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29 July 2010 Postal Bulletin – DALs and Catalogs

Today’s Postal Bulletin includes new options for the preparation of detached address labels (DALs), and it adds a definition of the term “catalog” in 301.1, the Physical Standards for Flats section. These changes are effective as of August 2, 2010.

The update for DALs will allow them to be prepared in letter trays when mailed with saturation flats, to take advantage of the required barcodes. It also clarifies the cases where saturation flats mailed with DALs may be optionally placed on 5DG pallets instead of in 5DG sacks.

The catalog definition is important because the January 2011 PostalOne! release will have an added indicator for identifying STD mailpieces as catalogs, and it seems the 3602 postage statement will also gain an indicator. Our Presort will need an update to allow indicating whether a given STD mail flat is actually a catalog so the mail.dat and the 3602 can be completed accurately.

There is also a notice in the PB about “Nine-digit Mailer ID Conformance.” All customers using confirmation services with a 9-digit mailer ID (MID) need to have a MID that starts with a ‘9’ by January 31, 2011. If you’ve been using some other kind of ID (perhaps an old DUNS number or some other kind of customer ID), be sure you’re taking steps to contact the NCSC to get a valid MID assigned! Contact info is in the PB.

The rest of the PB is pretty standard – slight PO changes, stamp announcements, etc.

Back to the catalog definition, it’s interesting to note that there is no change to the text in DMM 600; in particular, this does not introduce a new processing category, just a new “subcategory,” if you will, of the flat category. Maybe this sounds obvious, but we recently ran into an issue that reminded me how twisted things can sometimes seem!

This case involved a STD mail auto letter that weighed 3.4 ounces. Unfortunately, but probably as you might expect, there were some addresses in the mailing list that did not have the full 11-digit ZIP5+ZIP4+DPBC info, so they could not be mailed as automated letters. Those letters are now considered non-machinable, and they have to pay the flat rate. Here’s how this ties with the previous topic – the postage statement has a box labeled “processing category,” and that box includes “letters paid as flats.”

Well, with less than 200 of those addresses that couldn’t be barcoded, they couldn’t qualify as a mailing on their own, so Presort associated that sortation with the automated mailing and reported them all on the same statement. This caused problems because the PostalOne! Wizard would not allow entry of the two “categories” on the same statement. The main question was whether a “letter paid as a flat” is really of the same processing category as an “automated letter.” Looking at the 3602 statement you’d think they’re different, since there are separate check boxes, but looking at DMM 601.1.1 there are only 5 processing categories: letter, flat, machinable parcel, irregular parcel, and outside parcel. Today’s PB does not change that, either (thank goodness). And that’s enough such trivia for today.

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