What Does Your Postal Scorecard Say? And What’s Up with Flats?

Putting mail in mailboxAs mailers, you’re likely working hard to keep track of all the USPS requirements, constant changes, and new programs that affect you. And as your partner, The Dingley Press is right there with you. Even better, we’re actually ahead of the game because we participate in postal feedback groups and monitor updates.

Here are the updates about some postal programs that have been ongoing concerns for our mailers.

The Mailer Scorecard

This sounds simple enough: A report that covers all mailing requirements and scores your compliance with every program the USPS uses to streamline delivery. This report card is available in each mailer’s online USPS account. If compliance thresholds are exceeded, the USPS will (eventually) invoice the mailer for mail quality errors. The mailer may also forfeit Full-Service Discounts.

The invoicing of fees was expected to begin in June 2014, but implementation of invoicing has been repeatedly put off — and is now projected for April 2015. Why the delay? The software is still “buggy,” with over 100 issues that need to be resolved before the system goes live.

Another major issue is how difficult it is to spot errors when multiple mailers are involved in handling a single shipment. Naturally, mailers want to ensure that they aren’t held responsible for the mistakes of others.

While Dingley participates in postal feedback groups in an effort to help represent the issues facing mailers, and while the USPS works to iron out the kinks in this program, the scorecard is still an important tool. At Dingley, we use it to carefully review in-house practices to ensure the most accurate and compliant mailing service possible for all our customers.

Flats Sequencing Strategy (FSS)

A program that has been in the works for about 6 years, the FSS was intended to reduce costs for the USPS by automating handling of flat mailpieces, including catalogs. However, an analysis earlier this year revealed that the system’s performance has been less than stellar, and mailers are worried that this “one size fits all” requirement doesn’t have the benefits that were promised.

In response, the USPS has been monitoring and documenting the system’s accuracy in an effort to improve — but it has been slow going. Part of the problem is the same one faced by the Mailer Scorecard: an environment in which numerous stakeholders make up a single supply chain. That makes it challenging to find a way to standardize handling in a way that is more effective and efficient for each link in that chain.

Neither of these programs comes with easy solutions. But Dingley Press is committed to keeping up with all the new developments that are happening at the USPS. We not only handle tricky postal requirements for our customers, but also give them a voice through our participation in postal feedback groups.

For now, catalogers are encouraged to work closely with knowledgeable catalog solutions providers like Dingley, to take advantage of professional co-mailing services, and to make the most of USPS programs as they develop. We’ll keep you informed of changes as they happen!

To learn more about using technology with your catalog mailings and to take advantage of current or upcoming USPS promotions, contact your Dingley Press representative.

About the Author: Jim Gibbs

Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Dingley Press. Jim has been with Dingley since 2002 and lives in Maine near our Lisbon, Maine plant location.