September 30, 2020

The USPS again exceeded its revenue plan in August due to increased parcel volume. Last week the Postal Service delivered Quad customers’ mail earlier than we’ve seen recently. But for these and other factors, “better” does not mean a return to peak performance. We look ahead at how these trends are taking shape in the biweekly postal update — and in our free webcast on Thursday, October 1. “Prep for Delivery Performance: How to Make the Most of USPS Changes” reviews what we’ve seen in the four phases of 2020, relative to the pandemic. The team will then forecast what will happen between now and the election, and for the holiday season.

Quad’s Postal Affairs team remains committed to keeping you up to date and informed. As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information regarding the state of the USPS and suggest best practices during this time. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team if you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting to the pandemic. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Quad Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or ask your Quad representative.

Here are the developments since our last update:

USPS Releases August 2020 Financial Results

Preliminary financial performance results for the month of August 2020 tell us that the Postal Service continues to exceed revenue expectations. It’s overall revenue was up 4.2% over August 2019 and expenses declined 16% versus last year. The net loss was “only” $278 million — last August’s net loss was $1.7 billion.

While this looks like good news, the USPS is still losing hundreds of millions of dollars per month. We renew our call on Congress to act in the Postal Service’s best interest, which is in the best interest of our nation’s economy. For more on what the government has and has not done for the USPS, watch a recording of Quad’s first postal webcast on-demand.

USPS proposes new rule for data files

Per the USPS: “The Postal Service is proposing a database product cycle that aligns with the release of other mailing products. This will provide consistency across all mailing products and the method by which the data files are available and distributed. This proposal would require the use of monthly updates for both carrier route and non-carrier route mailings and would reduce the risk of using data that is no longer current.”

This proposal has generated internal discussion at Quad about what it means for our customers. From the standpoint of best practices, the rule makes sense. It will improve mail quality. But it will likely affect customers that produce and presort mail that doesn’t go out immediately. Quad representatives will work closely with our mail customers to determine the best course of action for each business’s goals.

Quad meets with the PRC and OIG

Quad leaders met with the Postal Regulatory Commission and the Office of Inspector General to discuss our own experience with mail through COVID-19, and how the Postal Service’s handling of the pandemic has affected mail programs for our customers. We’re grateful for the opportunities and look forward to the OIG’s full impartial report on how the USPS has handled the current crisis. They’ll publish findings in early 2021.

Join the Thursday webcast to learn more about what we shared and discussed with these important and influential government bodies.

Postal volume

As always, weekly numbers reflect change from the same period last year, and are not indicative of trends. Note that these numbers don’t reflect the entire week yet. And while periodicals are down significantly, they should be viewed over an entire month — most magazine titles publish monthly.

  • Single Piece: Down 11.5%
  • Presort First Class: Down 4.7%
  • Marketing Mail: Down 4.7%
  • Periodicals: Down 39%

Quad USPS performance data

Our Postal Solutions teams tracked Quad customer mail at about the same rate last week as the week of Labor Day. That’s significantly slower than we’ve seen since mid-August.

The USPS did deliver more pieces in-home earlier, on the first two days after it received mail from Quad. However our data indicates that this was because Quad transported mail to Postal Service facilities faster.

Quad’s Delivery Tracking Senior Manager, Maureen Noe will join the discussion on Thursday’s webcast with detailed information about what her team has seen, and what she anticipates for delivery performance through the end of this year.


September 17, 2020

The USPS hasn’t released numbers for the week of Labor Day and Congress didn’t pass any stimulus bills, which could have benefited the Postal Service. But there’s plenty of information to cover with storms on the Gulf Coast and election mail being processed in several states.

Quad’s Postal Affairs team remains committed to keeping you up to date and informed. As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information regarding the state of the USPS and suggest best practices during this time. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team if you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting to the pandemic. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Quad Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or ask your Quad representative.

Here are the developments since our last update:

Marketing mail embargo for zip 706

Hurricane Laura continues to affect delivery on the Gulf Coast. Today we wait to learn how Hurricane Sally could bring further challenges. Carriers in Louisiana are returning to their offices with 70% of the mail they take out on their routes — they’re simply unable to deliver to addresses in the southwestern part of the state, which was hit hardest by Laura.

We’ve been asked to stop any mail en route to the USPS for zip 706, as local delivery units are unable to hold the mail. This also affects zip 705, which is covered by SCF Lafayette and combined with 706 on pallets and in bundles or trays. We’ll remove mail for zip 706 files that we haven’t produced yet to curb the impacts for other zips until the USPS lifts the embargo.

Delivery performance update

Overall delivery performance improved again last week, with faster in-home dates for Quad mail. PMG DeJoy reversed some July cost-cutting measures on August 18 — in that time, we’ve experienced better performance each week. But it’s not as good as it was last year, or even before measures took effect on July 13.

Letters

Days from arrival at USPS facility to in-homeAverage Before 7/13Average 7/13 – 8/16Average 8/17 – Current
116%6%12%
262%31%58%
390%71%88%
496%89%95%
598%95%97%
699%98%97%
7100%99%99%
8100%100%100%

Flats

Days from arrival at USPS facility to in-homeAverage Before 7/13Average 7/13 – 8/16Average 8/17 – Current
116%6%10%
255%39%51%
385%75%83%
494%91%93%
597%96%96%
698%98%97%
799%99%99%
8100%99%100%

It’s difficult to know what’s causing delays in many cases of slower moving facilities. The USPS cites COVID-19 in some cases where there are no reported outbreaks. But we continue to closely monitor delivery performance and set strategy and expectations for customers accordingly.

Political Mail, Ballot Mail and Election Mail — what you need to know

What do USPS customers handling these types of mail need to be aware of? To begin with, note that there are no unique eDoc specifications for Ballot Mail. Ballot Mail should be reported as “EM,” just like other Election Mail.

Please note that the USPS 3602 form only asks the mailer these questions:

  • This is a Political Campaign Mailing (Yes/No)
  • This is Official Election Mail (Yes/No)

These questions do not distinguish between ballots and other non-ballot Election mail (e.g. voter registration cards, absentee voting applications and polling place notifications); which should be reported as “Election Mail = Yes”.

Comparable questions exist on the USPS FAST web page for making a new appointment, where it asks:

  • Includes Political Mail (Yes/No)
  • Includes Election Mail (Yes/No)

We’ve heard about confusion with terms. Simply put, all Ballot Mail is a subset of Election Mail.

Finally, in terms of STIDs,

  • There are special STIDs meant for use with Political Mail
  • There are special STIDs meant for use with Ballot mail
  • For other non-ballot Election Mail, the mailer should use ordinary STIDs. See the explanation starting on page 6 of the STID guide here.
STIDseDocFast
Political
Fast
Election
3602
Political
3602
Election
Political MailPoliticalPM (Political Mail)YESNOYESNO
Ballot MailBallotEM (Election Mail)NOYESNOYES
Election MailRegularEM (Election Mail)NOYESNOYES

Quad’s Postal Webcast Series

The first in our three-part virtual series of discussions took place on Thursday, September 17. Watch the recording anytime if you missed it or want to revisit what experts had to say on the topics of Congress, COVID-19 and capacity.

