MARCH 2011

FRONT PAGE WHAT'S UP INSIDE SCOOP
KEEPING POSTED SPOTLIGHT ON SUCCESS INFO@USPS

FRONT PAGE

NATIONAL POSTAL FORUM

POSTMASTER GENERAL TO DISCUSS PLAN FOR FUTURE

NPF logo.

Mailers who attend this year’s National Postal Forum (NPF) May 1-4 in San Diego, CA, will hear firsthand about the U.S. Postal Service’s direction for the future.

Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe will be the keynote speaker at Monday morning’s opening session. On Tuesday, there will be two executive briefings — one by Donahoe and one by President and Chief Marketing/Sales Officer Paul Vogel. Donahoe will discuss the challenges facing the Postal Service and the changes needed to ensure a healthy mailing industry in the years to come. Vogel will discuss the creative ideas generated during the Postal Service’s Innovation Symposiums held late last year. Other Postal Service officers and executives will host various special sessions over the four days, providing an in-depth look at key topics, including five-day delivery, security, network and facility optimization, shipping products, global markets, and Intelligent Mail services.

In addition to dozens of special sessions and workshops, peer-to-peer roundtables are back at this year’s NPF. First offered at the 2009 Forum, the roundtables proved popular, providing participants an opportunity to share insights on a variety of topics, such as direct mail, management and leadership practices, employee issues and full-service Intelligent Mail services.

There are more than 30 roundtable topics this year, including some new ones: Promoting Your PCC Through the Business Service Network, Maximizing Your Advertising Exposure and Six Sigma Methodology. Several topics — including Intelligent Mail, Postal Customer Council and Mailing Standards — will book up quickly, so be sure to pre-register early through the NPF website. The roundtables are scheduled for Monday, May 2, 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Pre-registration is available now at npf.org, where you also can find a complete listing of NPF roundtables and business sessions.

Key Topics Led By Postal Service Management

  • Global Business: Targeting Growth Beyond U.S. Borders
  • Intelligent Mail Technical Session
  • Buying Green, Operating Green, Selling Green – Integrating Sustainability Across the Postal Service
  • Doing Business With USPS Supply Chain Management
  • A Smooth Transition to Five-Day Delivery
  • Scanning and Service Performance Visibility
  • Secure and Environmentally Friendly Destruction of Undeliverable as Addressed Mail
  • Security: It Comes With the Stamp
  • USPS Network and Facility Optimization
  • USPS Shipping: A Journey Toward Prices and Products That Compete
  • USPS Technology

HALLMARK AND POSTAL SERVICE LAUNCH POSTAGE-PAID GREETINGS

BARCODED ENVELOPES, SCANNING TECHNOLOGY MAKE CARD-SENDING EASY

Postage paid greeting card retail display.

Teaming with the Postal Service, Hallmark recently introduced Postage-Paid Greetings — a line of “everyday” and seasonal cards that already include postage so customers can just sign, seal and send.

“In this busy world of ours, Hallmark and the Postal Service want to help make connecting with loved ones a little bit easier,” said Rob Bensman, vice president of strategic alliances at Hallmark. “Postage-Paid Greetings provide you with everything you need. All you have to do is add a personal message.”

Hallmark Postage-Paid Greetings feature the Postal Service’s Intelligent Mail barcode on the front of the envelope. When the cards are processed at a Postal Service facility, the barcode automatically indicates to the Postal Service the postage is paid. The postage is treated like a Forever stamp; its value will always be equal to the price of a First-Class Mail stamp, regardless of when it’s mailed.

“We know card-sending is an important tradition and receiving cards is as meaningful as it ever was,” said Paul Vogel, president and chief marketing/sales officer, U.S. Postal Service. “We are pleased to work with Hallmark in a way that honors this tradition while providing consumers with added convenience afforded by advanced technology.”

More than 200 varieties of everyday Postage-Paid Greetings will be sold in Hallmark Gold Crown stores, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS and other Hallmark distribution locations. Seasonal cards will be available starting this Easter season. Postage-Paid everyday cards can be purchased for $3.99, and seasonal cards will range in price from $2.69 to $3.99. For more information, visit www.hallmark.com.

MEETING THE NEEDS OF A DYNAMIC MARKET

POSTAL SERVICE SEEKS RECLASSIFICATION OF COMMERCIAL FIRST-CLASS MAIL PARCELS

Recognizing that all parcel delivery services operate in a competitive environment, the Postal Service recently asked the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to reclassify Commercial First-Class Mail Parcels as a competitive product.

The filing is a formal request to move Commercial First-Class Mail Parcels from the market-dominant product list and add “Lightweight Commercial Parcels” to the competitive product list.

“This product serves a highly competitive marketplace, with many participants offering similar products,” said Gary Reblin, vice president, Domestic Products. “By moving to a competitive product classification, we have greater flexibility to make this offering more attractive to commercial shippers.”

Commercial First-Class Mail Parcels are largely used for fulfillment by businesses selling lightweight merchandise. Starting April 17, qualifying customers will receive Commercial Base pricing for parcels weighing 13 ounces or less and Commercial Plus pricing for parcels weighing less than 1 pound.

The filing proposal does not affect retail single-piece First-Class Mail Parcels. This proposal follows a similar request filed Aug. 16 to move some Standard Mail Parcels from the market-dominant category to the competitive product list.

A SIMPLER WAY TO CALCULATE MAILING AND SHIPPING COSTS

NEW WEBSITE ALLOWS SIDE-BY-SIDE COST COMPARISONS

USPS comparison calculator website.

