Cool Tools on usps.com
Shipping Assistant, a free desktop shipping solution available at www.usps.com, has been enhanced with added capabilities and a more user-friendly interface. It's like having your own personal shipping department. You can create professional looking, accurately addressed labels, compare rates, calculate estimated delivery times, verify deliveries by adding a Delivery Confirmation barcode for tracking, request free Carrier Pickup and so much more.
Barcoding your items is an important feature in increased visibility and tracking through the mail stream. With Shipping Assistant, you can add a Delivery Confirmation barcode to each Priority Mail label for free. For a small fee, a Signature Confirmation label can be added to your package, all from your desktop.
Shipping Assistant allows you to store an unlimited amount of frequently used addresses in a fully integrated address book. With the 3.0 version of Shipping Assistant launched in October 2006, you can verify and add the recipient's address to the address book with an easy click of the mouse. The application will compare the address you enter to the USPS list of known addresses. If the address is entered incorrectly, the verification will automatically update the address fields with the correct information, such as ZIP Code, street name, etc. Improving address quality helps mail reach its intended recipients and helps mailers receive maximum return on their investments. This service also allows you to import customers' addresses directly from USPS Click-N-Ship or from another application.
Another special feature with Shipping Assistant is a ZIP Code, or city-state look-up option. As stated above, Shipping Assistant will verify each address you use for each customer label that you print and store the correct information for future use.
There are both online and off-line features in Shipping Assistant. If your computer is off-line when you need to create a label, the system will save your information for you. The next time you connect online, all your address information will automatically download and your data will be updated.
Through Shipping Assistant, you can print labels in conjunction with Express Mail (domestic and international), Priority Mail (domestic and international), First-Class Mail (domestic and international), Parcel Post, Media Mail, Library Mail and Bound Printed Matter. You can also select between classes based on a comparison of both rates and time in transit. When choosing Express Mail, Shipping Assistant will show you the service commitment to the destination address as well as to other nearby Post Offices. Express Mail Post Office to Post Office service will allow your item to be picked up by in many locations.
Starting in October, 2007 customers who use the K700 digital postage meter from Pitney Bowes will be able to access the application from their workstations and print postage directly through Shipping Assistant. This new feature means you can fulfill your mailing needs all via a single solution on your desktop. The Two-Up Functionality of Shipping Assistant 3.1 allows users to print two 4" x 6" labels side-by-side on one sheet of paper. That cuts printing label time in half.
With this latest release, Shipping Assistant will allow mailers to create and print Express Mail Open and Distribute or Priority Mail Open and Distribute 4" x 6" labels using a unique customer identifier and specifying the address of destination. Express Mail and Priority Mail Open and Distribute are ways to expedite movement of any other class or sub-class of mail between domestic postal facilities. The shipment receives Express Mail or Priority Mail service from the origin postal facility to the destination postal facility. The packages are then removed from their container and processed to their destination. For more information on our Open and Distribute service, please visit usps.com and review the Domestic Mail Manual Section 705.
Flat rate options for Priority Mail and Express Mail are now available for both domestic and international shipping so you won't even need a scale to ship your packages. To install USPS Shipping Assistant 3.1, you'll need at least 7 MB of space on your desktop computer. Visit usps.com for more details.
Now that you have your own personal shipping department, grab a cup of coffee and chill.
Shoshana Grove works with USPS Package Services and has 27 years of experience as a letter carrier and also a Postmaster. Contact Shoshana at email@example.com.