The new process is meant to reduce undeliverable-as-addressed mailpieces and help ensure that direct mail reaches its intended audience; but it could also mean fees for those not in compliance.
by Don Fare
In December 2014, the United States Postal Service published a Federal Register notice proposing to add a new Address Quality Measurement process as a revision to the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM).
Currently, the Postal Service requires mailers to update qualifying addresses through a process called Move Update, which helps reduce the number of mailpieces in a mailing that require forwarding or return (also known as undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mailpieces). The Move Update process helps reduce waste of USPS time and resources and ensures that direct mail reaches its audience.
The new proposed Address Quality Measurement process is a scorecard that will convey information on address hygiene and can be used to evaluate the move-related quality for mail being processed. This data-driven approach will allow the USPS to provide more valuable feedback to mailers who enter qualifying mailings.
Today, when a mailing is entered into the postal mailstream, Move Update quality and error assessments may be evaluated on a mail sample basis through the use of the Postal Service’s Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup Instrument (MERLIN). The proposed process will now include new USPS technology that allows for analysis on all pieces in the mailing, rather than just a sample.
Once the Address Quality Measurement has been implemented, the Postal Service plans to assess an address quality assessment fee on mailpieces in qualifying mailing that contain change-of-address (COA) errors in excess of the USPS published threshold. Mailpieces subject to the fee include Bound Printed Matter flats and letter- and flat-sized First Class Mail, Periodicals and Standard Mail pieces that are part of basic or full service mailing submitted using eDoc.
We encourage mailers to continue to use postal-approved address updating methods, such as National Change-of-Address Linkage System (NCOALink). Utilizing NCOA through Extend Your Reach will help reduce undeliverable mail by providing you with your customers’ most recent addresses. NCOA will also help you avoid fees by ensuring that your qualifying mailings are in compliance with the new postal Addresses Quality Measurements and Move Update standards.
Don Fare is an account executive with Extend Your Reach. A 23 year veteran, Don is a credentialed USPS Mailpiece Design Professional and has extensive knowledge of mailing standards and procedures. Since 2000, he has served as an executive board member on the USPS Postal Customer Council.