According to the PostalPro website, the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) “is a venue for the United States Postal Service to share technical information with mailers, and to receive their advice and recommendations on matters concerning mail-related products and services, in order to enhance customer value and expand the use of these products and services for the mutual benefit of Mailing Industry stakeholders and the Postal Service.”
In plain English, MTAC is an opportunity for mailers to directly interact with US Postal Service (USPS) senior management on new and existing programs. What’s important to note is that companies and individuals aren’t the members. Associations are the members, and they appoint people to represent them. For example, IPMA is the member and Mike Loyd is the association executive. Beginning in 2023, I will serve as one of the additional representatives, along with Richard Silver and Michael Furey.
MTAC conducts activities through Focus Areas, Mail Shape Groups, User Groups, Work Groups, and Task Teams. The Focus Areas direct most of the conversation in the quarterly meetings. Members can report systematic issues – not individual mailing complaints – to the appropriate area leaders. Past issues have included mail in measurement, availability of mail transport equipment, and package tracking.
The three Focus Areas are:
- Entry, Payment, Product Solutions
- Network Operations
- Data, Technology, Addressing
Additionally, within these areas are the Mail Shape categories:
- Letters, First-Class Mail
- Letters, USPS Marketing Mail
- Flats, Periodicals
- Flats, USPS Marketing Mail & Bound Printed Matter (BPM)
The User Groups and Work Groups meet on a regular basis to discuss improvements to postal products and services. Conversely, Task Teams (TT) are formed to address as specific issue. When the issue has been addressed, the Task Team closes, and issues a report to the entirety of MTAC.
For example, there is “TT36 – Electronic Data Delegation for Postage Statement Data to eDoc Submitter”. This Task team’s mission is to develop IV MTR feed availability for the eDoc submitter to request the same postage statement information they can download in PostalOne! This is currently done manually and industry requests data available electronically.
The entire MTAC membership meets at USPS headquarters for a 2-day (Tuesday-Wednesday) meeting.
At the quarterly meetings, the Tuesday session is held from 1:00pm – 5:00pm and is open to the public. It is used by the USPS leadership to share information with mailers. Often, not always, the Postmaster General will address the audience. Additionally, a guest speaker will present on “postal adjacent” issues. Past speakers have included the president of the national trucking association, experts on paper manufacturing and vote by mail. Most of the presentations are recorded, and posted on PostalPro.
Wednesday is a full day, with the sessions run by industry. The day is broken up by the three Focus Areas. The leaders track issues, requests, postal responses etc. on each subject. Unlike the Tuesday sessions, the Wednesday sessions are not recorded. That is to allow for open and honest discussion between industry and postal representatives.
The MTAC quarterly meetings for 2023 will be held:
- January 31 – February 1
- March 28 – 29
- July 18 – 19
- October 17 – 18
If you have any questions relating to MTAC, please reach out to IPMA.
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.