Welcome to the RR Donnelley Postal Action Alert Blog!

Providing you with information on critical postal issues that you need to know about!

Postage plays such a vital role for mailers, as a matter of fact, for some mailers postage is more than 50% of their total campaign/marketing costs! RR Donnelley is fully aware of the impact that postal rates, regulation changes and structure alterations are having on your business. To support our customers we have created the RR Donnelley Postal Action Alert Blog. The goal of the Blog -

  • Supply you with information on critical USPS initiatives and what effect they may have on your business
  • Offer you actionable and clear steps on what you should do next to take advantage of the information
  • Provide you with access to industry-leading postal expertise that we have at RR Donnelley

07/14/2016

House Committee Approves Postal Reform Bills

Capital Bld 2On Tuesday, July 13, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted unanimously to approve HR 5714, the Postal Reform Act of 2016.   The Committee also approved HR 5707, the Postal Financial Improvement Act of 2016.   Washington insiders are hoping to get both bills to the House Floor for a vote in September 2016.

To review the bills in their entirety, please access the following the links:

HR 5714 - Postal Reform Act of 2016 – https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/The-Postal-Service-Reform-Act-of-2016.pdf

HR 5707 - Postal Financial Improvement Act of 2016 - https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/LYNCH_069_xml.pdf

In summary, points of interest to mailers include:

  • Allowing the Postal Service to increase postal rates by approximately 2.15% for market-dominant products - making permanent a partial reinstatement of the exigent surcharge
  • Requiring the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to complete its full review of the market-dominant rate system by January 1, 2018
  • Establishing priority factors for consideration in the PRC’s rate review
  • A phaseout of door delivery for new postal addresses and beginning a voluntary conversion to centralized, curbside, or sidewalk delivery of residential addresses
  • Authorizing the USPS to provide non-postal services to state, local, tribal and other federal agencies
  • Restructuring the Postal Service Board of Governors in both amount and term, and consolidate the Postal Service and PRC Offices of Inspector General into one body
  • Requiring Postal Service retirees and employees to be enrolled in Medicare to remain eligible for federal health care in retirement
  • Requiring the Postal Service to establish and appoint a Chief Innovation Officer

RR Donnelley will continue to provide you with important updates as they become available.

 

06/16/2016

PRC Approves 2017 USPS Postal Promotions

Postal Bld 2Today, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has approved the Postal Service’s request to offer six promotions throughout the 2017 calendar year.   The PRC stated that “proposed price adjustments for First-Class Mail and Standard Mail satisfy the applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.”

Click Here for a chart of the 2017 USPS Postal Promotions 

In summary, the approved promotions are:

  1. Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion: January – June 2017
  2. Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement Promotion: February – July 2017
  3. Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion: March – August 2017
  4. Direct Mail Starter Promotion: May – July 2017
  5. Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion: July – December 2017
  6. Mobile Shopping Promotion: August – December 2017

A copy of the PCR’s order including brief overviews of each of the promotions can be found at – http://www.prc.gov/docs/96/96296/Order%20No.%203373.pdf

 RR Donnelley offers a comprehensive range of mailing services that help you optimize your postage spend.   Please reach out to your RR Donnelley Account Representative to understand your most effective mailing strategies, as well as how best to take advantage of the Postal Service Promotions.

 

06/15/2016

House Committee Releases Postal Reform Draft

Capital BldToday, the House Oversight Committee introduced a bipartisan draft of postal reform legislation.   In releasing the draft, members also issued a statement noting the Postal Service's “dire financial shape” and that “Without reform now, the problems will only worsen and reform will become far more difficult to accomplish”.

Click Here to access a summary of the draft

The full discussion draft can be found at - https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Discussion-Draft-Postal-Service-Reform-Act.pdf

Stakeholders will have until June 29, 2016 to provide feedback and comments on the draft.   Comments can be submitted on the House Oversight Committee - Postal Reform website.

In summary, points of interest include:

  • Allowing the Postal Service to increase postal rates for market-dominant products by 2.15%, or $0.01 for a First-Class stamp
  • Requiring the PRC to complete its full review of the market-dominant rate system by January 1, 2018
  • Establishing priority factors for consideration in the PRC’s rate review
  • Directing the Postal Service to raise rates on loss-making monopoly products, subject to certain limitations
  • Requiring the voluntary conversion to centralized or cluster box delivery of residential addresses
  • Authorizing the Postal Service to provide non-postal services to state, local, tribal and other federal agencies
  • Requiring the Postal Service to establish and appoint a Chief Innovation Officer

RR Donnelley will continue to provide you with important updates as they become available.