Register for the upcoming no-fee installments on the USPS State of Affairs:

  • Prep for Delivery Performance: How to Make the Most of USPS Changes (October 1)
  • What to Expect When You’re Budgeting: USPS Pricing Outlook for 2021 (October 15)

Virtual PCC event — Get Connected and Grow

The annual National Postal Customer Council (PCC) event is virtual this year, with Postal Service officers, executives and PCC leaders available to the nation’s mailers for discussion on the USPS strategic vision.

Register here for the 2020 event taking place on Tuesday, September 22, starting at 2:00 Eastern.

Expect speakers to share mailing and shipping best practices, ways to make mail part of a successful multichannel marketing mix, breakout sessions, and opportunities to discuss concerns and challenges. The PCC promises to unveil two major initiatives for the community of postal customers.


September 2, 2020

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy made comments and answered questions before committees in both houses of Congress over the past two weeks. He said the USPS is hitting pause on many of the higher profile changes until after the election. Meanwhile, Joel Quadracci sent a letter to legislators across the country, strongly urging action for common-sense reform to laws that hurt the Postal Service. We’ve seen improvements in processing speed for our customers’ mail over the past two weeks. And the USPS Board of Governors has established a committee to oversee election mail.

Quad’s Postal Affairs team remains committed to keeping you up to date and informed. As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information regarding the state of the USPS and suggest best practices during this time. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team if you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting to the pandemic. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Quad Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or ask your Quad representative.

Here are the developments since our last update:

PMG Congressional hearings

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy made statements and answered questions before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs on August 21, then the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on August 24. If there was any news coming out of the hearings, it’s that the PMG paused many of the changes proposed since he took the position in June. Cost-cutting moves are on hold until after the election, including a freeze on overtime and carriers making multiple trips on their routes, removing mailboxes for repair, and taking processing equipment offline with volume down. DeJoy stated that these were all moves to cut expenses, Congress and the PRC need to act on recommendations and legislation, and the USPS is committed to helping run a safe, fair and efficient operation for election mail in the coming months.

Quad urges Congressional action

While we wait for Congress to finally take up any common-sense legislation, Joel Quadracci, Quad’s Chairman, President & CEO, drafted and sent a letter to legislators across the country. Joel reiterated the same message he’s shared before Congress on multiple occasions, and to the Presidential Task Force. He strongly urged action, noting that bills with widespread bipartisan support to take the burden off the USPS have been before Congress for a decade — but political gridlock has prevented them from passing common sense reforms, hurting everyone in the industry, and the American economy overall.

Read the letter in its entirety here.

July financial numbers

The USPS lost $1 billion in the month, which is greater than the planned $892 million, and up from the $600 million loss for SPLY. The Postal Service has seen an $8.5 billion loss year-to-date, compared with the $6.5 billion loss at this point in 2019. Revenue is up 1% compared to 2019 — but expenses grew primarily due to increases in personal compensation and benefits, with transportation, supplies and service line items also contributing. Total operating costs for the month were up 15% relative to July 2019.

BOG establishes election committee

Right now the USPS anticipates that vote-by-mail ballots will account for only 2% of volume from mid-September through the election. But that could grow as the pandemic continues to make public gatherings unsafe. Each state has different rules for no-excuse absentee voting, deadlines and other factors that could influence volume.

The bipartisan Election Mail Committee will oversee mail-in balloting with the mission of ensuring a fair, efficient operation for the election season. But the USPS also issued considerations for printers and MSPs to:

  1. Work together with the USPS to educate state election officials and voters about USPS delivery standards, which might not otherwise align with expectations for in-home dates and returned ballots
  2. Discuss USPS recommendations with election officials and customers for when voters should mail ballots — they strongly recommend that domestic voters request a ballot as early as possible, and at minimum 15 days prior to the election, then returning it at least one week prior to the due date
  3. Communicate that even then, the USPS cannot guarantee delivery by required deadlines — failing to follow recommendations increases risk
  4. Clarify that the Official Election Mail logo will increase visibility, but will not upgrade marketing mail postage to first-class
  5. Work with elections customers to place all available visibility tools including logos and barcodes on envelopes, give advance notice to Postal Service locations before entering election mail, and meet automation requirements
  6. Share requirements and best practices for mailpiece design, which plays a key role in timely delivery
  7. Work with mailpiece design analysts to approve before printing and mailing outbound and return envelopes for ballots
  8. Contact the USPS Mailing and Shipping Solutions Center to create the necessary Election Mail project accounts with enough time for review and approval
  9. Plan ahead and advise elections customers to use letter-sized envelopes compatible with automation

USPS processing data

Quad tracks in-home dates for our customers, and over the past two weeks we’ve seen 20% more letter mail and 15% more flat mail processed and in-home two days after the USPS receives it from us. This isn’t quite back to the performance numbers prior to PMG DeJoy’s announcement on July 13 about overtime and multiple carrier trips. But it is an improvement over we’ve experienced recently.

The in-home curves show almost 10% more letter mail in-home through Day 1. Flat mail remains at 40% in-home through Day 1, which is still in our normal range for the pool.

Natural disasters affecting delivery

California wildfires and Hurricane Laura affected delivery in the past week. Customers remain without power in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, but all delivery is back to normal across the region. Recipients in isolated spots where addresses are inaccessible can pick up mail at local Postal Service facilities. Weather has improved in California, with some evacuation orders lifted. Service disruption isn’t an issue at this time, despite hundreds of wildfires still burning.

Mail volume Week ending August 30th:

  • Total: Down 15.5%
  • Packages: Up 39.2%
  • Single Piece: Down 16.6%
  • Presort First Class: Down 3.9%
  • Marketing Mail: Down 16.3%
  • Periodicals: Up 21.6%

COVID-19 and scattered evacuations have caused staffing shortages in certain localities. The USPS is rotating routes in those areas so no single rout goes without delivery for more than a single day.


August 18, 2020

With high-profile changes at the USPS, and all that’s happening in Congress and the White House, it’s easy to get distracted by the politics. While the politics are interesting, to say the least, USPS customers need to know that 90-95% of mail that originates from a Quad plant arrives within the four-day window — this meets the service standard that the USPS is judged by. Quad continues to monitor Postal Service performance and work with political leadership to ensure that they position the USPS to continue to meet the Universal Service Obligation. We’ll do what we can to assist them in this mission while maintaining affordable rates for customers. Until then, mailers don’t need to change schedules for campaigns, as many feared.

Quad’s Postal Affairs team remains committed to keeping you up to date and informed. As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information regarding the state of the USPS and suggest best practices during this time. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team if you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting to the pandemic. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Quad Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or ask your Quad representative.

Here are the developments since our last update:

Organizational restructuring hasn’t hurt service

New Postmaster General Louis DeJoy modified the USPS organizational structure with the stated goal of stabilizing the USPS and putting it on a path to financial sustainability. Time will tell if these efforts achieve their goals and Quad will closely monitor the situation as the USPS adjusts to these changes.

