Chris_Lien_1

Can you hear me now? No, this tip isn't about cell phone reception though in many ways the correlation is applicable. The USPS and more importantly the Postal Regulatory Commission have been urging the mailing industry to speak up regarding the numerous proposed pricing and mail preparation changes to this industry. Substantial changes such as Full Service IMb requirements for automation rates are now awaiting feedback from the mailing industry before final implementation in January 2014.

There are several ways in which to provide feedback to the USPS and the PRC. You can pour through the various Federal Register Notices posted on the Postal Explorer web page (http://pe.usps.gov/), and respond to the email or physical address to send your comments. The USPS does take the comments seriously and will address the concerns in any future or final ruling.

Providing comments directly to the PRC (http://www.prc.gov/) is a little more involved. First, you need to setup either a temporary account or a permanent account. A permanent account is required for submitting most documents in a commission hearing. However, if all you would like to do is provide a comment that has been solicited by the PRC, a temporary account can be setup. It is only active for ten days, so you may want to setup a permanent account to provide comments on a regular basis. The benefit of a temporary account is that you can register and file comments all online and on the same day. A permanent account requires completion of an application, which has to be signed and either mailed or hand delivered to the Postal Regulatory Commission in Washington, DC.

Alternatively to filing on your own, you could also apply the "strength in numbers" approach by joining an industry association. Many industry associations file comments on behalf of their members and history has proven this approach to be very effective. One such association that is known to be very vocal on behalf of their members is the Association for Postal Commerce (Postcom). Postcom (http://postcom.org/) recently announced a free 90-day trial membership that would allow you to sample what a collective voice can provide.

Finally, do not forget the value of your software provider as an advocate. Many software companies are members of several industry associations and work closely with the USPS. Your software vendor can add your voice as part of a collective view for the USPS, especially for compliance with Full Service IMb and the electronic documentation requirements for January 2014.

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