 

05/17/2016

USPS Files For 2017 Promotional Approval

The Postal Service has filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) asking for approval on a 2017 Promotional Program as well as adjusting certain prices in the First-Class Mail Parcels product.   The 2017 program would consist of six separate promotions that would be held throughout the 2017 calendar year.   The Postal Service is seeking approval early to provide mailers with sufficient planning time to maximize program participation.

If approved, the 2017 promotions will begin January 1, 2017 and the First-Class Mail Parcels prices will take effect on August 28, 2016.

2017 Proposed Promotional Programs   Postal Deliver Round

The Postal Service has requested approval for six promotions - five of the promotions are the same or similar to the current 2016 promotions and one promotion is new: the Direct Mail Starter Promotion.

A brief summary of the proposed 2017 promotions are –

  1. Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion: January – June 2017

Mailers earn credit for qualifying Business Reply Mail (BRM), Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) and Alternate Postage with an Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb) counted during normal mail processing.

-  New in 2017 –

•  Alternate Postage pieces now included in the promotion

•  Credit has increased from $0.02/$0.03 per mailpiece scanned to $0.05 per mailpiece scanned

•  No additional credits will be offered to mailers that meet or increase their prior-year’s volume

  1. Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement Promotion: February – July 2017

Regular and Nonprofit Standard Mailers are encouraged to enhance customer engagement with the mail through the use of advanced print innovations in paper and stock, substrates, inks, and finishing techniques.   Qualifying mail will be eligible for an upfront 2% postage discount during the promotion period.

  1. Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion: March – August 2017

Mailers are encouraged to incorporate the use of digital technology such as Near Field Communication, “enhanced” Augmented Reality, Video in Print, Beacon technology, virtual reality and technology that facilitates programmatic and retargeting marketing strategies.   The mailpiece should allow the recipient to engage in an interactive experience using the mailpiece and a mobile device.   Qualifying mail will be eligible for an upfront 2% postage discount during the promotion period.

-  New in 2017 –

•  The inclusion of two new categories of emerging technology, virtual reality and technology that facilitates programmatic and retargeting marketing strategies

•  No A/B Testing option will offered

  1. New - Direct Mail Starter Promotion: May – July 2017

Small Business Regular and Nonprofit Standard Mailers are encouraged to design direct mail marketing campaigns that incorporate qualifying technology (such as a QR code), which leads the consumer to a mobile-optimized website.   Qualifying mail will be eligible for an upfront 5% postage discount during the promotion period.   No more than 10,000 pieces per mailer may receive the discount during the promotion period.

  1. Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion: July – December 2017

First-Class Mailers are encouraged to use dynamic/variable color messaging in order to foster a better connection with, and response from, customers.   Qualifying mail will be eligible for an upfront 2% postage discount during the promotion period.

-  New in 2017 –

•  Participants in prior year’s Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion must also either address the recipient by name or contain information relevant and specific to the recipient

  1. Mobile Shopping Promotion: August – December 2017

Regular and Nonprofit Standard Mailers are encouraged to integrate mobile technology into their direct mail pieces that facilitates an online shopping experience, and in turn, creates a convenient method for consumers to do their online shopping, particularly during the holiday season.   Qualifying mail will be eligible for an upfront 2% postage discount during the promotion period.

The complete Postal Service price filing can be found on the PRC website under the Daily Listings section:  http://www.prc.gov/dockets/daily

Click Here to view the proposed 2017 USPS Postal Promotions Overview Chart

RR Donnelley offers a comprehensive range of mailing services that help you optimize your postage spend.  Please reach out to your RR Donnelley Account Representative to understand your most effective mailing strategies, as well as how best to take advantage of the Postal Service Promotions.

_______________________________________

For additional information, or to discuss postal mailing strategies, please contact your

RR Donnelley account representative or find us on the web at www.rrdonnelley.com

 

02/25/2016

Exigent Rollback Set to Occur April 10

Postal Action Alert Banner 2015

Today, the Postal Service filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) that it intends to remove the exigent surcharge on Sunday, April 10, 2016.   Absent any court or legislative intervention, the postage rates for Market Dominant products will decrease approximately 4.3%.

In the filing, the USPS stated that as of February 14, 2016, it had collected an estimated $4.347 billion in cumulative surcharge revenue toward the mandated amount of $4.634 billion.   In order to estimate the exigent surcharge revenue that the USPS will collect between now and the beginning of April, the Postal Service relied on the same methodology it used in its second Biweekly Report. 

