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Source:  http://postcom.org/

                                                                      
Association for Postal Commerce

"Representing those who use or support the use of mail for Business Communication and Commerce"


1901 N. Fort Myer Dr., Ste 401 * Arlington, VA 22209-1609 * Ph.: +1 703 524 0096 * Fax: +1 703 524 1871

April 9, 2009

flag STA has reported that "The government adopted on Thursday a new postal services bill, envisaging the opening of the postal services market in line with new EU rules on a single market in this area."

prc_logo From the Postal Regulatory Commission:

Rule: CP2009-23 "Notice of Errata to United States Postal Service Notice of Changes in Rates of General Applicability for Competitive Products Established in Governors' Decision No. 09-01" Link: http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62832/CP2009-23%20errata%20Pickup%20(2).pdf

usps_logo USPS Announces More Headquarters Management Changes. The USPS has announced more management changes:

  • Vincent DeVito is the new vice president, controller. He is responsible for certifying the financial filings as the Postal Service's Chief Accounting Officer. In addition, the office of the Controller will manage Corporate Accounting, Accounting Services, Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Management Controls and Integration, and the Corporate Audit Response Group. DeVito, a certified public accountant, has almost 25 years of public- and private-sector financial experience. Since joining the Postal Service in 2005, he has served as manager, Corporate Accounting, and most recently as executive director of the Sarbanes-Oxley implementation group.
  • Anthony Morrow will serve as acting vice president, Finance and Planning. As the office of the Controller increases its focus in those key areas, PMG Potter announced he is bringing budgeting, forecasting, and financial planning and analysis together into a new group, Finance and Planning. This organization is responsible for all forward-looking financial information, from budgets to the five-year plan, as well as the development of a new 18-month financial plan that will be adjusted on a dynamic basis. Other activities include all revenue and expense budgeting and forecasting and financial analysis and program review, including capital and program evaluation. Vice President, Supply Management Susan Bronwell, Manager of Regulatory Reporting and Cost Accounting Ashley Lyons, and Treasurer Bob Pedersen will continue to report to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett.

flag According to one writer for The Moderate Source, "Federal bailout for newspapers is a really really dumb proposal. Difficult as it is to say, newspapers are dinosaurs."

DMM Advisory:  Letter-Size Booklet – New Standards. Today on Postal Explorer we posted an advance copy of our Federal Register notice announcing final mailing standards for letter-size booklets mailed at machinable and automation prices. The new standards are a result of working with the mailing industry to test and analyze a wide variety of letter-size mailpieces. Changes affect letter-size booklet design and tabbing and are effective September 8,2009.

The Federal Times has reported that "The Postal Service reached an agreement today with its city letter carriers that will make it easier to adjust delivery routes if mail volumes continue to fall — a process that could eliminate thousands of routes. The deal came after negotiations with the National Association of Letter Carriers, the union that represents more than 214,000 active city letter carriers. It allows the Postal Service to use a formula to analyze delivery routes, based on mail volume, and change the routes accordingly. The Postal Service has long had the ability to change delivery routes. But the process is normally much more time-consuming: Postal officials spend a week with letter carriers, counting their mail and walking their routes with them. Postal and union officials say the changes will allow the Postal Service to review 90,000 routes this year. Many city letter carriers will see their routes expand to make up for declining mail volume: Letter carriers are delivering 4.7 pieces of mail per address today, compared with 5.9 pieces in 2000."

The Winnetka Pioneer Local has reported that "Winnetka officials are close to an agreement with the U.S. Postal Service that would extend the post office lease for two more years."

According to the Zanesville Times Recorder, "The president of the union representing postal workers at the Zanesville Distribution Center has concerns with the initial findings of an Area Mail Processing (AMP) feasibility study."

The Glasgow Daily Record has reported that "Delivery firm Business Post have increased market share despite the recession, they reported yesterday. The Slough company, who pick up and sort letters ahead of delivery by Royal Mail, said their parcels business had been hampered by the downturn. But they said they were gaining ground on rivals by cutting costs."

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "With the U.S. Postal Service "facing losses of historic proportion," in the words of Postmaster General John Potter, it would seem as if the only reasonable thing for a citizen to do is to humbly accept reduced service, right? Wrong."

From the Federal Register:

Postal Service
RULES -- Insurance Claims Process Changes , 16124–16126 [E9–8038] [TEXT]  [PDF]

 USPS Announces Major Headquarters Management Changes. Today the USPS announced several major management changes:

  • Tony Pajunas, vice president of Network Operations, is retiring from the USPS.
  • Kathy Ainsworth, vice president of Retail Operations, is retiring from the USPS.
  • Dave Shoenfeld, senior vice president of Mailing Services, is leaving the USPS. Bob Bernstock will assume Dave's former responsibilities for the growth of all postal mailing products, including First-Class Mail and advertising mail. (Gary Reblin, vice president of Expedited Shipping; Jim Cochrane, vice president of Ground Shipping; and Susan Plonkey, vice president of Sales, will continue to report to Bernstock in their current capacities.)
  • Tim Healy is the new vice president of Retail Products and Services. He reports to Bob Bernstock, President of Mailing and Shipping Services. This will bring together all marketing and sales aspects of retail and commercial products and services within a single organization. Healy's responsibilities will include the development, marketing, and merchandising of retail products and services, and creating and maintaining an environment that enhances the retail experience. 
  • Jordan Small assumes the expanded role of vice president of Delivery and Post Office Operations, reporting to SVP of Operations Bill Galligan. Small will manage the day-to-day operation of our more than 36,000 Post Offices, stations, and branches.

