Last Friday we covered the current status of postal reform legislation and the outlook on postage prices for 2017, two hot topics in the postal industry. Today we wanted to wrap up our summary of the latest postal updates that are important for the direct mail community to be aware of and integrate into their mailing plans.
For those of you participating in 2016 postal promotions, just a reminder that the Tactile, Sensory & Interactive promotion and the Emerging and Advanced Technology promotion both end on August 31. The Personalized Color Transpromo promotion (for First-Class statements) and the Mobile Shopping promotion run through December 31.
Promotions in 2017 will look much the same as they did this year. We expect to have more specifics about any changes in requirements between 2016 promotions and their 2017 counterparts by early September. One thing we know now is that anyone using Business Reply or Courtesy Reply Mail should be sure to register for the Earned Value promotion. This promotion will last six months in 2017 (it was three months in past years) and the rebate for each reply mailpiece processed by the Postal Service during the promotional period is being increased to 5¢. This promotion starts on January 1, so those wanting to participate need to register between November 15 and December 31.
New USPS CIO & EVP, Kristin Seaver, has initiated a needed pause in the rollout of several USPS technology programs including Informed Visibility and modernizing the architecture of PostalOne!. This slowdown will provide the opportunity to refocus and ensure these vitally important technology programs are on the right path.
Some of the active programs the USPS CIO team is addressing include:
Mail Entry and Payment Technology
The MEPT team has several initiatives moving forward:
- Data in the Full-Service and eInduction Mailer Scorecards has been reviewed by the Postal Service and mailers should be looking at these two scorecards to evaluate any issues with their mailings. Assessments for Full-Service errors over the monthly threshold will begin in November (based on October data), with testing of the assessment system itself occurring between now and then.
- Revised documents related to streamlined mail entry were released in July. Mailer comments are due to the Postal Service by August 15. The MEPT team has closely engaged with the mailing industry on the development of these documents and has incorporated many suggestions into the structure of the documents to make them much more user friendly.
- The MEPT team continues the modernization process of its Enterprise Payment System. EPS will function similarly to the current CAPS program, but will be built on a more agile and modular architecture. It will allow for payment from a single national account for a variety of USPS products and services. (The CAPS program is limited to paying permit postage.) EPS is one of the programs paused by the CIO to better coordinate payment changes into the architecture changes coming for PostalOne!. There is a pilot related to payment of fees and postage for P.O. Boxes this summer. The next phase will transition payment of permit postage from CAPS to EPS toward the middle of 2017.
This program provides subscribers with a daily email showing images of mailpieces that should arrive in their mailboxes later in the day. The agency is currently testing options for providing enhanced images, including links to related web pages, in place of the black and white mailpiece images coming off the scanning equipment. The pilot program is currently operating in the New York City metro area with more than 70,000 participants. The pilot will be expanded to the Washington, DC metro in the next few months, with a national rollout anticipated in mid-2017.
This program will provide mailers with enhanced visibility to mail moving through the USPS network. This initiative provides more real-time information about pallets, trays and bundles of mail, as well as more precise in-home information based on letter carrier travel as measured by GPS. Originally scheduled to launch in July, Informed Visibility has been pushed back by a few months. The pilot for the initial phase of this program is now scheduled to begin in August, with a full national rollout of phase one in the fall. IWCO Direct will be participating in the August pilot.
That’s it for the latest postal updates that will impact your mailing efforts. Be sure to continue reading Speaking DIRECT, and we’ll keep you up to speed with all the changes in the postal world.
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