Businesses that staff up service centers based on marketing mail in-home dates have worried about how changes could delay delivery. The bottom line is that 90-95% of mail arrives within the service standard’s target of four days. Quad has seen some movement within that window, such as 15% less mail arriving within one day of leaving Quad, 10% less mail arriving within two days and 5% less mail arriving within 3 days of leaving Quad. These facts might change how marketers plan their fulfillment strategies, but so far the USPS continues to meet the overall service standard.

This graph shows that delivery on the first and second days after we mail is down slightly, compared to how it was prior to USPS changes. By the third day, the percentage is back to what we’ve come to expect.

Note that Hurricane Isaias impacted mail delivery August 4-5 along the mid-Atlantic, and north through New England. The USPS did not report any curtailed delivery — but we believe some areas likely did not receive mail for one to three days due to downed trees and flooding in some areas.

Breaking News

Just as we finalized this update, PMG DeJoy issued a statement explaining that the changes that he proposed will be delayed until after the election. Find his full statement from PMG DeJoy here.

It’s important to understand that these changes are only being delayed, not abandoned — it is still likely they will be implemented shortly after the election. We will continue to monitor any changes the USPS enacts so that, together, we can mitigate any impacts to your mailing schedule.

USPS Q3 by the numbers

The USPS announced its results for its third quarter, and they’re on par with the same period in 2019. It’s still concerning that the USPS continues to lose money and the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic continues to drive up costs. This makes the financial sustainability of the Postal Service an issue that must be dealt with.

Congress and the White House provided a $10 billion line of credit as part of the CARES Act to ensure additional liquidity should they come to need it in order to meet their service obligations. But Congress must enact the common sense and bipartisan reforms that have been proposed during the past two Congresses in order to truly put the USPS on a path to sustainability.

Note that the announced surcharge on packages only runs through December 27 — it’s not part of what will likely be minimal pricing increases that take effect in January. Packages are competitive mail, and the surcharge is in line with those that FedEx and UPS implemented in recent months.

Volume Update for Last Week:

Total: Down 17%

Packages: Up 47%

Single Piece: Down 10.7%

Presort First Class: Down 2.7%

Marketing Mail: Down 18.8%

Periodicals: Down 12.9%


July 28, 2020

While the country looks for safe ways to balance public safety with re-opening, the Postal Service faces weekly decreases in volume for every class other than rising numbers for parcels. And new USPS leadership is making changes that already affect in-home dates for mail.

Quad’s Postal Affairs team remains committed to keeping you up to date and informed. As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information, dispel rumors and suggest best practices during this time. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team if you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting to the pandemic. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Quad Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or ask your Quad representative.

Here are the developments since our June update:

Adhering to USPS operating plans

The industry is buzzing about the “leaked” document that shows new Postal Service leadership is cracking down on overtime to cut costs. It seems that new PMG Louis DeJoy has instructed carriers and drivers to stick to their set schedules. In a statement, the USPS neither confirms nor denies it wants employees to maintain operating plans in their reactionary statement:

“The Postal Service is developing a business plan to ensure that we will be financially stable and able to continue to provide reliable, affordable, safe and secure delivery of mail, packages and other communications to all Americans as a vital part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. While the overall plan is not yet finalized, it will certainly include new and creative ways for us to fulfill our mission, and we will focus immediately on efficiency and items that we can control, including adherence to the effective operating plans that we have developed.”

We believe that means service will get worse before it gets better. And some in the industry question just how effective any cuts to overtime will be on finances. We already saw widespread delays last week, perhaps due to changes. For now, we anticipate that the USPS will focus on efficient and reliable service to remain a vital part of the country’s infrastructure. Find the official USPS response here.

USPS releases June results

The data for mail volume in June is down, though not as low as anticipated.

  • Total: Down 13%.4%
  • Packages: Up 60%
  • Presort First Class: Down 21%
  • Periodicals: Down 15%

Based on these numbers, we expect the USPS to report exceeding their financial plan for June in terms of revenue. However, exceeding low expectations does not mean things are good. Percentages of decline get better — but they’re still in steep decline.

Hold mail policy update

Customers face uncertainty as more municipalities return to lockdown status. Will the USPS extend the grace period we saw at the beginning of the pandemic? For now, the answer is no. But the Postal Service is allowing local Post Masters the flexibility to work with individual businesses as needed.

Impact on target in-home dates

Quad has found that recent mailings have significantly less in-home on Days One and Two of the target date. The USPS’s goal is to have at least 90% of the mail in-home by the end of that Service Standard window. But last week, we saw a huge jump in the number of postal facilities with less than 70% of the mail in-home by the USPS Service Standard, to more than 60 entry-points. We don’t typically see this many delayed facilities outside the peak volume weeks in October and November. Processing of letter mail was delayed at NDCs in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C.

This might be due to an increase in sick leaves due to the virus — but it’s likely that reported changes in USPS policy relative to overtime and other cost-saving measures have had an impact. Official announcements will help us better understand these changes and how they affect mail processing.

This chart shows the average amount of Letter and Flat mail that moved through the USPS each day after they received it. There was a significant drop last week that we believe is due to the changes occurring in the USPS. We’re not seeing a dramatic shift in processing of Flat mail yet — but the gap for 1-3 days after the USPS receives mail from Quad is clear.

LettersLettersFlatsFlats
Days after DeliveryAverage JuneWeek of 7/13Average JuneWeek of 7/13
119%4%16%5%
268%29%52%36%
393%76%82%70%
498%92%94%84%
599%95%97%89%
699%96%99%91%
7100%97%99%92%
8100%97%100%93%
9100%98%100%95%
10100%99%100%97%

COVID-19 hot spots

The USPS continues to communicate that despite significant volume reductions, they are operating normally with delivery six days a week. If there are any places where that USO is not occurring, it is due to isolated contingency plans being put into effect and 6-day delivery will resume as soon as it is feasibly possible.

Recently, in addition to COVID, the civil unrest and protests in several major cities has led to isolated service interruptions, but we have no reports of this impacting business mailing operations.

Postal Solutions, and in particular Postal Affairs, are working daily with the USPS to ensure our clients mail is delivered and monitoring any issues that may arise. We’ll be updating this information as often as is necessary to be sure everyone has the correct information.

Increased package volumes

PostCom shared a chart to show the ongoing growth for parcel volume since the pandemic began, which to a degree offsets losses in other mail classes. But we don’t believe this is sustainable — UPS, FedEx and Amazon see the opportunity for their area of specialty, and will likely take some of it away from the Postal Service.

Weekly performance:

Mail volume for the week of July 13 (missing Saturday):

Total: Down 15%

Packages: Up 50%

Single Piece: Down 8%

Presort First Class: Down 3%

Marketing Mail: Down 17%

Periodicals: Down 18%

Industry Segments in April that were down the most:

  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Accommodation and Food Service

Legislative update

Congress has begun negotiations on another COVID-related stimulus package. The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed their version, and the U.S. Senate will release their first in the coming days.

