Monthly eBulletin

The eBulletin is BCC Software's monthly e-mail newsletter, discussing the most up-to-date product release information, industry events and tradeshows, and other postal industry topics.

Subscribe today

 

Contact BCC Software for more details on any of the articles in the eBulletin. Just Let Us Know: How Can We Help?

sales@bccsoftware.com
Phone: 800.337.0442
Fax: 585.272.9222

Introduction to Automating Your BCC Mail Manager-equipped Workflow

Posted by in eBulletin

Did you know that 79 percent of mailrooms are going to be automated by 2019? This statistic may seem scary to some – but it shouldn’t be. Automating your workflow saves time and money, allowing you to take on more jobs. Getting started with automation can seem daunting. So, how do you get started automating your workflow? Continue reading to learn about the very basics of getting started with TaskMaster™, the comprehensive automation tool available for use with BCC Mail Manager™.

A Task vs. a Job

TaskMaster is an optional add on for BCC Mail Manager and is included with BCC Mail Manager Full Service™. It allows our customers to set up jobs in a way that automates their workflow. A job is a series of tasks, each of which outline one step in the process. In turn, each task is made up of commands that lay out the specifications and settings to be used for that task. Tasks range from a small modification to a field in your list, to a complete batch presort, breaking out one list into multiple drop shipments. Each task contains certain required commands as well as optional commands – all of which contribute to create the desired results.

For example, in a presort task, a user could be specific in choosing commands and specifying things such as piece weight and thickness directly in the script. A full list of all the tasks and commands available is provided in the BCC Mail Manager Manual, in the section titled “Tasks and Commands,” which comes at the end of the chapter on TaskMaster.

Creating Scripts

There are three ways to create a script, which is saved as a text file with the .MJB extension.

  • Usually, BCC Software's professionals recommend starting by recording several basic tasks – this process allows you to manually run through parts of your process and have TaskMaster translate those actions into tasks and commands.
  • Making the initial transition easier, users can work their way through the process just as they would when running a job manually.
  • Once each task is completed, it will show you the selected task and command based on your actions. This will work for the vast majority of the steps in your process and will give you a good template to work with that can be used immediately.
  • The Job Editor can be used to manually create each task and set the relevant commands, which creates cleaner tasks as the recording function adds every imaginable setting, even if it is just to leave it at default.
  • It is important to note that to use this effectively, you will need to know what commands translate into what settings or specifications.

Notifications and Errors

The TaskMaster Tasks and Commands section of the manual will be extremely beneficial in showing you all the possible commands for each task to help narrow down what is needed. You can also create and edit jobs in any text editor. As long as the files are saved as .MJB and placed in the Jobs folder in your BCC Mail Manager directory, it should be able to pick them up and use them for automation.

  • For this operation, users need to be very exact, and just like with the job editor, need to know what commands are available for which tasks. Some customers prefer this method as it gives them more control than recording or using the job editor.
  • When a job is run, a log file with the same name is created in the jobs folder. This allows you to see how long each task takes and if any errors occurred.
  • Most errors will generate a pop up to let you know in which task there was an issue, and what the issue was. This can be disabled so as to not interrupt your workflow. In both cases, the log will keep a record of the errors encountered so even if you do not receive the pop up, when the job fails you can check the log to get an idea as to what happened.
  • Often running a job and checking the logs and errors will be the easiest way to troubleshoot a large job. Once a problem is found, the job will fail and generate an error message in the log that clearly outlines what might be missing or misplaced.

Batching

Using TaskMaster, you can set up a single list that uses one presort task to define the settings for multiple smaller sub-sorts using records from that list.

  • This can be as simple as a “sort by state,” where all of the mail from certain states is grouped into two separate sorts to make it easier to ship and package.
  • Batching can also be as complicated as multiple-part distinction involving many fields of customer data. TaskMaster takes this a step further allowing you to condense the various post-presort tasks for all these batches in to a single task for each report or function.
  • By adding the Command ALLBATCHES=Y, a single Postage Statement task will produce a separate statement for each batch, with the ability to customize the filenames and paths to include the batch name.