Mail Box W MailOnce the surcharge has been removed, postal prices will return to the Consumer Price Index-capped levels.    First-Class Mail prices will be adjusted to the following:

                                                                   Current                New Reduction

  • Letters (1 oz.)                                    $0.49                    $0.47
  • Letters additional ounces                  $0.22                    $0.21
  • Postcards                                          $0.35                    $0.34

Standard Mail, Periodicals and Package Services Commercial prices will also decrease - a complete listing of the new prices, effective April 10, is available at:  http://pe.usps.gov/default_html.asp

RR Donnelley offers a comprehensive range of mailing services that help you optimize your postage spend.  Please reach out to your RR Donnelley Account Representative to understand your most effective mailing strategies, as well as how best to take advantage of the exigent surcharge rollback.

_______________________________________

For additional information, or to discuss postal mailing strategies, please contact your

RR Donnelley account representative or find us on the web at www.rrdonnelley.com

 

02/05/2016

Exigent Surcharge Removal - Update

Postal Service SignOn February 1, 2016, the Postal Service filed its first bi-weekly exigent surcharge collection report with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).   As of January 31, the Postal Service has collected $4.257 billion in surcharge revenue.   This leaves $377 million in surcharge revenue left to be collected toward the mandated amount of $4.634 billion.

Supporting what Postmaster General Megan Brennan announced in January, the Postal Service estimates the removal of the exigent surcharge to be early April 2016.   The next bi-weekly report is scheduled to be filed on February 16, 2016.

Due to fluctuation in the USPS daily revenue, the USPS does not have an official price change date at this time.   However, once determined, the USPS will provide the mailing industry with a 45-day notice.

Today, in preparation for the exigent surcharge removal, the Postal Service released a draft of the new postage prices.   The published price charts can be found at - http://pe.usps.gov/default_html.asp   The charts show the postage price reduction with the exigency rollback expected in April 2016 absent any congressional or court action.   This information has been released to the mailing industry prior to the USPS filing its new rates with the PRC and may be subject to change.

RR Donnelley will continue to provide you with important updates as they become available.

 

 

01/19/2016

Exigent Rollback Anticipated to Occur in April

Postal Action Alert Banner 2015

The mailing industry was interested to learn that the long anticipated exigent surcharge removal could be upon us in early April 2016.   During last week’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meeting, Postmaster General (PMG) Megan Brennan told the group that the USPS currently estimates the exigency surcharge price rollback of 4.3% to occur the first week of April.   The PMG further committed to providing notification at least 45 days in advance, which she said would likely occur around the end of February.

When the rollback occurs, mailers are expecting to see the full 4.3% decrease in current postage prices due directly to the surcharge removal.   The Postal Service stated back in November of 2015 that it would not seek a general CPI increase on Market Dominant Products in 2016.

As background: 

  • In December of 2013, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) granted the Postal Service’s request for an exigent rate increase to collect $2.8 billion in 2014 after-rates contribution (profit). The 4.3% exigent rate increase went into effect on January 26, 2014.
  • USPS PictIn July of 2015, the PRC responded to a court order and allowed the Postal Service to collect an additional $1.191 billion in contribution loss – or $1.396 billion in additional revenue. Therefore, the surcharge remained in the base rates and brought the total revenue lost “due to” the recession to $4.634 billion.
  • On January 15, the PRC issued an Order on the USPS’ surcharge revenue reporting. In the Order, the Commission directed the USPS to provide 45 days notice before the rollback and to begin providing bi-weekly estimates of the incremental and cumulative surcharge revenue beginning February 1, 2016.

Absent any court or legislative intervention, the postage rates for Market Dominant products will decrease by 4.3% in early April.

USPS’ Exigency Appeal

  • Last August, the Postal Service filed a petition with the DC Court of Appeals, seeking review of the PRC’s July 29 order that allowed the USPS to collect an additional $1.396 billion in surcharge revenue. On January 4, the Postal Service submitted its brief to the DC Court of Appeals in support of the appeal.
  • Industry and association legal experts continue to believe that the USPS does not have a strong case since the PRC followed the court’s orders explicitly. The above mentioned brief provided no new evidence or significant arguments to the contrary.
  • The Court’s procedural schedule calls for PRC briefs to be filed by February 3, but they are seeking a three-week extension.  As this drags on, it becomes less and less likely that the Appeals Court would act prior to the exigent rollback.

