OCTOBER 2011

FRONT PAGE WHAT'S UP INSIDE SCOOP
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FRONT PAGE

USPS ADJUSTS MAILING SERVICES PRICES FOR 2012

PENNY INCREASE IN PRICE OF FOREVER STAMPS

Beginning early next year, it will cost a penny more to mail letters to any location in the United States, the first price change for First-Class Mail — Forever stamps — in more than two and a half years. The new 45-cent price for Forever stamps is one of the changes filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on Oct. 18.

The price change filing offers good news for First-Class Mail Presort mailers. When the new prices go into effect on Jan. 22, the second ounce for presorted letters will be free. “This gives companies expanded opportunities to advertise new services and products to their customers as part of bill and statement mailings,” said Paul Vogel, president and chief Marketing/Sales officer.

New for all customers is a 3-month pricing option to rent PO Boxes, an option for people on the move and others who need a PO Box for a short time period.

Highlights of the new single-piece First-Class Mail pricing, effective Jan. 22, 2012, include:

  • Letters (1 oz.): 1-cent increase to 45 cents
  • Letters additional ounces: unchanged at 20 cents
  • Postcards: 3-cent increase to 32 cents
  • Letters to Canada or Mexico (1 oz.): 5-cent increase to 85 cents
  • Letters to other international destinations: 7-cent increase to $1.05

Prices also will change for other mailing services, including Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services. While actual percentage price increases for various products and services vary, the overall average price increase across all mailing services is capped by law at the rate of inflation calculated based on the Consumer Price Index. The cap for this increase is 2.1 percent.

Below are the charts for the percentage of change for all products:

FIRST CLASS MAIL PRODUCTS
PRODUCT PERCENT CHANGE
Single-Piece Letters & Cards 2.468
Presort Letters & Cards 1.580
Flats 1.605
Parcels 10.882
International 4.676

STANDARD MAIL PRODUCTS
PRODUCT PERCENT CHANGE
Letters 1.867
Flats 2.209
Parcels 2.864
High Density/Saturation Letters 2.298
High Density/Saturation Flats and Parcels 2.878
Carrier Route 2.425
Overall 2.124

PERIODICALS PRODUCTS
PRODUCT PERCENT CHANGE
Outside County 2.136
Within County 2.054
Overall 2.133

PACKAGE SERVICES PRODUCTS
PRODUCT PERCENT CHANGE
Single Piece Parcel Post 2.472
BPM Flats 0.504
BPM Parcels 1.886
Media Mail and Library Mail 2.581
Inbound Surface Parcel Post 1.958
Overall 2.133

Click here to review the entire filing with the PRC.

MOBILE GREETINGS

NEW SMARTPHONE APP TRANSFORMS ELECTRONIC MESSAGES INTO U.S. MAIL

Photo: Apple Cards app

Forget the talk that electronic messages will spell the end of traditional mail. Soon, there will be a new revenue stream for USPS — and it’s being generated online.

When Apple introduced its latest incarnation of the iPhone, the company also announced a new product that lets iPhone and iPod Touch users send personalized hard-copy mail directly to friends and family.

The “Cards” app allows users to create personalized greeting cards with their own text and photos and have them delivered by First-Class Mail to any address in the world.

Users can choose from 21 different letterpress designs covering six different subjects: birthdays, holidays, births, travel, thank-you notes and love letters. The cards are printed on cotton paper then tucked in an envelope with a unique picture permit sticker by Apple’s third-party printer. The sticker displays a heart-shaped image.

Customers sending cards in the U.S. receive email notification of scheduled arrival times using the Postal Service’s Intelligent Mail barcode. Including postage, each card is $2.99 when sent within the U.S. and $4.99 when sent to or from anywhere else.

These mailpieces arrive with the pre-cancellation display along with the mail entry date, with its sticker “cancelled.” They are sorted, handled and delivered according to First-Class Mail delivery standards. Special handling is not required since the Postal Service’s systems are programmed to recognize the unique picture permit sticker.

USPS said the initiative is an excellent example of how it’s working with industry to infuse the mail experience with technology.

Click here for more information on the “Cards” app, which became available Oct. 12.

WHAT’S UP

FIRST-CLASS LIGHTWEIGHT SHIPPING OPTION

First-Class Package label.

There’s a new competitive shipping product from the Postal Service — First-Class Package Service.

On Oct. 1, USPS began accounting for the former First-Class Mail commercial base and commercial-plus packages as competitive under this new product name. They also were removed from the market-dominant regulated product list.

“The market for packages weighing under a pound is highly competitive,” says Gary Reblin, vice president, Domestic Products. “Now that we have flexibility, we can make this an even more attractive option, especially for online retailers and other businesses that ship a lot of lightweight packages.”

Commercial base prices are available for eligible packages weighing no more than 13 ounces. Commercial-plus machinable packages can weigh less than 16 ounces. This change does not affect retail single-piece First-Class Mail packages.

For more information, refer to Postal Bulletin (9-8-2011), or click here.

2011 HOLIDAY SHIPPING DATES FOR APOs/FPOs/DPOs

With the holiday season fast approaching, USPS is reminding its customers and mailers to mail early to ensure delivery of their holiday cards and packages to APO/FPO/DPO destination addresses by Dec. 25. Deadlines for mailing to specific APO/FPO/DPO ZIP codes vary according to the specific classes of mail being sent to them. Click here for a chart listing this year’s holiday deadlines.