According to Gizmodo, "Barnes and Noble may be plotting their own e-Reader device."

The Madison Daily Leader's publisher has noted that "Postmaster General John E. Potter has asked Congress for the flexibility of cutting one day of home delivery each week, from six days to five. It would be a drastic move that would clearly harm America's economy and quality of life. Reducing service by such a drastic amount would be very harmful. We don't think Potter's request will be approved, but we will continue to be concerned because it's now in public debate. We believe that such a harmful reduction in service should only be considered as a desperate last resort."

Press Release: "The Prescott Report provides commentary, analysis, news and advice on privacy, data protection, postal and marketing law and successes related to direct and interactive marketing from around the world, all brought to you by one of the most experienced international professionals in the direct marketing world. COMING SOON The marketers' guide to the opt-in/opt-out laws and self-regulatory requirements for e-mail, phone and fax for over 30 major markets. An easy-to-use, find-at-a-glance book of answers designed for non-lawyers. Special Limited Time Offer! For a very limited time The Prescott Report will  provide three months' complimentary subscriptions to its inaugural subscribers. Inaugural subscribers will be eligible for a special subscription rate of USD 220.  Subscribers will be invoiced. Subscriptions may be canceled at any time by email, phone, or postal communication to us at the contact points set out at Contact Us. The Prescott Report is published monthly.

As Wendy Lurrie, President of G2's direct and digital group, told Brandweek, "Direct mail volume has been way down largely because of the credit card marketers whowere such an enormous source of it and they cut back dramatically and then a lot of the publishers also cut back. I actually think there is an opportunity to break through with direct mail again. Clutter is much more in the online world and suddenly I have clients—I was on the phone with one yesterday, a pharmaceutical marketer that's using is primarily for online—asked if they could do some direct mail again. I'm also hearing that from CPGs. The corrollary is if you want to send a message in the workplace, sending an e-mail probably isn't the way anymore because there's so much clutter. I've actually had some clients doing employee-based marketing and I said you know what, do a desk drop, use these old techniques that stand out more."

April 8, 2009

The Paypers has reported that "The 8th EPCA Payments conference in Berlin, organized by Innopay and SCC provided some extraordinary insights in the world of mobile payments. Fred Stortelers, representing Dutch NFC-based mobile payment initiative Payter revealed some valuable lessons learned from the past two years. After two years Payter found out that it is not able to compete with existing payments solutions. Incumbent methods like debit card or cash are part of consumers' daily routine, and consumers don't have to pay for it. Consumers in the Payez Mobile trial are enthusiastic, praising the system for its technical advance, coolness factor, but for sure are not willing to pay extra for it. Nor will merchants, if it does not bring additional customers to their shop. In France too, the initiative has to compete with existing payments methods and no doubt is going to lose that battle."

Reuters has reported that "Royal Mail won approval from European Union antitrust regulators on Wednesday for 1.7 billion pounds in loans from UK authorities and a scheme related to its pension deficit. The European Commission said in a statement that four state measures granted in favour of the postal incumbent Royal Mail between 2001 and 2007 were in line with EU state aid rules."

Federal Times has reported that "negotiations between the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers, which represents more than 214,000 city letter carriers, are finished; both sides just agreed on a deal that allows the Postal Service to rapidly adjust delivery routes for city carriers. About 90,000 routes will be reviewed this year; the changes could take effect as early as this summer. The Postal Service reviewed about 70,000 city routes last year, and 2,400 of them were eliminated."

Advertising Age has noted that "The newspaper business and other publishers will end up using a combination of advertising, micropayments and regular subscriptions to support its content online, much the way cable TV already operates, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told newspaper executives today. But despite some hope to the contrary, especially as ad support has dropped, people will still get most of their online news free, Mr. Schmidt said. "It's very difficult to hold information back."

In a recent piece published by the Los Angeles Times, business reporter David Lazarus said he still couldn't get his hands around the idea of advertising mail as something other than a pariah. PostCom President Gene Del Polito gave him a number of things to consider in a recent email reply.

Hellmail has reported that "The Matra, the French electric car being tested by Royal Mail as it pushes steadily into more green forms of moving mail around, isn't exactly what many postal workers in the UK will be used to. It is however a nifty and relatively quiet way to get around town - and without the exhaust fumes."

Dow Jones has reported that "Dutch postal services TNT NV is still interested in a minority stake in the U.K.'s Royal Mail, Chief Executive Peter Bakker said Thursday."