Additional Resources

There are many additional resources available to help you on your way to setting up automation within BCC Mail Manager. Besides the TaskMaster section of the Manual which was previously mentioned, BCC Software also offers an Enhanced Learning session on TaskMaster. Offered once a month by the Customer Support Technicians, you’ll get deep dive into how automation can transform your company.

If you’re interested in incorporating the power of automation into your operations, please contact BCC Software at 800.337.0442 or email marketing@bccsoftware.com.

Mail.dat vs. Mail.xml: Which Do You Choose?

Posted by in eBulletin

As the USPS® furthers its commitment to state of the art technologies, it becomes increasingly more relevant to submit postal documentation using Mail.dat or Mail.xml. In addition to incentives you’re accustomed to, such as the Full-Service discount, the USPS is starting to tie new promotions into its newer technologies, like Informed Delivery.

BCC Software is the only vendor currently poised to support this new form of the Mobile Shopping Promotion with our Mail.dat option.  To learn more about Informed Delivery, read our FAQ.

The chart below serves as a reference guide that will help you review the key differences between Mail.dat and Mail.xml, and when you might want to opt for one over the other.

Still not sure which method to choose? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have mailing lists larger than 10k records? How frequently do they come about?
  • Do you have a need to split a larger mailing across multiple drop dates?
  • Do you find yourself needing to adjust piece weight/thickness after the presort has been completed?
  • Do you have a slow internet speed or notice losing access to the internet throughout the day?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, Mail.dat should be your top choice.

Regardless of the method you choose, Mail.dat or Mail.xml, by using an electronic documentation process, you save both time and money. As always, BCC Software’s expert Customer Support team is here to help guide you through the decision-making process.

Learn more about Mail.dat and Mail.xml through our Express Learning Sessions. Register for the course here. 

 

 

Track N Trace Now Utilizing Informed Visibility

Posted by in eBulletin

Track N Trace® is now consuming mailpiece scan data from Informed Visibility – the new tracking system for the USPS®. BCC Software made this change in response to the decision of the USPS to move to this new technology platform, and the end of life for the current system, IMB Tracing. IMB Tracing systems are scheduled to end on December 31, 2017.

As a Track N Trace user, you should not expect to see any differences in your workflow. This change has already taken place because BCC Software is dedicated to preserving all functionality and ensuring continuity through the transition period, and to preventing any disruptions to you or your customers who may be logging in through a Track N Trace Reseller site.

In the longer term, BCC Software is looking at the new capabilities in the Informed Visibility system and welcome any feedback on ideas, or questions you have related to Informed Visibility. Please contact Senior Product Manager, Mitch Carpenter, directly at mitchc@bccsoftware.com, or our Customer Support team at tech@bccsoftware.com.

 

Top Social Posts for November

Posted by in eBulletin

If you’re not following us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you’re missing out on news and information about BCC Software and important, real-time industry news. Here are the three most popular posts from November:

  • “When used properly [direct mail] can help your business stand out.” Snail Mail Isn’t Dead: 12 Ways to Engage Customers with Physical Mail https://buff.ly/2AAVizi
  • “Your data can help enhance your direct mail or thwart it — depending on how good it is.” Trust BCC Software for the expert data quality solutions you need. For more, visit: https://buff.ly/2hXogCy
  • The U.S. Postal Service will deliver more than 15 billion pieces of mail this holiday season. Is your company ready to meet customer demands and holiday deadlines? https://buff.ly/2yIfcMl

You can click a button below to follow us and have this great content delivered to you directly.

twitterlinkedinfacebook

If you or your company has interesting news or educational content you think we should consider sharing with our audience, we’d love to hear from you at marketing@bccsoftware.com.

 

 

Revolutionize Your Data Quality: The Benefits of Using ARS and Suppression Processing

Posted by in eBulletin

With the USPS® moving towards a climate of lower tolerance and higher penalties for Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA) mail, the need for data cleansing is ever-increasing. BCC Software’s Address Resolution Service (ARS) and Suppression Services work to optimize your data by correcting incomplete addresses and targeting key recipients, creating a higher deliverability rate and saving you money.

ARS uses third-party databases to correct residential addresses considered undeliverable and/or missing secondary information during the CASS™ encoding process. The service uses proprietary databases to append complete address information, including secondary data such as apartment numbers. This service can also be used to improve NCOALink® results, by providing more DPV confirmed addresses, which increases the likelihood of Change of Address matches being found. On average, BCC Software customers experience a 51 percent correction rate when they utilize ARS for their lists.

