New Options to Combine Standard Mail® and Periodicals Mail
The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) announced that it is formalizing a pilot program that has been in place for a while, allowing mailers to combine individual flat-size pieces of Standard Mail and Periodicals mail into the same bundles (comailing), or to combine flat-size bundles of Standard Mail and Periodicals mail on to the same pallets (co-palletizing). The currently announced effective date for this new option is June 6, 2011, although the complexity of the rules may prohibit software providers from being able to meet this deadline. There is also consideration being given to making this optional in June, but required preparation - for participants - in November.
The new regulations for these new options are fairly complex:
- The new options do not change the current DMM content and eligibility requirements for Standard and Periodicals mail. For example, the minimum volume requirement for Standard Mail in these combined mailings is 200 pieces or 50 pounds, and Periodicals publications must be authorized or have a pending authorization to mail at Periodicals prices.
- The current processes that identify and isolate Periodicals origin mixed area distribution center (OMX) mailpieces, for integration into the First-Class Mail® mailstream, will not be available when combining Standard Mail flats and Periodicals flats on pallets.
- All mailpieces included in a combined mailing of Standard Mail and Periodicals flats on pallets must be machinable in accordance with DMM 301.3.0.
- All mailpieces included in a combined mailing of Periodicals flats and Standard Mail flats are required to meet the standards for Full-Service automation mailings. Intelligent Mail® barcodes placed on mailpieces prepared under this program are required to include Service Type Identifiers appropriate for the class of mail of the individual mailpiece.
- Participating mailers are required to present standardized electronic mailing documentation (eDoc) for each combined mailing, and at the time of mailing, the following additional documentation:
- An edition or version summary for all pieces in the mailing.
- A consolidated postage statement register and postage statement for each Periodicals publication in the combined mailing.
- A consolidated postage statement register and postage statement for each Standard Mail mailing in the combined mailing. Mailers may provide a single consolidated postage statement and postage statement register of all Standard Mail mailings if they are itemized.
- A register of Forms 8125, Plant Verified Drop Shipment (PVDS) Verification and Clearance, (PS 8125C) that consolidates all of the mailings to the destinations where the mail is entered.
- When using this option, postage on all Standard Mail pieces must be paid through a permit imprint using a special postage payment system at the Post Office serving the mailer. Postage for Periodicals may be paid through an advance deposit account or through a Centralized Account Payment System (CAPS) account.
- Participating mailers will be required to apportion the Periodicals bundle charge based on the number of Periodicals copies in the bundles and container charge based on the weight of the Periodicals portion of the container.
- Mailers combining Standard Mail flats and Periodicals flats will not have the option to form ADC pallets or to drop ship to ADCs. As a result, Periodicals publications included in combined mailings will not have access to DADC prices.
- Other specific prices for Periodicals flats in a combined mailing will be assessed as follows:
- The bundle prices applicable to the ADC container level will be applied to the ASF/NDC container level.
- The container prices applicable to the ADC pallet level will apply to the ASF/NDC pallet level.
- The bundle price applicable to the ADC bundle placed on the ADC container level will apply to mixed ADC bundles placed on mixed NDC pallets.
- The container price applicable to the ADC pallet level will also apply to the mixed NDC pallet level.
- Standard Mail flats and Periodicals flats combined on pallets will be processed as Standard Mail; and the Periodicals mailpieces included within these combined mailings may receive deferred handling. Periodicals mailpieces included within mailings of combined Standard Mail flats and Periodicals flats will be subject to the USPS service standards applicable to Standard Mail. These mailings must also be identified as Standard Mail when scheduling drop ship appointments in the Facility Access and Shipment (FAST®) system.
- Mailers combining Standard Mail flats and Periodicals flats on pallets must populate field 10, ‘‘Product or Publication Title or Names,’’ of PS Form 8125 and/or field 11b, ‘‘Product Name/ID,’’ of PS Form 8125C with ‘‘MIX COMAIL’’ when preparing drop ship documentation for these mailings.
- Any mixed NDC pallets prepared under this program are required to be entered at the NDC servicing the 3-digit ZIP Code of the entry Post Office for the mailer’s plant. Mailers combining Standard Mail flats and Periodicals flats on pallets may reallocate bundles under DMM 705.8.11 and 705.8.13.
- Each Standard Mail and Periodicals mailpiece prepared under a combined mailing of Standard Mail flats and Periodicals flats are required to be identified as containing mixed classes through the use of an optional endorsement line (OEL) in accordance with these standards.
- Mailers preparing combined mailings of Standard Mail flats and Periodicals flats are required to provide a written notification to each participating Periodicals publisher that describes the combined mailing process and the potential for pieces to receive deferred USPS handling. These notifications, signed and dated by the Periodicals publisher, are required to be retained by the mailer and must be available for review by the USPS upon request.
The DMM will be updated in June 2011 to reflect these new options. For more details, consult the Monday, February 28, 2011 Federal Register Notice.
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