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Full Service By (Preparer)/For (Mail Owner) eDoc errors - Everything you need to know

Nov 8, 2012 11:00:00 AM / by Shariq (Sharick) Mirza, CEO and founder of Assurety Consulting Inc.,

Shariq (Sharick) Mirza, CEO and founder of Assurety Consulting Inc.,

The USPS is proposing to start full service eDoc error assesments from November of 2016. One of the many and common Full-Service errors that are tracked by the USPS are By/For errors.

This article focuses on the Intelligent Mail Full Service “BY”/”FOR” and how full service “BY”/”FOR” is used and how to correctly identify “BY” / “FOR” in eDocs. “BY” / “FOR” is used for incentive programs of the USPS, like mobile barcode incentive or other incentives that USPS is introducing to increase mailing volumes and revenue and help the industry through newer benefits and cost savings to help the overall health of the mailing industry. Majority of the incentives, to-date, require what is called “BY”/”FOR” identification.

Another key usage of the “BY”/”FOR” is the IMb, IMcb, IMtb scanning and ACS and Nixie COA data distribution back to mail preparers and owners.

 

We will describe the “BY”/”FOR” identification and the incentives registration and discounts process in this article's following sections; as well, identify how “BY”/”FOR” should be defined so the right entities are receiving their scanning and ACS and IMb informed visibility data.

What is Full Service Intelligent Mail “BY”/”FOR”?

When Full service program was designed, while working through MTAC, one of the highest needs of the USPS were defined as the identification of “BY” / “FOR”. In return for the USPS to give away Full Service postage discounts and free scanning data and COA data, the USPS needed to know how much revenue, pieces, what services/products were used by which “BY” (Mail Preparer) and by which “FOR” (Mail Owner). So the USPS can focus its incentives programs on Mail Owners and small businesses and products that need to be sustained and utilize technology to come up with next generation workshare discounts.

What Full Service Intelligent mail “FOR” is Not?

The “FOR” (Mail Owner) in the case of Full Service Intelligent Mail program is NOT the Permit Holder necessarily. Permit Holders can be Mail service Providers today. The Full Service “FOR” must be the entity actually owning the mail; like a bank, a retail outlet, a publisher, a utility, government agency or business who hires a Mail Service Provider or does their own mailing. MSPs doing less than 5000 piece mailings are not required to identify the By/For.

Are the fields on a postage statement that identify the Permit Holder, the agent, and the owner valid “BY” / “FOR” data?

For a while now, many mailers have been “wrongly” using the postage statements to validate their “BY” /”FOR” information on the PostalOne! system or in their software vendors system. The only way to validate your “BY”/”FOR” information is by looking at your eDocs data (Mail.dat or Mail.XML) as defined below. The definition of Permit Holder used to mean Mail Owner or payer of the mailing but that definition does not apply to Full Service. USPS does plan to, in a near future release, make the postage statement Mailer, Agent, Owner information be driven by similar data as “BY” / “FOR”.

What is Full Service IMb eDocs?

Let’s first answer the question, what is eDocs and what eDocs is not; i.e., the terminology used by the Postal service. Any electronic documentation can be called eDocs; however when it comes to the USPS and its usage of the term eDocs, eDocs means the electronic data that satisfies the verification and acceptance processes and needs of the USPS for commercial mail where the mailer is providing qualification, postage, and IMb barcode detail data to the USPS. So eventually, USPS can use the data to conduct electronic data verification for the mail and match it against the sample verifications; so USPS can use the data to conduct service performance measurement, and use the data for proactive resource planning and full service compliance checks.

eDocs data today is received by the USPS in three different ways:

  • IDEAlliance Mail.dat file set (See our article on what Mail.dat is and how Mail.dat is used?)
  • IDEAlliance Mail.XML mm schema. (Mail.XML is used for a lot more than just communicating eDocs information; Mail.XML is also used to automate appointment scheduling with the FAST system, to create and query MIDs and CRIDs from the USPS, to receive the Full Service IMb ACS, Nixie, container visibility, tray visibility, and Bundle visibility scan data. To communicate and track mail outside f the USPS with business partners. For more information, see our article on what is Mail.XML?)
  • USPS Postal Wizard application – Only allowed to be used for less than 10,000 piece mailings

How can one participate in the USPS incentives programs and how important is “BY” / “FOR” for incentives?

