Ask Randy: The Best of 2018

It’s been a year of USPS secrets revealed by our own postal expert, Randy Weiler, SPC’s Director of Postal Affairs and Logistics. Looking back upon the nuggets of wisdom he has shared with our readers, we thought it appropriate to revisit the best questions and answers from 2018:

1) What are the different types of USPS mailing facilities? (Vol 3)

There are many different types of USPS mailing facilities. Let’s take a look at the main four:

  • NDC(National Distribution Center), 21 locations: A large mail processing center that serves a fairly extensive regional area. Postage discount for shipping marketing letters to NDCs is $.024/pc versus local entry.
  • ASF(Auxiliary Service Facility), 8 locations: A fairly large regional mail processing facility that has its own service area. ASFs also serve as satellite processing hubs for certain NDCs. Postage discount for shipping marketing letters to ASF is $.024/pc versus local entry.
  • SCF (Sectional Center Facility), 195 locations: A mail processing and distribution center that serves a distinct area defined by one or more 3-digit ZIP Codes. Postage discount for shipping marketing letters to SCFs is $.031/pc versus local entry.
  • DDU(Destination Delivery Unit), 31,615 locations: A mail processing and distribution center that serves a distinct area defined by one or more 5-digit ZIP Codes. Only carrier route eligible flat sized Marketing mail can deliver to DDU locations. Postage discount for shipping carrier route marketing flats to DDUs is $.063/pc versus local entry.
2) What are the benefits of using Intelligent Mail Barcodes when mailing? (Vol 10)

The benefits of using an intelligent mail barcode (IMb) on a mail piece are numerous.

  • Automation:Having an IMb generally means that a mail piece is eligible for a USPS automated rate. There may be times when this is not true, such as IMb location, mail piece design flaws, or address quality.
  • Mail Tracking:The USPS can provide data on mail piece delivery using the data imbedded in the IMb.
  • Address Change Service (ACS):The USPC can provide data on Change of Address or Undeliverable as Addressed information using the data imbedded in the IMb.
  • Mail Ownership:The Mailer ID of either the mail service provider or mail owner is contained within the IMb. This information can be used by the USPS to contact the mail owner should there be any concerns with a mailing as it travels through the USPS system.
  • Service Type:Also contained in the IMb is the Service Type Identifier (STID) which provides the USPS information and direction on the mail class as well as mail tracing, mail forwarding, and address correction.
3) What resources are available for customers to become educated on postal standards? (Vol 9)

There are many resources available for individuals looking to learn more about the USPS, mail piece design, mail pricing and processing. Below are some of my favorites:

  • Postalpro.usps.comPostal Pro is a great website with a powerful search engine to look up USPS topics.
  • Pe.usps.comPostal Explore is my go-to USPS website. Postal pricing tools, access to the Domestic Mail Manual, Quick Service Guides and many other tools are available on this site.
  • PCC:Your local Postal Customer Council is a wonderful way to interact with other mailing professionals. In the Chicago area, it’s worth checking out both the Northern Illinois and Chicago
4) I just saw where the post office is going to start regulating Marketing Mail to paper based products only. How does this affect items such as scratch off stickers and post-it notes? (Submitted by Rick DeCollo, Monster Mailers) (Vol 9)

The proposal by the USPS is just that right now. The PRC is taking comments on this proposal.

Once that is all fleshed out, the entire scope and meaning of “Paper Products” will be more clearly defined. I personally feel that scratch off stickers and post-it notes are ”Paper Products“ and will be allowable.

5) Where on my mail piece can I affix an object (a card, magnet, etc.)? (Vol 7)

It depends on the type of mailpiece being produced.

  • Self-mailer: Interior attachments must be .5” from the edges of the mailpiece.
  • Sealed envelopes: Interior attachments are not restricted to any location.
  • For the exteriors of any mail type, only clean release attachments and repositionable notes (RPN) are allowed. The allowable locations vary by piece type.
6) What is the status of the USPS moving to a five-day delivery? (Vol 6)

The idea of the USPS potentially moving to five-day delivery has been floating around for quite some time now. Proponents suggest that it will help trim USPS costs in the face of decreasing letter delivery, without sacrificing significant service. But given the importance of package delivery to the USPS at the moment, and the ongoing consumer desire to receive packages ASAP, I personally feel a five-day delivery concept has been sidelined for now.

7) What happens to mail addressed to residences that are destroyed or become uninhabitable due to a natural disaster? (Submitted by Brian Ford, Epsilon) (Vol 5)

Initially this mail would be held at the 5-digit delivery office for the mail recipient. After the route is resumed the mail carrier would note which mail pieces are no longer deliverable.

These pieces would then route back to the USPS as Nixie Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA). Eventually these addresses are entered into the global USPS software as undeliverable. The USPS will look for Change of Address (COA) information on these recipients. In absence of such they would just result in an undeliverable hit when NCOA is run.

8) Up close and personal with Randy Weiler

Number of mail pieces he has managed into the USPS: More than 3.1 Billion

Favorite dessert: Coconut Cream Pie

Favorite Pizza Style: Thin Crust

Favorite Movie: Goodfellas

Best piece of direct mail you’ve ever received: For me, mail pieces, even of a marketing nature, that are relevant to life experience leave a lasting impression. As weird as it may sound, thinking back, the mailpieces that I most remember were from Target, which arrived shortly after the birth of my children, offering discounts on baby related items; diapers, formula, wipes, etc.



Randy Weiler
Director Postal Affairs and Logistics

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