Reuters has reported that "Dutch mail company TNT NV said on Wednesday it expected its key express delivery unit to post a positive operating income in the first quarter and said it was still eyeing a deal with Britain's Royal Mail. TNT said despite sharp declines in volumes at the unit in the first weeks of the year, the deterioration stabilised during the quarter mainly because Easter falls in the second quarter of 2009, while last year it was in the first quarter."

CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:

"Performance quality is very good, and the figures are good, but not sustainable enough." Claude Béglé, acting president of the board of directors at Schweizerische Post since the beginning of April, outlined the focal points of his first term of office.
"Last year was affected by the economic situation. The financial crisis shaped the second half, although this did not prevent the company from getting positive results." Estanislau da Costa, CEO of the Portuguese Correios, was certainly very modest in his comments on the results of the financial year 2008, as the Portuguese post achieved historic optimum values in terms of both EbitDA, Ebit and ROIC.
Key figures published by the Chinese regulatory authority for February prove that the global crisis is now leaving increasingly clear marks on the China Post Group.
Schweizerische Post plans to close unprofitable mini-branches.
Deutsche Post has suffered a defeat in a further legal dispute over the use of the term "post". As TNT announced last Friday, the Federal Court of Justice quashed a lawsuit by Deutsche Post against the use of the name "EP Europost". A spokeswoman for the Court confirmed that the post's appeal had been rejected.
The dispute surrounding the liberalisation of the postal market in Denmark has flared up again.
The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China will examine the redraft of the Postal Act for a second time this year.
Courier, express and parcel services in Germany are the real growth drivers of the German CEP market. This is one of the results of a fundamental research commissioned by the Federal Network Agency (abridged version at http://bundesnetzagentur.de/media/archive/15905.pdf).
The US Post is looking for new sources of income - and that in the lessthan- truckload area. A test service is set to be launched on 6 May, which will use the post's national transport network between its hubs (440 sector centres and 40 direct mail centres). The aim is to to fill up unused truck capacities between the hubs. Delivery of LTL-consignments is expected to take between one and four days.
TNT Express and the American logistics group Con-Way announced plans to link their road networks in Europe and the USA.
The Ukrainian government approved Ukrpochta's financial plan for 2009 in mid-March.
Poczta Polska plans to spend 250m euros on automation and computerisation this year - 11.1 per cent more than last year.
Rio de Janeiro is lacking postmen. Since the beginning of March customers have been standing in line in front of distribution centres in the metropolis in order to collect their own mail. According to the trade union, Rio is short around 1,000 postmen.
The economic crisis has triggered a dramatic increase in robberies on post office branches in Portugal.
FedEx will use the post for delivering smaller consignments to private addresses, not just in the USA but also, as of recently, in Canada.
Deutsche Post merged the legal departments of DHL and Deutsche Post at the beginning of April.
Sending mail for free - no problem if Daniel Giersch has his way. The senders merely have to agree to advertising being enclosed with their letters. As the »Berliner Morgenpost« (31.03) reported, the entrepreneur is looking for clients for his company P1 Privat, who must first of all register on the website www.quabb.com. Clients can then send their letters or texts to P1 by e-mail, where they are printed and sent by post to the recipients together with the advertising.   

The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)

The Times of Malta has reported that "Postal delivery and collections in the province of L'Aquila in Italy (zip codes – 67010 – 67199) are not possible owing to the earthquake which shook the area on Monday morning, Maltapost said. It said that the service was not expected to be resumed before at least a week."

Advertising Age has reported that:

  • Canoe, the technology consortium backed by the country's six largest cable media companies, will launch the TV industry's first national addressable advertising system next month. A long-talked about concept, national addressable advertising means a single advertiser with a single placement can simultaneously target different versions of a commercial at different demographics of cable subscribers across the entire country. The move is a major step toward a TV experience that is more internet-like.
  • One area where consumers aren't cutting back: coupon usage. Coupons.com reported a 192% increase in the value of coupons printed from its site in March, compared with a year ago. 

Graphic Arts Online has reported that "Direct Group, a fully integrated direct marketing solutions provider, announced that it has earned the Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) Chain-of-Custody (COC) certification, demonstrating the company's commitment to utilizing renewable, environmentally friendly sources of direct mail paper and printing materials."

EU Business has reported that "The European Commission ruled on Wednesday that a series of measures taken by Britain in favour of postal operator Royal Mail did not breach EU state aid legistlation." See also Forbes and Reuters.

The Wilkes Barre Times-Leader has reported that "Several business owners and workers spoke out at a meeting Tuesday night, disagreeing with a mail processing study that would eliminate jobs and reassign positions at the local postal facility. A study conducted by the U.S. Postal Service supports consolidating redundant operations from the Wilkes-Barre processing facility into the Scranton facility. City Mayor Thomas Leighton said the consolidation would negatively affect local businesses. While postal officials say services will not be affected, several other members, including public officials disagree. "It seems to me there is entirely too much concentration on the internal financing of the Postal Service itself," said U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, who attended the meeting. "We just have to take a great deal of more time to analyze what that impact will be."

