Postal/Industry News   

July 20, 2017

Office of the Inspector General: Mobile Delivery Device Program Mobile Delivery Devices (MDDs) are handheld scanning tools used by letter carriers to track deliveries in real-time. The new devices allow the U.S. Postal Service to provide enhanced tracking capability, which is essential for USPS to remain competitive. OIG auditors have just published a report examining whether the Postal Service met goals for performance, savings, and costs identified in its initial plans. See the full results and recommendations in the audit report: https://go.usa.gov/xRjvf

Market Dominant Billing Determinants: Process Review Billing determinants are manually produced spreadsheets that the U.S. Postal Service uses to track volume and revenue for every price in each market-dominant mail class. USPS uses billing determinants to estimate future revenue, develop prices for each class of mail, and ensure price increases do not exceed the Consumer Price Index. A new OIG audit report examines the current efficiency of the process as well as Postal Service responses to previous audits. Read the results and recommendations in the full report: https://go.usa.gov/xRjpb

 

Industry Alert:  Discontinued Support for File Transfer Protocol (FTP) **Reminder** REMINDER: Effective August 31, 2017, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will discontinue support for File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for mailers to send and/or receive shipping files and data through the Product Tracking & Reporting (PTR) system. Mailers using FTP to send and/or receive shipping files and data through PTR will need to set up a secure transmission method utilizing one of the methods provided. 


July 19, 2017

Office of the Inspector General:  Oral Statement on USPS Actions During the 2016 Campaign Season: Implications for the Hatch Act Acting Deputy Inspector General William Siemer’s oral statement during the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on the Postal Service's Actions During the 2016 Campaign Season: Implications for the Hatch Act.

Industry Alert: Pacific Area Post Offices Impacted by Central California Wildfire. The Pacific Area and Sacramento District are reporting two post offices being impacted by the Detwiller Fire in the area.  The fire has caused mandatory evacuations of the Mariposa PO at 5109 Jessie St, Mariposa CA, 95338 and Catheys Valley PO at 2675 State Hwy 140, Catheys Valley CA, 95306. At this time, no alternative locations for service are available.

Federal Register: Postal Service - Notices:Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Commercial Off-the-Shelf Vehicle Acquisitions, Nationwide, 33167–33168 [2017–15082] [PDF] Product Changes: Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 33168 [2017–15081] [PDF]


July 18, 2017

News: BusinessWire: Gordian, the leading provider of facility and construction cost data, software and expertise, announced today it is the winner of the United States Postal Service’s 2016 Supplier Performance Awards Program. Gordian was recognized for superior supply chain management efforts which allowed the Postal Service to more effectively achieve its mission of providing exceptional mail service to the American public. During the fiscal year of 2016, the Postal Service worked with a supplier base of 17,000. To place the award into context, Gordian is one of only 12 companies to receive recognition this year.

Federal Register: Postal Service - Rules: Production or Disclosure of Material or Information: Adding the Definition of a Record and Clarifying Language Concerning the Timing of Responses to Requests and Specific Categories of Records, 32766–32767 [2017–14934] [PDF]


July 17, 2017

Office of the Inspector General: Direct Mail Enhances an Integrated Strategy. Direct mail still has value even in a changing marketing landscape. In a series of focus groups and online surveys, marketers identified direct mail’s particular value as its ability to stand out from the many advertisements people see and hear daily. Marketing Mail, which is how direct mail is generally sent, is valuable to the U.S. Postal Service’s bottom line as well. It earned over $17 billion in revenue for the U.S. Postal Service in FY2016, despite declines since 2007. Read more and let us know what you think https://go.usa.gov/xNzuB


July 16, 2017

Industry Alert:  Attention PostalOne and FAST Users: FAST Release 36.0.0.0 deployment complete and the FAST system is available.


July 15, 2017

Federal Register: 

  • Postal Regulatory Commission - Competitive Product List, 32636–32641 [2017–14865], [PDF]New Postal Products, 32727 [2017–14911], [PDF]
  • Postal Service - Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 32727–32728 [2017–14879], [PDF]

July 14, 2017

Federal Register: 

  • Postal Regulatory Commission - New Postal Products, 32589 [2017–14796] [PDF]
  • Postal Service - Inspection Service Authority; Technical Correction, 32474 [2017–14763] [PDF]Product Changes: Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 32589 [2017–14765] [PDF]

July 13, 2017

Industry Alert: FAST Message Board Mail Direction File Issue for July - Please be aware that there was an issue with one posting of the Mail Direction Files published on June 30th, 2017  (for the August 1st, 2017 effective date). If you pulled the MDF file from FAST@USPS.Com prior to July 12th using this path: Resources -> Mail Direction Files -> Effective Date 08/01/2017; the files did not properly post, please re-download them at this time. All other access points for the MDF file contained the correct Data.

