Key Notes – Volume 04 Number 31

Mysterious Mailboxes – Ever wonder about those green USPS boxes on street corners and why they’re bolted shut?  They’re called “relay boxes” and they are used by letter carriers — like a cubbyhole, or a safe, for mail delivery.  Postal workers delivering mail around any major city, who can carry only so much at once, will take large loads to the relay boxes, store the mail inside, and then return several times a day to retrieve more mail to deliver along their route. (Look closely and you’ll see the words “relay mail” or “storage box” in small letters on the box.)  When these storage boxes were introduced about 100 years ago, all mailboxes were green, according to the Postal Service historian, Jenny Lynch.  It was only later, in 1955, that the “collection boxes” — where we still drop our mail today — turned red, white and blue, and later became all blue.  Source:  NY Times

Using All the Tools in the Toolbox – Because mail processing efficiency is a key goal for the U.S. Postal Service, it’s important that postal management uses all the tools at its disposal – such as the Mail Processing Variance (MPV) model – to improve productivity.  MPV measures annual mail processing performance and efficiency, but a recent OIG audit report indicated that USPS was not employing it to its fullest extent. The USPS Office of Inspector General wants your opinion:  What ideas do you have to improve the MPV model?  What ways could plant managers improve operations?  Source:  OIG

Amazon Rolls Out Apartment Locker Service – Amazon is introducing a service called “Hub by Amazon” – which essentially involves installing Amazon lockers in multi-resident buildings.  The Hub by Amazon website which is tailored for both commercial office buildings and residential apartments says that the service “can free you and your staff from daily package management” and it will be “an amenity your residents will love.”  Source:  Post & Parcel

Replacement Images for Informed Delivery – By now, you have heard a lot about Informed Delivery.  National Postal Forum solidified this as the “next big thing” for marketers and communicators of all types.  And now, you can specify additional images and links for every mailpiece going to a household that has enabled Informed Delivery.  Mailing software providers like BCC Software will be expanding their products to include a new Mail.dat option to activate the new Informed Delivery campaign function.  Source:  BCC Software

Is Your Mail Service Provider Certified? – A Mail Service Provider (MSP) offers a variety of solutions to prepare and present Full-Service presort mailings.  To help mail owners the Postal Service has published a listing of MSPs meeting the USPS Full-Service certification Mkt Mails.  These Mail Service Providers (MSPs) offer a wide variety of services for Mail Owners.  There are many advantages of using an MSP to prepare your mailings, such as providing and managing an address list, presorting, and entering mail with the greatest discounts available.  The USPS encourages mail owners to talk with a MSP to learn more about the Full-Service solutions.  The list of certified MSPs is updated frequently.  To ensure that you have the most current list of certified MSPs visit http://postalpro.usps.com/node/970.  Source:  PostalPro

Industry News – LSC Communications acquired Fairrington Transportation, an industry leading full-service mailing and logistics provider.  Fairrington’s capabilities include a complete range of logistics services from freight management to postal optimization solutions.  Source:  Farrington

Danger:  Move Update Ahead – The Postal Service’s long road to assessing mailers who submit mail bearing outdated addresses may be finally reaching a conclusion.  According to the Postal Regulatory Commission’s latest timeline, it should be prepared to issue a decision in late August on the Postal Service’s request to charge an $0.08 penalty for every piece in a mailing with an outdated address that exceeds a 0.5% tolerance.  Following such an order, the Postal Service plans to issue final rules soon thereafter, and begin imposing the assessments six months later – meaning sometime close to mid-2018.  Source:  Presort.com

Marketing’s Workhorse – Though many marketers label direct mail costly, they recognize its value — often noting its ROI. About 69% of marketers continue to use it, according to Target Marketing’s newly released study, “Marketing Mix Trends 2010-2016.”  Source:  inkondapaper