Metro News has reported that "U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Robert C. Byrd want the United States Postal Service to reconsider closing a facility in Charleston. Both Senators sent a joint letter to Postmaster General John Potter asking him not to close the Remote Encoding Center (REC) on Lee Street."

GovExec has reported that "Federal agencies are shaping their responses to a request by Democratic lawmakers that the Obama administration suspend the implementation of all federal pay-for-performance systems pending a review, while employee groups are lining up in support of a broad evaluation of performance management systems. Paul Weatherhead, a program manager at the U.S. Postal Service who has analyzed that agency's pay for performance system, said it would be a mistake to dismantle it during the review because data and experience would be lost."

UPS Freight, the heavy freight arm of UPS has announced it would offer door-to-door service to and from Mexico, complete with UPS customs brokerage capabilities and single invoicing for all services between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that "The United States Postal Service is looking for ways to save money, and one of the plans now being discussed is to close the post office inside Cleveland Hopkins airport during the day on weekdays. USPS spokesman Victor Dubina said that it would only operate on weekends and weeknights because surveys have shown that those are the times most travelers use the post office."

According to Hellmail, "Those outside the UK and even some at home, may not fully understand the timetable of events concerning European postal deregulation and just how it has resulted in the sale of a third of the Royal Mail but with much of Europe watching the UK model fairly closely, it might be time for a recap."

DMM Advisory:  Letter-Size Booklet Standards – Update. "We will publish a final rule this week revising the mailing standards for letter-size booklets mailed at machinable and automation prices. We are postponing implementation of the new standards until September 8, 2009."

On the Postal Regulatory Commission website:

Rule:
MT2009-1 Order No. 199 - Notice and Order Concerning Market Test of Experimental Product
Link: http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62840/Order199.doc
http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62840/Order199.pdf
Paper: Electric Vehicles for Mail Delivery: Identifying Key Issues, Michael Ravnitzky, Rutgers University, CRRI Workshop

April 7, 2009

From PR Newswire: "The U.S. Postal Service has added to its list of more than 70 environmental awards by accepting a Climate Action Champion Award. The U.S. Postal Service is one of only two organizations recognized for leadership in advancing climate policy."

The Federal Times has reported that "The Postal Service is negotiating with the National Association of Letter Carriers, which represents more than 214,000 city letter carriers. It would merge some of the routes in the city delivery networks, a move that will reduce the total number of routes but won't impact universal service. Letter carriers are delivering 4.7 pieces of mail per address today, compared with 5.9 pieces in 2000. "We're evaluating the volume of mail and making changes to routes," Potter said today in an interview, "reducing them based on the fact that there's less delivery." Potter couldn't say exactly how many routes would be affected."

  Africa News has reported that "A United States federal court in Brooklyn, New York, has sentenced three Nigerians, Nnamdi Chizuba Anisiobi, Anthony Friday Ehis and Kesandu Egwuonwu to varying jail terms totaling about 17 years for defrauding American victims of over $1.2 million in an advance-fee fraud scam. the joint investigation by the US Postal Service and Dutch authorities found that they used various aliases, phone numbers and e-mail addresses." 

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
NOTICES
New Postal Products, 15784–15785 [E9–7770] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Postal Service
NOTICES
Domestic and International Product Changes: Address Management Services, etc., 15785 [E9–7733] [TEXT]  [PDF]
Market Test of ‘Collaborative Logistics' Experimental Product, 15785–15786 [E9–7765] [TEXT]  [PDF]

DMM Advisory:  May 11 Price Change – Final Mailing Standards. We posted our final mailing standards on Postal Explorer to support the May 11 Mailing Services price change. We also posted final standards for Intelligent Mail services and Move Update, in a separate notice. Among the revisions:

  • We eliminated the tray-based preparation requirement for First-Class Mail commercial (automation and nonautomation) flats. Mailers will continue to use the current mail preparation options.

  • We clarified that Standard Mail nonmachinable letters over 3.3 ounces pay nonautomation flats prices.

  • We eliminated separate mailing agent and owner Confirm subscription prices. All Confirm subscribers will the pay the same subscription price, based on service level.

  • We postponed the Move Update noncompliance charge for Standard Mail until January 4, 2010.

DMM Advisory: April DMM Update. Postal Explorer (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date prices and mailing standards. The Domestic Mail Manual is fully searchable on Postal Explorer and features fly-out menus, cross-reference links, and an extensive subject index. Today we updated our mailing standards with the following changes:

Delivery Addresses on Commercial Flat-Size Mail. We adopted new address standards for Periodicals, Standard Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail flat-size pieces mailed at automation, presorted, or carrier route prices. The changes affect where the delivery address is placed on the piece and how the address is formatted. We also revised the formatting requirements for automation and presorted First-Class Mail flats. We made these changes in 302.1.0, 302.2.0, 333.3.0, 343.3.0, 363.2.0, 373.3.0, 383.3.0, 604.5.0, and 707.3.0. 

