The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in the process of re-aligning their network of mail processing and transportation facilities. This is being done in an effort to streamline processes and reduce costs, as well as to reflect the drop in mail volume these facilities are handling. One of the most recent examples of this initiative was the change of Bulk Mail Centers (BMC's) to Network Distribution Centers (NDC's).
As a result of this initiative, there are constant changes to the network of postal facilities and as mailers it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with all the changes. Our businesses are complex enough without having to deal with mail acceptance issues or delays in mailings caused by using the wrong postal facility information when mail is prepared or drop shipped.
Luckily, there are a number of resources available to help mailers, presort services and transportation companies keep up-to-date on drop shipping and labeling list data. First, there are the tried and true Labeling Lists, which are published in the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM). This information will help ensure that you are placing the proper facility information on mailpieces and container labels to make sure the mail is prepared properly.
Another great resource is the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST) directory on the USPS web site. This directory allows you to look up postal facility information in a number of different ways, and provides detailed information about the facilities, such as classes of mail processed, physical address, hours of operation, types of trailers accepted, etc. You can also access both Labeling List and Drop Ship in file format if you need data for numerous facilities. FAST is also used to schedule drop ship appointments.
If you are having difficulty in accessing any of these resources, have questions on how the USPS network of facilities works or are experiencing problems, another good source of information is the USPS Business Service Network.
Ideally, the mailer's software product should let you automatically update Drop Ship data and Labeling List data as changes are made on the USPS website. For mailers who process drop shipments of pallets of mail or PMOD Priority Mail Open and Distribute mailings, having up-to-date information on drop ship redirection file and labeling list data is a critical part of their operation. Using updated data helps them profit by making sure their handling units and containers go to the right place with the correct codes.
Having the ability to update the data electronically and automatically at a set schedule will allow mailers to reduce errors as well as save time and labor spent on updating each change manually. This will not only be a real time saver, but help ensure that the labeling list and drop ship data in your software is always up-to-date.
Posted on November 23, 2018