The House version includes $25 billion in direct financial assistance to the USPS to help maintain service standards and meet the needs of the public and the mailing industry throughout the pandemic.

A bipartisan group of Senators lead by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation that would provide the USPS with up to $25 billion for certified COVID-19 related losses or increased costs.

While it’s unlikely that the Senate stimulus legislation will include this bipartisan bill upon introduction, we’re hopeful that the final negotiated bill will include these additional resources for the Postal Service.

Now is the time to reach out to your U.S. Senator to advocate for the inclusion of the bipartisan bill, S.4174. Quad’s postal and government relations team is here to support your efforts.


June 10, 2020

As we enter June, and our country begins to re-open, there are still various Covid related operations issues facing the postal service. Our Postal Affairs team remains committed to keeping you up to date and informed. As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information, dispel rumors and suggest best practices during this time. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team if you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting to the pandemic. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Quad Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or ask your Quad representative.

There have been a variety of developments since our last update:

The USPS released their April results

The USPS released their anxiously awaited April financial numbers. Given that this is the first period to have full Covid impact, many analysts expected a significant loss. While the April losses were less than expected they were still significant and on top of an already precarious financial situation for the USPS even before COVID. We will continue to watch the USPS’ financial performance carefully as the full effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic are felt in the months yet to be reported.

Hold Mail Policy update

The hold mail policy will return back to normal at the end of this week, with normal operations starting June 15th. We are still in a grace period, but there are no plans to extend this nationally. The USPS has given individual post offices some flexibility given their local situations.

Proposed Loyalty program

On June 8th, the Postal Regulatory Commission initiated a Docket to consider a Postal Service proposal to establish a new loyalty program for users of Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail who use Click-N-Ship. Under the terms of the USPS proposal, beginning on August 1, 2020, the Postal Service will automatically enroll these customers in the Basic tier of the Loyalty Program. On January 1, 2021, the Loyalty Program will expand to a three-tiered program based on each customer’s shipping spending at Retail rates in the previous calendar year as follows:

  • Basic (no minimum spending): Earn $40 credit for every $500 spent
  • Silver (at least $10,000 spent): Earn $50 credit for every $500 spent
  • Gold (at least $20,000 spent): Qualify for Commercial Base pricing

Comments on the USPS proposal are due on or before June 19.

Every Door Direct Mail – Retail incentive program

Concurrent with the gradual reopening of the economy, the Postal Service intends to offer an EDDM Retail discount to encourage use of the mail as an advertising platform to reach existing and new customers. This should in turn assist small local businesses in recovering from the impact of the pandemic. Postage for all EDDM Retail pieces entered between August 1 and September 30, 2020 will be $0.172 per piece, a 10 percent reduction off of the current permanent rate of $0.191. No registration is required, all EDDM Retail pieces entered during the promotional period will receive the discount.

Delivery Performance

The USPS continues to make it clear that despite significant volume reductions, they are operating normally with delivery 6 days a week. If there are any places where that USO is not occurring, it is due to isolated contingency plans being put into effect and 6-day delivery will resume as soon as it is feasibly possible.

Recently, in addition to Covid, the civil unrest and protests in several major cities has led to some isolated service interruptions, but we have no reports of this impacting business mailing operations.

Postal Solutions, and in particular Postal Affairs, are working daily with the USPS to ensure our clients mail is delivered and monitoring any issues that may arise. We’ll be updating this information as often as is necessary to be sure everyone has the correct information.

Weekly performance:

The USPS has provided volume statistics compared to the same period last year for the first week of June:

Total Down 21.2%

Flats Down 23%

Single Piece Down 12%

First Presort Down 10%

Marketing Mail Down 35%

Periodicals Down 17.5%

Packages Up 65.8%

Industry Segments in April that were down the most:

  • Art, entertainment, and recreation
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Accommodation and Food Service

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

CALL TO ACTION:

In past weekly updates, we have been asking for businesses to reach out to their representatives and ask for congressional action on the USPS. We still encourage that activity as well as use of the previously provided sample letter.

We still feel that sending a personalized or business letter is the best path to action, but we would also like to highlight a new text option for people to contact their legislators on USPS issues – you can now text “MAIL” to 52886 and it will take the user to a site to generate an automated email to their Senators. This new option will significantly increase the volume of contacts as it could be done by a number of individuals within the same business.

While our economy opens and returns to a more normal state, it’s still likely that we will experience periods of disruption, misinformation and rumors are likely to surface. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or contact your representative.


May 15, 2020

As the Covid-19 Pandemic continues, our Postal Affairs team remains committed to keeping you informed with up to date developments related to USPS operations during this time of uncertainty.  As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information, dispel rumors and suggest best practices during the pandemic.  Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting.  We will investigate and update all.  Please send inquiries to the Quad Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or ask your Quad representative.

There were several updates in the last week:

POSTAL IN THE PRESS

Deputy Postmaster Resigns

The staffing changes at the USPS continue, in addition to Louis DeJoy’s appointment to be the new Postmaster General, and David Williams stepping down from the board of governors, Deputy Postmaster Ronald Stroman has announced his resignation from the agency, effective June 1.  Stroman served 9 years as the Postal Service and more than 40 years in public service.

During his tenure, Stroman led government affairs and international mail issues for USPS, and worked with state and local officials to oversee the expansion of vote by mail.

With Stroman’s departure, the Postal Service is left with a board that consists of four members who have been on the job less than two years. Meanwhile, DeJoy will be the first postmaster general in more than 20 years to lead the agency without prior experience working there.

USPS MARKETING SUPPORT

Pandemic related marketing and training material from USPS

As we look beyond this pandemic, the USPS has created some materials to help better understand and reposition the value of direct mail and overcome negative perception with marketers.  It provides a variety of up to date statistics to help develop robust direct mail strategies.  View the new brochure Mail Repositioned.

Additionally, the USPS has developed a free 45 minute course, entitled “Mails New Dynamic Journey”.  This course aligns mail with the “Customer Journey” and will provide the tools necessary to develop strong direct mail marketing campaigns.

UPDATE ON THE OVERALL STATE OF AFFAIRS FOR THE USPS

The long term financial state of the USPS remains an issue.  However, The Alliance of Non-profit Mailing Association is reporting that the situation may not be as grim as some media are reporting.  According to this organization, the Postal Service has stated they have enough cash and liquidity to continue operations at least until May 2021.  They argue that the USPS is making very conservative assumptions that the surge in package deliveries will subside and reverse as the economy opens up more.  They argue that this is an overly pessimistic outlook.

As for cash, on April 30, 2020, the Postal Service Fund had $14,181,000,000 cash versus $9,852,000,000 the prior month. This is according to page 12 of the U.S. Treasury Monthly Statement of the Public Debt.  On top of the $14.2 billion in cash, USPS also has another $11 billion in borrowing capacity.  This provides liquidity of $25 billion. 