Industry Alert: July DMM® Update. Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date mailing standards. The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) is fully searchable on Postal Explorer and features fly-out menus, cross-reference links, and an extensive subject index. Monday, July 10, 2017, we updated our mailing standards to include the following changes: 

  • Parcel Select Lightweight® Dimensional Criteria- We revised 201.7.6 and 201.8.5.3 to clarify the dimensional criteria of Parcel Select Lightweight® (PSLW) parcels. We published this information in the June 22, 2017, Postal Bulletin.
  • Preparing PalletsWe revised 705.8.0 to clarify the maximum number of pallets that may be stacked, and the securing method for trays prepared on a pallet. We published this information in the June 8, 2017, Postal Bulletin.
  • Domestic Mail Manual Simplification - We revised DMM in various chapters as we continue our simplification initiative without changes to standards to make it quicker, easier, and more convenient. To assist in this transition the Postal Service will post a crosswalk for each section of the DMM. We published this information in the June 8, 2017,Postal Bulletin.
  • Address Information System Services - We revised 509.1.0 to clarify the processes for obtaining delivery statistics and update the required method to receive product updates from the Postal Service. Additionally, various DMM subsections will also have minor revisions related to the aforementioned clarification and update. We published this information in the May 25, 2017, Postal Bulletin
  • Our next scheduled DMM update is August 7, 2017.

Industry Alert: Attention PostalOne and FAST Users: PostalOne! Release 45.3.0.3 will deploy on Sunday, July 16, 2017 from 4:00 AM to 10:00 AM CT.  A quarterly Oracle patch will deploy during this maintenance window and the PostalOne! system will not be available during this timeframe. FAST Release 36.0.0.0 will deploy on Sunday, July 16, 2017 from  4:00 AM to 10:00 AM CT and the FAST application will not be available during this timeframe.

Federal Register:  Postal Service - Product Changes: Parcel Select Negotiated Service Agreement, 32386 32386 [2017–14633] [PDF]


July 11, 2017

Office of the Inspector General: Internal Controls Over No-Fee Money Order Refunds for Misc Non-Postal Revenue -Yale Station – New Haven, CT The OIG used data analytics to identify post offices that issued the largest amount of no-fee money order refunds for miscellaneous non-postal revenue. The Yale Station Post Office in New Haven, CT, issued the second largest amount of refunds compared to other offices nationally. We then looked at whether Yale Station had effective internal controls in place for issuing such refunds. Read our findings and recommendations in the full report https://go.usa.gov/xNear

Industry Alert: Wildfire Impacts - Arizona Office. Due to the “Burro Fire, the Western Area and Arizona District  are reporting the disruption of operations at the Mount Lemmon AZ Post Office located at 12984 N Sabino Canyon Pkwy, Mount Lemmon AZ 85619-9997. Mount Lemmon customers are being serviced by the Fort Lowell Station – Tucson PO located 6460 E Grant Rd,  Tucson AZ, 85715-9998.   Customers can pick up their mail or receive retail service at this alternate location.

Federal Register: 

Postal Regulatory Commission - Periodic Reporting, 31930 [2017–14422], [PDF]31929–31930 [2017–14423], [PDF]

Postal Service - Product Changes: Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 32021–32022 [2017–14421] [PDF]


July 10, 2017

Industry Alert: Attention Business Customer Gateway and PostalOne! Users: Discontinued Support for File Transfer Protocol (FTP). REMINDER: Only 6 weeks left to convert to a Secure Transmission Method. Effective August 31,2017, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will discontinue support for File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for mailers to send and/or receive shipping files and data through the Product Tracking & Reporting (PTR) system. Mailers using FTP to send and/or receive shipping files and data through PTR will need to set up a secure transmission method utilizing one of the methods below:

Option1 - Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). SFTP is a secure connectivity option available to exchange files using USPS’s SFTP server (or if the customer prefers, their own SFTP server).  We support SFTP login using Key Authentication or username/password. USPS prefers AES or 3DES algorithms if you choose to encrypt your data using PGP (Pretty good privacy).  We also support key login using OpenSSL keys rather than username/password login. Mailers must complete trading partner setup through our Data Transfer Services (DTS) group. Allow at least 30 days to complete this setup. For additional information refer Publication 199, Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb) Implementation Guide for Confirmation Services and Electronic Verification System (eVS) Mailers, Section 6 Communications, 6.1 Transmission methods, “SFTP” at https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_package/documents/tech_guides/PUB199IMPBImpGuide.pdf

