Editor's Note: Beginning this issue, Mailing Systems Technology will feature a monthly column by Shoshana Grove, USPS Package Services, who will use her 27 years of community service as a letter carrier and a Postmaster in both large and small post offices to write about postal products and services geared to mailing industry professionals. Shoshana believes the success of the Postal Service depends upon maintaining a strong relationship with stakeholders in the mailing industry. Her goal in "Sho Time" is to write about matters of interest to Mailing Systems Technology readers and to inform you of new offers from the Postal Service as they become available.


"The check's in the mail?" Don't even try it... In today's information age, business executives want answers and they want them fast. And new services such as CONFIRM are providing them. Enhanced mail intelligence is taking the mystery out of the mail stream, and customers are no longer fishing for answers about their outbound and incoming mail. Today's savvy business mailers know exactly where their mail is and are managing cash flow and resources accordingly.


Smart business executives, like Martin Bernstein of JCPenney, are finding unique ways of using mail intelligence to grow their businesses and streamline operations. "One of the big advantages that we get from using the CONFIRM service data is to evaluate the habits of our customers," Bernstein says. "We know through this data when they're receiving the mail and how long it takes them to come into the store... Is a coupon better? Is just an offering better? When we know the customer has the mail, and we have e-mail addresses, we can use other bounce back programs and reference the mailing they just received. Without the CONFIRM service, you don't have the ability to know the customer even had the mailpiece in her hand."


The Postal Service is working hard to provide Bernstein and others in the mailing industry with speed, security and up-to-date intelligence on mail to match the fast pace of today's marketing and communications environment. The U.S. Postal Service depends on a strong relationship with the American mailing industry for our future growth. "CONFIRM service is just one of the ways the Postal Service is using technology to enhance the value of mail," U.S. Postal Service vice president for Product Development, Nicholas Barranca, explains. "We are developing new products and services to improve access and ease of use for our customers. In the future, we are planning to expand the functionality of CONFIRM service into new areas such as bundle tracking."


Our alliance with the mailing industry is longstanding and has paralleled the growth of the nation. After all, Ben Franklin, the first Postmaster General, was a publisher and a business mailer. Our nation's transportation systems were developed to meet the need for postal services to benefit individuals and the mailing community. About 150 years ago, mail-order houses used the mail to provide goods to rural Americans. Today, many busy urban Americans prefer to stay out of stores and offices and the result is a boom in online businesses. Many of these businesses are located in the rural areas that depend on affordable mail service.


Together with the US mailing industry, we provide jobs, goods and services to Americans in every community. We are an engine for economic development in both urban and rural areas. The U.S. Postal Service is the lynch pin of the $9 billion US mailing industry, and we provide jobs for nine million Americans. The Postal Service and our mailing industry partners are helping to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship that built this country. That spirit has been rekindled by the growth of technology and the Internet, and we are fulfilling our historic role as a catalyst for economic growth. Together, we are helping to keep American jobs and the domestic economy secure.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions at sgrove@usps.gov.


To find out more about the USPS CONFIRM service, visit https://mailtracking.usps.com/mtr/confirmLaunch.pge or call the National Customer Support Center at 800-238-3150.