5 Day Delivery Schedule To Be Delayed

April 10th, 2013

Statement From the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors

 

“The Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service met April 9th and discussed the Continuing Resolution recently passed by Congress to fund government operations. By including restrictive language in the Continuing Resolution, Congress has prohibited implementation of a new national delivery schedule for mail and packages, which would consist of package delivery Monday through Saturday and mail delivery Monday through Friday, and which would have taken effect the week of August 5, 2013.

“Although disappointed with this Congressional action, the Board will follow the law and has directed the Postal Service to delay implementation of its new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule. The Board believes that Congress has left it with no choice but to delay this implementation at this time. The Board also wants to ensure that customers of the Postal Service are not unduly burdened by ongoing uncertainties and are able to adjust their business plans accordingly.

“The Board continues to support the transition to a new national delivery schedule. Such a transition will generate approximately $2 billion in annual cost savings and is a necessary part of a larger five-year business plan to restore the Postal Service to long-term financial stability. According to numerous polls, this new delivery schedule is widely supported by the American public. Our new delivery schedule is also supported by the Administration and some members of Congress.

“To restore the Postal Service to long-term financial stability, the Postal Service requires the flexibility to reduce costs and generate new revenues to close an ever widening budgetary gap. It is not possible for the Postal Service to meet significant cost reduction goals without changing its delivery schedule – any rational analysis of our current financial condition and business options leads to this conclusion. Delaying responsible changes to the Postal Service business model only increases the potential that the Postal Service may become a burden to the American taxpayer, which is avoidable.

“Given these extreme circumstances and the worsening financial condition of the Postal Service, the Board has directed management to seek a reopening of negotiations with the postal unions and consultations with management associations to lower total workforce costs, and to take administrative actions necessary to reduce costs. The Board has also asked management to evaluate further options to increase revenue, including an exigent rate increase to raise revenues across current Postal Service product categories and products not currently covering their costs.

“The Board continues to support the Postal Service’s five-year business plan and the legislative goals identified in that plan which will return the Postal Service to financial solvency. The Board additionally urges Congress to quickly pass comprehensive postal legislation, including provisions that would affirmatively provide the Postal Service with the ability to establish an appropriate national delivery schedule.” 

– USPS Consumer & Industry Affairs

13 Things Your Mail Carrier Won’t Tell You

February 7th, 2013

from Reader’s Digest, | February 2011

1. Maybe your dog won’t bite you. But in 2009, 2,863 of us were bitten, an average of nine bites per delivery day. That’s why I wince when your Doberman comes flying out the door.

2. Remember this on Valentine’s Day: It takes our machines longer to read addresses on red envelopes (especially if they’re written in colored ink).

3. Why stand in line? At usps.com, you can buy stamps, place a hold on your mail, change your address, and apply for passports. We even offer free package pickup and free flat-rate envelopes and boxes, all delivered right to your doorstep.

4. Media Mail is a bargain, but most of you don’t know to ask for it. Sending ten pounds of books from New York City to San Francisco through Media Mail costs $5.89, compared with $16.77 for Parcel Post. Besides books, use it to send manuscripts, DVDs, and CDs; just don’t include anything else in the package.

5. We don’t get a penny of your tax dollars. Really.

6. UPS and FedEx charge you $10 or more for messing up an address. Us? Not a cent.

7. Paychecks, personal cards, letters—anything that looks like good news—I put those on top. Utility and credit card bills? They go under everything else.

8. Sorry if I seem like I’m in a hurry, but I’m under the gun: Our supervisors tell us when to leave, how many pieces of mail to deliver, and when we should aim to be back. Then some of us scan bar codes in mailboxes along our route so they can monitor our progress.

9. Yes, we do have to buy our own stamps, but a lot of us carry them for customers who need them. If we don’t charge you, that’s because we like you.

10. Use a ballpoint pen. Ink from those felt tips runs in the rain.

11. Please dress properly when you come to the door. A towel wrapped around you doesn’t cut it. And we definitely don’t want to see you in your underwear—or naked!

12. We serve 150 million addresses six days a week, so we’re often in the right place at the right time. We pull people out of burning cars, catch burglars in the act, and call 911 to report traffic accidents, dead bodies, and more.

13. Most of us don’t mind if you pull up to our trucks while we’re delivering and ask for your mail a little early. But please get out of your car and come get it. Don’t just put your hand out your window and wait for me to bring it to you.

USPS Sets New Five Day Letter Delivery Schedule

February 6th, 2013

Six days per week package delivery, five days for mail begins next August

The USPS has announced plans to transition during the week of Aug. 5 to a new delivery schedule that includes package delivery Monday through Saturday and mail delivery Monday through Friday. The Postal Service expects to generate cost savings of approximately $2 billion annually once the plan is fully implemented.

