On Sunday, July 10. 2022, the new US Postal Service (USPS) postage rates and rules go into effect, so mailers need to act now to be properly prepared. For most mailers, the first day of mailing under the new rates will be Monday, July 11, 2022.
The current USPS price list – Notice 123 – is available on Postal Explorer as either an HTML or PDF document. Until July 10, the new rates are available for download as either an Excel or PDF file. The Excel file has a tab for each rate class, complete with Zone and weight tables.
We recommend organizations follow these steps in the next few weeks.
- Send an announcement. As soon as possible, send an announcement to your customers. If you manage a corporate mail operation, your customers are the departments you service. The notice should include an explanation of the new rates, and how the rates impact your customers’ costs. If your department or company helps mitigate postage expenses through better presort or changing classes of mail, this is the time to highlight those opportunities.
- Meet with USPS. Meet with your local USPS representatives, including the acceptance unit. Review the changes with the new postal statements, including electronic submission. If possible, meet with the Business Mail Acceptance unit manager or supervisor. Ensure that everyone is on the same page with any changes.
- Meet with your postage meter and software vendors. Include your programmers in meetings and on calls, to ensure they understand when and how the updates will be delivered, how to properly install the updates, and how to test the changes. Establish a phone tree for reporting and resolving any problems with the installation.
- Prepare your employees. Schedule training for your employees about the new rates. Review the new rates and forms for every category of mail your operation produces. Go over the update schedule for the meters and software, discussing any potential impact to production. Lastly, cover the actions your department will take directly before and after the new rates go into effect.
With the rates going to effect on a Sunday, managers can use the weekend for the transition. If possible, implement all changes by end-of-day on either July 8 (Monday through Friday operations) or July 9 (Monday through Saturday operations). Download and install meter and software updates from your vendors. Replace all internal and postage statement forms. Post reminders around your mail center about the new rates, including printed notices at the meters, the inserters, and the customer service desk. For corporate mail operations, post reminders at all internal mail stops.
On Monday, July 10, 2022, send another notice to your internal and external customers about the rate change. At the daily huddle with your employees, remind them about the changes and answer any last-minute questions. Inspect every meter to ensure the settings are correct; and review the testing the programmers completed on the software updates. Conduct additional quality control checks throughout the day. At the end of the day, have a manager or supervisor accompany the mail to the post office to answer any questions and resolve any problems.
The increase in postage rates will be a challenge for all organizations. By taking the appropriate steps now, and during the implementation weekend, managers can minimize the operational impact to their department.
Mark M. Fallon is president and CEO of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document processing strategies. The company develops customized solutions integrating proven management concepts with emerging technologies to achieve total process management. He offers a vision of the document that integrates technology, data quality, process integrity, and electronic delivery. His successes are based upon using leadership to implement innovative solutions in the document process. You can contact Mark at email@example.com.