eDM10x™ and PostalWeb® from a Mailer’s Point of View

By Robert Dorre, Mailing & Logistics Support

If you want your staff to have more time to work on other things or just be happier at work, then this software is for you. If you don’t want to deal with PostalOne!’s MDR Client software and you do want to have a better interface to interact with PostalOne!, this software is for you. To be clear- I’m not just saying this to be nice and make staff at WBI happy, but it's the truth from my point of view as a Tech Support Manager, Deployment Person, Process Manager and a power user of post-presort software, the MDR Client, PostalOne!, and someone who manages mail production systems.

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I had one to two people who would do nothing all- day but handle from 30 to more than 60 Mail.dat files each day. We would import each one into our current post-presort software, make sure the jobs were palletized, assign entry points, make sure the By/For info was populated correctly, create unique numbers for Trays/Sacks/Pallets and upload plan files to PostalOne!. This often took all day. They had a hard time doing it as you can only make the MDR Client run so fast and if you had an issue with one file, it terminated processing of all of the other ones you selected. It wouldn’t matter how well you checked each Mail.dat you could still miss one field or not properly populate a date in the CSM.

These failures put the users in a bad mood as they would have to only upload one file at a time or start back over if uploading 5 or 10 at a time for validation. Babysitting the MDR Client can be just as painful as you have to watch and then wonder if it’s working because the spinning circle stopped. You wonder if it is still running in the background or whether the Java client died. Does the user close out of the MDR Client and start over or do just wait to see if something happens? Users that have to deal with this also have to deal with the many interruptions that come up in any production environment. They have to spend a lot of time with the MDR Client and the PostalOne! dashboard just trying to figure out where they left off before each interruption. The frustration of these users is frequently very visible on their faces.

After getting burned so many times with files not getting uploaded to PostalOne! or losing track of where I left off before the many interruptions I went to Google and typed in “USPS Automation” and Window Book’s eDocs Manager came up. I started to read about it and thought it wouldn’t hurt to try it. If it could do what they say it could, then I would be happy, but it looked too good to be true. I got the download and a temporary registration key and the setup only took me a few minutes before we were up and running. I started testing some files looking to see what it could do and I was surprised to see it did what it said it could. It did have some issues, but Window Book soon came out with an updated version called eDM10x (now a part of their PostalWeb® Solution) and it fixed the problems and added everything that I was looking for in the software. I did have to make a few MDR Client changes to the setup to get it running as fast as it could. Putting the MDR Client in 64 bit mode with 5 gigs of memory sure changed how it operated. Mail.dats were validating 50x faster, uploads were 10x faster and I was getting the receipt files back that feed into eDM10x to see what was going on with them. I didn't believe that it would keep track of what type of files you were uploading to make sure they went up in the correct order and it sure did. For example, if you did a plan file, then a pay file, then another pay, then you messed up one pay file so you put up a cancel file, it would upload them in the correct order that they needed to be so the user doesn’t get any errors. It would upload the plan file and wait until it got the receipt saying it was accepted and then it would do the next one and so on for the same job number. Another thing I didn't know it would do is if you were submitting multiple files at the same time, it would handle them one at a time. Unlike when using the MDR Client alone, if one did fail it wouldn't reject all of the files. Instead, only the bad file would fail and it would show you the results on the eDM10x dashboard but also send you an email or text with why it failed so you could go back and fix it and re-submit it to PostalOne! again. After a month of testing we bought the program and started changing how we operate.

We ended up starting from scratch and building processes around using the automation of eDM10x that sits on top of the USPS MDR Client. We could get rid of all the processes that were based directly on the MDR Client. Those were taking ups so much valuable time we didn't have time to work on other things. eDM10x eliminated the time we spent baby-sitting the USPS MDR Client and allowed staff to not be under the pressure of not falling behind. You could just keep on going even if you had a job fail and then just go to the eDM10x Dashboard or your email to see what needed to be fixed. The email notifications for validation failures even had an attached PDF of the error log! It allowed our staff to not slow down or lose track of what they were doing when dealing with failed job issues.

For the longest time I truly felt bad that my staff had to work so hard to get statements and files to PostalOne! only to have the MDR Client freeze or stop validating jobs because one was bad. I felt the best thing I could have done for them as a manager was to deploy this tool which would allow them to save time, work more efficiently and experience less stress since they didn't have to re-do work so often. It made me so happy to see that they were loving what the eDM10x software did to help them. We use Monticello for post-presort and I was truly pleased that eDM10x could work without having Dat-Mail. It really does not matter which post-presort software you’re using and it will even work with the Mail.dats produced directly from your presort software if you had all the correct information in the Mail.dat.

