience cannot clearly see the benefit, having an arrogant attitude like this is not helpful.  If the consumer does not see the benefits, and the USPS cannot adequately sell the benefits, the USPS fails.  If the benefits were so great and the investment so small –  the USPS would not have to mandate Full Service use in the first place.  The marketplace would come on board willingly.



Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 18th, 2012 at 10:01 am

Posted in USPS

USPS Promotions & Incentive Programs: Emerging Technologies, August 2013

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August 1 – Sept. 30, 2013:

Emerging Technologies: Providing an upfront 2 percent postage discount, this promotion is designed to build on the successes of past mobile barcode promotions in promoting awareness of how innovative technologies, such as Near-Field Communication, Augmented Reality, and Authentication can be integrated with a direct mail strategy to enhance the value of direct mail. Registration is June 15, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2013.

via Promotions & Incentive Programs for First-Class & Standard Mail.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 18th, 2012 at 10:00 am

Posted in USPS

Implementation of Full-Service Intelligent Mail Required for Automation Prices 2014

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From the DMM Advisory

Our proposed rule to modify eligibility requirements for mailers to obtain automation prices for First-Class Mail®, Standard Mail®, Periodicals®, and Bound Printed Matter® when mailing postcards, letters, and flats was published in yesterday’s Federal Register. Effective January 2014, use of “full-service” Intelligent Mail® would be required to obtain automation prices.

We are interested in your feedback, which is due no later than November 16, 2012.

The Federal Register notice provides advance information to help mailers prepare and plan for the transition to Full-Service (use of unique Intelligent Mail barcodes applied to letters, postcards, flats, trays, sacks, and containers such as pallets and submission of electronic mailing documentation). Initiatives are proposed to limit the impact on customers who enter small volume mailings, particularly customers who mail infrequently and have limited resources to adopt new mailing practices.

Since the USPS has been completely unable to sell mailers and mail owners on the value of Full Service, a mandated requirement was their only alternative.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 18th, 2012 at 9:10 am

Posted in USPS