FEBRUARY 2012

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

FRONT PAGE

POSTAL SERVICE COMMUNICATES RESULTS OF MAIL PROCESSING STUDIES

AN UPDATE FROM CONSUMER & INDUSTRY AFFAIRS VICE PRESIDENT SUSAN M. LACHANCE

Pull quote: There will be no changes at this time to retail services and business mail acceptance located at any of the facilities involved in these studies. — Susan M. LaChance, VP Consumer & Industry Affairs.

Last September, the Postal Service proposed changes relating to service standards and network operations and made a commitment to you, PCC members and customers, to maintain open communications on these proposed changes.

In keeping with that commitment, the results of the Area Mail Processing (AMP) facility studies announced last September are now available. Click here for those results. This website provides information on the decision made in each study, including whether each facility will be closed or consolidated, remain open, or have its study placed on hold. For those facilities facing a change, the name of the “gaining site” — the facility where mail processing operations will be relocated — also is included.

Implementation of any consolidation or closure, however, is contingent upon the outcome of proposed revisions to existing service standards. In addition, no network changes will be implemented prior to May 15 of this year, in keeping with a moratorium on closing or consolidating postal facilities intended to give Congress and the Administration the opportunity to enact an alternative plan.

I would like to make it clear to you, our valued customers, that there will be no changes at this time to retail services and business mail acceptance located at any of the facilities involved in these studies.

Our commitment to you is:

  • No immediate changes to business acceptance locations or hours of operation
  • Deliberate timing of operational moves to limit customer impact
  • Continuation of Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) discounts at affected Bulk Mail Entry Units (BMEUs).
  • Availability of expanded Drop Shipment Appointments
  • Continuous communications

Many of you have asked about the impact of these actions on BMEUs. Again, there will be no changes to BMEU hours or locations. Should a BMEU need to be relocated in the future, all customers would receive 120 days notice of the intended move, and any new location would be in close proximity to the original.

In addition, DSCF discounts will continue to be available for mailings entered at BMEUs that remain in impacted facilities. Mailers will be encouraged to align their preparation and entry to the new network. However, they will continue to receive drop-ship entry discounts for mail entered at impacted facilities based on 3-digit ZIP Codes currently allowed.

There will be no major consolidations during the fall mailing season, nor during the election mailing period. Also, Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST) appointments will be expanded to support shifting volumes across the network.

We know how important it will be for you, our customers, to have detailed site-specific information. In the very near future, our district managers across the country will be inviting commercial mailers to meetings where they will share more detailed information and answer site-specific questions.

All of us at the Postal Service value your business and your support. Over the coming months, we will continue to keep you informed, and work closely with you to ensure a smooth transition.

Click here for more information tailored to mailers.

USPS LOSSES CONTINUE IN FIRST QUARTER

SHIPPING SERVICES BUSINESS CONTINUES TO RISE

USPS ended the first three months of fiscal year 2012 with a net loss of $3.3 billion.

Large losses are expected to continue until USPS can implement its network optimization and restructure its health care program. Sustained financial stability, however, requires legislation that would give the Postal Service delivery flexibility, return more than $10 billion in overpayments made to the federal government, and resolve the obligation to prefund retiree health benefits.

In good news from the results, holiday shipping activity was stronger than expected due to robust growth in online merchandise sales. This activity helped USPS grow its competitive Shipping Services business, with revenue totaling $2.8 billion, an increase of $179 million or 7 percent over the same period last year (SPLY).

Mailing Services revenue, excluding First-Class Mail parcels, totaled $14.5 billion, a decrease of 2.9 percent. First-Class Mail continued to decline, with revenue decreasing 4.1 percent compared to the same period last year.

Other details of the first quarter results compared to SPLY include:

  • Total mail volume of 43.7 billion pieces, a 6 percent decrease.
  • Operating revenue of $17.7 billion, a 1.1 percent decrease.
  • Operating expenses (before prefunding of retiree health benefits and the impact of discount rate changes for worker’s compensation liability) of $17.8 billion, a 1 percent increase.
  • Transportation expenses increased by $105 million, or 6.3 percent, due to rising fuel costs.

“Absent significant changes in the law to allow normal commercial freedoms, the Postal Service will default on both retiree health benefits pre-payments to the federal government due this year,” said Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett.

Complete financial results are available in the Form 10-Q by clicking here.

WHAT’S UP

NEW OPTION FOR UNDER-A-POUND SHIPPING

Parcel Select Lightweight shipping label.
Parcel Select Lightweight shipping label.

With the business-to-consumer e-commerce shipper in mind, the Postal Service now offers a new, affordable option for shipping multiple packages weighing under a pound — Parcel Select Lightweight.

Introduced Jan. 22, Parcel Select Lightweight is a presorted parcel product designed for high-volume shippers. It’s priced by weight, presort level and entry point.

Parcel Select Lightweight replaces Standard Mail regular price parcels. However, nonprofit machinable and irregular parcels, as well as Marketing Parcels — designed for advertising or marketing material — will remain under Standard Mail.

The new Parcel Select Lightweight labels will have indicia and banner text indicating either “PARCEL SELECT LIGHTWEIGHT” or “PS LIGHTWEIGHT.”

Parcel Select Lightweight and Standard Mail parcels will be processed together and receive the same service, including the same treatment and fees, as applicable, when undeliverable as addressed.