Legislative Outlook

  • In September 2015, Senator Tom Carper introduced a comprehensive postal reform bill titled “The Improving Postal Operations Service & Transparency Act of 2015” or iPOST. The rates provision of the bill calls for baked in exigency and a rates freeze until January of 2018.   However, to-date, the bill has only three co-sponsors and does not have the support of the committee Chairman.
  • This week, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee is holding a hearing titled “Laying out the Reality of the United States Postal Service” with testimony from Postmaster General Megan Brennan and Acting PRC Chairman Robert Taub, among others.
  • As of today, there is no indication that the House is planning to introduce postal legislation in the near term.
  • The Postal Service, along with its unions and some from the mailing industry, continue to push for legislative reforms that include making the exigent surcharge permanent. At this point, no measurable progress has been made from these efforts.

RR Donnelley continues to participate in industry coalitions and advocate for sensible postal reforms that will enable a sustainable future for the Postal Service.

We offer a comprehensive range of mailing services that help you optimize your postage spend.  Please reach out to your RR Donnelley Account Representative to understand your most effective mailing strategies, as well as how best to take advantage of the exigent surcharge rollback.

RR Donnelley will continue to provide you with important updates as they become available.

_______________________________________

For additional information, or to discuss postal mailing strategies, please contact your

RR Donnelley account representative or find us on the web at www.rrdonnelley.com

 

12/10/2015

PRC Approves USPS 2016 Postal Promotions

Postal BldToday the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved the Postal Service's request for five postal promotions that will take place throughout the 2016 calendar year.   The USPS used its unused rate authority to support the cost of the promotions.   The 2016 postal promotions offer mailers a 2% upfront discount on qualifying mailpieces, with the exception of the Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion that offers mailers either a $0.02 or $0.03 rebate credit on qualifying reply mailpieces.

Registration for the first set of promotions is scheduled to open on January 15, 2016 with a program start date of March 1, 2016.   Approved postal promotions include:

  1. Emerging and Advanced Technology/Video in Print Promotion – March – August 2016
  2. Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement Promotion – March – August 2016
  3. Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion – April – June 2016
  4. Mobile Shopping Promotion – July – December 2016
  5. Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion – July – December 2016

Click Here to view USPS 2016 Promotional Summary Chart

RR Donnelley offers a comprehensive range of mailing services that help you optimize your postage spend.  Please reach out to your RR Donnelley Account Representative to understand your most effective mailing strategies, as well as how best to take advantage of USPS promotions and workshare programs.

11/19/2015

USPS States No 2016 General Mailing Price Increase

PostalOn Tuesday, November 17, the US Postal Service publicly announced, during the Postmaster General’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meeting that there would be no general price increase for Letter and Flat mail in 2016.   The USPS has price adjustment authority associated with changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) on market-dominant products.   Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPI rate as of October 15, 2015 is 0.311%.

During the committee meeting, Jim Cochrane, Acting Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for the USPS, stated that the USPS is open to an overall “revenue-neutral” rate case in 2016 designed to fix pricing anomalies caused by the 2015 rate changes.  Jim reminded the MTAC that within a revenue-neutral price change, some would go up and others would go down.  In other words, there would be “winners and losers”.

Further, both Jim Cochrane and the USPS Chief Financial Officer, Joe Corbett, conceded that the 4.3% exigent surcharge will most likely be rolled back around April 2016 when the target revenue is reached per the July 29, 2015 ruling by the Postal Regulatory Commission.

RR Donnelley will continue to provide you with important updates as they become available.

 

11/17/2015

USPS Files for 2016 Promotion Approval

Postal Action Alert Banner 2015

The U.S. Postal Service® has filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for approval on five promotional discounts to be offered in calendar year 2016.   The 2016 proposed promotions range from 3 to 6 months in duration, starting as early as March 1, 2016.   The proposed promotions are a continuation, with certain updates to some of the promotions, of the current 2015 Promotions.

The five promotions developed for 2016 are:  USPS 2016 Proposed Promotions Summary

  1. Emerging and Advanced Technology/Video in Print Promotion
  2. Mobile Shopping Promotion
  3. Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement Promotion
  4. Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion
  5. Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion

In its release, the Postal Service stated, “The general purpose of the 2016 Promotions is to encourage marketers, printers, and mailers to utilize new technology and tools that leverage and build upon the implicit value of a physical mailpiece.  This in turn will drive response rates and the overall return on the mailer’s investment in mail.” 

The complete filing is available at http://www.prc.gov/dockets/document/93776

The PRC can take up to 45 days to review and take action on the filing.

Please reach out to your RR Donnelley Account Representative to help you determine how best to take advantage of the proposed USPS promotions and workshare programs that may help optimize postage spends and increase response in 2016.

RR Donnelley will continue to provide you with important updates as they become available.

_______________________________________

For additional information, or to discuss postal mailing strategies, please contact your

RR Donnelley account representative or find us on the web at www.rrdonnelley.com

 


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