Option2 - Electronic Data Interchange Internet Applicability Standard 2 (EDIINT AS2)-This option requires that the Business Partner use an EDIINT AS2 capable software product. Mailers must complete trading partner setup through our Data Transfer Services (DTS) group. Allow at least 30 days to complete this setup. For additional information refer Publication 199, Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb) Implementation Guide for Confirmation Services and Electronic Verification System (eVS) Mailers, Section 6 - Communications, 6.1 Transmission methods, “EDIINT AS2” at https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_package/documents/tech_guides/PUB199IMPBImpGuide.pdf

Option3 - Parcel Data Exchange (PDX) - Parcel Data Exchange (PDX) is a web services application that interfaces between the USPS’s PTR system and Customers to provide data transfer services. Customers can use this secure method to upload manifest files and receive scan event extract files. For additional information refer the PDX Online user guides on RIBBS at https://ribbs.usps.gov/evs/documents/tech_guides/pubs/PDXOnlineUserGuide.PDFhttps://ribbs.usps.gov/evs/documents/tech_guides/pubs/APIUserGuide.PDF

Mailers using a USPS certified software vendor or a third party service provider, should contact them to determine the secure connectivity options available or consult your internal technical team prior to contacting the USPS. 

Please contact the USPS Confirmation Services Technical Support Team with the selected option at delivery.confirmation@usps.gov or (877) 264-9693. If contacting via email please provide contact name, title, company name, email address and phone number.

For additional information, reference the FTP Fact Sheet posted on PostalPro athttps://postalpro.usps.com/node/3636.

In addition: Effective September 30, 2017, USPS will no longer support FTP for mailers enrolled in IMb Tracing or Informed Visibility (IV). Migrations will be performed in two steps:  First, IMb Tracing customers will be migrated to IV once the pilot is complete.  That date will be shared with the impacted users when it is available.  Then, IV participants will also need to transition to Secure FTP once they have migrated from IMb Tracing. Migration documentation is available on both PostalPro and RIBBs under Informed Visibility (https://postalpro.usps.com/visibility-and-tracking/informed-visibility-iv), and the Informed Visibility Help Desk can be contacted at InformedVisibility@usps.gov.  

Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission - Proposed Rules, Move Update Assessment, 31736 [2017–14318], [PDF]; Notes, New Postal Products, 31789–31790 [2017–14379] [PDF]

Industry Alert:  USPS Marketing Mail™ (Standard Mail®) Markings and Labels Update The Postal Service™ published a DMM Advisory on Friday, June 30, 2017, providing an update about the rebranding of Standard Mail® as USPS Marketing Mail™. The update stated the Postal Service continues to work with the industry on a timeline for implementation for the required use of new postage markings and permit imprint indicia, and we are estimating a “begin to transition” date in mid-2018. The Postal Service would like to clarify that in addition to postage markings and permit imprint indicia, the transition applies to markings included on sack, tray, and pallet labels. We will update the Domestic Mail Manual and Quick Service Guides in the applicable preparation sections to provide a similar note to the markings and permit imprint sections stating, “Customers should not convert to the USPS Marketing Mail markings until a date is announced.” In the meantime, we continue to request that customers do not transition to the new markings until we publish the final details through a DMM Advisory and Industry Alert. The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) and DMM Advisories are available on Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com)

 


July 7, 2017

Industry Alert: Attention PostalOne! Users: Good Afternoon, On Sunday, July 9 beginning at 7:00 PM ET USPS plans to perform maintenance to the USPS network. The maintenance duration is expected to be less than 30 minutes.  There are no anticipated outages toPostalOne! , however, should you encounter issues beyond the expected maintenance window please use standard escalation procedures.Thank you for your business and continued support. If you have any questions, contact the PostalOne! Help Desk at 800-522-9085 or via email at: postalone@usps.gov

Industry Alert: USPS Marketing Mail™ (Standard Mail®) Markings and Labels Update. The Postal Service™ published a DMM Advisory on Friday, June 30, 2017, providing an update about the rebranding of Standard Mail® as USPS Marketing Mail™. The update stated the Postal Service continues to work with the industry on a timeline for implementation for the required use of new postage markings and permit imprint indicia, and we are estimating a “begin to transition” date in mid-2018. The Postal Service would like to clarify that in addition to postage markings and permit imprint indicia, the transition applies to markings included on sack, tray, and pallet labels. We will update the Domestic Mail Manual and Quick Service Guides in the applicable preparation sections to provide a similar note to the markings and permit imprint sections stating, “Customers should not convert to the USPS Marketing Mail markings until a date is announced.” In the meantime, we continue to request that customers do not transition to the new markings until we publish the final details through a DMM Advisory and Industry Alert.

