Postal/Industry News   

June 23, 2017

Federal Register: Postal Service - Domestic Mail Manual, 28559–28560 [2017–13085] [PDF]


June 22, 2017

Office of the Inspector General: Internal Controls Over Segmented Inventory – El Cerrito, CA, Main Post Office Tripwire analysis is a tool used during audits to look at specific behaviors and patterns which may serve as strong indicators of improper activity. The Office of Inspector General uses this methodology to identify financial abnormalities. Tripwire analysis was conducted in the El Cerrito, California Post Office after 12 perfect inventory counts were reported between April 2015 and March 2016. A resulting audit concluded that Accounting records for segmented inventory at the El Cerrito Main Post Office were not always accurately presented and internal controls needed improvement. Read the full audit report for the OIG’s complete findings and recommendations: https://go.usa.gov/xNw6S

 

Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission: New Postal Products, 28540 [2017–13069] [PDF]


June 21, 2017

Industry Alert: Mississippi Service Impacts The US Postal Service is monitoring tropical storm impacts in the Gulf of Mexico. In the Mississippi District, the Heidelberg Main Office is currently closed due to storm flooding.  The alternate Post Office for retail services is Vossburg Main Office.

Impacted PO/ZIP Code

Alternate PO

Heidelberg Main Office 39439-9998

Vossburg Main Office 39366-9998. Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00am-12:00pm, 1:00pm -4:00pm Sat-Sun Closed.

 

We will continue to monitor the situation. As more information is made available and updates are made, we will continue to notify you about the impacts of this situation. Updates on these post offices will be available at http://about.usps.com/news/service-alerts/welcome.htm. Customers can also call 1-800-ASK-USPS or go to the Postal Service’s Website www.usps.com to get the location of other nearby Post Offices and approved postal retail service providers.

Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission: New Postal Products, 28366–28367 [2017–12935] [PDF]


June 20, 2017

Office of the Inspector General: Mail Processing Variance Model The U.S. Postal Service employs statistical models, such as the Mail Processing Variance Model (MPVM), to measure its productivity and effectiveness in processing mail. Postal management uses results from the MPVM to measure whether postal facilities are meeting benchmark levels of mail processing efficiency. We recently conducted an audit to determine if USPS was properly using the MPVM to increase mail processing productivity system-wide. Read the OIG’s findings and suggestions in the full audit report: https://go.usa.gov/xNvHV

Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission - Periodic Reporting, 28039–28040 [2017–12779] [PDF]

June 18, 2017

Office of the Inspector General:  The Business Side of Business Reply Mail Have you ever sent a donation or payment to an organization in a prepaid envelope? That envelope is known as business reply mail (BRM) — a service from USPS, which allows senders like nonprofit organizations to provide a prepaid postage envelope or card to the recipient. Many nonprofits ask their donors to place their own stamp on the envelope anyway so that the organization can save some money by requesting a refund from USPS for BRM postage not used. OIG auditors evaluated whether USPS internal controls to process BRM refunds and prevent improper payments have been effective. They found that the controls can be improved. This week’s Pushing the Envelope blog discusses this latest audit report and asks how people use BRM. Read the blog at: https://go.usa.gov/xNvCr

 


June 17, 2017

Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission: Proposed Rules - Periodic Reporting ,27781 [2017–12652][PDF]New Postal Products ,27903–27904 [2017–12626] [PDF]


June 16, 2017

Industry Alert:  Discontinued Support for File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Effective August 31, 2017. 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” athttps://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_package/documents/tech_guides/PUB199IMPBImpGuide.pdf

Option 2 - 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.PDF

https://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 at https://postalpro.usps.com/node/3636.

Industry Alert: Attention PostalOne! and FAST Users:The Network issues that impacting several applications including PostalOne! and FAST is resolved.  If mailers and acceptance units still experience a delay in jobs appearing on the PostalOne! dashboard, we will continue to accept the mailings under the PostalOne! and eInduction contingency plan as described below, for the next 48 hours. Mailings will continue to be accepted under the PostalOne! Contingency Plan posted on RIBBS at https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/PostalOneExternalContingencyPlan.pdf.   eInduction mailers should follow the eInduction contingency plan.