“BY” / “FOR” is critical for incentives. Incentives are extra discounts given by the USPS for mobile technology, earned value for BRM and CRM, emerging technology incentives that are helping mail stay within the business mail channel by combining technology based marketing with physical mail and many other proposals. Incentives are time specific usually and are available for specific time frames to increase mail volumes at certain times while continuing to work as a catalyst to keep mail within the existing communication strategies of businesses.

Mail Service Providers (MSP) can register at the USPS Business Customer Gateway for incentives with their MIDs or CRIDS. In the back-end, USPS is tracking everything at the CRID level which identifies your location. MSPs can also get a CRID or MID and register a MID or CRID for the Mail Owner “FOR” on the Business Customer Gateway for incentives.

The incentive discounts are given out when a registered MSP sends eDocs (Mail.dat or Mail.XML) to the PostalOne! system while identifying the “BY” (Mail Preparer/Agent/MSP) and “FOR” (Mail Owner) in the eDocs and identifying the incentives in the CCR file (Mail.dat) and Mail Characteristic block (Mail.XML).

For this article we will only focus on the Mail.dat and Mail.XML eDocs.

How is Full Service IMb “BY”/”FOR” defined in Mail.dat?

Mail.dat file set is a database of flat files connected relationally with each other. Currently in the Mail.dat 13-1/13-1 Minor version, there are 21 flat files. The industry has incorrectly assumed that certain fields are part of the “BY”/”FOR” when they are not part of the Full Service “BY”/”FOR”.  I am going to clearly state all fields that can be perceived as identifying owners and preparers for the IMb program and call them out as correct or incorrect.

 

Mail.dat 13-1 “BY”/”FOR” Identification – Table 1

  
No Mail.dat File Name Mail.dat Field Name Mail.dat Field Description Full Service IMb “BY” (Yes/No/Avoid if you can) Full Service IMb “FOR” (Yes/No/Avoid if you can) Applies to Full Service IMb Data Distribution (Yes/No) Applies to USPS “BY”/”FOR” (revenue/Piece, Weight) identification reporting for mail owners and preparers “BY”/”FOR” Precedence (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 or N/A) My personal recommendation / Notes

1.

Header

User License Code

ULC of party creating this iteration of Mail.dat Must – begin with an alpha, be four characters, have no spaces, have no special characters, not be case sensitive

No

No

No

No

N/A

ULC’s main usage is for USPS to drive authorization for your user id to access your mailing reports and is not used for “BY”/”FOR”

2.

Header

eDoc Sender CRID

This USPS-assigned id, CRID, will be used by the USPS to uniquely identify the submitter of electronic documentation to the PostalOne! system. This field will be used to identify a new business role, called the eDoc submitter, which may be different from the mail preparer, mail owner, mail transporter, and scheduler roles

No

No

No

No

N/A

Although, it can be assumed and many in the industry believe this is the “BY” and identifies the preparer, this field is not used by the USPS to identify the “BY” in the “BY”/”FOR”.

3.

Segment

Verification Facility Name

Name of Mailers Mailing Facility where verification occurs

No

No

No

No

N/A

This is the preparer facility and USPS does not use it for “BY”/”FOR” identification purposes.

4. Segment eDoc Sender CRID This USPS-assigned id, CRID, will be used by the industry to identify the originator of the Segment. No No No No

N/A

Although, it can be assumed and many in the industry believe this is the “BY” and identifies the preparer, this field is not used by the USPS to identify the “BY”/”FOR”.

