What makes a PCC of the Year?

This year’s honorees — Tampa (large market) and Central Missouri (small market) — took advantage of resources available for education and training, shared cutting-edge solutions that make the mail work better and encouraged feedback and timely communications.

“Our mantra is ‘success breeds success’ and we worked tirelessly over the past year to serve our members like never before,” says Amy Rocha, Industry Co-Chair for of the Tampa PCC. “Our efforts showed positive results. We increased membership by 38 percent and had record attendance at our educational events.”

Among its many efforts, the Tampa PCC launched a “Log in and Learn” webinar series incorporating a professional certificate program, provided tours of postal facilities and hosted speakers from USPS Headquarters, and kept members informed through its website and newsletters. The PCC held a session on Move Update requirements that was attended by more than 100 members of the mailing community.

“To make sure we are meeting the needs of our members, we’ve established an electronic survey feedback system for every event to ensure continuous improvement in our programs,” says Rocha.

The Central Missouri PCC has its own mantra for achieving excellence — delivering leadership.

“We’re committed to excellence and helping the Postal Service succeed,” says Cathy Rupard, Industry Co-Chair for Central Missouri PCC. “We offer customer-driven programs. We survey our members regularly and use the feedback to improve performance. Our PCC is always ready to offer new programs, provide educational sessions and opportunities to earn professional certificates, and recognize the successes of our members.”

The Central Missouri PCC has launched a new website to keep members informed. It also mentors other PCCs, sharing the knowledge and experience gained from more than 20 years bringing postal representatives and mailers together to exchange ideas and learn from each other.

“Our members recognize the value of PCC membership, and they recognize the value of mail in helping grow their businesses and deliver for their customers,” says Rupard.



Photo: Postmaster General John Potter addresses Innovation Symposium participants Oct. 13.
Postmaster General John Potter addresses Innovation Symposium participants Oct. 13.

When Postmaster General John Potter last March announced the Postal Service’s plan for what he termed a “leaner, more market responsive Postal Service that can thrive far into the future,” he challenged anyone with a vested interest in a viable postal system to put forth ideas to help the organization move forward.

Since March, postal officials have been meeting regularly with customers and other stakeholders to bring them into the process. In August, Senior Vice President, Customer Relations, Steve Kearney organized an “Innovation Symposium” with the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee, during which 130 of the Postal Service’s largest customers addressed 10 topics, ranging from the future of the organization to a discussion of which areas could be more innovative.

Ideas submitted included ways to increase electronic services to hybrid mail and suggestions on how to restore the “mail moment” — when delivery of a mail piece is eagerly anticipated by residential customers.

The search for ideas continued on Sept. 15 — National Postal Customer Council (PCC) Day — when the 200 local PCCs were asked for feedback on ideas. “PCCs regularly provide us with valuable feedback,” said Vice President, Sales, Susan Plonkey. “They’ll do the same as we explore potential innovations to respond to an evolving marketplace.”

The latest event for gathering innovative ideas took place this week near Washington, DC, when approximately 200 stakeholders representing Congress, regulators, customers and USPS heard presentations from experts on the future of the mail and shared their thoughts. “You are the movers and shakers of a $1 trillion industry,” Potter said in remarks at the start of the event. “This industry is at a fork in the road, and your input is critical to us.”

Scott Bedbury, CEO of Brandstream, a market branding consultant and former marketing executive at Nike and Starbucks, provided an upbeat view of the Postal Service’s place in a digital world. He said the mail offers a unique “physical” experience that digital media cannot provide. He urged his audience to “rekindle and leverage the nobility and greater good that is in the DNA of the USPS with a new generation of products, services, brand experiences and messages.”



Postal Carrier picking up packages from customer.

With the addition of 471 new ZIP codes — a 2-year project that ended this month — free Carrier Pickup service offered by USPS is now available at 99.97 percent of all mail delivery addresses in the nation.

“We’ve reached a point of critical mass with this latest expansion to our package pickup network,” says Gary Reblin, vice president, Shipping Services. “Carrier Pickup is a popular option among busy consumers, e-commerce merchants, and businesses of all sizes, and I expect to see continued strong growth.”

First introduced in 2004, Carrier Pickup today is available at more than 130 million mail delivery addresses within 36,645 ZIP codes. Priority Mail, Express Mail, Parcel Return Service, Express Mail International and Priority Mail International are some of the products eligible for the free service, which customers can request online.