DELIVERY PERFORMANCE

The USPS continues to make it clear that despite significant volume reductions, they are operating normally with delivery 6 days a week.  If there are any places where that USO is not occurring, it is due to isolated contingency plans being put into effect and 6-day delivery will resume as soon as it is feasibly possible. 

There have been some instances of service delays, particularly in NY and MI where the Covid-19 virus is most prevalent and affecting staffing.  As previously stated, we have also heard of isolated instances where local retail services may be suspended temporarily for health reasons, but we have no reports of this impacting business mailing operations.

Postal Solutions, and in particular Postal Affairs, are working daily with the USPS to ensure our clients mail is delivered and monitoring any issues that may arise.  We’ll be updating this information as often as is necessary to be sure everyone has the correct information.

The USPS has provided volume statistics compared to the same period last year:

Total Down 32.6%

Flats Down 23%

Single Piece Down 9%

First Presort Down 4.4%

Marketing Mail Down 40%

Periodicals Up 2.6%

Packages Up 64%

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Last Friday, three postal Industry associations including MPA. ACMA and the Alliance of Non-Profit Mailers jointly sent a letter to the chairs of the Congressional committees responsible for postal issues.  In light of the debate about Postal Service losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and what to do in response, the letter urges Congress to provide funding to cover the Postal Service’s financial losses due to COVID-19, to enact reforms that put the Postal Service on firm footing for the future, and to sustain postal volumes and revenues for decades to come by including in relief legislation reaffirmation of the current CPI.

CALL TO ACTION:

In past weekly updates, we have been asking for businesses to reach out to their representatives and ask for congressional action on the USPS.   We still encourage that activity as well as use of the previously provided sample letter. 

We still feel that sending a personalized or business letter is the best path to action, but we would also like to highlight a new text option for people to contact their legislators on USPS issues – you can now text “MAIL” to 52886 and it will take the user to a site to generate an automated email to their Senators. This new option will  significantly increase the volume of contacts as it could be done by a number of individuals  within the same business.

In this incredible period of disruption, misinformation and rumors are likely to surface.   Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting.  We will investigate and update all.  Please send inquiries to the Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or contact your representative.


May 6, 2020

As the Covid-19 Pandemic continues, our Postal Affairs team remains committed to keeping you informed with up to date developments related to USPS operations during this time of uncertainty. As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information, dispel rumors and suggest best practices during the pandemic. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Quad Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or ask your Quad representative.

There were several updates in the last week:

POSTAL IN THE PRESS

Changes at Board of Governors.

Last week, David Williams announced his resignation from the Board of Governors effective April 30, 2020. Governor Williams term had expired on December 8, 2019, and he had continued to serve as a Governor in a holdover year. Williams previously had been the Inspector General of the USPS for several years and advocated innovation, efficiency, and entry into new revenue sources. He was the Governor most experienced with USPS issues.

New Postmaster General announced.

On Wednesday, the Board of Governors announced that Louis DeJoy has been selected to serve at the nation’s 75th Postmaster General. DeJoy is an accomplished business executive with more than 35 years of experience. As Chairman and CEO of New Breed Logistics, DeJoy spent decades in collaboration with the U.S. Postal Service, Boeing, Verizon, Disney, United Technologies and other public and private companies to provide supply chain logistics, program management and transportation support. He is expected to begin serving in his new role effective June 15th. DeJoy’s appointment comes upon the retirement of Megan Brennan, the nation’s 74th Postmaster General, who announced her intent to step down in October 2019.

DeJoy becomes the fifth Postmaster General to join the institution from the private sector since the Postal Service became an independent establishment within the Executive Branch in 1971.

POLICY UPDATES

Hold Policy Update:

The USPS has announced an update to the hold policy. All mailings that have been placed on hold due to COVID-19 should be mailed no later than June 30, 2020. Any mailings entered after this date will be verified under the established assessment process for each metric with the expectation they are compliant with all mailer quality metrics. Quad postal solutions can help customers determine the impact on their mailings as a result of this policy update.

UPDATE ON THE OVERALL STATE OF AFFAIRS FOR THE USPS

Since our update last week there have been a variety of USPS announcements, but overall the postal service is fully functional, with some isolated hot spots experiencing service delays due to COVID related staffing shortages.

The USPS has provided volume statistics compared to the same period last year:

Total Down 27%

Flats Down 30.1%

Single Piece Down 21.7%

First Presort Down 3.3%

Marketing Mail Down 45.3%

Periodicals Up 10.2%

Packages Up 59.4%

DELIVERY PERFORMANCE

The USPS continues to make it clear that despite significant volume reductions, they are operating normally with delivery 6 days a week. If there are any places where that USO is not occurring, it is due to isolated contingency plans being put into effect and 6-day delivery will resume as soon as it is feasibly possible.

There have been some instances of service delays, particularly in NY and MI where the Covid-19 virus is most prevalent and affecting staffing. As previously stated, we have also heard of isolated instances where local retail services may be suspended temporarily for health reasons, but we have no reports of this impacting business mailing operations.

Postal Solutions, and in particular Postal Affairs, are working daily with the USPS to ensure our clients mail is delivered and monitoring any issues that may arise. We’ll be updating this information as often as is necessary to be sure everyone has the correct information.

The positive impact of mail during the pandemic.

The USPS recently fielded a survey measuring customer sentiment during the pandemic. The survey highlighted the important role that mail plays in helping Americans stay connected during a time of social distancing and stay-at-home mandates. More than ever, consumers rely on cards and mail to keep in touch with family and friends and to overcome feelings of isolation.

The majority, or 65% of respondents, said that receiving “cards and letters from family and friends lifts my spirits during this time” while 62% said that “receiving a card or letter in the mail makes me feel more connected during social distancing.” Another 60% said it means more to me to receive a card/letter in the mail than an email, while 55% said they feel less isolated when receiving a card or letter in the mail.

Other Survey highlights include:

  • Approximately 67% of consumers are feeling increasingly isolated and distant from people, and have acknowledged the effect of the pandemic on their mental well-being.
  • When asked how the pandemic has changed their activities over the past few weeks, approximately 1-in-6 consumers said they have sent more mail to family and friends over the past few weeks.
  • During the corona virus pandemic, two-thirds of those surveyed indicated that they would be likely to send mail. Family members and friends would be the most common recipients. Those who are younger, have higher income and those with children in the home are more likely to want to send cards and letters.
  • 42% said they were more reliant on mail as a result of social distancing and 38% indicated the importance of being able to shop for mail products such as cards and stationery in retail locations permitted to be open during the pandemic.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Last Friday, the Postal Industry sent a letter to Congressional Leadership signed by more than 1,000 associations and businesses calling on Congressional leadership to provide the financial support needed to ensure that the Postal Service is able to continue its vital mission in the face of the unprecedented pandemic. It is anticipated that this letter will make a positive impact on future stimulus packages.

CALL TO ACTION:

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a substantial impact on the nation’s economy, and affects every industry. Congress has shown a willingness to ensure the viability of the USPS during this emergency and by extension the viability of mailers across the country. Unfortunately, the White House does not share that same willingness.