For Mail Acceptance:

The following instructions are provided for continuation of operations in the event a mailer is not able to submit an electronic postage statement to the USPS due to a USPS outage or mailer issue. BMEU and DMU locations will accept mailings under the following process:

1.     A USPS Record of Mailings Log will be maintained at USPS acceptance units for each mailing presented during a PostalOne! or mailer system issue or outage. This log is used to reconcile the mailings accepted during the system delay to postage statements on the dashboard once the outage or issue has been resolved.

2.     Postal Wizard, Mail.dat® and Mail.XML™ mailers who normally submit their postage statements electronically must be able to provide, either verbally or in written format, the following information:

·         Permit Holder

·         Total Pieces (An approximate total piece count can be provided if the mailer does not know the exact number of total pieces)

·         Total Postage (An approximate total postage amount can be provided if the mailer does not know the exact total postage for the mailing.)

·         Mailer Job ID

·         eInduction mailing: Yes or No  (If yes, mailers are not required to create hardcopy PS Form 8125(s) or provide any additional documentation).

3.     Mailers who normally submit hardcopy postage statements will continue to submit the hardcopy postage statement during a PostalOne! system outage

·         Mailers who normally submit hardcopy postage statements will be required to continue providing presort documentation with their mailings.

4.     Postal Wizard, Mail.dat® and Mail.XML™ mailers who normally submit their postage statements electronically will not be required to provide presort documentation for any mailing submitted during a USPS or mailer issue/outage.

eInduction

For eInduction mailings presented at the dock, PS Form 8125s are not required to be submitted.  Mailers and Dock employees will follow the eInduction Contingency Plan. The instruction below are to be followed for eInduction containers:

  1. Accept and scan all placarded containers

NOTE:  If the load is a mixed load (containing eInduction containers and regular PVDS Mail) reconcile any containers to 8125 forms.

  1. Collect 1 placard from each unloaded container for those not reconciled to 8125 forms
  2. In the SV-IMD update all unresolved containers with a 99M barcode to Accept status
  3. Release reconciled containers, and containers from which a placard was removed, into operations
  4. Retain container placards and, for mixed loads, PS Form 8125s for reconciliation.

If eInduction mailings are held at the dock for any reason, mailers should contact the FAST Help Desk at 877.569.6614. 

Non-eInduction mailings will continue to submit PS Form 8125. 

We apologize for the inconvenience. 


June 15, 2017

Industry Alert: Attention PostalOne! and FAST Users: The USPS is experiencing Network issues that are impacting several applications including PostalOne! and FAST.  The issue is under investigation. If you experience an issue, mailings will continue to be accepted under the PostalOne! Contingency Plan posted on RIBBS at https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/PostalOneExternalContingencyPlan.pdf.   eInduction mailers should follow the eInduction contingency plan.

For Mail Acceptance: The following instructions are provided for continuation of operations in the event a mailer is not able to submit an electronic postage statement to the USPS due to a USPS outage or mailer issue. BMEU and DMU locations will accept mailings under the following process:

1.     A USPS Record of Mailings Log will be maintained at USPS acceptance units for each mailing presented during a PostalOne! or mailer system issue or outage. This log is used to reconcile the mailings accepted during the system delay to postage statements on the dashboard once the outage or issue has been resolved.

2.     Postal Wizard, Mail.dat® and Mail.XML™ mailers who normally submit their postage statements electronically must be able to provide, either verbally or in written format, the following information:

·         Permit Holder

·         Total Pieces (An approximate total piece count can be provided if the mailer does not know the exact number of total pieces)

·         Total Postage (An approximate total postage amount can be provided if the mailer does not know the exact total postage for the mailing.)

·         Mailer Job ID

·         eInduction mailing: Yes or No  (If yes, mailers are not required to create hardcopy PS Form 8125(s) or provide any additional documentation).

3.     Mailers who normally submit hardcopy postage statements will continue to submit the hardcopy postage statement during a PostalOne! system outage

·         Mailers who normally submit hardcopy postage statements will be required to continue providing presort documentation with their mailings.

4.     Postal Wizard, Mail.dat® and Mail.XML™ mailers who normally submit their postage statements electronically will not be required to provide presort documentation for any mailing submitted during a USPS or mailer issue/outage.