“The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” said PMG Pat Donahoe. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”

During the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages. Strong recent growth in package delivery (14 percent volume increase since 2010) and projections of continued strong growth throughout the coming decade led to the revised approach to maintain package delivery six days per week.

Once implemented, mail delivery to street addresses will occur Monday through Friday. Packages will continue to be delivered six days per week. Mail addressed to PO Boxes will continue to be delivered on Saturdays. Post Offices currently open on Saturdays will not be affected by this decision and will remain open on Saturdays. Express Mail, delivered seven days per week, also will not be affected.

USPS is making the announcement more than six months in advance of implementing a five-day mail delivery schedule to give residential and business customers time to plan for the new schedule. The Postal Service plans to publish specific guidance for customers about the new delivery schedule soon.

The operational plan for the new delivery schedule anticipates a combination of employee reassignment and attrition. The Postal Service is currently implementing major restructuring efforts throughout its retail, delivery and mail processing operations. Since 2006, the Postal Service has reduced its annual cost base by approximately $15 billion, reduced the size of its career workforce by 193,000, or 28 percent, and has consolidated more than 200 mail-processing locations. During these unprecedented cost-cutting initiatives, USPS and its employees have continued to deliver record-high levels of service to customers.

“Our customers see strong value in the national delivery platform we provide. Maintaining a six-day delivery schedule for packages is an important part of that platform,” said Donahoe. “As consumers increasingly use and rely on delivery services especially due to the rise of e-commerce we can play an increasingly vital role as a delivery provider of choice, and as a driver of growth opportunities for America’s businesses.”

Market research conducted by the Postal Service and major news outlets indicates that almost seven out of 10 Americans (70 percent) supported the switch to five-day delivery as a way for the Postal Service to reduce costs in efforts to return the organization to financial stability.

Given ongoing financial challenges, the Board of Governors last month directed postal management to accelerate the restructuring of Postal Service operations to further reduce costs in order to strengthen Postal Service finances.

“The American public understands the financial challenges of the Postal Service and supports these steps as a responsible and reasonable approach to improving our financial situation,” said Donahoe. “The Postal Service has a responsibility to take the steps necessary to return to long-term financial stability and ensure the continued affordability of the U.S. Mail.”

While the change in the delivery schedule announced today is one of the actions needed to restore the financial health of USPS, legislative change is urgently needed to address matters outside the Postal Service’s control. USPS continues to seek legislation to provide it with greater flexibility to control costs and generate new revenue and encourages the 113th Congress to make postal reform legislation an urgent priority.

Jeffrey S. Olson I Manager Business Alliances I U. S. Postal Service Headquarters I 100 S 1st Street I Room 123 I Minneapolis MN 55401-9998 I 651.260.0709 I usps.com

Complete Listing of New USPS Rates

January 29th, 2013

Please click on the link below for a complete listing of the new USPS postal rates. Contact your TC Delivers representative with any questions you may have.

USPS_Jan_27th_2013_FINAL_Notice123_Rates

USPS Urges Customers To Switch From POSTNET To IMb Barcodes

October 23rd, 2012

USPS is urging users of its POSTNET barcode system to switch to the new Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) system if they want to keep all their postage discounts for business mail.

The Postal Service has been phasing out its old barcode system this year in favor of the more capable IMb system.

This week saw USPS writing to 800,000 business mailers who hold a POSTNET permit to encouraging them to start making the transition to IMb.

If they don’t make the switch by 28th January, 2013, those mailers will no longer be eligible for discounts for business mail prepared to standards for automated processing.

Companies that use a mail service provider are also being advised to check that their mailings will qualify for the automation price.

All Permit Reply Mail and Qualified Business Reply Mail are also required to have the IMb code for their full discounts.

The IMb system was first introduced in January 2009 and currently supports two options – basic and full service. Basic has fewer preparation requirements, and is easier to implement, but full service offers better discounts and tools like address correction and better intelligence on the mail stream, but preparation standards generally require specialist software to achieve.

From January 2014 automation prices will only be available for those on full service IMb.

Pritha Mehra, the USPS vice president mail entry & payment technology, said: “By starting the transition to the Intelligent Mail barcode now, you will continue to benefit from automation prices and will set the foundation to participate in the Intelligent Mail Full-Service option.”

Mehra said mailers could get more information about the IMb system through the RIBBS website, while help could also be provided by their nearest Business Mail Entry Office.

