USPS Labeling List Changes (effective November 12, 2011)
The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) announced changes to the Labeling List data, effective November 12, 2011, with a mandatory use date of January 28, 2012. The Labeling Lists affected are L001, L002, L003, L004, L005, L006, L007, L201, L602, L605, L606, and L801. The USPS has also changed the location of the Labeling Lists so that they are easier to find, under the Additional Links tab on Postal Explorer.
Use of Labeling List Data
The Labeling List data is used to define the specific destination information to be printed on sack labels, tray labels, and pallet labels. This destination information is used to route the mail inside the sacks, trays and pallets to the correct postal facility for processing. The destination information is based primarily on 3-digit ZIP Code™ prefix, and varies based on the class of mail, processing category, and other criteria. Virtually all container labels are generated using computer software, which accesses this Labeling List data in a file format, operating much like a look-up table.
Why the changes?
There are many reasons why the USPS makes changes to the Labeling List data. Recently, many of the changes were made as a result of their efforts to consolidate processing facilities to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Changes also take place when the USPS makes alterations to the service areas for certain processing facilities, which can be the result of shifts in population, mail volumes, staffing and many other reasons. Keep in mind that approximately 17% of the US population moves each year, and there are about 3,000 new delivery addresses added each day. So, there are lots of ZIP Code changes happening all the time!
Time for change
The USPS provides for a transition period when these changes are announced, to allow software vendors time to update their software and for mailers to use up existing labels. During this period, the USPS encourages mailers to use the new Labeling List data as soon as possible, but it is acceptable to use the old Labeling List data until the mandatory date. In the case of this most recent update, the mandatory date is January 28, 2012.
When these types of changes are announced, it is important for mailers to work with their software vendors and mail service providers to make sure that the changes are implemented on a timely basis. This is critical so that the correct destination information is populated into the Mail.dat® files, or any other files or printed documents that are used to process or submit postage statements (and other postal documentation) and to create sack, tray, and pallet labels. Keep in mind that the Labeling List changes involve not just the facility names, but the ZIP codes associated with those facilities. This affects the destination line on the tags and the mailpieces that are placed into the sacks, trays, and pallets. As such, these changes MUST be incorporated into the presort software first; if the data is incorrect during this process (and thus incorrect in the Mail.dat files), it cannot be corrected in Post-Presort software, such as DAT-MAIL™.
Automatic Postal Data Updates System
As luck would have it, Window Book has an automated method to update the Labeling List information into your software. Once you have this FREE add-on tool installed with your DAT-MAIL software, you no longer have to remember to check for Labeling List updates, nor do you have to perform manual downloads because it will automatically be taken care of for you! You can just set it and forget it!
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