Rate Case 2013 – sprint to the finish or lost in a labyrinth?! What updates are needed when?
Well, the annual USPS Rate Case is upon us and we are working hard to provide you with the latest software to support not only the new USPS rates, but also the new Mail.dat 13-1 specification and the kaleidoscope of new rules regulations. Below is some critical information for you on our releases and the USPS PostalOne! updates – make sure you read all the way through to ensure you understand what is out there. And the USPS has made this difficult with some unusual last-minute changes that came up with how to handle “First Class Residual Mail”- from USPS:
Effective January 27, 2013, there will be a change in how single-piece Commercial Residual First-Class Mail letters are reported on PS Form 3600-FCM, Postage Statement – First-Class Mail. Thepricing structure for presorted and automation First-Class Mail letters retains the change implemented in 2012 for the minimum postage charge to be that for a 2-ounce letter, and extends the concept to Commercial Residual piece letters that are part of the same mailing job and presented at the same time as the presorted and / or automation mailing.
The Postal Service went on to further explain:
Commercial Residual mail is mail remaining after completion of a presort sequence. Commercial Residual mail lacks the volume set by standard to require or allow tray preparation to a particular destination. Commercial Residual mail usually does not qualify for a presort price. Commercial Residual mail is also referred to as nonqualifying or working mail. These pieces are recorded on the same postage statement as the presort /automation pieces.
SAP has been actively involved with an MTAC Task Team working with the USPS and members of the industry to understand the new rules and to work with the USPS to change them for the better prior to the Rate Case. Through TT #21, we have managed to get some key updates to USPS rules and how the new functionality is coded within the PostalOne! system that accepts your Mail.dat files. However, since these decisions and software changes came so late in the development cycle (and USPS is even continuing to make coding changes right now), it is requiring multiple updates from USPS and SAP to get the right results into your hands.
So, “what software do I need and when can I take a look or submit jobs to PostalOne!??” That is the tricky and confusing part, but hopefully this info will help:
Presort customers – in order to comply with Rate Case, you need to make sure to:
- Download and install Presort Service Pack 12 – this is the complete new installation. SP12 was posted on Dec 20, 2012 on the SAP SMP.
- Download and install Presort SP12 Fix Pack 01 – this update complies with latest 1C Residual Mail changes and addresses a couple of other minor issues. SP12FP01 was made available on January 14, 2013.
- Pay close attention to your mailing date (the date upon which you will be handing the mail to the USPS) to determine which Presort SP you should be using. For mailings after Jan 27th, use SP12; but for mailings submitted prior to Jan 27th – you will still need to use SP11.
- Stay tuned for any additional critical Fix Packs post-Rate Case (after Jan 27th) for SP12.
Business Edition and DeskTop Mailer users:
- Download and install DTM or BE Service Pack 10. SP10 is available now.
- It is important to note that you cannot do side-by-side installation with SP09, so wait until you are ready to begin submitting mailing with mailing dates after Jan 27th before installing SP10.
- Stay tuned for any additional critical Fix Packs post-Rate Case (after Jan 27th)
Since we typically release DTM/BE close to required dates, there is not yet a Fix Pack and the SP10 should comply with the latest rules.
USPS updates to the PostalOne! system:
- The postal service released their initial Rate Case 2013 updates in Release 33 on Jan 13th.
- PostalOne! will continue to deploy patch releases to their system, similar to SAP Fix Packs, and numbered as 33.0.0.x. For example patch Release 220.127.116.11 will be deployed on Jan 17th.
- Then on Jan 27th – the Rate Case date – the USPS will deploy a major patch release of PostalOne! 33.0.1.
- For anyone using the CAT environment for early testing in PostalOne! –the USPS will be making updates around Jan 24th that will allow you to test Mail.dat output against when will be deployed live on their systems on Jan 27th with all of the 1C Residual Mail changes. This update will include everything up to and including 33.0.1 at a minimum.
If you are interested in the complete details that have come along with the latest First Class Residual Mail discussions and decisions a more complete presentation can be found on USPS RIBBs site, here: (Top link under “Important Links”)
Given the confusion and complexities in supporting the new USPS First Class Residual mail and mailers needing to handle preparation differently when pursuing Commercial vs. Retail residual mail rates, as well as the fact that the USPS is considering additional changes to Retail postage for less than 1oz only mailings – it is important to note that we currently only support the use of the Commercial Residual Mail rates. If you wish to pursue the $0.46 Retail residual mail rates, then you will need to utilize post-presort software to update your Mail.dat files prior to submitting to PostalOne!. We will look to add Retail support in a future release as the requirements are updated and clarified.
SAP will continue to stay abreast of any additional changes or issues occurring with the USPS systems and our own software and provide any critical updates as soon as we can. Thanks and good luck with the Rate Case!