Congress is considering another COVID related stimulus bill. Please contact your U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators and urge their continued support for the USPS through a direct appropriation. As in past weekly updates, we have provided a sample letter that can be personalized with company information and sent to congressional representatives.

In this incredible period of disruption, misinformation and rumors are likely to surface. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or contact your representative.


April 29, 2020

As the Covid-19 Pandemic continues, our Postal Affairs team remains committed to keeping you informed with up to date developments related to USPS operations during this time of uncertainty. As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information, dispel rumors and suggest best practices during the pandemic. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Quad Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or ask your Quad representative.

There were several areas of significant development in the last week:

Update on the overall state of affairs for the USPS

Since our update last week there have been a variety of developments, legislative actions and USPS announcements, but overall the postal service is fully functional, with some isolated hot spots experiencing service delays due to staffing shortages.

The USPS has provided volume statistics compared to the same period last year:

  • Total: Down 28.4%
  • Flats: Down 37.4%
  • Single Piece: Down 16.6%
  • First Presort: Down 2%
  • Marketing Mail: Down 43.7%
  • Periodicals: Down 38.7%
  • Packages: Up 50%

Delivery Performance

The USPS continues to make it clear that despite significant volume reductions, they are operating normally with delivery 6 days a week. If there are any places where that USO is not occurring, it is due to isolated contingency plans being put into effect and 6-day delivery will resume as soon as it is feasibly possible.

There have been some instances of service delays, particularly in NY and MI where the Covid-19 virus is most prevalent and affecting staffing. As previously stated, we have also heard of isolated instances where local retail services may be suspended temporarily for health reasons, but we have no reports of this impacting business mailing operations.

Postal Solutions, and in particular Postal Affairs, are working daily with the USPS to ensure our clients mail is delivered and monitoring any issues that may arise. We’ll be updating this information as often as is necessary to be sure everyone has the correct information.

Postal in the Press

In the midst of this pandemic, the postal service, and it’s long term health have been a topic of discussion in the press. But there are also a variety of positive stories of front line postal workers, going above and beyond in there communities. Here are a few stories:

USPS National Map

The USPS has updated its national map that provides a graphic presentation of operations. The USPS National Map is an external facing GIS map showing the location and status of postal facilities alongside hazards and other authoritative layers from entities like NOAA, NWS (weather-related) and GeoMAC (for fires). This map is dynamic and other layers may be added or removed as appropriate. The map has many levels of data that can be displayed visually and is updated every 5 min. The map can be found at the link below. At the top there is an excellent user guide.

https://uspstools.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=1fc1c26bb31246b39087606c65b83020

Policy Updates

Hold Policy Update:

The USPS has announced that the hold mail date is being extended from April 30th to May 30th. As states and business start to reopen in stages, the Postal Service will be providing localized messaging for business to remember to come and pickup their held mail. In cases where mail is not picked up and is returned, the Postal Service is working on a solution to prevent them from being undocumented because the 45-day uniqueness has expiredc.

We expect the USPS to announce how they plan to address this later this week.

The USPS is also looking to set a timeframe for mailing that were produced but held before mailing. The Postal Service is looking at the June 30 timeframe where Covid-19 related holds need to be released as mail without penalty. Mailings released after June 30 will be allowed but will incur additional costs associated with the age of the data used to prepare the mailing.

The Postal Service is currently working on the policy document related to areas of scorecard concern:

  • Barcode Uniqueness
  • Move Update
  • Mis-shaped
  • Undocumented
  • DPV

Legislative Updates

Last Friday, the USPS was at the center of the national news media when President Trump criticized the operations of the Postal Service and alluded that unless they significantly raised package pricing, he would block the $10 billion treasury loan granted in the last version of the CARES act. The mailing industry continues to lobby for a solution to the long term issue.

Call to Action:

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a substantial impact on the nation’s economy, and affects every industry. Congress has shown a willingness to ensure the viability of the USPS during this emergency and by extension the viability of mailers across the country. Unfortunately, the White House does not share that same willingness.

Congress is considering another COVID related stimulus bill. Please contact your U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators and urge their continued support for the USPS through a direct appropriation. As in past weekly updates, we have provided a sample letter that can be personalized with company information and sent to congressional representatives.

In this incredible period of disruption, misinformation and rumors are likely to surface. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or contact your representative.


April 24, 2020

As the Covid-19 Pandemic continues, our Postal Affairs team remains committed to keeping you informed with up to date developments related to USPS operations during this time of uncertainty. As a significant mailing industry partner, we a re in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information, dispel rumors and suggest best practices during the pandemic. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Quad Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or ask your Quad representative.

There were several areas of significant development in the last week:

Update on the overall state of affairs for the USPS

Since our update last week there have been a variety of developments, legislative actions and USPS announcements, but overall the postal service is fully functional, and in some cases, service is actually providing faster than normal service due to reduced mail volume. The USPS has provided volume statistics compared to the same period last year:

  • Total: Down 29.7%
  • Flats: Down 36.6%
  • Single Piece: Down 25%
  • First Presort: Down 8%
  • Marketing Mail: Down 50%
  • Periodicals: Down 7.4%
  • Packages: Up 29%

Delivery Performance

The USPS continues to make it clear that despite significant volume reductions, they are operating normally with delivery 6 days a week. If there are a ny places where that USO is not occurring, it is due to isolated contingency plans being put into effect and 6-day delivery will resume as soon as it is feasibly possible. We have also heard of isolated instances where local retail services may be suspended temporarily for health reasons, but we have no reports of this impacting business mailing operations.

Postal Solutions, and in particular Postal Affairs, are working daily with the USPS to ensure our clients mail is delivered and monitoring any issues that ma y arise. We’ll be updating this information as often as is necessary to be sure everyone has the correct information.

USPS Marketing

The USPS has produced a new TV commercial focusing on commitment that began airing April 20. It features Postmaster General Megan Brennan as the voiceover. The spot has the theme, “We have always been there and always will” Here is a link to the commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuNLLZcSTKE

Policy Updates

CAPS to EPS Migration update:

The USPS Announced some important dates associated with migration from CAPS to EPS:

  • Cancellation of Permits linked to a CAPS account with no activity. On April 19, permits without any activity in the previous 12 months were cancelled and the CAPS account closed. Any remaining balances can be refunded by contacting the CAPS service center.
  • Active CAPS Trust Permits with a Business Customer Gateway (BCG ) account. Active trust account customers can migrate to EPS until May 1, 2020. After May 1, the Postal service will close the CAPS account and EPS account will be created. Any remaining CAPS funds will transfer to the new EPS account.
  • Active CAPS Trust Permits without a BCG account. Active trust customers who do NOT have a BCG account have until August 1, 2020 to migrate to EPS. After August 1st the CAPS account will be closed. Not creating an EPS account and linking their permits could impact mail acceptance.
  • Permits linked to a CAPS debit account. Effective August 1, 2020, CAPS debit permits will no longer be funded as the CAPS account will be closed.

If you are still using a CAPS account and have questions about the migration to EPS, please contact your CE Mail Specialist to start the planning process to complete your migration by August 1.

