July 2014 Changes to USPS

Meet the writer: Karen Pieper

Hi, I'm Karen! I've been in the industry for 21 years and can't wait to share my perspective on all things direct mail. I'm currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Letter Jacket Envelopes and deal with tasks from managing the website, facilitating conversations with customers, and much more!

As the United States Postal Service continues to struggle against flagging sales in the face of the digital age, change is something of a fact of life. Fewer and fewer people are using regular mail to send letters or even marketing mailers, many of which are just sent digitally these days. Even package shipping sees competition from third-party companies like UPS and FedEx. As such, there are new changes proposed that may come into effect this July. None are yet finalized, but these considered changes could have a notable effect on operations.

First Class Mail

A special bar code, called an IMpb barcode, allows the post office to read information about extra services that are added on a parcel. The post office wants to implement extra support for identification of these bar codes, which will help to track these extra services. In the end, this will improve efficiency when customers want to add services to a package.

Priority Mail

The USPS is considering the addition of a new class of forwarding for Priority Mail packages. This service, the Premium Forwarding Service Commercial (PFSC). This new service will allow for the combining of multiple mail that is received at different PO Boxes or addresses, into a single package. This package could then be delivered to a single address instead of spread out. There would be an opt-in requirement to use this service, which would be added to the PostalOne! and Business Customer Gateway systems.

Standard Mail

The USPS is looking to adopt coupons for marketing promotions to try and bring small businesses back to the use of direct mail. Many small businesses have largely abandoned direct mail marketing, which is a shame, as it can still be a vital part of marketing. This coupon promotion will hopefully help to change that.

Mail Class Changes

The following changes are proposed across the board for multiple different classes of mail. Remember, none of these are a done deal as yet; all are just proposals.

  • Spoilage or Shortage can be accounted for by submission of a postage statement.
  • Shipper Paid Return (SPR) Service addition to current ACS options, allowing automatic application of return postage for pieces deemed undeliverable.
  • Non-Compliance updates for IMpB include changing Unique Trackable Barcode threshold from 98% to 99%, Zip+4 code threshold from 93% to 95%, and shipping services File 1.6 threshold from 90% to 95%
  • Transportation Fee for Live Animals may be expanded to all shipments for all mail classes, no matter what Zone the shipment is traversing.
  • Hazardous Materials Identification Support
  • The Weight Limit for First Class International Mail may be changed to 16 ounces.
  • Priority Mail International Rate Boxes may see a wider variety of options as far as pricing goes.

These changes, it is hoped, will expand options for postal customers and improve efficiency and budget issues across the board. There are several other proposed non-structural changes, which are detailed at the USPS website. Remember, Letter Jacket is here for all of your custom printed shipping envelope needs. Give us a call!

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