So, what about addresses that may be correct but are registered to consumers who either will not receive your customers’ direct communications, or do not wish to. This results in both wasted costs and potential negative impact on a company’s brand image. BCC Software’s Suppression Suite processing can help eliminate this issue by identifying records in your list(s) that match to common suppression/pander files including Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Mail Preference Service, Deceased, Prison, and Business. This service appends easy-to-use codes, which makes the process of suppressing unwanted addresses simple.

For further details on incorporating these two services into your operations in order to reduce UAA mail, please contact Data Marketing Services at 800.337.0372 or email marketing@bccsoftware.com.

 

Top Social Posts for October

Posted by in eBulletin

If you’re not following us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you’re missing out on news and information about BCC Software and important, real-time industry news. Here are the three most popular posts from October:

You can click a button below to follow us and have this great content delivered to you directly.

twitterlinkedinfacebook

If you or your company has interesting news or educational content you think we should consider sharing with our audience, we’d love to hear from you at marketing@bccsoftware.com.

Current Nominees for the USPS Board of Governors

Posted by in eBulletin

The White House has recently announced three nominees for seats as USPS® Board of Governors. Below is the press release that was sent out:

White House Announces Nominees to USPS Board of Governors

Today, President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve as members of the US Postal Service Board of Governors:

  • Calvin R. Tucker of Pennsylvania, for the remainder of a term expiring December 8, 2023. 
  • Robert M. Duncan of Kentucky, for the remainder of a seven-year term expiring December 8, 2018, and an additional term expiring December 8, 2025.
  • David Williams of Illinois, for the remainder of a seven-year term expiring December 8, 2019. 

The USPS said, “We are pleased that the Administration intends to nominate candidates for the United States Postal Service’s Board of Governors. The public interest and the Postal Service are best served by a fully constituted Board made up of well-qualified individuals with diverse perspectives & experience. We urge the Senate to confirm Governors to fill the current vacancies.”

Now that the nominees have been chosen, the process for Senate confirmation is the next step in the process. All nine positions on the Board of Governors are currently vacant, but technically only one needs to be seated in order to begin “business as usual” for the USPS. That is, once a Governor is seated, future postage prices could change, and new USPS promotions may be put into action. These new promotions would help defray the postage price increases that were recently announced, which are going into effect on January 21, 2018.

While BCC Software is appreciative of the recent Presidential nomination of potential Governors, we are hoping for a quick Senate confirmation. It is also worth noting that there are open positions at the Postal Regulatory Commission as well and the potential implications that could have. 2018 will be a telling year for the USPS and the industry overall.

 If you have any questions, please email marketing@bccsoftware.com

New Rates and Rules for 2018

Posted by in eBulletin

On October 6, 2017, and subsequently on October 24, 2017, the USPS® released information about what we can expect for 2018’s rates and rule changes.  These changes will go into effect on January 21, 2018.

The USPS filed changes for both competitive and market dominant products on this date. Below is a quick description of how BCC Software believes these changes could impact your business:

Competitive products: While this type of mail does not account for a very large volume of work for our customer base, we want to keep you aware of what is going on in the marketplace. Full details on the competitive changes can be found here. 

  • The competitive product changes had few surprises, with postage increases from 3.9-4.2 percent
  • Postages in this part of the marketplace are not limited by CPI, explaining the 4 percent change in postage
  • Based on the worksheets attached to the dockets, the USPS is raising rates to get processing costs and postages in line to make this a viable product for the future

Market Dominant products: This is the core processing area for our customers, so below is a detailed explanation of these changes. Full details can be found here. 