Bound Printed Matter Mailings of Nonidentical-Weight Pieces. We revised 364.1.0, 364.2.0, 464.1.0, and 464.2.0 to simplify the postage payment and documentation standards for Bound Printed Matter. Mailers can use new PS Form 8042, Bound Printed Matter Documentation Form, when they have less than 300 nonpresorted, nonidentical-weight pieces in a mailing. The new form eliminates the need for prior authorization and multiple postage statements, and expedites the acceptance process. 

New Open and Distribute Tray Boxes. We revised 705.16.0 to add the new Express Mail and Priority Mail Open and Distribute tray boxes. Open and Distribute service allows mailers to expedite shipments of other classes of mail to destination facilities using Express Mail or Priority Mail service. The new boxes are available in two sizes, improve mail security, and help control costs. Mailers may use the boxes in lieu of sleeved trays at no additional charge. 

Labeling Lists. We revised the labeling lists to reflect changes in mail processing operations. Our next scheduled update is May 11 and includes all of the new prices and mailing standards related to the Mailing Services pricing change.

  Workday Minnesota has reported that "The nation's two biggest postal unions urged lawmakers to help the U.S. Postal Service back to a sound financial footing, through a technical legal fix involving present funding for future retirees' health care, rather than let the service cut post offices, fire workers and drop one day of mail service. "We cannot use cost-cutting measures alone to restore our financial health," Letter Carriers President William Young told the House Postal Service subcommittee on March 25. "Given the scale of the crisis before us, we need Congress to act as well."

April 6, 2009

Advertising Age has reported that "Newspapers have already lost so many opportunities: They didn't create an early but brightly lit rival to Craigslist; they didn't shore up their balance sheets for the coming storm, instead paying big dividends, buying back stock and borrowing to buy more newspapers; they didn't hike pay for the business side to attract the best to their defense; they didn't make their sites comprehensive tools and bazaars as well as news authorities; they cut budgets, certainly, but they didn't recalibrate their businesses for the day their monopolies would die." [EdNote: And are people doing some thought planning about any changes to the postal monopoly?]

PostCom has been informed that the final rule on Booklet selfmailers has not been issued, but is due this week.  We've been told that the effective date has been pushed back until September 8. 

From the Federal Register:

Postal Regulatory Commission
RULES
New Domestic Mail Product, 15384–15387 [E9–7680] [TEXT] [PDF]
Postal Service
RULES
New Pricing Eligibility, Intelligent Mail, and Move Update Standards for Domestic Mailing Services and Shipping Services, 15376–15380 [E9–7569] [TEXT] [PDF]
New Standards for Domestic Mailing Services, 15380–15384 [E9–7570] [TEXT] [PDF]

The latest blog posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General's Internet site "Pushing the Envelope." The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place.  To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/. Fuel Economy and the Postal Service:  A Quiz.  Two families travel the same distance each year.  Family 1 decides to trade in their vehicle averaging 25.5 miles per gallon (MPG) for one averaging 42.5 MPG.  Family 2 decides to trade in their vehicle averaging 14 MPG  for one averaging 25.5 MPG.  Which family will save more fuel? Find out and share your ideas on how the Postal Service can use fuel more efficiently on the OIG's "Pushing the Envelope" blog. You can visit Office of Inspector General's public website at:  www.uspsoig.gov.  If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.

FedEx Express has announced the first test results of 10 state-of-the-art hybrid vehicles designed by Iveco, a leading manufacturer of commercial trucks. Over the first six months of the testing, each vehicle covered an average of 7,900 km with a 26.5% reduction in fuel consumption and a decrease in CO2 emissions of 7.5 tons when compared with a traditional vehicle.  These results were made possible by sophisticated control systems and functions such as the Stop & Start, which allows the vehicle to start in electric mode and brake with energy recovery."

A colleague from Germany has reported that due to the state of the present economy and its effects on businesses and consumers, "the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off."

The New Nation has reported that "Hamstrung by a staff shortage, the Postal Department will appoint around 900 postmen and couriers in the next four months for better service, its chief says."

The IT Jungle has reported that "Descartes Systems Group--a global logistics solutions provider that specializes in hosted, transactional, and packaged solutions--has acquired privately held Scancode Systems, a developer and integrator of carrier-compliant parcel and less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping solutions. The acquisition brings additional services--as well as 500 new members--to the extensive Descartes Global Logistics Network."

The Winchester Star has reported that "Horn blasts and petition signatures were two ways people showed their support for local postal workers, who engaged in some informational picketing Saturday at the city's main post office at 340 N. Pleasant Valley Road. Pickets held signs with slogans such as "Don't Stamp Out Our Local Economy" and "It's Not Just a Letter — It's Your Life," as the U.S. Postal Service considers consolidating local mail processing operations with those in Dulles. According to the USPS's initial study, the move could lead to a savings of $1.5 million annually."