Customers also are reminded that all mail addressed to overseas military/diplomatic Post Offices is subject to certain conditions or restrictions regarding content, preparation and handling.

Those restrictions are listed by individual APO/FPO/DPO ZIP Code in each Postal Bulletin. To access this listing on the Internet, go to pe.usps.com, click Postal Bulletins in the blue navigation bar and then select the Pull-Out Information section.

Holiday shipping dates for domestic and international mail will be provided in a separate DMM Advisory.

NEW USPS.COM TOOL HELPS MANAGE MAIL

“My Account” — the Postal Service’s latest enhanced online tool on usps.com — now integrates the “Manage Your Mail” applications, allowing customers to view at one location their Hold Mail, Redelivery, Carrier Pickup and Postal Store transactions. Carrier Pickup requests and Postal Store transactions also have become features of “My Account.”

The Hold Mail application has been improved, allowing customers to submit a request up to 30 days prior to the start date. Until now, customers have had to wait until 14 days in advance of the start date to request that USPS hold their mail. Customers also will have the convenience of storing their activity histories in “My Account.”

The redesigned Redelivery feature reduces the number of steps a customer must take to complete a request by pre-populating some required fields when they’re logged onto “My Account.”

The Premium Forwarding Service (PFS) online process, launching later this month, will share the streamlined process enjoyed by other applications. Customers will be able to manage their PFS requests online — modifying, cancelling and updating their orders.

With PFS, customers can request local Post Offices to collect their mail and reship it to another location.

Other improvements and updates to usps.com will continue through the rest of this year and through fiscal year 2012. Click here to see the new redesigned website and explore its capabilities.

FYI

Plans are well underway for the 2012 National Postal Forum in Orlando, FL, April 1 – 4, 2012. We received many submissions from the Call for Papers and the Review Committee is busy sorting through them to provide our attendees with the most current and comprehensive education program available anywhere in the industry.

Mark your calendars now to attend the premier mailing industry event and be sure to check the NPF website, www.npf.org, regularly for updates and information. INSIDE SCOOP

Inside Scoop graphic: More than a half-million packages and envelopes USPS distributes annually are nearly 100% recyclable.

KEEPING POSTED

  • National Postal Forum, April 1–4, 2012 Orlando, FL

INFO@USPS

YOUR LINKS TO MAILING RESOURCES

U.S. Postal Service: usps.com
National PCC Network: usps.com/pcc
RIBBS: ribbs.usps.gov
Questions? Comments? Send an email to pccinsider@usps.gov
Sign up for PCC Insider at usps.com/pcc, select “PCC Insider Registration”
PCC Insider online archives
PCC Management Insights online archives

SPOTLIGHT ON SUCCESS

HERE'S TO ANOTHER 50 YEARS

Photo: From left, Northern Virginia Senior Plant Manager Sharon Rogers, District Manager Michael Furey, Plant Manager Frank Veal and DPMG Ronald Stroman.
From left, Northern Virginia Senior Plant Manager Sharon Rogers, District Manager Michael Furey, Plant Manager Frank Veal and DPMG Ronald Stroman.

In his annual state of the Postal Service address to the mailing industry on National PCC Day, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Donahoe described the Postal Service’s new reality.

“We have reduced our annual costs by more than $12 billion and our workforce has been reduced by 110,000 career employees over the past four years, but we must do significantly more to return to profitability,” said Donahoe. “We must reduce our annual costs by $20 billion by 2015 to be profitable, and we currently do not have the flexibility in our business model to achieve these cost reductions.”

One hundred and fifteen events representing 160 PCCs nationwide celebrated their golden anniversary. Over 27 USPS HQ officers and other postal executives spoke at the events held on Sept. 21, delivering a presentation on network optimization to over 8,000 members. This was the first time that all PCC events had USPS executive representation other than their local postal co-chair.

Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman was the keynote speaker on National PCC Day at the Center of Innovative Technology in Herndon, VA.

Transition and realignment were the focus of discussions during the event. Stroman discussed aggressive proposals, including the need to change service standards to allow for further network streamlining.

Prior to the event’s conclusion, the DPMG assured mailers that the Postal Service will continue to meet their needs and to take necessary actions to return the organization to profitability.

Additional information about Postal Customer Councils and National PCC Day can be found by visiting “Your Local PCC” on usps.com.
© 2011 United States Postal Service. The following are among the many trademarks owned by the United States Postal Service: USPS®, U.S. Postal Service®, United States Postal Service®, Postal Service™, Post Office™, Priority Mail®, Express Mail®, Standard Mail®, First-Class Mail®, Registered Mail™, Certified Mail®, RIBBS®, Delivery Confirmation™, Signature Confirmation™, ZIP Code™, Click-N-Ship®, FOREVER®, NetPost®, Intelligent Mail®, Stamps Now®, PCC Insider® and The Postal Store®. This list is not a comprehensive list of all Postal Service marks. See our privacy policies at usps.com. If you prefer not to receive future email communications from the Postal Service, contact PCC Insider to stop future emails. Write us at: PCC Insider, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza Rm 4541, Washington DC 20260-4541