If you have any issues with mail acceptance during this incident, please contact the PostalOne! Help Desk at 800.522.9085.

eInduction

For eInduction mailings presented at the dock, PS Form 8125s are not required to be submitted.  Mailers and Dock employees will follow the eInduction Contingency Plan. The instruction below are to be followed for eInduction containers:

  1. Accept and scan all placarded containers

NOTE:  If the load is a mixed load (containing eInduction containers and regular PVDS Mail) reconcile any containers to 8125 forms.

  1. Collect 1 placard from each unloaded container for those not reconciled to 8125 forms
  2. In the SV-IMD update all unresolved containers with a 99M barcode to Accept status
  3. Release reconciled containers, and containers from which a placard was removed, into operations
  4. Retain container placards and, for mixed loads, PS Form 8125s for reconciliation.

If eInduction mailings are held at the dock for any reason, mailers should contact the FAST Help Desk at 877.569.6614. 

Non-eInduction mailings will continue to submit PS Form 8125. 

We apologize for the inconvenience. 

Industry Alert: Attention PostalOne!® and Program Registration Users: PostalOne!/BIDs Release 45.3.0.0 will deploy on Sunday, June 25, 2017 from 4:00 AM to 10:00 AM CT.  The PostalOne! system will remain available during this timeframe. A new Mail.dat® client download 45.3.0.0_PROD is required with this release.  All previous versions of the Mail.dat client will be expired. The Mail.dat client can be downloaded from the Business Customer Gateway (BCG) using the following path:  Mailing Services / Electronic Data Exchange [Go to Service] / Mail.dat download (Windows 32-bit, Windows 64-bit, or Solaris). External Release notes are posted on PostalPro under Major/Minor Releases at: https://postalpro.usps.com/node/3834. Program Registration Release 18.2.0.0 will deploy on Sunday, June 25, 2017 from 4:00 AM to 8:00 AM CT.

 

Federal Register:  Postal Service - Priority Mail and First–Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 27538 [2017–12374] [PDF] 27537 [2017–12375] [PDF], Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 27538 [2017–12372] [PDF] Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 27538 [2017–12373] [PDF]


June 14, 2017

Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission - New Postal Products, 27300 [2017–12300] [PDF]


June 13, 2017

Industry Alert: FAST Recurring Appointment Cleanup. USPS is undergoing an initiative to clean up Recurring Appointments in the Facility Access & Shipment Tracking (FAST) system. 

Background - FAST is a system designed for business mailers to schedule appointments for entry of mail into Postal Facilities. Mailers are able to schedule one-time and recurring appointments at Postal Facilities through FAST. Mailers schedule Recurring Appointments for drop shipments that arrive consistently on the same day or days of the week, during the same time period, with approximately the same mail contents on the same type of transportation. Recurring Appointments remain valid until the mailers’ appointment profile changes and/or no longer meets the schedule originally agreed upon. When mailers schedule appointments but fail to show up within 24 hours after the original appointment time, these appointments are classified as No Shows. For USPS, No Shows result in lost appointment slots, distorted expected mailer volume, inaccurate staffing models and poor data. For mailers, No Shows impact mailer ratings and result in lost appointment slots for other mailers who would have used the appointments.

Recurring Appointment No Show Issue - USPS MEPT and Operations departments found that there is a 28% Appointment No Show rate across facilities and mailers. And in performing a root cause analysis, USPS discovered that unused Recurring Appointments are a large portion of the high No Show rate, as they are automatically generating appointments that are never being used. For the aforementioned reasons, it is imperative that No Shows are reduced. In coordination with the mailing industry, through Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee User Group 3, USPS is cleaning up Recurring Appointment ID’s to address the No Show issue. Eliminating unused and unneeded Recurring Appointments is a quick and effective way to drastically reduce No Show appointments and to open up appointments for other mailers.

