Author Archives: bebtexas

USPS Robotic Arm Patent Approved

In August, the USPS was granted a patent for a sorting robot intended to work inside a delivery truck’s freight bay while making deliveries.

The robot will grasp items and move them between storage bins, grouping mail and packages together to be delivered to the same address and shrink wrapping them.

It is suggested that the robotic arm would be able to pass items through a window from the freight bay into the cab of a delivery vehicle to the driver for delivery, and one or more robotic arms could be used in a single vehicle.

The robot outlined in the patent is not complicated. The arm would have some dexterity, commonly seen in today’s manufacturing environment already, but it could replace some of the work generally performed by humans. Most mail and parcels come to a local post office presorted by zip code but must be further grouped by route and address from there. Performing the final phase of this sorting while driving to the delivery point, could cut down on delivery time and labor.

Just because a patent is granted does not mean a technology will ever see the light of day. However, labor has been a source of financial strain for the USPS, so technological solutions are being considered with more weight than in previous times.

The patent states that current methods of delivery are expensive, at least in part due to labor costs. Methods and systems to reduce the human workload along a delivery route are needed to reduce the cost.

Where is Houston Informed Delivery?

If you’re part of the estimated 800K+ subscribers to the USPS Informed Delivery program in the Houston metropolitan area, or a marketer utilizing it from other parts of the country, you’re probably wondering where it went?!  It’s another casualty of Tropical Storm Imelda, but don’t worry – it will soon be back on track.

The USPS is working on linking the subscribers from the Houston area market to the seven facilities outside of the area that are processing mail since last week after the North Houston facility roof caved in during the storm. (For details on the contingency plan and where your mail is being processed, click here.) We anticipate the uploading of subscribers to be completed by the end of this week.

As soon as the subscribers are linked and Informed Delivery for Houston is fully operational, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Tag 57, Where Are You?

WHAT IS TAG 57?
Tag 57, Political Campaign Mailing is a red container tag designed to provide added visibility to
Political Mail from Postal acceptance to processing operations. It can be placed on trays, sacks,
and pallets.
WHAT IS POLITICAL MAIL?
Political Campaign Mail is any material mailed at First-Class Mail or USPS Marketing Mail prices for political campaign purposes by a registered political candidate, a campaign committee (federal, state, or local), or a committee of a political party (e.g., Democratic National Committee or Republican Congressional Campaign Committee) to promote political candidates, referendums, or political campaigns. Political Message Mail is any material mailed at First-Class Mail or USPS Marketing Mail prices by a PAC, Super PAC, or other organization engaging in issue advocacy or voter mobilization. Political Mail may be sent for any public election—partisan or nonpartisan—for which there is a ballot.
WHAT KIND OF MAILINGS CAN USE TAG 57?
Both Political Campaign Mail and Political Message Mail described above can use Tag 57.
In addition to mailings sent by PACs (Political Action Committee) or Super PACs, etc., lesser known types of Political Message Mail also qualify for Tag 57 use. Here are some examples:

  • An organization mails a monthly newsletter with 10 articles in it. If one article references a
    political topic, the mailing qualifies to have a Tag 57 attached.
  • A hardware store mails a monthly advertisement of hardware specials. The current
    advertisement includes a note that “We support Mary Hill for County Commissioner.”
  •  A grocery store places a note on its flier that says “Vote on November 4th.”

HOW WOULD I USE TAG 57 FOR MY MAILINGS?

  • Affix a Tag 57 to each tray, sack, and pallet of political mail when packaging it for delivery
    to your postal facility.
  • When completing Postage Statement Form 3602 (electronically through Postal Wizard®
    or via hard copy), be sure to mark “Yes” when asked if your mail is Political Mail.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

  • Your mailings will be more easily identifiable.
  • Accepted mailings will be segregated from other mail in the Business Mail Entry Unit.
  •  The tags will provide added visibility as your mail enters the Postal Service™ processing centers.

USPS N HOUSTON CONTINGENCY PLAN

Effective September 24, 2019, the N Houston Post Office will accept mail delivery.

All Marketing (Standard) Letters will be sent to the Southern Area STC (Surface Transfer Center) in Irving, Texas to be sorted and cross docked to the following seven facilities for processing and returned to Houston for final delivery:

  • Austin
  • Corpus Christi
  • Dallas
  • Fort Worth
  • Oklahoma City
  • San Antonio
  • Shreveport

The USPS anticipates initial delays in standard service times of 2 business days on marketing mail. They indicated that once the system is fully operational, we should experience a delay of only 1-day.