5. MPA USPS Publication Number Left Justify, Numeric only, value in Postage Payment Method field negates need for alpha in this field. (Note: In the event of a Periodicals Pending, the Publication Number field will be blank and the below Permit Number field will be used.) Should not be zero padded. No Yes Yes Yes

6 – “FOR”

This field is used to identify the “FOR”; However, it is used as a sixth precedence and I recommend mailers start moving towards a plan where all “BY”/”FOR” identification is driven by the MIDs and/or CRIDs. The standardization will tremendously help the USPS as well as the mailing industry through a standard mechanism to identify business entities across the supply chain.

6. MPA Mail Owner’s Lcl Permit Ref Num / Int’l Bill Num and TYPE Number used by local USPS for client identification. This field can be used to let the Postal Service know what permit numbers are included in the mailing that the Mail.dat® file represents. This field is used for identifying what permits are being used for the entire job in an MLOCR environment. Should not be zero padded No Yes Yes

Yes

5 – “FOR”

This field is used to identify the “For”; However, it is used as a fifth precedence and I recommend mailers start moving towards a plan where all “BY”/”FOR” identification is driven by the MIDs and CRIDs. The standardization will tremendously help the USPS as well as the mailing industry through a standard mechanism to identify business entities across the supply chain.

7. MPA Permit Number Left Justified, In the event of a Periodicals Pending, the Publication Number field will be blank and this Permit Number field will be used. Should not be zero padded. No No No Yes but may change

N/A

Don’t use for “BY” / “FOR”
8. MPA Mailing facility DUNS Number Note: Use 9 or 15 bytes to represent an actual DUNS number. No No No No

N/A

“BY” / “FOR”
9. MPA Permit Holder DUNs Number Note: Use 9 or 15 bytes to represent an actual DUNS number. No No No No

N/A

Don’t use for “BY” / “FOR”
10. MPA Non Profit Authorization Number Used to identify the Non profit authorized mailers at the time of verification per DMM No No No No

N/A

Unrelated to “BY”/”FOR”
11. MPA Mailer ID of mail Owner USPS assigned ID Yes Yes Yes Yes

2 – “FOR”

Preferred usage is the precedence 1 for Owner which is under the Component file
12. MPA CRID of Mail Owner USPS assigned ID Yes Yes Yes Yes

4 – “FOR”

Preferred usage is the precedence 1 for Owner which is under the Component file
13. MPA Mailer ID of Preparer USPS assigned ID Yes Yes Yes Yes

1 – “BY”

Preferred use for “BY” (Preparer)
14. MPA CRID of Mail Preparer USPS assigned ID Yes Yes Yes Yes

2 – “BY”

Preferred use for “BY” (Preparer) is precedence 1, which is the MID, CRID is Ok too
15. CPT Mail Owner ID USPS assigned ID No No No No

N/A

Obsolete field, should be deleted in a future version
16. CPT Mailer ID of mail Owner USPS assigned ID Yes Yes Yes Yes

1 – “FOR”

Preferred usage is the precedence 1 for Owner which is under the Component file
17. CPT CRID of Mail Owner USPS assigned ID Yes Yes Yes Yes

3 – “FOR”

Preferred usage is the precedence 1 for Owner which is under the Component file
18. CSM Transportation Carrier ID USPS Assigned ID No No No No

N/A

Can be used for Seamless acceptance invoicing to id the carrier in the long run
19. CSM FAST Scheduler ID USPS Assigned ID No No No No

N/A

Is used to identify the Scheduler of the FAST Appointments. Plan to use CRIDs here instead of the Scheduler IDs or MIDs for Seamless Acceptance
20. PDR Mailer ID of Barcode applicator

USPS assigned Mailer ID (MID)

This field indicates through USPS MID who applied the IM™ barcode to each mail piece (e.g. Mail Owner, Mailing Agent, etc) . Completion of this field provides additional information used to attribute barcode quality.
No No No No

N/A

Primarily used by Mailers for internal accounting
  

 

Mail.XML 13.0A/13.0B – “BY”/”FOR” identification – Table 2

 