In addition to Carrier Pickup, USPS offers a number of options for package pickup to meet the needs of customers, including Pickup on Demand, Scheduled Pickup On Demand Service and Collection Service.

Click here for a list of frequently asked questions about Carrier Pickup service.



The Postal Service receives many questions from customers about products, services and programs. Interested in what other customers are asking? Click here for a look at recent questions and answers from Senior Vice President, Customer Relations, Steve Kearney.


APO mail bags being loaded onto cargo plane.

The holiday season is coming, and the Postal Service has released deadlines for delivery of holiday cards and packages by Dec. 25 to Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO) and Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) destination addresses.

Certain conditions and restrictions regarding content, preparation and handling apply to mail addressed to overseas military and diplomatic Post Offices. These restrictions by individual APO/FPO/DPO ZIP Code can be found in the pull-out information section of each Postal Bulletin. Go to pe.usps.com and click Postal Bulletins in the blue navigation bar.

For a chart listing this year’s holiday deadlines for mail sent to APO, FPO and DPO addresses click here. Holiday shipping dates for domestic and international mail will be released shortly.


On PCC Day, Postmaster General John Potter called for PCCs to submit their top three innovation and growth ideas that can help ensure a profitable future for the mailing industry and USPS. Already, we have received several submissions and many other PCCs have scheduled sessions with their members.

There is still time. We urge you to schedule a PCC innovation session and submit your top three ideas by clicking here and using the PCC Best Practice submission form. The deadline is Friday, Oct. 29.

We will update you on timelines and next steps concerning your submissions and hold a special session at the National Postal Forum in San Diego, May 1-4, 2011.


If you send out Global Express Guaranteed shipments, effective this November, commercial invoices will need to have the barcode on the form scanned at your postal retail unit in order to complete the transaction. Check your current supply of Commercial Invoices to verify if they have barcodes on them. If they don’t, they should not be used. Customers are asked to order the new PS Form 6182 forms or pick them up at a local Post Office prior to the deadline to ensure they can continue using the Global Express Guaranteed service.


It’s not too early to start working on your 2011 National PCC Day Award nominations. New criteria are posted on the National PCC website at www.usps.com/pcc, including the new “PCC Business Partner of the Year Award.” This award recognizes a business that has continually supported the PCC through members, board members, hosting meetings and providing time or services to the local PCC. It is important to review these documents to make sure you meet all the updated requirements and complete all recommended documentation when submission time comes around next year. Qualification period is July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011 and submissions are due July 1, 2011.


More than 220 workshop proposals were submitted during the National Postal Forum’s “Call for Papers” for NPF 2011. Proposals are being reviewed to determine which ones will be offered at the San Diego event. Notifications on the status of submissions will be sent out over the course of the next 4-6 weeks by NPF staff to everyone who proposed a workshop.

Inside Scoop graphic: October is Energy Awareness Month.



  • National Postal Forum, May 1-4, San Diego, CA



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The Postal Service’s Intelligent Mail service was recently recognized by InformationWeek as a “Government IT Innovator.”

In announcing its selection, the publication noted that “The U.S. Postal Service’s Intelligent Mail service … represents a new era for the 230-year-old mail system. Intelligent Mail is more efficient while giving mega users such as banks and retailers better visibility into their direct mail efforts.”

Used on letters and flats, the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) — the key technology behind Intelligent Mail service — can hold all routing, sorting and special services information in virtually the same amount of space as the POSTNET barcode. Due to this extra large data capacity, mailers and the Postal Service can track the uniquely identified mailpieces as they move through the postal network.

Intelligent Mail is available to customers as either Basic or Full Service. With Basic service, customers print the IMb on their mailpieces in lieu of the POSTNET barcode and may select additional services, such as OneCode ACS (address change service), traditional ACS and OneCode Confirm (for mail tracking.) With Full service, OneCode ACS is included free, and its “start-the-clock” technology lets mailers know when their mailings enter the postal network.

Automated address correction helps customers improve response rates, drive revenue and reduce costly undeliverable-as-addressed mail. And mail tracking helps mailers monitor their supply chains and provide better customer service by allowing them to predict payments and avoid collection calls. These benefits are increasing the value and relevance of the mail and encouraging mailers to continue using this vital marketing channel.

Introduced last year, the Postal Service’s Full Service Intelligent Mail system is capable of handling 500 million pieces of mail and 1 billion scan transactions daily.

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