Recurring Appointment Solution - USPS is implementing a technical solution to remove unused Recurring Appointment ID’s. Per the Pub 804 (Section 3-7), “failure to adhere to scheduled appointments or other abuse of the procedures will result in revocation of recurring appointment privileges.” FAST IT created and tested a onetime script that will remove Drop Ship Recurring Appointment IDs with no appointment activity (no cancellations, closed appointments, rescheduled appointments etc.) over a 60 day period. The script will look back 60 days from the script date/time. The automatic script will run on Wednesday, June 14th at 12pm CDT. In addition, FAST IT is creating a batch script that will automatically remove Recurring Appointment IDs. The automatic script will run monthly, and look back 60 days for Recurring Appointment IDs with no activity. USPS is targeting an implementation date of July 2017.

Specific questions concerning the Recurring Appointment Cleanup should be directed to Lance Bell, Program Manager, Business Mailer Support (lance.a.bell@usps.gov).


June 12, 2017

Office of Inspector General: Our Semiannual Report to Congress Our latest blog looks at the work of the OIG over the first half of fiscal year 2017 that includes 84 audit reports, 1,394 investigations that led to  345 arrests and almost $20 million in fines, restitutions, and recoveries. $3 million of which was turned over to the Postal Service. Learn more about how the OIG continues to succeed in its mission for the Postal Service in this week’s blog https://go.usa.gov/xNyJA


June 9, 2017

Industry Alert: Attention PostalOne and Program Registration UsersPostalOne!/BIDs Release 45.3.0.0 will deploy on Sunday, June 25, 2017 from 4:00 AM to 10:00 AM CT.  The PostalOne! system will remain available during this timeframe. A new Mail.dat® client download 45.3.0.0 PROD is required with this release.  All previous versions of the Mail.dat client will be expired. The Mail.dat client can be downloaded from the Business Customer Gateway (BCG) using the following path:  Mailing Services / Electronic Data Exchange [Go to Service] / Mail.dat download (Windows 32-bit, Windows 64-bit, or Solaris). External Release notes are posted on PostalPro under Major/Minor Releases at: https://postalpro.usps.com/node/3834Program Registration Release 18.2.0.0 will deploy on Sunday, June 25, 2017 from 4:00 AM to 8:00 AM CT.

Federal Register: 

Postal Regulatory Commission: New Postal Products, 26817–26818 [2017–12006], [PDF]

Postal Service: Product Changes: Priority Mail Express Negotiated Service Agreement, 26818–26819 [2017–11957][PDF] Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 26818 [2017–11954] [PDF], 26819 [2017–11955] [PDF], 26818 [2017–11956] [PDF], 26818 [2017–11958] [PDF]


June 8, 2017

Industry Alert: Move Update.The USPS is proposing to change the method for measuring compliance for meeting the Move Update requirement to a Census based approach.  Business Mailer Support will host weekly Move Update calls for mailers who have questions or want additional information.  The webinars will be held at 2:00 pm eastern each Wednesday, beginning Wednesday, June 7, 2017. 

Move Update Webinars
Date/Time:  Wednesday, June 7 – August 30, 2017; 2:00 – 3:00 pm eastern
Log on: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?MTID=mb196393db64c9ea238020f81860fa9ad
Conference Code: 563 772 2130
Dial In: -855-860-7461  
For further information regarding the Move Update Census Method please refer to Publication 6850 found on PostalPro at: http://postalpro.usps.com/node/581 or the Proposed Federal Register Notice found: http://postalpro.usps.com/node/3111

 

Federal Register: 

Postal Regulatory Commission - New Postal Products, 26719 [2017–11916] [PDF]

Postal Service - Meetings, Sunshine Act, 26719 [2017–12033] [PDF]


June 7, 2017

Industry Alert: Congratulations to The Lincoln Motor Company, Hudson Rouge and Structural Graphics for Winning The 2017 Irresistible Mail® Grand Champion Award, and to the University of Pittsburgh and Unofficial Cardboard for winning the Award for Irresistible Mail Innovative Technology. It is our great pleasure to announce that at the National Postal Forum The Lincoln Motor Company's “See It First” campaign for the Lincoln Continental won the Grand Champion of the 2017 Irresistible Mail Award. Congratulations to Hudson Rouge for designing, and Structural Graphics for printing the winning campaign.  The winner was determined by a vote of attendees at the National Postal Forum in Baltimore, MD.

