The mailing industry gathered at Postal Service headquarters in Washington, DC last week for the quarterly meetings of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee and the accompanying USPS Leadership Forum for Stakeholders.
As the “Technical” in the name of the group suggests, much of our discussion focused on the nuts and bolts of ensuring predictable, timely mail delivery and enhancing communication between the Postal Service and the mailing industry. These topics included eInduction and Seamless Acceptance – programs that will be expanded in 2013, making mail acceptance and induction more electronic and less dependent on paper forms – as well as MTEOR, a new program for ordering and managing mail processing equipment on-line – with the goal of avoiding the equipment shortages we saw in 2011.
Aside from the “inside baseball” that gets us postal geeks excited, there were discussions on Postal Service changes of broader importance to the direct mail community including:
- The digital future of the Postal Service: Paul Vogel, USPS President, Digital Solutions, told the stakeholder forum that the Postal Service wants to become one trusted place to manage the business of life. He described applications his group is developing that would provide consumers with visibility to inbound packages and mail. His group is also looking at ways the Postal Service can support secure digital messaging. Vogel said his group wants to quickly launch a number of small tests in the digital space to find the right role for the Postal Service. Or as he said, “try fast and fail small.”
- Informed Visibility platform to be expanded: Jim Cochrane, USPS Vice President, Product Information, talked to mailers about plans to expand and enhance the “informed visibility” program that will provide mailers with more and more reliable information for tracking pieces, trays and pallets of mail throughout the USPS processing and delivery networks. Development of the new platform will take place throughout 2013, with most tracking enhancements available by mid-2014.
- A full schedule of promotions and incentives: The Postal Service has announced its calendar of promotions and incentives for 2013. First up is a promotion for mailers including mobile coupons or “click-to-call” barcodes in mailpieces presented between March 1 and April 30. In the spring, a reply mail earned value promotion will be launched. For this program, mailers will receive a credit for all business reply and courtesy reply mail processed between April 1 and June 30. Now is the time to begin planning to take advantage of these incentives!
One of the most exciting things for me was the launch of workgroup #149, which I have the privilege of leading with Vicki Bosch, USPS Manager of Business Mailer Support. This workgroup will be developing a performance-based certification process for mail service providers – one that will be based on Full-Service data and designed to take the place of the current MPTQM quality program. We welcome the strong interest shown by industry participants on this topic, but if you haven’t joined, we have room for additional participants – just let me or Vicki know.
If you have questions about these or other postal topics, contact me or your IWCO Direct account team and we’ll be happy to provide more information.
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