Your time is valuable, and you need answers in a hurry. So, the Postal Service is making it easy for you to determine the most convenient and most cost-effective way to send your business mail.

The Business Calculator on the Postal Explorer website lets you calculate prices for all shapes and classes of mail. Not sure which class of mail or preparation method is best for you? For a fast and easy decision, calculate several options, then hit the “Show History” button to list side-by-side all the calculations you just made.

No more head-scratching when trying to figure out per-piece and per-pound prices; the Postal Service does the calculations so you can spend more time on your other business needs.

For added value, quick navigation tools provide postal definitions and links to references, such as A Customer’s Guide to Mailing — Your Easy Guide to Domestic and International Mailing.

The Business Calculator, along with the Domestic and International Calculators, are available on Postal Explorer in the upper left frame at pe.usps.com.

FOLDED SELF-MAILER STUDY IN LAST STAGES

BUT 'BUSINESS AS USUAL' FOR NOW

The Postal Service appreciates the effectiveness of a creative mailpiece campaign that drives consumer response — as well as the machinability of mailpieces on postal processing equipment that claim automation prices.

Collaborating with the mailing industry, the Postal Service implemented a test study in April 2009 to find a balance between design innovation and machinability of folded self-mailers (FSM) — a common goal. The study used Lean Six Sigma practices to test and analyze data, and to develop a framework based on commonality of mailpiece design. The Postal Service and test study participants are in the last stages of refining potential updated standards for the Domestic Mail Manual.

The updated standards are intended to:

  • Provide options for emerging designs and contain costs,
  • Improve consistency of service and visibility,
  • Reduce confusion and inconsistent rulings at acceptance,
  • Reduce appeals to the Pricing and Classification Service Center and expedite production to meet mailing timelines,
  • Reduce damage to mail, machine jams and subsequent diversion from letter automation in order to contain costs, and
  • Level the playing field for all mailers, whether small, medium or large.

Webinars and other two-way communications have yielded valuable industry feedback, helping study participants identify “pinch-points” and other items needing clarification. A revised framework — with industry input incorporated — will be presented to test study participants in the near future, and proposed rule changes are expected to be shared via a Federal Register proposal in early summer.

For now, it’s business as usual for mailers until updated mailing standards are effective — likely not before sometime in 2012.

WHAT’S UP

WORKSHOPS-IN-A-BOX: ARE THEY WHAT YOU NEED?

Does your PCC take advantage of the workshops available through the National PCC website? Are they what you need to make you an award-winning PCC?

Workshops-in-a-box were developed to provide Postal Service business customers with information about postal products, services and tools to help them grow their businesses and improve mail quality. The workshops are suitable for all PCC educational events and can be used to create a customized professional certificate program.

To keep these workshops current, we want to hear from you. Participant and presenter surveys can be found in the Facilitators Guide. To ensure continuous improvement in the workshops, please complete the short questionnaires at the end of your workshop and e-mail them to pcc@usps.gov.

The workshops, Facilitator Guide and both surveys can be found on the PCC website.

APRIL 17 RETAIL PRICE ADJUSTMENTS MINIMAL

Letters being processed.

The first Mailing Services price change in 2 years will take effect April 17, but the rate for a First-Class Mail stamp will remain unchanged.

Price changes of note for retail customers include:

  • First-Class Mail letters (1 oz.) remain unchanged at 44 cents,
  • First-Class Mail additional ounces increase to 20 cents per ounce,
  • Postage to mail postcards will increase to 29 cents,
  • Letters to Canada or Mexico (1 oz.) increase to 80 cents, and
  • Letters to other international destinations will remain unchanged at 98 cents.

“Postal Service products and services offer a great value to the American public,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “For a very affordable price, you can send letters, bill payments, packages and other mail across town or across the nation.”

The 1.7 percent average increase is at or below the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index, although actual percentage price increases for specific products and services vary.

Prices also will change for other mailing services, including Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services. Larger volume business mailers will see price increases in a variety of categories. Detailed pricing information is available online at www.usps.com/prices.

FYI

National PCC Day is Sept. 21. Two workshops are in development and will be distributed to PCCs when complete. Plan now to incorporate them into your educational activities. Webinars will be held to familiarize local presenters with the materials.

INSIDE SCOOP

Forever stamps grapic.

KEEPING POSTED

2011

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

  • National PCC Day, Sept. 21, Tampa, 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 e-mail 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

FRIENDS AND FAMILY NOW CAN TRACK MILITARY MAIL

Navy Logistics Specialist Seaman Dominique Williams unloads mail from a cargo plane at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Navy Logistics Specialist Seaman Dominique Williams unloads mail from a cargo plane at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Friends and families of service members can now track when the Postal Service transfers their packages to the military for delivery to bases and other government locations around the world.

When customers use the Track and Confirm website at usps.com to check the status of shipments to Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO) and Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) addresses, they’ll be notified when items have been “Dispatched from International Service Center.” Contact information also will be provided for the Military Postal Service Agency, which monitors mail to overseas U.S. military locations.

“We’re providing an additional level of information for friends and families of service members who are staying connected through the mail,” said Jim Cochrane, vice president, Product Information. “Now they’ll know when their important packages are that much closer to arriving in the hands of loved ones serving in the military.”

Click here for information about supporting our troops with mail and packages.

© 2010 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 e-mail communications from the Postal Service, contact PCC Insider to stop future e-mails. Write us at: PCC Insider, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza Rm 4541, Washington DC 20260-4541