Office of the Inspector General: Carrier Leave Without Pay for Union Activities Following a Congressional request, OIG auditors examined the Postal Service’s leave without pay (LWOP) policy within the Postal Service and whether management followed it in granting carriers LWOP for union activity. its effect on Postal operations. To find the results go to https://go.usa.gov/xN6Pe

Office of the Inspector General: Assessing Marketers’ Barriers to Direct Mail — Management Advisory Report Direct mail has proven to be an effective form of advertising, but as digital media channels have grown, volume and revenue of direct mail have declined.  Yet it still accounts for over $17 billion – a full 25 percent – of USPS’s total revenue. The OIG’s recent audit looks at marketers’ view of direct mail and why they don’t use it more in their marketing plans. Read the full report: https://go.usa.gov/xN6Au


July 6, 2017

Industry Alert: Executive Director Product Management Announcement. Vice President of Marketing Steven Monteith announced the appointment of Thomas (Tom) J. Foti as the Executive Director, Product Management in the Marketing Group. In this role, Tom will be responsible for managing all domestic products for the Postal Service . He and his team will ownthe vision and product strategies that drive contribution, revenue, and volume. This will involve working cross functionally within the PostalService, as well as with industry to develop and ultimately implement the vision and strategies. Tom has over 27 years of postal experience and was most recently on detail as the Executive Director of the World-Class International PlatformInitiative, where he was responsible for defining the Postal Service's strategies and key infrastructure investments for International products and services. Tom has a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Maryland. He is also a graduate of the Advanced Leadership Program.

Industry Alert: Attention PostalOne and FAST Users: PostalOne! Release 45.3.0.3 will deploy on Sunday, July 16, 2017 from 4:00 AM to 10:00 AM CT.  A quarterly Oracle patch will deploy during this maintenance window and the PostalOne! system will not be available during this timeframe.  FAST Release 36.0.0.0 will deploy on Sunday, July 16, 2017 from  4:00 AM to 10:00 AM CT and the FAST application will not be available during this timeframe.

Industry Alert: Seamless Acceptance Automated Assessments *Reminder*  Automated Seamless Acceptance Assessments for Mail Quality Metrics begin July 11, 2017 for June data. The assessments result in additional postage on those pieces in error above the following established thresholds:  Undocumented, Delivery Point, Nesting/Sortation, Postage, Weight, and Mail Characteristic.  Automated email Assessment notifications will be sent as described below on the 11th day of each month. These automated assessments will be included with the Full-Service and eInduction assessments. 

Assessments are generated at the electronic documentation (eDoc) submitter Customer Registration ID (CRID) level when there are errors that exceed the established thresholds for a calendar month. The Postal Service will send automated email notifications to the user associated to the Verification Assessment Evaluator (VAE) service for the eDoc submitters Business Customer Gateway (BCG) profile.

The Postal Service strongly encourages all Seamless Acceptance mailers to request access to the Verification Assessment Evaluator (VAE) service through the BCG. In the event that a VAE user is not identified, the automated email assessment notifications are sent to the associated BCG user roles in the following order of precedence:

  • Verification Assessment Evaluator  (Business Service Administrator (BSA) or User Role); if no VAE is identified notification is sent to:
  • BSA for Manage Mailing Activity if there is no BSA for Manage Mailing Activity notification is sent to:
  • BSA for alternate PostalOne! service: Audit Mailing Activity, eVS/PRS Customer, Scan Based Payment Customer.

Note: Only users associated to the BSA or user role for Verification Assessment Evaluator or Managed Mailing Activity services can view and take action on Assessments.

Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission, New Postal Products, 31355 [2017–14114] [PDF]


July 5, 2017

Industry Alert: USPS Address Management Updates Effective August 1, 2017, USPS Address Management Products are Moving to a More Secure Encryption Method. The address data files used by the mailing industry are currently secured using the cryptographic function known as Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA-1) to protect the sensitive information contained within the file.  Since 2016, the United States Postal Service and its certified and licensed vendors have been transitioning to an even more secure version of this cryptographic hash function technology: SHA-256 (sometimes referred to as SHA-2).  Many of these vendors have already started using the new SHA-256 data files. Those still working toward using the SHA-256 version have until July 31, 2017 to complete the transition.  Effective August 1, 2017 the SHA-1 version of the data files will not be available.The following software, products, or services used by the mailing industry are affected by this change:

  • CASS™ and MASS™ Certified software or services (includes DPV®, LACSLink®, and SuiteLink®) to validate, update, and standardize addresses
  • NCOA Link® files used for Move Update processing
  • DSF2® for sorting addresses in delivery order and to identify vacancies
  • RDI™ to identify Residential addresses

If you are unsure if the application or service you used has been updated, contact your service provider. 

Industry Alert: Seamless Acceptance Automated Assessments. Automated Seamless Acceptance Assessments for Mail Quality Metrics July 11, 2017 for June data. The assessments result in additional postage on those pieces in error above the established thresholds:  Undocumented, Delivery Point, Nesting/Sortation, Postage, Weight, and Mail Characteristic.  Automated email Assessment notifications will be sent as described below on the 11th day of each month. These automated assessments will be included with the Full-Service and eInduction assessments. 

Assessments are generated at the electronic documentation (eDoc) submitter Customer Registration ID (CRID) level when there are errors that exceed the established thresholds for a calendar month. The Postal Service will send automated email notifications to the user associated to the Verification Assessment Evaluator (VAE) service for the eDoc submitters Business Customer Gateway (BCG) profile.

The Postal Service strongly encourages all Seamless Acceptance mailers to request access to the Verification Assessment Evaluator (VAE) service through the BCG. In the event that a VAE user is not identified, the automated email assessment notifications are sent to the associated BCG user roles in the following order of precedence:

  • Verification Assessment Evaluator  (Business Service Administrator (BSA) or User Role); if no VAE is identified notification is sent to:
  • BSA for Manage Mailing Activity if there is no BSA for Manage Mailing Activity notification is sent to:
  • BSA for alternate PostalOne! service: Audit Mailing Activity, eVS/PRS Customer, Scan Based Payment Customer.

Note: Only users associated to the BSA or user role for Verification Assessment Evaluator or Managed Mailing Activity services can view and take action on Assessments.


July 4, 2017 - Happy Fourth of July!

Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission - New Postal Products, 31107–31108 [2017–13996] [PDF]


July 3, 2017

Office of the Inspector General: Attention Holiday Shoppers: A New Shipping Surcharge It is almost the holiday season and online retailers are already getting Scrooged by UPS. The company recently announced new “peak” surcharges on packages delivered to residences between Thanksgiving and Christmas, FedEx may follow suit. Our latest blog examines how the U.S. Postal Service may be positioned to gain business from this move. The Postal Service looks positioned to gain from UPS’ move. Are you willing to pay more for shipping during the holidays? https://go.usa.gov/xNs7V

Industry Alert: Informed Delivery® Webinar Series Begins July 11, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) Starting July 11, a new webinar series will be provided over a three week period for mail owners and mail service providers on Informed Delivery campaigns – recently showcased at the May 2017 National Postal Forum. Feedback from the Forum and other subsequent Industry/Postal meetings indicate there is widespread interest to learn more about the Informed Delivery program. There also have been requests for more information on the intricacies of planning and implementing interactive mailer campaigns.  In anticipation of a large turnout and the need to keep attendance at a reasonable level for each webinar, three webinars will be offered “first-come, first-serve.” As you register for the date you want, keep in mind you may be prompted to choose one of the other choices if your first or even second choice is already filled.  Spaces are limited.  Please register as early as possible to get the date most convenient for you.  The three “Introduction to Informed Delivery” webinars will be offered as follows:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT)  ATTENDEE INFORMATION Toll-Free Attendee Dial In: 866-381-9870 Conference ID: 47454032 Click the link below to register and add to your Outlook calendar: Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=e4f6beb0d6513924d9f48c18c01cc6a0d

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT)  ATTENDEE INFORMATION Toll-Free Attendee Dial In: 866-381-9870 Conference ID: 49532554 Click the link below to register and add to your Outlook calendar: Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=e38112742e2b6a287aa316f6ff849643b

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). ATTENDEE INFORMATION Toll-Free Attendee Dial In: 866-381-9870 Conference ID: 49541897 Click the link below to register and add to your Outlook calendar: Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=e958c7ca67de1ec50c5df50cad23e977e

 

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