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15 Dec 2011 Postal Bulletin

There are in fact 4 DMM Revision articles in this PB, along with a Field Information Kit about the pricing change coming 22 Jan 2012. Articles not as interesting from our viewpoint as a software developer are the ones about which products may be mailed at nonprofit rates, the Express Mail refund policy and waiver of signature, and packaging alternatives for priority mail Commercial Plus. Certainly if you’re affected by those you’ll want to check them out.

The big item for us (more than 20 pages worth) is the one on “Domestic Shipping Services Pricing and Mailing Standards Changes.” To be fair, much of this article is about Priority Mail and the other kinds of details that are changing and not just sorting changes. For those not yet familiar at all with what’s coming for January for parcel shipping changes, you might find the Field Info Kit’s “Summary of Domestic Changes” helpful. There it describes the pricing changes at a high level, although it doesn’t seem to cover much detail of the changes to Standard Mail and Package Services/Parcel Select (I suppose this Info Kit is more geared to the retail customer as opposed to larger mailers).

Starting on page 9 we have info about updates for January. A number of changes are of a straightforward nature, such as Parcel Select changes including: the dimensions of a machinable parcel being reduced to match better the processing capabilities; the elimination of the $0.03 parcel barcode discount (everything is supposed to be barcoded); renaming of Parcel Select Barcoded Nonpresort to just “Parcel Select Nonpresort.”

The changes that have had us working many hours based on our guesses given the high level changes published in the FRN of 24 Oct 2011 are those that remove Machinable and Irregular Parcels from Standard Mail (except for non-profit) and essentially reintroduce them as a new competitive product in Parcel Select called “Parcel Select Lightweight” or, in another acronym you should try to learn, “PSLW.” If you recall the proposals for parcels in the rejected (but “not quite dead yet”) exigent rate case, STD mail parcels at that time were going to split into “marketing” and “fulfillment” parcels. Well, the October FRN introduced the marketing parcels, and essentially the fulfillment parcel concept was morphed into this new competitive product classification in Parcel Select.

Unlike everything else in Parcel Select, PSLW Parcels must weigh less than one pound, rather than paying a price that assumes at least a one pound weight. And unlike the pricing of these pieces when they were in Standard Mail, now the pricing is based on ounce increments instead of piece and pound rates, so it’s more like a First Class Mail kind of pricing structure. Sorting of these pieces divides into machinable and irregular parcel categories, where there are 5DG, SCF (for irregular only), NDC, and Mixed NDC price levels. To receive pricing better than NDC level requires destination entry. There is no carrier route prep and, it would seem, no single piece.

Given that this is a new product but essentially a translation of an old one, it seems there are sure to be some issues that will need to be worked out or cleaned up. For example, the information about content lines in the 455.8.2 section describes content lines like “PSLW MACH 5D SCH” but the CIN table values later in the 708 section are still listed with “STD,” like “STD MACH 5D SCH.” Hopefully, these types of things will not lead to any serious issues if you’re trying to mail things of this type. Just be prepared for some questions if you are using this.

I’ll let you read more in the PB about it if you’re interested. If you find other “interesting” things there of course we’d be curious to hear about it.

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