Friday, April 22, 2011

Follow Up on the Post Office Update for April 2011

Follow Up on the Post Office Update for April 2011
The recent April 2011 Post Office rate and service update underlined a couple of points that serve as good reminders for future updates.

Be sure to update your shipping system on time. This is important since the Post Office is different from the other carriers. The carriers that send a bill for shipping will always calculate the bills correctly even if the shipping system is not updated to show the latest rates. But with the Post Office, the postage that is applied to a package (or the manifest) has to be right for the day the package is taken by the Post Office, not just on the day the postage is applied. This gets tricky when the update is on a Sunday, you ship on the Saturday before but won’t give the Post Office the packages until Monday. I think the only exception to this is the “Forever” First-Class letter stamp that you can use anytime. But that’s not much help for package and envelope shippers.

And for good measure, test your update by checking a rate that you are familiar with to be sure your update installed correctly. Normally, the best way to do this is to start up your shipping system on the day of the update. It’s hard to get away from this procedure when everything needs to take effect on a specific date.

Next, if you use any application for Internet Postage, be sure to update it, also. There will almost always be an update for Internet Postage software when there is a rate/service change. Run your shipping system updates on time and you should be set when the rates go into effect.

A note about the new First-Class Mail Commercial Plus Parcel pricing-

The Post Office is treating the new First-Class Mail Commercial Plus Parcel pricing two different ways, and this has been a little confusing. This service applies to very high volume shippers for companies that qualify specifically for these rates and sign a contract. The Commercial Plus rates apply to all packages from 3.5 ounces to 15.99 ounces. The new First-Class Mail Commercial Base Parcel pricing is for lightweight packages from 1 to 13 ounces. The Post Office has just clarified that, if a shipper prefers, the new First-Class Mail Commercial Base rates can be used for packages up to 13 ounces and the Commercial Plus rates can be used for those between 13 and 15.99 ounces. Since the single Commercial Plus price is higher than the highest Commercial Base price, it doesn’t appear obvious why anyone would pay more and this has led to some confusion. The price advantage for First-Class Commercial Plus parcels is in the weight range between 13 up to 15.99 ounces.

If you are lucky enough to have the shipping volume to qualify for the Commercial Plus pricing, to take advantage this or any discounted USPS service, a shipper still must be using either manifesting or Internet Postage. Harvey Software's CPS Shipping Software is a multiple carrier shipping system that handles both. And simply using Internet Postage or manifesting with CPS immediately qualifies the shipper for a number of discounts, even if not at the highest Commercial Plus discount level.

A multiple carrier shipping system can help leverage Post Office services to their best advantage for your shipping. For more information about CPS, visit

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