The Kingston Daily Freeman has rightly noted that "The U.S. Postal Service -- as venerable an institution as there is in this country -- has fallen into a downward spiral: Last year it lost $2.8 billion; by 2010 that amount is expected to climb to $6 billion. There's little doubt why. "Snail mail" has been increasingly replaced by e-mail and other Internet methods of communication, like Facebook, Twitter and My Space. Business transactions, including, but not limited to, bills and payments, are more prevalent than ever on the Internet. Deliveries that once were the domain of the Postal Service are now split across a host of companies, like UPS and Federal Express. Magazine subscriptions are generally down, cutting that Postal Service volume as well. But the Postal Service continues to be a lifeline to millions of Americans, particularly those without computer access and/or those who rely on the mail carrier to provide checks, medicine and other vital items in an accurate and timely manner....If the postmaster general believes it can come up with a reliable business plan to turn the service around (and avoid its demise), losing one day is a small price for Americans to pay."

TMCNet has reported that "Royal Mail has launched a new data solution, Data SURE, to help businesses deliver more relevant and targeted marketing communications and increase sales."

Hellmail has reported that "ViaPost, which provides a postal service from users PC desktops, blasted Royal Mail today for yet another rise in the cost of postage stamps. David Bland, OBE, chairman of ViaPost and ex chairman of Postwatch said: "Today's increase in cost of a 1st and 2nd class stamps by the Royal Mail is yet another additional costs that businesses in the UK are going to have to deal with. Whilst already operating in a very tough economic environment, this price rise will cost UK businesses approximately £50 more per 1000 letters they send. For the majority of businesses who are trying to reduce their operational costs, this is not a welcomed change and demonstrates yet further, how little the Royal Mail understands its customers." [EdNote: Gee....It sounds just like an American refrain.]

ICM has reported that "The Royal Mail has increased the price of First and Second class stamps by three pence, in effect from today (6 April). The cost of a stamp for a letter weighing up to 100g will cost 39p for First class and 30p for Second class. For large letters, the price rise was slightly more with a First class large letter increasing by 9p to 61p and Second class going up by 5p to 47p. The price rises were announced in December 2008 by the Royal Mail. The postal service stated that the increases were in line with the price controls set by the regulator, Postcomm."

According to the New York Daily News, "The city is losing $150 million a year in taxes because of illegal Internet cigarette sales, officials said Sunday. Renegade Web sites allow smokers to buy cartons of cigarettes without paying the $4.25 in city and state taxes - or the 8.375% sales tax, according to Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens) and state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx). Weiner said he's pushing for federal legislation that would put the kibosh on Internet sales by barring the Postal Service from shipping cigarettes. UPS, DHL and FedEx already have agreed not to handle cigarettes. By banning postal shipments, Weiner said, his legislation would "dry up the source."

According to the BBC, "Postal workers who drop red rubber bands used for bundling letters in the street are being targeted by anti-litter campaigners."

Press Release: The Courier & Parcel Logistics Asia conference will provide an in-depth look at the best strategies for investment and network development in the region. Focused sessions will also highlight the tactics being deployed to maximize efficiency and reduce costs in today's challenging conditions. The program is available for your review. For further information on the conference, please call Samuel Gee on +44 1306 871209 or email samuelgee@ukintpress.com If you would like book an exhibit stand or become a sponsor please contact: Matthew Gunn on +44 1306 743744 or email mattgunn@ukintpress.com

The Daily Express has reported that "a fed-up customer is taking the Post Office to the High Court in a bid to make it shorten queuing times."

According to the Kansas City Star, "Even in the Internet age of constant e-mails, online bill pay and direct deposit, a demonstrated need exists for the U.S. Postal Service. Yet just last week, Postmaster General John Potter said he's still considering stopping delivery on Tuesday. The Postal Service should aim to cut costs before cutting a delivery day. While many companies are making difficult decisions to freeze or reduce wages, or to shrink workforces, the Postal Service plans to increase pay by 1.9 percent to all letter carriers in November. The average postal employee already earns $49,069, almost $9,000 more than the national average income."

The Associated Press has reported that "Mount Redoubt is getting under the skin of Alaska, and it's not just the irritation caused by volcanic ash. So far, Mount Redoubt's almost daily ash clouds have canceled hundreds of airline flights, reduced the number of shipments flowing through a huge FedEx cargo facility and cut shipments of fresh Alaskan seafood."

April 5, 2009

Reuters has reported that "Bids for the sale of a 30 percent stake in British state-owned postal company Royal Mail are due this month, British Business Minister Peter Mandelson said on Sunday, signalling the government is pushing ahead with the controversial sale."

The latest copy of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. electronic governmental affairs newsletter is available on the NAPUS web site.

The Times has reported that "Germany's Deutsche Post has begun detailed talks with the British government over the future of Royal Mail. John Allan, finance director at Deutsche Post, Europe's biggest mail firm, is heading the talks. He is the former head of logistics group Exel. In recent days, Allan and a delegation of 12 Deutsche Post managers met the advisory board of Royal Mail to discuss taking a stake in the government-owned postal-delivery service."

From Auto Satellite Radio: "The Secret to Growing your Business Fast with Direct Mail."

