Randy Weiler, SPC’s Director of Postal Affairs and Logistics, is here to help you navigate the labyrinth of the USPS. What does it take to efficiently move your projects through the USPS system? What efficiencies can you gain from SPC’s lettershop expertise? Who determines postal increases?
Every month, Randy fields your burning questions about mail and postal affairs in a Q&A format. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a question via Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #AskRandyUSPS. We post the questions and his answers each month both here on the SPC blog and on social media.
1. What are the different types of USPS mailing facilities?
Answer: 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 is local entry and how does it affect my postage?
Answer: Local Entry Marketing mail (sometimes called Origin Mail) is mail that is not shipped by the mailer to USPS Destination Entry Facilities (typically NDCs or SCFs).
This is usually due to insufficient volume to create a pallet to the destination entry or because the cost of shipping exceeds the destination entry postage savings. For Marketing class mail, local entry has the highest cost per piece. This occurs because the USPS has to handle this mail many more times than mail that is shipped direct to USPS Destination Entry facilities. It’s worth noting that all first class mail is local entry.
3. What villain do you really feel bad for?
Answer: Swiper from Dora the Explorer.
He always gets so close but never ends up with Dora’s belongings. “Oh Man.”
4. What are the new USPS NCOA requirements moving into 2018?
Answer: There is nothing new regarding NCOA requirements in 2018.
What is new, however, is how the USPS measures Address Quality. Moving away from MERLIN (Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup INstrument), the USPS will now measure address quality as mail pieces travel through USPS automated equipment. The allowable threshold for pieces that were not address-corrected has been lowered by the USPS to 0.5% of all mail. The USPS may assess penalties to all pieces exceeding the threshold. This is applied to a mail submitter’s entire volume—one job could impact all jobs.
Having NCOA run on a mail file within 95 days of mailing is one of the acceptable USPS address correction processes, and if done the mailing should meet the USPS threshold.
Director Postal Affairs and Logistics