  
No Mail.XML Message Name Mail.XML Element Name Mail.XML Field Description Full Service IMb “BY” (Yes/No/Avoid if you can) Full Service IMb “FOR” (Yes/No/Avoid if you can) Applies to Full Service IMb Data Distribution (Yes/No) Applies to USPS “BY”/”FOR” (revenue/Piece, Weight) identification reporting for mail owners and preparers “BY”/”FOR” Precedence (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 or N/A) My personal recommendation / Notes
1. Mail PieceCreateRequest message MailPieceBlockGroup, MailPieceBlock, MailOwner block Mail Owner MID6 or MailOwnerMID9 Six digit or Nine digit Mailer ID No Yes Yes Yes 1 – “FOR” Best place to identify “BY” / “FOR”. MID for “FOR” or “BY” should be a standard way to identify “BY”/”FOR” because it allows mailers to delegate and give their scanning or quality or address data to a third party.
2 Mail PieceCreateRequest message MailPieceBlockGroup, MailPieceBlock, MailOwner block Mail Owner CRID CRID
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
2 – “FOR”
CRID is a valid way to identify an owner “FOR”. I still recommend using MIDs as a standard identification across your customer base.
3 QualificationReportCreateRequest message ContainerInfoData MailOwnerCRID This USPS-assigned id, CRID, will be used by the USPS to uniquely identify the Mail Owner
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
3 – “FOR”
Third order of precedence for Owner, “FOR”.
4 MailPieceCreateRequest message MailPieceBlockGroup, MailPieceBlock, MailOwner block, PermitPublicationData block PermitNumber, PermitType, PermitZIP4, or PublicationNumber (must be within the same finance number associated with the mailing group) Permit account or Publication information. Permit Number/Type and Zip go together. With the new MailAnywhere PayAnywhere approach this data can be used in mailings any where provided that the Mailer is part of the Mail Anywhere program and meets the national USPS account number data needs. Publication Number uniquely identifies the publications across nation.
No
Yes
Yes
Yes with a caveat. USPS finds the CRIDS tied to the permit accounts to report on revenue.
4 – “FOR”
Least effective way to identify a mail owner, “FOR” .
5 QualificationReportCreate-Request message QualificationReportPreparer block MailerID6 or MailerID9 .
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
1 – “BY”
Best way to identify a Mail Preparer
6 QualificationReportCreate-Request message QualificationReportPreparer block CRID  
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
2 – “BY”
Second best way is to use a CRID
7 QualificationReportCreate-Request message QualificationReportPreparer block PermitNumber, PermitType, PermitZIP4, or PublicationNumber (must be within the same finance number associated with the mailing group) It is preferred that the mailers use MIDs and/or CRIDS instead of the Permit/pub numbers to identify the mail Owners. MIDs/CRIDs the to the long term strategy of the USPS to have single view of the customer across USPS vertical businesses and systems publications across the nation.
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
3 –“BY”
Least effective way to identify a preparer.
8 Open Mailing Group MailingGroupData MailingGroupData SubmitterCRID eDoc Submitter’s CRID
No
No
No
No
N/A
Many mailers believe this field identifies the “BY”
9 Almost All Messages Submitting Party MID6 MID9 CRID SchedulerID MaildatUserlicenseCode ShippingAgentID RecievingAgentID Entity that is submitting the data to USPS or a partner
No
No
No
No
N/A
Submitting Party fields are often thought as identifying the “By” (Preparer) or “FOR” if Owner is filing their own data
  

 

To summarize, the “BY” / “FOR” are a critical part of the full service intelligent mail program. “BY”/ “FOR’ is not required for very small mailings but it is a key USPS business need, at least today, as identified by the full service program. This information is used for incentives, for full service data distribution to mail owners and preparers, for full service data delegation to third parties.

 

Is the concept complex? Yes absolutely it is complex. However, the complexity is driven by the multitude of verticals within the industry. All Full service solutions were developed through MTAC and every verticals needs were taken into account. It is not easy to create standard solutions for a custom industry. In order to meet everyone’s needs, and different types of needs for different types of mailers, the different solutions had to be created.

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