Federal Register:  Postal Regulatory Commission:  New Postal Products, 26521–26522 [2017–11711] [PDF]; 26522 [2017–11793]  [PDF]


June 6, 2017

Office of the Inspector General: Play to Win in the Parcel Market This week’s OIG blog highlights a recent white paper regarding  difficulties of pricing parcel delivery in a highly-competitive market. John Panzar, a renowned postal economist, provides a theory that can guide USPS decision makers on how to set prices accordingly, even as the competition in the marketplace continues to shift. Read more at: https://go.usa.gov/xNPQJ

Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission: Public Inquiry on City Carrier Costs, 26146–26147 [2017–11586] [PDF]

Postal Service: Product Changes: Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 26147 [2017–11581] [PDF


June 5, 2017

Industry Alert: Attention Business Customer Gateway and PostalOne! Users: eVS is experiencing a performance issue loading the verification data - IMpb, Duplicates, Misshipped, and potentially unmanifested reports are impacted, and you may not see the most updated verification data reflected in the reports until the performance issue is addressed. Manifest files are not impacted. We are working on resolving the issue and will provide a daily update until the performance issue around loading verification data is resolved. Thank you for your patience.

Industry Alert: FAST Message Board Nashua Redirection Cancellation. Beginning July 1st, The Letter Mail redirections from White River VT 050 and Manchester NH 030  to Nashua 030PM will be cancelled.  Each plant will begin accepting and processing their own drop shipment (Letters).  Please continue to make separations  ADC 030 for Manchester NH, and ADC 050 for White River Junction VT,  for Letters. There will be a Grace Period of 30 days in Nashua 030PM which will expire on July 30th.

Office of the Inspector General: Internal Controls Over Retail Floor Stock - Potsdam, NY, Main Office Acting on a tip from our Office of Investigations, OIG auditors discovered that the U.S. Postal Service’s Potsdam, NY, Main Office was frequently experiencing shortages of stock on the retail floor. While no individual sales and service associate (SSA) is accountable for stock, each SSA is responsible for ensuring accurate reporting of sales as well as the adequate protection and security of retail floor stock. This latest OIG audit report evaluates whether internal controls for controlling stock are in place and effective. Read our findings along with our recommendations at: https://go.usa.gov/xNEjp

Office of the Inspector General: Play to Win: Competition in Last-Mile Parcel Delivery Large parcel delivery companies, including the U.S. Postal Service, are competing against more than just each other ― their real battle is against the threat of self-delivery by large retailers. That’s among the main conclusions of a new Office of Inspector General white paper that presents a theoretical model of the evolving parcel market. In the past, economic theory would suggest that a simple strategy of setting postal price just slightly below competitors’ prices may have worked best. However, in this more evolved parcel market, the post needs to seek out a price higher than the cost of delivery but lower than the competitors’ prices, and also low enough to discourage the retailer from self-delivery. For details, read Play to Win: Competition in the Last-Mile Parcel Delivery at https://go.usa.gov/xNEjr

June 3, 2017

Federal Register: Postal Service - Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 25819–25820 [2017–11489] [PDF]

Industry Alert:  Wrightsville GA Post Office Closed The Wrightsville Post Office building, located at 8648 S Marcus St., Wrightsville, GA 31096 has been closed due to recently discovered facility issues. While the Wrightsville Post Office is under a temporary suspension, retailcollectionsand P.O. Box services will be provided by a mobile unit located on the premises of the Wrightsville Post Office. Wrightsville customers can conduct normal retail transactions, such as purchasing stamps and mailing packages. P.O. Box customers will be able to pick up their mail at this mobile unit as well. The blue collection box at this Post Office will remain in place and in service. Hours of operation for the mobile unit reflect no changes to the current schedule of: Monday to Wednesday and Friday: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Thursday: 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. The mobile unit will be closed on Sunday. Delivery operations for Wrightsville will be temporarily relocated to the Sandersville Post Office, located at 205 W Church St., GA 31082. Currently, there is no timeline for resumption of postal operations at the Wrightsville Post Office building.  


June 2, 2017

Office of the Inspector General: U.S. Postal Service Contract Labor Substitution. OIG auditors have released a report, U.S. Postal Service Contract Labor Substitution. Read it at: https://go.usa.gov/xNR6a


 

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