Dead Tree Edition has reported that "Declining mail volume, budget cuts, and equipment problems are forcing the U.S. Postal Service to rework its plans for the Flats Sequencing System. The deployment schedule for Phase I of the system has been pushed back a couple of months, while the coverage area for the 100 machines has been expanded. Those machines will go instead to about a dozen locations that will be added to Phase I, according to one source. FSS machines have been operating in Dulles, VA for a few months but failed an acceptance test recently because they were missing "throughput targets," William Galligan, USPS's senior vice president of operations, told a Mailers Technical Advisory Committee in February. Postal officials are working with the contractor, Northrop Grumman, to correct the problems and hope to resume testing later this month."

April 4, 2009

[EdNote: There's an excellent essay on "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable." It's fabulous. Not only for what it says about today's newspaper-journalism crisis, but, with a little imagination, could be saying about today's postal systems."]

According to Reuters, "Deutsche Post, Europe's biggest mail company, is bidding for a stake in British state-owned postal company Royal Mail along with Dutch TNT and private equity firm CVC, a German weekly reported. A team of twelve Deutsche Post managers, headed by finance chief John Allan, had met with the advisory board of Royal Mail, Welt am Sonntag reported without citing sources in a preview of a story to be published on Sunday."

Check out PostCom's weekly roundup of news about related print media.

Hellmail has reported that "Dave Ward, deputy leader of the Communications Workers Union, has written to all union branches, asking that any further revisions by Royal Mail to working practices or savings initiatives be rejected. This effectively calls a halt to moves by Royal Mail to make further changes as part of its efforts to modernise the business other than changes negotiated nationally. The move follows growing unrest over moves by Royal Mail to put two postal workers in one van and to execute deliveries using the vehicle as a mobile storage unit. Postal workers in Cambridge, a city known for its wide use of cycles, are said to be furious at the idea. The situation brings the union and Royal Mail bosses into conflict once more with calls for a return to industrial action over the part-privatisation of Royal Mail and changes to working practices."

The Peninsula has reported that "The Qatari government and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) have signed an agreement to formalise the hosting of the 25th Universal Postal Congress in Doha in 2012."

The Open Press has reported that "President of Addressers (www.theaddressers.com), a Southern California Direct Marketing Company, Kent Moon commented on recent studies showing declines in direct mail, saying: "You don't need national surveys to see the reduction in direct mail – a look in your own mail box will tell you that mail volume is significantly down. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for companies with needed products and services to create impact and generate response."

 The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:

  • The Postal Service said last week it will postpone assessing the seven-cent per piece move update non-compliance penalty for Standard Mail until January 4, 2010. This week, the USPS said it is re-evaluating its non-compliance plans including the error threshold and how/what penalties will be applied. The USPS said it will not use Performance-Based Verification results to determine move update compliance for either First-Class Mail or Standard Mail until January 4, 2010.
  • USPS Senior VP Tom Day told mailers and service providers at this week's IDEAlliance Print Distribution conference that even with its dire financial situation, the Postal Service is committed to moving forward with Intelligent Mail barcode implementation. Day said the USPS' financial situation is "not a very positive story. We have a serious financial and cash flow situation," he said, noting that "at the end of this Fiscal Year we will run out of money and the only decisions will be which bills we pay, unless we get some help from Congress."
  • With little fanfare or warning, the USPS published in its Postal Bulletin a notice that it will raise the allowable error tolerance for MERLIN barcode readability verification from the current 80 percent, to 90 percent effective May 11, 2009. The Postal Service also said it will revise the mailer appeals process for mailings that fall below the tolerance.
  • The USPS this week published an advance copy of its final rule pertaining to changes in mailing standards. Some of the changes will take effect in May 2009, while others will take effect in September 2009. Some have been postponed indefinitely. The Postal Service said all changes proposed to take effect in May 2010 will be "reissued in a subsequent proposed rule."
  • This week the Postal Regulatory Commission published a congressionally-required report on the Postal Service's FY 2008 performance. It focuses on three main parts - financial condition of the Postal Service, its strategic goals, and its pricing policies. The report also examines the Postal Service's performance against established service standards.
  • The Postal Service this week filed a request to add seven products to the Mail Classification Schedule product lists. The request was in response to the Postal Regulatory Commission's ruling that six products were properly classified as postal services, but could not be authorized until a formal request was made and until formal requirements of PRC regulations were met.
  • The Postal Regulatory Commission, under Order 194, recently issued a "Second Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Establish a Procedure for According Appropriate Confidentiality." The PRC recognizes the need to balance commercially sensitive information with the accountability and transparency under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, and the rule fulfills the Commissions's responsibilities under the Act.
  • The American Postal Workers Union is supporting the Mail Protection Act (H.R. 1686) introduced in the House of Representatives last week to restrict Postal Service subcontracting.
  • PostCom Chairman Jim O'Brien, Vice Chairman Jody Berenblatt, and others recently met with Postal Service Governors to discuss important issues and renew open communication efforts.
  • Postal commentator Gene Del Polito says the Postal Service should rethink its Business Reply Mail service.
  • PostCom Board Member and MTAC rep David Robinson and Kevin Conti present the very latest in rules and recently announced pricing for the Full-Service IMBC. They include examples where mailers are using the IMBC to drive additional value and savings in their mail centers.
  • Postal commentator Gene Del Polito donned his thinking cap and came up with two suggestions that could provide the Postal Service with some much-needed stimulation in its search for new ideas and services.
  • Postal commentator Gene Del Polito donned his thinking cap and came up with two suggestions that could provide the Postal Service with some much-needed stimulation in its search for new ideas and services.
  • Postal previews
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DMM Advisory:

