USPS Facility Closure Study Completed
As we told you about in several e-tips last year, the United States Postal Service® (USPS)® announced plans to close a large number of processing facilities in an effort to cut costs and optimize their processing network to more closely align with the decreased volumes of mail. The five-month Area Mail Processing (AMP) study is now complete with the USPS identifying 223 possible facilities for closure.
Network facility changes
The study focused on a list of 264 processing facilities. Of that list, 35 offices will remain open for the present time, 6 facilities are being placed on hold pending further internal study, and the remaining 223 offices were found feasible for consolidation, in whole or in part. The listing of the facilities under consideration for closure is available on the USPS web site dedicated to the network consolidation initiative.
Service Standard Changes
Before any facilities can be closed, however, the USPS needs to gain approval for its proposed changes to the delivery standards. These changes essentially involve the elimination of overnight service for First-Class and Periodicals mail, although there have been some USPS indications that an overnight standard can exist if mail is entered before the acceptable time and within a reasonable distance. (These standards have not been published yet, though.) These modifications are needed so that the reduction in the number of processing facilities will not impact service. The proposed changes are as follows:
Timeline for change
As we told you in December 2011, the USPS postponed any facility closures until May 15, 2012, to allow Congress to propose an alternate plan. At this point, no alternate plan has been agreed upon, so mailers should anticipate that the facility closures will begin starting in May.
What it means for mailers
So, what does all this mean for mailers? Until facilities start to close, there is no immediate impact for mailers. Once facilities start to close, mailers will need to make sure their mailing software is updated with the most recent postal destination data updates. This includes data such as Labeling Lists, destination drop ship data files (including re-directions), and so forth. This includes both presort and post-presort software applications. Mailers will also need to pay close attention to the changes in the service standards and monitor mail delivery so that any necessary adjustments can be made to mailing schedules. On the dedicated web site, the USPS has provided a fact sheet and a FAQ section for further details. Stay tuned for further updates as this initiative gets underway.
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