FORUM JUST AROUND THE CORNER

NPF logo.

Have you registered for the National Postal Forum (NPF) in Orlando, FL, April 1-4? It’s time to make your plans. While registering at www.npf.org, view and download the complete day-by-day, hour-by-hour schedule of the more than 100 workshops. The Forum is the mailing industry’s premier educational and trade show you can’t afford to miss.

Join NPF on Facebook and follow what’s happening as the 2012 event approaches. Go directly to the NPF page and click on the “Like” button.

INTRODUCING THE ABCs OF SHORT-HAUL SHIPPING

The new Priority Mail Regional Rate Box C.
The new Priority Mail Regional Rate Box C.

The Postal Service is giving customers a big reason to ship regionally with USPS. It’s called the “Priority Mail Regional Rate Box C.”

At 15-by-12-by-12 inches, the new container is the largest USPS-produced box for commercial use, with a 25-pound maximum weight limit. It made its debut on Jan. 22, joining Box A and Box B in the Priority Mail Regional Rate lineup. The boxes are designed for commercial mailers.

“Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes are similar to Flat Rate Boxes and provide ‘If It Fits It Ships’ convenience but have modest weight restrictions,” said Domestic Products Vice President Gary Reblin. “We expect the new box to be a big a hit with shippers.”

Since the introduction of Box A and Box B in January 2011, more than 17 million Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes have been ordered.

The boxes offer value for high-volume shippers, like e-tailers and local and regional-based businesses, when they’re shipping shorter distances. And they get free boxes, available for order online at usps.com.

Although it’s designed primarily for commercial shippers, customers who bring a Priority Mail Regional Rate Box to a retail office will pay only 75 cents more than the Commercial Base price.

USPS IPHONE APP ALLOWS USERS TO TRACK MAIL

USPS iPhone app.

Customers who own some of Apple’s most popular products now can use them to track mail, thanks to the Postal Service’s latest iPhone app. Available on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad 2, the app allows customers to use a device’s camera to scan barcodes on shipping labels for convenient tracking of their mail.

“Whenever and wherever they are, customers can check the delivery status of their shipments,” said Channel Access Vice President Kelly Sigmon. “Millions of Americans are making mobile devices a part of their daily lives, and we’re providing solutions that meet their needs.”

The app also stores label numbers so customers can recheck the status of shipments and can schedule a free next-day Carrier Pickup of packages. “Customers will get an email confirmation when the request is made, when the package is picked up, and when the pickup request is modified or canceled,” said Sigmon.

Customers also can use the app to order free expedited shipping supplies and view retail and online prices.

PREMIUM FORWARDING SERVICE ON USPS.COM

Premium Forwarding Service graphic.

USPS has added Premium Forwarding Service (PFS) to its suite of online products and services at usps.com.

Previously only offered at Post Offices, the popular service now is available to any customer with a usps.com account. For just $15.25 a week and $15 to enroll, the Postal Service will package a customer’s mail and reship it by Priority Mail.

“Premium Forwarding Service makes your mail a priority even when you’re away from home,” said Kelly Sigmon, vice president, Channel Access. “Even while on the go, your mail can go with you. Customers taking a trip, traveling on business, or planning to be away from home for a period of time ― from 2 weeks up to 1 year ― can receive their important mail while they’re traveling.”

Getting started with PFS online is quick and easy. The address information will be pre-populated using information provided when a usps.com account is created. There’s no longer the need to go to a Post Office to enroll, modify or cancel PFS requests.

With more than 413 million visits in 2011 — averaging more than 1.3 million visitors each day — usps.com is one of the most frequently visited government sites.

FYI

Planning for National PCC Day 2012 has begun. Every PCC is encouraged to participate. The event is scheduled Wednesday, Sept. 19, and the National PCC Team will be announcing plans for the day in the very near future.

INSIDE SCOOP

Inside Scoop: The USPS network supports nearly 352,000 hand-held scanners, including ring scanners.

KEEPING POSTED

  • National Postal Forum, April 1-4, 2012 Orlando, FL
  • National PCC Day, Sept. 19, Atlanta, GA

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

ABCs OF APPROVED SHIPPER PROGRAM

Approved Shipper Program logo.

Baltimore, MD, residents now have more choices when it comes to handling their mailing and shipping needs ― at the train station.

USPS recently partnered with Samani Business Solutions through the Approved Shipper Program. The program expands access to postal services to customers where they live, work and shop.

An Approved Shipper is a private retailer with a packaging and shipping business which may provide a variety of shipping services ― including USPS services and competitor services.

There currently are more than 4,000 Approved Shippers nationwide ― including 1,129 Office Depot locations ― making it easier for customers to conduct postal business in convenient locations.

Retailers also benefit from their relationship with the Postal Service, according to USPS Operations Specialist, Approved Postal Provider Support, Michael Wilson. “Retailers enjoy increased customer traffic and revenue, and association with the trusted USPS brand,” he said.

Many Approved Shipper locations also offer additional or extended retail hours for added customer convenience. At Baltimore’s Samani Business Solutions, customers can purchase stamps and mail domestic and international packages and letters while waiting to board a train, seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. And, to relieve some of the stress associated with the holiday season, it provided 24-hour service.

© 2012 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