October 14, 2016
The US Postal Service filed on October 12th its next postage adjustment to take effect at midnight on January 22, 2017, pending Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approval. While the Standard Mail class overall is to be increased by 0.895%, Standard Mail Flats will be increased by a weighted average of 2.493%, reflective of a PRC directive for the Postal Service to pull Standard Mail Flats out of its underwater status. Carrier Route was reduced by an average of 3.09% in part due to the removal of the FSS premium previously imposed, and High Density reduced by 2.025%. Also the USPS intends to formally change the name of Standard Mail to USPS Marketing Mail.
As the ACMA speculated last month, Flats Sequencing System (FSS)-specific rates for flats will be eliminated, allowing catalogers to claim the rate for the distribution density their books qualify for, regardless of whether it is in an FSS zone or not. The change largely reflected ACMA’s hard work with postal officials, including considerable input from our members.
All FSS preparation requirements (bundle, container, and markings) outlined in the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) will remain unchanged. The Postal Service believes that the proposed rate structure, in combination with existing preparation requirements, will correct the adverse impacts on catalog volumes while also permitting the Postal Service to leverage the benefits of processing flats on FSS equipment.
Also due to the efforts of the ACMA and others, the maxiimum weight of Standard Mail flats that pay piece rates only will increase from 3.3 ounces to 4.0 ounces to add value to the mail by allowing senders of automation, non-automation, and Carrier Route flats to improve the quality of their mailpieces. This extends to High Density and Saturation mail as well.
Click here to read the complete USPS filing with the PRC.
Striving for a Pro-Growth Catalog Rate Policy
Overall, these are averages, not specific impacts to individual mailers. Since details of mail plans vary greatly, it will be necessary to model exact plans against the new rate cells being offered this week to understand the true impact by mailer. The USPS hopes to improve on many of the issues raised by ACMA in our letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan following the last rate change. As they learn more about the impact to their company, catalogers are requested to loop ACMA in to what they are finding. ACMA is happy to investigate any anomalies with the USPS.
“Unlike the prior rate adjustment that was replete with structural changes the industry had no advance warning of, this time around the Postal Service delivered on its commitment to operate transparently with notice,” says ACMA President & Executive Director Hamilton Davison. “We greatly appreciate the USPS including us as partners in these changes well in advance of their official filing.”
Postage Increase Webinar Next Week
The ACMA will offer guidance exclusively to members in the coming weeks. In the meantime, next Tuesday, October 18 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT), the USPS will offer a high-level overview of the price change filing. The webinar will feature Sharon Owens, VP, Pricing and Costing, and Steve Monteith, Executive Director, Product. They will explain the regulatory reason for the market dominant price change filing, which products are impacted, and which are not. Click here to sign up for the webinar. Attendees will also have an opportunity to submit questions to the panel during this webinar. If you would like to submit your questions before the call, you can submit them to IndustryFeedback@usps.gov.
Other Postal Matters of Interest…
Postal Promos Survey
The USPS is asking mailers and their suppliers to take a brief survey on the 2016 USPS Incentive Program. To do so, click here. The deadline is this Friday, Octrober 14th.
PMG Brennan To Speak At WILDS Event
The Postmaster General will be the keynote at the November 3rd, breakfast meeting of the Women In Logistics & Delivery Services (WILDS) taking place from 8:00 to 9:30 am at the Hotel Monaco, 700 F Street NW, Washington, DC. The cost is $40 for WILDS members and $45 for non-members. Checks should be made out to WILDS and mailed to…
c/o ECS, LLC Attn: Kathryn Kobe
2001 L Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036
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