This is what I like about eDocs Manager eDM10x:

  1. Easy to use
    1. Errors show up in red/pink on the dashboard and are easily noticed.
    2. Error messages are easy to read.
  2. Great dashboard and features
  3. Great automated emails
    1. Can make custom emails based on the event PostalOne! sends back and have them go to the people who need them.
    2. Can make custom subject lines – helps you tell what the purpose of the email is at a glance.
    3. Customization of the message is the best way to get your users to know what action is needed.
  4. Getting postage statement ID's
  5. Getting permit balances
    1. The receipts displayed in eDocs Manager eDM10x can show you how much money is in the permit.
  6. Displays each submission status and you can have separate email and text message notification for each!
    1. Passed - useful in the beginning when users are learning or not trusting the software.
    2. Statement Generated - useful in the beginning when users are learning or not trusting the software.
    3. Qualification report generated - useful in the beginning when users are learning or not trusting the software.
    4. Statement Reversed - Very Important
      1. To know that the USPS reversed a statement and know they did in case you didn't ask them to or know they were going to.
    5. Knowing when it was done so you can put up a new one if needed.
    6. Statement Canceled - useful in the beginning when users are learning or not trusting the software.
    7. Job Rejected - Very Important. Immediate action needed
    8. Job Failed Validation -Validation - Very Important. Immediate action needed. Email can include a PDF of the validation error log.
    9. Statement Finalized- Very Important - a call to action. Time to ship the mail.
    10. Errors/warnings on job validation or server side errors/warnings
    11. Getting eEmails about FIN or UPD statements
      1. UPD- Great to have so you know P1 is working
      2. FIN- Great to have so you know the statement has been paid- Can be used as a call to action for some staff member.
      3. Having emails go to other people based on what their roles are
      4. Sending your onsite USPS DMU clerks an email saying this job has been paid to release or release it in the DSMS system.
      5. Letting others know what's going on with the job
      6. In case the error isn't part of the area you deal with the other user will know something needs to be done.
  7. Automated USPS MDR Client. You don't need to manually download the updates for each of the three types of clients your using: PROD, TEM or PRE-PROD
    1. Time and Labor Savings
    1. Saves you time by not babysitting the MDR Client
    2. Saves labor by not having to keep track of what you're doing
    3. Save time by not having to re-do work over and over just because MDR Client failed a job and stopped the rest of the jobs.
  8. Reporting on what you have done each month
    1. You can output data to Excel
    2. Number of jobs and filter by information with Pivot tables
    3. See what errors you have and use it for training with your staff
    4. Report to management on what your staff does every day
    5. Reports on how long it took the file to validate and upload to the USPS
    6. See time data on how fast the MDR Client is running
    7. Have something to send the USPS when they say nothing is wrong
  9. eDM10x works with the MDR Client in its “batch mode” with no user interface. This allows the MDR Client to use more system resources for validating and uploading the Mail.dat files for extra speed.
  10. eDM10x QuickFix feature lets you edit Mail.dat files to fix validation errors FAST without having to go back to your post-presort program, if you have one
  11. No one else offers something like this!
I know I've been talking about what eDM10x can do, but I know you want to know some real facts about what it costs and what it can save you:

Cost: It's not bad for a one year subscription
Usefulness: GREAT
Time savings: Huge.
 

The return on investment for this software will vary based on Mail.dat submission volumes and how your company processes its Mail.dat files. I'll give you some estimated time savings based on how we changed by not having to babysit the MDR Client or re-work Mail.dats that failed and stopped others from validating/uploading to PostalOne!.

Mail.dat file sizes (number of PDR/PBC records)   Labor savings per Mmail.dat file
Under 500,000 pieces 3 to 8 minutes per file
500,001 to 999,999 pieces   10 to 20 minutes per file
1,000,0001 to 3,000,000 pieces   20 to 30 minutes per file
3,000,001 to 5,000,000 pieces   30 to 60 minutes per file

So where exactly did these time saving come from? It was not from the actual validation and upload processing which was still being done by the MDR Client. It was from all the time we saved managing the submission of these files and not having to look at the MDR Client for results plus not having to re-submit files that had failed to upload because one of the other files in a group of files submitted together failed.

PostalWeb®

One other thing I would like to mention is that I was able to alpha-test then beta-test Window Book’s new web- based product that interfaces to eDM10x:PostalWeb®. I won't go into too much detail here but this website uses information in eDM10x to provide a web- based submission dashboard more useful than the PostalOne! dashboard for mail production purposes. I can see exactly how our plan and payment submissions impact each job and see the submission status of each of these submissions and the job as a whole. The PostalWeb web site will soon be mobile-compatible so you can access your submission information from your smart phone or tablet wherever you are.

The really amazing thing about PostalWeb® is that it automates the retrieval of our finalized postage statements from PostalOne! saving our CSR’s a ton of time. The statements can be emailed or securely transferred right to our network. It can even place them in a separate folder for each of our customers. PostalWeb® can also email or transfer to us the data from each statement in an XML file we import to a database to create all kinds of customized reports. I understand Window Book is going to add their own reports to PostalWeb® soon, however. It already has a couple of reports we really find useful. If you have eDM10x and have the chance to try out PostalWeb®, I think you will really appreciate the extra time it will save you.

In closing, PostalWeb® (which includes edm10X) can help you interact with PostalOne! so efficiently you won’t have to add to your staff. Your current staff will be free to work on other things and not have to worry that something will get missed. If you don't believe me, get a trial copy and give it a try. It's truly life and business changing software for you and your staff that must upload Mail.dat files to PostalOne!.

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