USPS Releases Proposed Parcel Standards

Oct 05, 2006 1:49 AM  By

The U.S. Postal Service has released its proposed mailing standards as part of the rate case introduced on May 3. While much of the focus has been on what the changes will mean to catalog production and circulation (see “Preparing for the Postal Rate Case” in our October issue), parcel shipments will be affected as well.

Among the parcel-related changes proposed:

* Enhanced discounts to encourage drop-shipping of parcels to destination delivery units (DDUs)–also known as the local post offices–with no minimum volume requirement for parcels sorted to the five-digit level.

* Additional options to combine different classes of parcels in sacks and on pallets to achieve finer levels of presort, as long as they are in the same processing category.

* Required barcoding of parcels unless prepared in five-digit/scheme containers.

Now is the time, says Gene Del Polito, president of the Association for Postal Commerce, to review the proposed standards and get together with your suppliers to be sure that your parcels will be compliant by the time the rate case is expected to go into effect, most likely next spring or early summer.

“Mailers need to get together with the consolidators and their software providers to determine the best course of action,” says Del Polito.

“If you’re a continuity shipper you’re using parcels to prospect for new customers,” he continues. “And those parcel rates that they proposing are increasing 48%-99%. You need to examine everything you need to do to get the best rates. For example, could you be dropping deeper into the postal system?”

At the very least, Del Polito says, marketers should be asking, “If I change nothing how will that impact be on my business?” But given the rate increases, “there better be a darn good business reason why you don’t change your packaging to comply with the new standards.”

Del Polito was one of the speakers during a recent MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT Webinar, “How to Cope with the USPS Rate Case.” The Webinar is available on demand, free of charge, at “www.MultichannelMerchant.com/events/webinars/.