The USPS indicated that they lost the majority of their sorting equipment when the roof collapsed and noted that the N Houston facility will not be fully operational for awhile. We will keep you abreast of the situation as it  unfolds.  For more details on the contingency plan, click here to see the USPS Houston Contingency Plan 2019

 

BEB at Print United in October

PRINTING United is a brand-new trade show built on the strong foundation of the SGIA Expo.  This newly relaunched event will provide access to the latest solutions for apparel, graphics/wide-format and functional printing applications, while also extending into the commercial, packaging, and in-plant printing segments.

PRINTING United is a strategic response to market forces that are necessitating out of the need for a single industry exhibition that provides “one-roof” access to all printing technologies, as well as a wealth of educational and networking opportunities.

PRINTING United will provide a window to view the future of the printing industry and we will be there! See you in Dallas!

Houston Postal Delivery Update

Due to serious flooding caused by Tropical Depression Imelda:

  • All Post Offices within the following 3-digit ZIP Codes are closed: 775, 776 and 777.
    • All operations are suspended.
    • There will be no mail delivery or retail operations.
    • Drop shipments are not being accepted
  • North Houston is closed due to safety issues.
    • Drop shipments will not be accepted until further notice.
  • Beaumont plant is closed and not accepting any drop shipments.
  • Conroe Post Office is closed.
    • There will be no mail delivery or retail operations or drop shipments accepted.

We anticipate a contingency plan to be published on Monday or Tuesday of next week.We will share with you immediately, as soon as alternate delivery and acceptance locations are announced.

 

 

January 1, 2020 – CCPA

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will be enforced on January 1, 2020. We were nervous when the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into play, and that only governs the use of E.U. citizens’ data. The California law applies to personal data on any state resident, regardless of the location of the marketer. Many believe this is only the first of many states to follow.

Companies that are not compliant with CCPA are subject to hefty monetary penalties though a recent study of US Brands reflected that 56% of businesses surveyed don’t believe they will be compliant by the January 1 kick-off.

In the survey, many businesses sited the cost to become compliant as a major obstacle and equal to the price of a full-time employee. Some companies feel their business isn’t big enough to be subject to the law, or don’t think it applies to them.

To comply with CCPA, marketers must be able to respond to Californians’ requests about their personal data which include:
• Knowing what personal data is being collected
• Can request details on how their data is being processed
• Can access their personal data
• Can request to have their personal data deleted
• Know whether their personal data is sold or disclosed to third parties
• Decline or opt-out of the sale of their personal data

Many believe that the CCPA is complicated, and it is poorly written, leaving a lot of the verbiage open to interpretation.

The main goal of the law is to regulate the collection and sale of Personally Identifiable (PI) consumer data to third parties and service providers. You do not need to get paid for the data. If you disclose it to another party, it is considered a transaction. Using outside vendors to help manage your data is not a problem, because you are the controlling party.

Now, individuals can tell you to stop disclosing their data to others; and you must comply. One cannot deny goods or services to anyone because of their data opt-out and that is making for a slippery slope. In order to know you are not supposed to have data on an individual, you must have that individual in your database. And since it is likely you must have data on an individual in order to do business with him or her, how do you conduct business with data exceptions? One writer compared it to The Eagles Hotel California tune, “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

 

 

 

BEB at The National Postal Forum

We are so excited that our very own Joy Z was invited to speak at this year’s National Postal Forum (NPF) Learning Lab, hosted by industry giant, Mailers Hub.

The NPF  is the mailing and shipping industry’s premier educational venue, trade show and networking event. Held every spring, the four-day NPF is the only event that works directly with USPS managers to provide the most comprehensive educational and networking platform possible for meeting the needs of the industry and postal customers.

The NPF is a not-for-profit educational company, established in 1968 by a group of major postal customers/mailers who were committed to an ongoing partnership with the USPS. The Forum’s goal has always been to provide education to business mailers, along with communication and feedback between the USPS and its business customers for a more responsive and efficient mail communications system.

Click Here  to review the presentation.

 

September 1965 The Bureau


2019 has also been extremely busy with the celebration of our 70th anniversary and once again, we are including a scan of a newsletter that we created and mailed from the past.

In September of 1965, BEB featured a wooden postcard from Cutter Lumber Products of California as the Mailing Piece of the Month. We shared “Direct Mail Pointers” (most are still applicable today), and talked about how to serve the growing population across the nation. In so many ways, things have really changed. For instance, only 38% of the workforce in 1965 were women, and are seldom mentioned in any of these early articles. In other ways, things have not changed at all. For example, the most important part of a direct mail campaign remains data. We hope you enjoy the peek from the past.

2019-09 THE BUREAU R12