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April 1 2013 06:15 PM

Innovation and the value of mail were the common themes that ran through all of the topics covered at the National Postal Forum, held in March in San Francisco. Presentations and demonstrations on the show floor included things like the Digital MyPost project, a parcel portal that ties an online experience to parcel marketing and delivery, with USPS Digital marketing efforts just starting to build some steam. Cross channel marketing, the use of technology to tie in to the mail piece delivery experience. Overall, there was a sense of excitement and a willingness to embrace changes amongst the attendees I talked with.

One of the most important messages that was woven throughout many of the programs and presentations centered around Full Service Intelligent Mail, and the fact the USPS fully intends to implement the requirement for Full Service in January 2014. USPS Presenters, including VP of Product Information Jim Cochrane, made it clear in no uncertain terms that the requirement date was not going to be pushed back. Service Performance is one area in particular that has reaped clear benefits from the utilization of information that comes with Full Service Intelligent mail barcode use. As the USPS improves service, they also become reliant on the data, and recognize the value internally to the Full Service requirement date being met. If you are stalling on Full Service, the time to start has passed, the clock is ticking and that is the route you need to take.

5 Day Delivery was also a prevalent topic, even with the uncertainty of what exactly will happen in August. The Postal Service continues to plan for 5 day mail/6 day package delivery, regardless as to Congressional action (or inaction). USPS VP of Network Operations David Williams assured both mail owners and mail service providers that mail would continue to be processed, even on non-delivery days, just as it is now. No changes are expected to current acceptance processes.

Many 5 day delivery questions remain to be answered, including Saturday postmarking practices, and PO Box processing flows. An open forum for Q & A showed that many questions still need to be worked out. USPS/Industry communications will be key moving forward, however this tangled web turns out.

Next year's National Postal Forum will be held in Washington DC on March 16-19th. Mark your calendars!