Effective January 26, 2014, to be eligible for automation discounts you will be required to use Intelligent Mail® Full-Service on your mail, but you probably already knew that, right? Whether you didn’t know – or you knew and just haven’t done anything about it yet – it’s time for you to figure out the details with your Full-Service implementation plan. Time is rapidly ticking away toward this deadline – and don’t think the USPS is going to postpone…
The terminology being used is used interchangeably and thus we feel needs some clarification. Full-Service (FS) is not just an IMb, it is required for automation rates and can include tracking. Full-Service Intelligent Mail offers mailers automation price discounts, elimination of permit fees, address correction and visibility and tracking of mailings. Most importantly, this quickly approaching deadline will impact your postage costs.
If you have not already done so, to maintain automation discounts the first thing you need to do is to connect with the USPS through the Business Customer Gateway to make application for a Customer Registration Identification (CRID) and a Mailer Identification number (MID). The MID uniquely identifies you as a mailer, while the CRID uniquely identifies your physical location. You will need these so that your mail house can properly upload to PostalOne!. PostalOne! is the web-based system for submission of electronic documentation (eDoc) for letters and flats to the USPS. If you are a mail house, then you will also need to set up a PostalOne! Account.
One of the requirements of Full-Service is that the barcodes on the mail pieces, tray/bag tags and container labels remain unique for at least 45 days from the date of mailing. So, if the Intelligent Mail barcodes you’ve been using are not unique, you need to make plans to incorporate uniqueness into your labeling and printing operation. NFocus Consulting has been busily preparing a custom software solution to manage the serial numbers to maintain this uniqueness.
A Mailer requirement of Full-Service is to submit electronic documentation (eDoc) to PostalOne!. NFocus Consulting will communicate with your designated mailer to produce electronic documentation in the form of mail.dat files that they can then submit through PostalOne!. The USPS has a specific area of PostalOne! reserved for mailers who need to practice submitting eDoc or test out new file formats or new mailing scenarios. This area is called the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM). To better understand TEM, we recommend you check out the TEM guides, available on the USPS RIBBS web site.
Your next steps are:
1. Go to the Business Customer Gateway – Go to our NFocus website for instructions
2. Apply for your MID and CRID
3. Make sure your mailer has been approved through the TEM (Test Environment for Mailers)
4. Determine what additional FS features you plan to use
5. Fill out each NFocus Order form with your MID and CRID for each job specifying tracking, ACS, etc.
Please feel free to contact us for any help as you gather the MID’s, CRID’s and work with the mailer to get the mailing tested through the TEM in preparation for the mandatory changes. If you don’t make the switch over to Intelligent Mail Full-Service in 2014, your loss of automation discounts will cost you money.
You can go to our website at http://www.n-focus.com/index.php/about-nfocus/resources for more information.