Tag Archives: USPS

WHAT IS INFORMED DELIVERY

Informed delivery is a free and optional notification service that gives residential consumers the ability to see a preview of their letter mail, wherever they are,  BEFORE IT ARRIVES.

Participating customers (6 million strong so far), receive an email containing an image of the outside of their  letter-sized mailpieces that will be arriving soon.  Packages will be presented starting in 2018, and instead of the current grayscale images of today, full color  images will start early next year as well.

Notifications can also be viewed on the dashboard at informeddelivery.usps.com.  Notifications are not sent on days when there is no mail to be delivered, or on  Sundays and federal holidays.

There is a lot of potential for marketers as this program takes root.  You have the option to make the images  interactive by connecting to your website or landing  pages.  We’ll review this new service in more detail  within our next newsletter.

 

HOW DO I SIGN UP?

  • Visit informeddelivery.usps.com
  • Click View My Mail
  • Go to My Preferences. Under Account Management, you will see a box for Informed Delivery.  Click Manage Your Mail
  • Opt IN to Informed Delivery by selecting the check box and confirm your address.  Complete ID verification process.
  • Start receiving notifications within the next few days!

 

Postal Rate Case Update

Today the USPS filed it’s rate case with the PRC (Postal Regulatory Commission), for a rate hike to take effect January 21, 2018.

As expected, the overall postal rate increase falls just short of 2%, excluding Nonprofit (NP), Marketing rates.
As noted within our newsletter, the Bureau, the USPS is trying to change the way nonprofit rates are calculated. Click here to read more.
If the PRC accepts the request (which is uncertain as a legal challenge will most likely follow), nonprofit prices could increase anywhere from 3.3% – 6.9% over and above other increases. As the rate case stands now, Marketing Mail Nonprofit Auto Letters are proposed to increase by 2.9%. All news isn’t bad in the NP realm, USPS marketing Mail 5-Digit Auto Flats entered at Origin are proposed to drop by 6.97%.
First Class stamps are slated to rise to 50¢ and international first class letters, cards, and flats won’t increase at all.
The PRC has up to 45-days to respond and suggest changes. We’ll keep you posted as the rate case moves through its channels.

The Nonprofit Postal Rate Controversy

The PRC (Postal Regulatory Commission) has been petitioned for approval to amend its method of calculating Standard and Nonprofit (NP) prices.

Since 2000, the 60% rule applies to NP rates.  That means that the average NP revenue per piece should be 60% of the estimated average revenue per piece rate, class-wide.  The USPS wants to revert to using a methodology that was used prior to the passage of postal reform legislation where  regular and ECR (enhanced carrier route) rates are considered subclasses of mail.  The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers alerted members that by reverting to the prior methodology, prices could increase 3.3% to 6.9% over and above other increases that are proposed for implementation in January of 2018.

The PRC Public Representative recognized the potential “rate shock” facing nonprofit mailers, and urged the USPS to apply any corrective price adjustments (over the annual CPI cap increase) over more than two       price-adjustment cycles.

There isn’t a time constraint applicable for the PRC to issue a decision on the matter, and the comment period on the USPS proposal ended on September 18th.  Knowing the possibility of a legal challenge, the PRC may be more deliberate in issuing its ruling than usual.  We’ll keep you posted as this issue unfolds.

*from The Bureau-October 2017 issue

 

USPS Post Hurricane Harvey

During an Industry Briefing with USPS Headquarters in Washington DC on Friday, it was reported that 75% of the Houston area USPS staff have returned to work. It was also confirmed that mail is NOT being held at the North Houston Post Office. The USPS will assess the condition of delivery units effected by flooding and determine reopen dates on a case-by-case basis. USPS delivery status is updated online daily.

The Houston BMEU (Business Mail Entry Unit) will tentatively re-open on Saturday, September 2, 2017. Other tentative drop-shipment acceptance dates are Friday, September 8 and Monday, September 11, 2017.

We will keep you posted on the recovery status and if you have questions or need additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

January USPS Rate Increase

BEB UP ON THE HILL LOGOThe Postal Service has signaled for months that it will be filing for GUEST BLOGGER TOM GLASSMAN 2a general price increase later this year (calendar below). Publication of revised mailing standards (some below) that would also take effect in January.  Much of this follows a pattern the Postal Service sought to establish years ago: regular price changes announced in the fall and effective in January. The question of consequence for Customers, is less whether there will be a price change as how much an increase will be. The amount that prices for market-dominant mail can increase is tied to the CPI-based price cap, including how much “rate authority” from previous rate filings remains unused. As of the July CPI (based on the June CPI), was at an annualized cap of 0.676%. However, under the rules for calculating the CPI cap, because it’s been more than a year since the last general price increase (filed in January 2015 based on the November 2014 CPI), the applicable formula yields a higher cap (0.713%). To this would be added any unused authority (0.308% for First-Class Mail, 0.403% for Standard Mail, and 1.430% for Special Services) to determine the limit on any rate increase at the class level.   OK NOW, In English, take the CPI plus unused CPI would come to around 1.5 to 2 percent as I noted last night. Two big issues that I can NOT get my hands around would be, Flats are not covering their cost and drop ship discounts are not covering the cost so I anticipate a slightly greater increase in flats and a decrease in the drop ship discount by .5 to 1 cent.  If I “mail geeked” you and want help translating just give me a buzz.  Below is the expected time frame and a list of structural changes that I am anticipating.