Full service

USPS published proposed rules in the Federal Register on Wednesday (17th October) on the move to require full service IMb on all mail seeking automation prices.

Comments from stakeholders are being invited until 16th November.

USPS said it recognized that “significant” changes would be required for mailers currently benefiting from automation discounts, and said it will therefore attempt to minimize the impact that requiring full service IMb will have on smaller or infrequent mailers.

Additional tools and simplified requirements would be offered to these mailers, it said.

USPS wants to create 100% visibility in its mail stream by 2014, providing mailers with near real-time data on the location of mailpieces within the network, the time of delivery for full-service IMb mail, and also address correction.

It said full visibility would mean mailers able to respond more effectively to their customers’ inquiries on the status of bills, statements, catalogs and other publications.

Permit fees will be waived for mailings that are at least 90% full-service mailpieces, and mailers will be able to use a national account to mail through, rather than needing to use local permits at each mail entry destination.

For the Postal Service, the IMb system will allow a better monitoring of the processing network, and the ability to react quickly to problems in order to avoid delays. Simplified acceptance processes and better planning for volumes coming through the system will also mean more efficient and cost-effective services, USPS said.

USPS Announces New Prices For 2013

October 16th, 2012

WASHINGTON — Beginning early next year, the United States Postal Service will introduce a First-Class Mail Global Forever Stamp. The new stamp will allow customers to mail letters anywhere in the world for one set price of $1.10, and is among new mailing and shipping services filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission today.
The price for First-Class Mail single-piece letters will increase by just a penny when prices change in Jan. The new 46 cent Forever stamps will allow customers to mail letters to any location in the United States. Forever stamps are always good for mailing a one-ounce letter anytime in the future regardless of price changes.

Highlights of the new single-piece First-Class Mail pricing, effective Jan. 27, 2013 include:

• Letters (1oz.) – 1-cent increase to 46 cents
• Letters additional ounces – unchanged at 20 cents
• Letters to all international destinations (1oz.) – $1.10
• Postcards – 1-cent increase to 33 cents

Prices for all products (Mailing and Shipping services) will increase by 4-percent, but prices for Mailing Services, such as regular letters and advertising matter, will increase only 2.6-percent.

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) will review the prices before they become effective Jan. 27, 2013.

Shipping Services

Several new Shipping Services products will be available in January. Free tracking will be offered to all competitive packages, including retail Priority Mail and Parcel Post (recently renamed Standard Post).
Also new, customers shipping Critical Mail letters and flats will now have the option of receiving a signature upon delivery as part of the service offering.

A large variety of flat-rate boxes and envelopes for Express Mail and Priority Mail, including the padded and legal-sized flat rate envelopes will continue to be offered by the Postal Service.

New domestic retail pricing for Priority Mail Flat Rate products include:

• Small box – $5.80
• Medium box – $12.35
• Large box – $16.85
• Large APO/FPO box – $14.85
• Regular envelope – $5.60
• Legal envelope – $5.75
• Padded envelope – $5.95

TC Delivers Has A Facebook Business Page for mail solutions

September 28th, 2012


http://www.facebook.com/pages/TC-Delivers-Mail-Solutions-and-Savings/285805821510451

Please click on the link above to “like” us on Facebook. Also, please feel free to write about your experiences with TC Delivers.

Postmaster General: USPS Focused On Innovating

September 21st, 2012

In his annual state of the business address to the mailing industry, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe today emphasized that the Postal Service has a solid business plan to return to long-term financial stability and that nothing will have a bigger impact on the health and future of the mailing industry than resolving legislative issues.

“The Postal Service is moving forward with the parts of our business plan that we can control, and securing comprehensive legislation will allow us to implement the rest of the plan,” said Donahoe. “Our industry is fundamentally strong and has a bright future. Mail remains an incredibly effective and important part of marketing America’s products and services.”

Donahoe spoke during the National Postal Customer Council (PCC) Day, an annual event that brings together thousands of mailers, industry partners and customers nationwide to recognize their contributions to the Postal Service and outline future plans and goals. PCCs are a network of community-based business mailers and representatives of the Postal Service, who meet regularly to share ideas and resources to create a closer working relationship.

Despite concerns about obtaining legislation, Donahoe said the Postal Service is focused on innovating to create new opportunities for growth in the mailing industry. “That means that in an increasingly digital world, we need to continue to find ways of increasing the value of mail for both senders and receivers,” he said.

Donahoe underscored one of the most important aspects of innovation at the Postal Service: the way technology is used through Intelligent Mail™ barcodes to harness data in the Postal Service network. He urged mailers to adopt the new barcode technology as it will provide them with greater visibility into the effectiveness of mail. Donahoe also pointed out that tracking data is only going to become a more powerful marketing tool for mailers in the future.

