The actions of the USPS in late December to challenge the PRC ruling and also require Intelligent Mail tray and container labels on all mailings are likely a taste of things to come.

Though the PRC has made it difficult to mandate Full-Service as a requirement for automation rates, the USPS has the ability to mandate many of Full-Service's requirements without mandating Full-Service itself. The appeal of the PRC decision itself means that if the USPS prevails, the Full-Service
mandate can be reinstated long before some mailers that have delayed implementation can comply.

A mail service provider that has stopped gearing up for Full-Service is literally playing "Russian Roulette" with their business. The USPS is also in the position to force mailers to use eDoc. Today many postal districts refuse to accept paper postage statements and force mailers to submit eDoc or enter them into the PostalOne! Postage Statement Wizard.

In 2014, mailers will likely see this local trend go nationwide. It will force many mailers into
submitting eDoc via Mail.dat® and/or Mail.XML rather than spending hours per day hand-entering postage statement data into the Wizard. Sometimes the Wizard just does not help the USPS as much as eDoc. Today eDoc is already required for copalletized mailings, and it is not a stretch to see the USPS require it for all PVDS drop ship mailings.

They recently announced that they plan to require eInduction in July 2015 for drop ship mailings, and to do that you have to submit eDoc. The point is that if the USPS can make mailers meet most all of Full-Service's requirements without mandating Full-Service, mailers might as well meet all of these requirements and mail under Full-Service. What the USPS cannot mandate is using a unique IMb barcode on the mail piece to continue receiving automation rates. Ironically, for many mailers that is far less of an issue than the other requirements that the USPS can still require.

Keep in mind, Full-Service mail has better visibility to the USPS and is frequently given priority handling since that is how the USPS measures processing performance. A Full-Service mandate would have "leveled the playing field" for all mailers, but without a mandate, ONLY Full-Service mailers enjoy faster and more reliable processing and delivery without having to pay extra. Not only do they not pay extra for this improved service, they even get an additional discount!

But, Full-Service was really never about that discount in the first place, it was about adding value to mail by providing better visibility. Many mailers and mail owners are getting Full-Service IMB Tracing® and ACS data and using it to improve the effectiveness and value of their mail. This data has spawned a whole industry to make this data actionable and almost as important as the mail itself. So, Full-Service mail service providers have a significant advantage over those who don't mail under Full-Service. More and more mail owners are discovering this every day putting non-Full-Service mail service providers at a competitive disadvantage.

In conclusion, I urge you to join the electronic wave and benefit from new programs offered by the Postal Service that will help you streamline your mail preparation and entry standards. And, yes, it is far more important for you to implement Full-Service now than it ever was before!