PostalOne! and FAST Outages. We are preparing PostalOne! release 20 to support the price change on May 11 and the test environment for the Intelligent Mail Full-Service option on May 18. We are making extensive upgrades to support the significant increase in electronic mailing information anticipated with Full Service. Two system-wide outages for PostalOne! and FAST are planned at this time: April 12, from  2 a.m. to 12 p.m. CDT; and from 10 p.m. CDT on April 25 to 10 p.m. CDT on April 26. During the outage mailers cannot access PostalOne! or submit electronic mailing documentation. Mailers — including Electronic Verification System (eVS) mailers — should review their file submission processes and make arrangements for these two scheduled outages.  

The outages do not affect the FAST online scheduling capability, but mailers will not be able to schedule appointments electronically using Mail.XML.  During the outages, mailers who wish to schedule appointments online must log directly into FAST through https://fast.usps.com.  Mailers scheduling electronically for the April 12th outage should schedule appointments no later than 12:00 a.m. CDT on April 12.  Mailers scheduling electronically for April 25 to April 26 should schedule appointments no later than 8:00 p.m. CDT on April 25. Mailers who need to schedule appointments with less notice must use the online application during the outages. We will make every attempt to accommodate unscheduled arrivals, but we cannot guarantee that all will be accommodated.  We will not apply ratings to appointments during the outage periods.  

We apologize for the inconvenience, and we appreciate your support. Please call the PostalOne! help desk at 1-800-522-9085 or your local FAST facility coordinator if you have questions. We will advise you of additional scheduled outages in support of the May PostalOne! release 20.

 New Business Customer Gateway. In the May PostalOne! release 20 we are redesigning the interface mailers use to access PostalOne! and the Facility Access Shipment Tracking (FAST) system. If you use PostalOne! or FAST, please remember to logon between March 30 and April 14, so we can capture your profile information and migrate it to the new Business Customer Gateway. If you use both PostalOne! and FAST, logon to PostalOne! and we can capture your profile for both systems. Testing for PostalOne! release 20 is underway. Initial testing of the Business Customer Gateway uncovered some usability and access issues that we are fixing. We will explain how to access the new Gateway in an updated version of the Full-Service Option User Access and Reports Guide which will be posted on RIBBS by April 17.

 Postal Wizard. For Full-Service mailings using the Postal Wizard, only the owner of the mailing permit will receive start-the-clock information. We will consider additional recipients in a future release, if the mail owner and mail preparer are different. For Full-Service mailings, both the owner and the preparer can receive start-the-clock information using Mail.dat as described in the Guide to Intelligent Mail for Letters and Flats.

 Mail.XML Technical Specification. IDEAlliance published two updated versions (6.0-C and 6.0-D) of the Mail.XML technical specification in support the Full-Service option. We updated PostalOne! Mail.XML Technical Specification  on RIBBS to support these changes. We listed specific changes in the "Change History" section of the Specification.

On the Postal Regulatory Commission web site: MC2009-22 Notice of the United States Postal Service of Classification Change http://www.prc.gov/docs/62/62829/MC2009-22%20GXG%20classif%20notice.pdf

The Business Journal has reported that FedEx Corp. has confirmed that the company has cut 1,000 jobs worldwide, including 500 in its headquarters city of Memphis, Tenn.

   


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HAVE YOU HAD IT WITH
"DO NOT MAIL" MANIA?
Then be sure to read:

* The Environmental Impacts of the Mail: Initial Life Cycle Inventory Model and Analysis (USPS study)
* Informing The Dialogue: Facts About Mail And The Environment (SLS Study) 
* Informing The Dialogue: Facts About Mail And The Environment (SLS Study) 
* The many documents that serve as backup  (SLS Study) 
* How To Deal With "Do Not Mail" Mania (PostCom) 
* What You Need to Know About
Mail, the Economy, and Society
(PostCom) 
* U.S. Constitution, Article 1
Section 8:
"The  Congress 
[not the States] shall have power...To establish post offices and post roads."


 
This Day in Postal History

Things You Should Know

Postal Facts
Contacting the President of the U.S.
Contacting U. S. Senators
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Contacts via FirstGov
How a Bill Becomes a Law 
Getting Your Voice Heard
Tips on Emailing Congress
Working With The Media
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Postal Rates & Codes Worldwide


Government Postal Sites

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USPS RIBBS web site
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Postal Bulletin
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GAO on the USPS 2001-2005
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Postal Unions

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APWU

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