Time Frame expected to be used by USPS

August: share technical changes and draft postage statements (without pricing) with developers

August: share draft mailing standards

September/October: Final PRC Market Dominant

November: Competitive filings

November/December: Publish final prices, mailing standards

1/8/17: target implement pre-release

1/22/17: targeting price effective date

 

Structural changes under consideration are as follows:

 

First Class

o Combine AADC and 3D auto letters for First-Class Presort (currently the same price)

o 3rd Ounce free for First-Class commercial letters

o First-Class Mail Promotions

 

Standard Mail

o Combine AADC and 3D auto letters for Standard Mail presort

o Simply Standard Auto letters by eliminating the per-pound rate between 3.3 and 3.5 ounces. Letters would be the same price from 0 up to 3.5 ounces.

o Increase Standard Mail flats piece price weight break from 3.3 to 4.0 ounces

o Standard Mail promotions (sent you the proposed changes about two weeks ago)

o FSS Standard Mail revert to previous structure

 

Also noted at the MTAC meeting was the issue with DSCF letter Mail. There was a change in DSCF pass-through calculation from FY14 to FY15. DSCF letter pass-through went from 57.4% in the FY14 ACD to 225% in FY15 ADC. FY15 discount $.043. The FY15 Cost avoidance – $.02 per piece.  Meaning the USPS is giving us a 4.3 cent discount for drop ship where it should have been 2 cents

The plan instead is to have modest increases over a number of price changes.

Postal Rate Decreases Coming in April

BEB POSTAL RATES DECREASING APRIIL 2016The USPS & PRC (Postal Regulatory Commission) have started preparation for the end of the exigent surcharge that’s been in place since January 2014.  The surcharge removal is projected to end in early April, but that date is only a forecast at this point, as it’s based solely on when the full amount authorized to be derived from the surcharge ($4.63 billion) will be collected.

For obvious reasons, the PRC is interested in ensuring that the correct date is set for the end of the surcharge and, accordingly, had directed the Postal Service to provide biweekly updates on the amount collected beginning in the postal quarter when the end of the surcharge was anticipated. Also, the agency must give 45 days’ notice of the end of the surcharge.

In its February 14 report, the USPS explained that it had collected an estimated $4.347 billion, including $827.1 million so far in FY 2016.   For the 750 days that the surcharge had been in effect through February 14, the USPS averaged about $5.796 million per day in additional revenue. At that rate the total should take just over 799 days to collect, or until about April 3, 2016.   As the PRC has noted, the USPS is entitled to collect only the amount the commission authorized, and there’s no process for refunding any excess collected from ratepayers, so the need to be as precise as possible in setting the end date is clear.  In the meantime, the surcharge revenue continues to accumulate, mailers look forward to lower rates in April, and the Postal Service worries how it will replace the 4.3% of revenue.

See below for rate changes and comparisons:

2016-04 NP STANDARD LETTER AND FLAT COMPARISON

2016-04 STANDARD LETTER AND FLAT COMPARISON

2016-04 FIRST CLASS AND PC RATE COMPARISON

If you have questions or need additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

Kathy Hall Joins the BEB Team

Kathy Hall joins BEB-Business Extension Bureau

Join us in welcoming Kathy Hall to our BEB Team.  Kathy is a business development manager specializing in multi-channel marketing for Houston and national markets. Kathy built a career within the Unites States Postal Service and brings 30-years of industry experience.  Her rise through the USPS included serving as a Mailing Solutions Specialist and Senior Sales Executive-HQ | Houston Division . Well versed in the connection between direct mail and digital platforms, Kathy’s expertise in marketing is an exciting addition to our business.  She earned her degree in management from Rice University and serves as a volunteer for several faith based charities and industry organizations.  Check out her profile on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook and connect!

 

USPS Shipping Prices increase 9.5%

USPS SHIPPING INCREASE 2016-01-17

USPS Shipping Prices will increase an average of 9.5% on Sunday, 1/17/2016

The USPS will increase prices on most of their competitive Shipping Service products on Sunday 1/17/2016. The complete document filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) may be found here. The highlights of the average % increase by product are:
• Priority Mail Express – 15.6%
• Priority Mail – 9.8%
• Parcel Select – 3.1%
• First-Class Package Service – 12.8%
• International Package Services – 3.5% – 21.6%
You may obtain the complete list of new prices on the USPS Postal Explorer website.  Final Shipping Services pricing can be found below:

Copy of Jan 2016 Final Shipping Services Prices 11.20.15-1

National PCC Week

NATIONAL PCC WEEK 2015Our Houston Postal Customer Council (PCC) is having their annual luncheon on Tuesday, September 22nd from 10:30-1:00 at The Texans Grille to celebrate National PCC Day!

A personal favorite of mine, Leo Raymond of Epicomm will be a featured speaker. Leo’s knowledge of the USPS & Activities on The Hill are second to none! And he is so entertaining, he can make details of the iMB exciting!

Kelvin Dansby, Marketing Manager of the USPS is also speaking. This will be a great show!

You don’t have to be a member to attend. Tickets are $75 per person, and you can register here http://houstonpcc.com/meetinginfo.php?id=37&ts=1440517365