The Postmaster General also reminded PCC members to speak with one voice to and stop the misconceptions that many in the business community have about the mailing industry. “One of the biggest misconceptions is the idea that mail is somehow losing is value,” he said. “According to our research, two-thirds of consumers polled said they value what they receive in the mail.” Another misconception is that the Postal Service is going out of business. Donahoe assured the audience that the Postal Service is not going out of business and remains a strong vital engine of the nearly $800 billion dollar mailing industry.

Even as the Postal Service focuses on finding new ways to add value to the mail, it continues to forge ahead with plans to realign its network of mail processing facilities to become a leaner, more efficient logistical model. These streamlining efforts will keep mail affordable and support the needs of the mailing industry in American commerce for decades to come.

Small Businesses To Increase Use of Direct Mail

September 11th, 2012

Numerous survey have found plans for small businesses to increase their marketing budgets that coincide with reports forecasting greater direct mail revenues.

Now, PRIMIR, the company that recently published a study called “Trends & Future of Direct Marketing,” is adding its voice to the group, noting that while direct mail volumes is not set to gain rapidly, it will post small signs of growth.

“Direct mail is the largest direct marketing channel in North America. Although the decline has been precipitous, direct mail’s standing in the marketing mix remains strong,” PRIMIR noted. “Direct mail volume stabilized in 2010 and will return to positive and more modest growth, although it will be years before it reaches its prior peak.”

However, this growth will be challenged by a number of factors, including complicating postal rates and regulations and the low cost of digital channels.

Small businesses looking to take advantage of direct mail marketing strategies can employ a number of materials, including catalogs, flyers and postcards, and may even benefit from new programs from the U.S. Postal Service involving saturation mailing and quick response codes.

8 Reasons Why Mail Succeeds In A Digital Age

September 11th, 2012

Reprinted from Delivery Magazine:

Out of 11 different categories of marketing messages, direct mail was chosen as the most acceptable means of communication in four categories, tied with e-mail as most acceptable in two others, and came in a close second behind e-mail in another four categories.

According to the survey, 65 percent of consumers have made a purchase as a result of a direct mail piece. The survey report provided the following analysis: “In the face of always-on channels like e-mail, SMS and social networks, consumers appreciate direct mail’s tangibility, flexibility and once-a-day pace. It also remains the only channel where unsolicited messages are acceptable to a majority of consumers.”

Other recent surveys on consumer preference provided similar results:

• In 2011, Epsilon, a multichannel marketing service, surveyed nearly 5,000 consumers, including more than 2,200 in the United States. More than one-third expressed a preference for direct mail over the multitude of other channels. Of those surveyed, 60 percent said going to the mailbox and receiving a piece of mail provided an emotional boost. Consumers said they found mail to be more trustworthy than other forms of communication. The study found that the preference for mail extended to the 18- to 34-year-old demographic as well.

• In 2010, a Durham+Company survey found direct mail to be twice as effective as e-mail for soliciting donations online. Further underlining the importance of direct mail to motivate online giving, 37 percent who give online say that when they receive a direct mail appeal from a charity, they use the charity’s website to give the donation.

So what is the reason for direct mail’s staying power? We sought the views of seven experts, including the author of the ExactTarget study: Jeffrey Rohrs, vice president, Marketing Research and Education of the Indianapolis-based company. Here’s what they told us …

Denver-based Heinrich Marketing likes to think of itself as the CSI of the marketing world, asking the tough questions before getting the creative department involved. Heinrich managing director Laura Sonderup says the research has shown that mail continues to be one of the most cost-effective methods for targeting that any marketer can deploy: “In many instances, mail allows us to localize lead generation far more efficiently than other marketing channels — down to the census tract and neighborhood level when necessary. Our largest clients insist that direct mail be included in their marketing plans as a means of maximizing budgets and increasing return on investment.”

1. Mail Is Tangible

Direct mail, says Jeffrey Rohrs of ExactTarget, “provides a tangible experience that digital media does not replicate. And in a world of hyper-fragmentation of communication channels, where you can get a phone call, text, e-mail, post on Facebook, message on Twitter, message on apps, there’s something about mail and how it cuts through the digital clutter that remains attractive to consumers.”

Jamie Matusek, marketing director of Austin, Texas–based QuantumDigital, echoes that view: “From a consumer perspective, yes, the majority of us have mobile device in hand 24/7 — but there is something to be said about a targeted mail piece and offer from a company I do business with. It’s a great way to help in making bigger decisions like home improvement projects, or even just getting an invitation to try a new restaurant in my local neighborhood. Mail tends to break through the digital noise for a bit and offers a moment for a targeted message to resonate. Plus, it offers a great way for businesses to focus on local neighborhood marketing, hitting potential customers who are close to home.”