COVID-19 related delays to Priority Mail and First-Class Package Services:

The USPS has announced that Priority Mail and First-Class Packages may require more delivery time due to limited transportation availability. Here are the details of their announcement:

  • Priority Mail Express and local 1-day Priority will not change.
  • Priority Mail two and three day are now extended to three and four day respectively. Customers will continue to receive end-to-end visibility, improved product tracking as well as up to $50 in free insurance. With the extra day extension, customers should expect delivery using Priority Mail Open and Distribute (PMOD) to range from two to four days nationwide.
  • First Class Package Service (FCPS) two and three day service is also being extended to three and four days.
  • Global Express Guaranteed Services has also been altered. For details refer to usps.com

Legislative Updates

Certain members of the House and Senate pushed for a $25 billion cash infusion for the Postal Service as part of the last stimulus package, but unfortunately the Administration opposed a direct appropriation for the USPS. Negotiators ultimately opted to include only a $10 billion line of credit. Postal management has said that amount would be insufficient for preventing fiscal calamity this year.

Call to Action:

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a substantial impact on the nation’s economy, and affects every industry. Congress has shown a willingness to ensure the viability of the USPS during this emergency and by extension the viability of mailers across the country. Unfortunately, the White House does not share that same willingness.

Congress is considering another COVID related stimulus bill. Please contact your U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators and urge their continued support for the USPS through a direct appropriation. But it cannot stop there — Congress must impress upon the White House the critical role the USPS plays in the lives of their constituents as the only universal communication format that delivers medications, health related information, stimulus checks and so much more to the American public on a daily basis. The mailing industry and the 7.3 million people it employs are counting on Congress and the President to ensure that the USPS remains viable. The American people cannot wait any longer for our leaders in Washington to step up and support them — the time to act is now.

In this incredible period of disruption, misinformation and rumors are likely to surface. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or contact your representative.


April 14, 2020

As the Covid-19 Pandemic continues, our Postal Affairs team remains committed to keeping you and your clients up to date with developments related to USPS operations during this time of uncertainty. As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information, dispel rumors and suggest best practices during the pandemic. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Quad Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or ask your Quad representative.

There were several areas of significant development in the last week:

Update on the overall state of affairs for the USPS

Since our update last week there have been a variety of developments, legislative actions and USPS announcements, but overall the postal service is fully functional, and in some cases, service is actually providing faster than normal service due to reduced mail volume.

Monday April 13th the USPS shared volumes for the previous week compared to SPLY (Same Period Last Year):

  • Total: Down 32.2%
  • Letter: Down 25.2%
  • Flats: Down 36.5%
  • Packages: Up 20.7%

Delivery Performance

The USPS continues to make it clear that despite significant volume reductions, they are operating normally with delivery six days each week. If there are any places where that USO does not occur, it is due to isolated contingency plans put into effect. The six-day delivery will resume as soon as it is feasibly possible. We have also heard of isolated instances where local retail services may be suspended temporarily for health reasons, but we have no reports of this impacting business mailing operations.

Quad Postal Solutions team, particularly Postal Affairs, is working daily with the USPS to ensure our clients’ mail is delivered, and monitoring any issues that may arise. We’ll be updating this communication as often as is necessary to be sure everyone has the correct information.

Policy Updates

The USPS acknowledged that the date of mandated seamless acceptance needs to be evaluated due to the available bandwidth to implement on both the industry and the USPS side. A final rule will be out later this month, but at this point there are no plans to delay turning on all Full Service mailers onto Seamless Parallel. Seamless Parallel activates a new portion of the mailer scorecard, but does not activate the penalties associated with going live with Seamless Acceptance.

The USPS is discussing a possible update to how outbound international mail is being handled, and if necessary, how refunds will be handled for international non-shipment.

The Postal Service has implemented two new processes to allow businesses to submit Hold Mail requests in bulk (10 or more), as well as requests to forward mail from many locations (10 or more) to one. The new process will require businesses with 10 or more requests to submit specific data on an Excel spreadsheet. There are currently no changes to the maximum timeframe for holding mail (which was recently extended from 10 days to 30 days).

The Postal Service also announced that five of their help desks are currently operating under a contingency. Voice service may be impacted, and they are encouraging mailers to get in contact via email.

  • PostalOne!: PostalOne@usps.gov
  • FAST: FAST@usps.gov
  • eVS: Evs@usps.gov
  • Delivery Confirmation: Delivery.Confirmation@usps.gov
  • Informed Visibility: InformedVisibility@usps.gov

Legislative Updates

The most significant and heavily reported postal news event since our last update occurred last Thursday when the USPS requested $75 billion through a combination of cash, grants and loans to avoid a liquidity crisis this Fall.

Postmaster General Megan Brennan told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that USPS would lose $13 billion in fiscal 2020 due to the economic downturn resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, and the agency would “run out of cash” before Sept. 30. The board of governors is asking Congress for a $25 billion cash injection to offset expected losses, a $25 billion grant to fund “shovel ready” projects to modernize USPS and $25 billion in unrestricted borrowing authority.

Certain members of the House and Senate pushed for a $25 billion cash infusion for the Postal Service as part of the last stimulus package, but unfortunately the Administration opposed a direct appropriation for the USPS. Negotiators ultimately opted to include only a $10 billion line of credit. Postal management has said that amount would be insufficient for preventing fiscal calamity this year.

Below are several articles on the topic:

https://www.npr.org/2020/04/08/828949609/youve-got-less-mail-the-postal-service-is-suffering-amid-the-coronavirus

https://news.yahoo.com/trump-coronavirus-privatize-us-portal-service-173250637.html

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/postal-service-broke-due-pandemic-trump-flatly-opposes/story?id=70119153

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/492377-trump-threatened-to-veto-stimulus-package-if-it-contained-bailout

CALL TO ACTION:

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a substantial impact on the nation’s economy, and affects every industry. Congress has shown a willingness to ensure the viability of the USPS during this emergency and by extension the viability of mailers across the country. Unfortunately, the White House does not share that same willingness.

Congress is considering another COVID related stimulus bill. Please contact your U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators and urge their continued support for the USPS through a direct appropriation. But it cannot stop there — Congress must impress upon the White House the critical role the USPS plays in the lives of their constituents as the only universal communication format that delivers medications, health related information, stimulus checks and so much more to the American public on a daily basis. The mailing industry and the 7.3 million people it employs are counting on Congress and the President to ensure that the USPS remains viable. The American people cannot wait any longer for our leaders in Washington to step up and support them — the time to act is now.

Pricing Updates

Last Wednesday, various industry leaders met with postal authorities on the state of pricing. Sharon Owens VP of USPS pricing and costing stated that a task team is working on some form of a product and or pricing relief with a focus on what can feasibly be done quickly. She noted that any changes would require BOG and PRC approval and that management has decided not to allow pricing changes or payment terms based on the current pandemic.

In this incredible period of disruption, misinformation and rumors are likely to surface. Please notify the Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team).