2. Mail Integrates Well

Says Jeffrey Rohrs of ExactTarget: “As I look at our 2012 survey compared to our 2008 survey, the real story is that we have multichannel consumers due to the explosion of devices, so you’d better have cross-channel communication strategies. You need to be integrating your channels so that you can influence your consumers in different ways. This is where direct mail can work hand-in-glove with e-mail and social media. There will always be a place for channels that break the mold and pleasantly surprise consumers.”

3. People Like Opening Mail

Part of the power of mail, adds ExactTarget’s Jeffrey Rohrs, lies in the mundane consumer ceremony of padding to the mailbox each day: “There’s a moment every day where folks go to the mailbox, and they take that brief respite and they look at what they’ve received. It is a ritual. It goes beyond habit. It is part of what people do. And those marketers who can get there cost-effectively and creatively will continue to have an opportunity to differentiate themselves and their brand in interesting ways that will produce a return on investment.”

4. There’s Less Competition in Direct Mail

Jon Yokogawa, vice president of consumer engagement for interTrend, a full-service communications agency in Long Beach, Calif., contends that the technology age has actually boosted the impact of direct mail. “Your e-mail inbox is the new mailbox, filled with bills, letters from friends, family and work,” he says. “So the amount of paper in your mailbox is less. Therefore, you would be more inclined to look more carefully at any type of mail that you do receive from the Postal Service.™”

Content marketing expert Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Cleveland, and the largest content marketing event, Content Marketing World, warns marketers against becoming too “infatuated” with other channels, as mail continues to get the job done. “For certain goals like getting immediate attention, direct mail is perfect,” says Pulizzi. “There’s so much less competition in the print channel these days, the opportunity to get noticed is probably as great as it’s been in decades.”

5. Mail Builds Loyalty

Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute by underscores the value that mail has in cultivating loyalty and brand evangelism among consumers. “We know from our research at the Content Marketing Institute that only about 30 percent of our customers create and distribute a custom magazine, but we think there’s great opportunity in that channel to build loyalty,” he says. “Social media is selective. It’s hard to get on that must-read list. If you just go through any airport and walk around, you’ll see all the electronic devices and, at the same time, you’ll still see younger Millennials who are holding magazines, especially females, because it’s still such a visual, tactile media.”

6. Mail Is More Sophisticated Now

Jon Yokogawa of interTrend points out that the evolution of mail messaging — from the refinement of offers to new personalization tools — has also buoyed the channel and confirmed its ongoing relevance: “The sophistication of mail messaging has greatly improved over the years. Top companies use the platform, and that builds credibility. Nowadays, direct mail is not just for the remnant budgets of smaller clients. Many industries see this form of marketing as a proven medium, having better and actual measurements (ROI) than traditional TV, print, outdoor advertising or radio.”

Louis Maldonado, managing director of New York-based d expósito & partners, an agency specializing in integrated communications, including direct mail, points out how the digital age has added to mail’s power, introducing elements such as QR Codes, augmented reality and SnapTags to mail marketing: “Direct marketing has experienced a resurgence of excitement given the new technologies and tools available now. The increased targetability of e-mail and mobile channels, as well as the enhanced engagement and dialogue opportunities afforded through social media, serve to complement and fuel response rates to the tried-and-true channels, like direct mail and DRTV.”

7. Mail Helps You Target

Denver-based Heinrich Marketing likes to think of itself as the CSI of the marketing world, asking the tough questions before getting the creative department involved. Heinrich managing director Laura Sonderup says the research has shown that mail continues to be one of the most cost-effective methods for targeting that any marketer can deploy: “In many instances, mail allows us to localize lead generation far more efficiently than other marketing channels — down to the census tract and neighborhood level when necessary. Our largest clients insist that direct mail be included in their marketing plans as a means of maximizing budgets and increasing return on investment.”

8. Mail Delivers Results

Whatever its evolution, direct mail ultimately continues to resonate with marketers for one primary reason: It gets results. Robert Salta, owner of Maryland-based DirectMail.com and a 30-year direct marketing veteran, has strong views about mail’s staying power: “It’s all about results. Direct mail works,” he says. “The majority of people will open and read direct mail, but often will choose to ignore e-mail solicitations. The fundamentals of direct mail haven’t changed, partly because their efficacy has been proven time after time. What has changed is the advent of data and digital print technology, and both have benefited direct mail immeasurably.”