April 9, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, our Postal Affairs team is committed to keeping you and your clients up to date with developments related to USPS operations during this time of uncertainty. As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information, dispel rumors and suggest best practices during the health emergency. We will update you on a regular basis as the situation evolves.

Since last week’s update, there have been a variety of developments and USPS announcements. But overall, the postal service is fully functional, and in some cases is actually providing services faster than normal due to reduced mail volume.

Here are the areas of significant development in the last week:

Update on the financial situation for the USPS

While there continue to be reports of a possible June shutdown, we see nothing that would indicate this is likely. Financially, things are basically the same as last week. The Board of Governors (BOG) did pass a resolution regarding the USPS borrowing authority. This ruling gives the Postal Service access to $3 billion in FY2020 and an additional $1 billion in FY2021. This only uses the existing borrowing authority that was previously available to them. Overall, the USPS has roughly $10 billion cash on hand, $4 billion of previous borrowing authority, and now an additional $10 billion with the COVID-19 stimulus package. So the USPS does have access to roughly $24 billion to remain operational. This does not solve its long-term financial crisis. But it does ensure they will be operational for the foreseeable future. Quad is continuing to work closely with Congress and the Administration to impress upon them the importance of the USPS to every household in the country and critical partnership the Postal service has with the business community throughout the country. It is important that Congress and the Administration help the Postal Service react appropriately to the COVID pandemic and continue to provide their essential services.

New Hold Mail Policy

The USPS previously announced that they will be extending their traditional 10 day hold policy to 30 days. It has now further extended this hold policy until April 30th. This is a significant update for many of our customers with time-sensitive mail. Additionally, the USPS announced that it continues to evaluate this policy and could extend it beyond April 30th, depending on when affected businesses can start to reopen.

Requalification Update

The postal service did relax the requirements for renewing requester and subscriber/paid publications with a temporary allowance during this COVID-19 outbreak. They are extending expirations of all legitimate requests and legitimate subscribers for six (6) months, effective from January 15, 2020.

This will allow publishers whose requests or subscriptions that have or would have expired in this timeframe (expirations until July 15, 2020), to continue to count those requesters/subscribers as eligible or qualified requesters or subscribers. This includes renewals related to membership renewals.

This does not exempt publishers from submitting and publishing (if required) their PS Form 3526, Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation, in October 2020.

Retail Operations

A large portion of postal news right now relates to its retail operations. While these events could have isolated impact for our clients, commercial operations remain intact. For the most part, these news stories are often temporary local shutdowns due to employees that have tested positive for COVID-19, or where retail services have been suspended in an individual location. In almost all cases the delivery itself is not impacted and the USPS has contingency plans in place to monitor and adjust for these situations.

Postal Solutions, and in particular Postal Affairs, are working daily with the USPS to ensure our clients mail is delivered. And we’re proactively monitoring any issues that might arise. We’ll update this information as often as is necessary to be sure everyone has the correct facts.

In this period of incredible disruption, mis-information and rumors are likely to surface. Please notify the Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting. We will investigate and update all. Send inquiries to the Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team)

Thank you,

Quad Postal Affairs Team


March 30, 2020

CLIENTS:
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, our Postal Affairs team has fielded a variety of questions related to the USPS operations. We realize you and your clients may have questions about the state of affairs during this period of uncertainty. As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information, dispel rumors and suggest best practices during the pandemic. We will continue to update you on a regular basis as the situation evolves.

Overall, the current Covid-19 situation has created some challenges within the supply chain, but overall, from a delivery standpoint the USPS is fully operational, in fact where appropriate, there could be significant short term opportunities for promotional mailers and catalogers to have greater impact in home during quarantine periods.


As for longer term USPS challenges, they have remained the same and only emphasized with the lower mail volumes right now. Legislatively, many had hoped the recent stimulus package might have helped the USPS solve some of its financial challenges. Unfortunately that did not happen. This does not mean the end of the postal service, it means more pressure on their financials and rates as we come out of the Covid-19 situation. The USPS won’t be going away as some keep predicting, but it’s in the same poor financial position it has been in and lower volumes exasperate the problem.

Below are some Frequently asked questions our team is fielding, we will continually update you on this dynamic situation. If you have or hear a question, please forward to the Postal Affairs team and we’ll get you an answer:

  1. Is the USPS considered an Essential Service during the Pandemic?
    • Yes, as a constitutionally mandated service, and considered part of the critical infrastructure of the United States as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, the USPS will play a critical role in communicating with all US addresses and Businesses. Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • The USPS, provided us with a signed letter that extends the Essential Service designation to include Quad.
  2. Is the service standard of USPS Mail delivery impacted during the pandemic?
    • While there is a significant amount of flux in the transportation network, the USPS is reporting minimal impact on the movement of mail. In many cases, due to reduced volumes and traffic, mail delivery is faster than normal.
  3. Are the stories about USPS going out of business in June true?
    • No, as noted above the USPS is a constitutionally mandated service and considered part of the critical infrastructure of the United States by the department of Homeland Security, and has been deemed an essential service, Congress will not allow a shutdown of the USPS to occur.
    • Organizations are using the financial pressures that face the USPS to generate awareness of the need for larger level postal reform and/or relief.
    • The message that needs to be communicated is that the USPS is not going anywhere and mail will continue to be an effective communication and marketing tool for business moving forward, especially in times of crisis.
  4. What USPS contingency plans are being put into place?
    • For the moment it is service as usual for the USPS. They have put in place an executive team that is monitoring all aspects of the USPS operations during this emergency. They are issuing regular communications about impacts.
  5. I have printed mail pieces being held at Quad – can I delay mailing of the pieces?
    • Our Postal Affairs team is working with USPS to define the impact of resubmitting mail. The USPS is attempting to waive time sensitive mailing requirements. The current concern is how long that period of delayed mailing will be, it cannot be indefinite.
  6. Is there a change in policy regarding holding and returning mail?
    • Yes. The USPS has announced that in order to accommodate businesses during this challenging time, they will now extend the hold period from 10 to 30 days before returning the items to the sender.
  7. How is Canada Post affected?
    • Canada Post is fully operational at this time. They are evaluating mailings and letting clients know if there have concerns with delivery. Business mail, due to shutdowns in Canada, seem to be the most significant issue.
  8. What is the status of USPS promotions?
    • The promotional schedule from the USPS is unchanged. Requests are being made to have the USPS adjust the schedule of these promotions taking into account the reduction in mail volume expected for the next 90-120 days.
  9. Has the USPS considered any pricing adjustments as a result of Covid-19?
    • The USPS has been asked to consider either a temporary price reduction or a promotion to encourage mail during this period. At this time this is just a concept.

Postal Solutions, and in particular Postal Affairs, are working daily with the USPS to ensure our clients mail is delivered and monitoring any issues that may arise. We’ll be updating this information as often as is necessary to be sure everyone has the correct information.

In this incredible period of disruption, mis-information and rumors are likely to surface. Please notify the Postal Affairs team when you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team).

Thank you,

Quad Postal Affairs Team