  • Structural changes to Presort
    • Changes to the pallet creation order for Flats mail entered in non-FSS zones (Marketing Mail / Periodical Mail)
      • The 5-Digit Carrier Route pallet level is now required as the first level for entry
      • The 5-Digit Merged pallet level is now required as the second level for entry
      • The objective is to create more Pure Carrier Route pallets for non-FSS entry
      • This should reduce pallet charges for these mailings as the 5DGCR pallet charge is lower than the 5DGMERGED charge
    • Addition of BPM Flats up to 24 OZ to Mixed Comail sortation
      • Adds additional applicable volume to Mixed Comail operations
      • Increase pool sizes for Comail, helping reduce postage
      • Reduce exception work for Heavy BPM flats
    • Small errata changes to Mail.dat, but no new version during the rate case
  • Pricing updates
    • There are currently no promotions scheduled for 2018
      • However, based on communication received on October 26, there will be a board of governors in place. You can find more info here. With two months left in 2017, it is possible they will approve some before the end the year.
    • Overall, the USPS exercising about 95 percent of their pricing authority. Below are some notable changes:
      • FC Auto flats (3DG-MXD) see a 6 percent drop in postage
      • Non-machinable STD letters up across the board, with the highest hike on 5DG (4 to 5 percent) for both regular and non-profit mail
      • Significant increase to STD Automation Flats for everything below 5DG sort (a 5 to 10 percent increase).
      • Carrier route rates are stable.
      • STD Marketing Parcels up 3 to 7 percent
      • Standard letter non-profit prices up in a cell-by-cell pattern ranging from 3-6.7 percent
      • Non-profit standard flats have big increases for non-auto rates at the piece level, but some reduction in pound rates.
      • Non-profit piece rates for automation up modestly for low sort levels, but dropped (up to 9.4 percent) for highly sorted automation
      • DDU entered BPM up 3-7.4 percent

Move Update and ACS change: In addition to the price and sortation changes, the USPS also published new rules on the Move Update standards to take effect in 2018.  You can read the full filing online here.

  • The move to census measurement is happening – and there is no going back
    • Merlin to be fully retired on January 21, 2018.
    • Thresholds are now handled by mailer per month rather than job-by-job, and the compliance threshold is .05 percent to generate an assessment. Penalties are for pieces that month over the threshold.
    • All assessments are for the trailing month, and are communicated through the Mailer Scorecard. This applies to all mailings, not just Full Service.
    • The new assessment rate will be $.08 per piece in violation, up from $.07
    • A fuller explanation of what pieces are exempt from measurement:
      • Mailpieces that are undeliverable due to an address change that is Temporary, Foreign, Moved Left No Address (MLNA), and Box Closed No Order (BCNO).
      • Mailpieces that are priced as single-piece.
      • Mailpieces that qualify for the Legal Restraint method.
      • Mailpieces without the documentation submitted electronically.
  • Extension of ACS to machinable and non-auto pieces for mailers over the 95 percent full service threshold
  • Some relaxation in the ACS requirements for Periodical Mailers, and clarification of the Move Update requirements

While the explained changes are not major on the mail preparation side, there are a lot of changes for address and recipient quality happening at the same time. As always, we are here to answer any questions you may have about the rate case. Get in touch with our Senior Product Manager, Mitch Carpenter, directly at mitchc@bccsoftware.com

 

 

Changes to the Irresistible Mail Award from the USPS

Posted by in eBulletin

The Irresistible Mail® Award is evolving. Below is the press release from the USPS® regarding changes to the award, and what it means for the future:

 Introducing:  2018 Next Generation Campaign™ Award. Celebrating Informed Delivery®

The Irresistible Mail Award is evolving. This year the award will have a new name and an updated focus. The Next Generation Campaign Award will celebrate campaigns that take advantage of Informed Delivery to communicate with their consumer audience.

The award will continue to recognize B2C campaigns that include innovative and effective letter and flat mail piece designs. These designs may include (but are not limited to) the use of shapes, sizes, textures, colors, scents, personally targeted content, specialized inks, conversions to digital, or uncommon enclosures, as long as the campaigns also include customized and interactive digital content that can be accessed by consumers from the Informed Delivery® email notifications, dashboard or mobile app*.

Campaigns selected as finalists will compete to be crowned as Grand Champion at the 2018 National Postal Forum in San Antonio, TX. The Mail Owner, Agency, and Printer of these campaigns will all be recognized.

Entry is free and easy. The entry form and the complete rules can be found at www.usps.com/informeddeliverycampaigns. Mail pieces must have been mailed and used Informed Delivery to be eligible. Submissions must be mailed by January 15, 2018.

*Please refer to the Contest Rules and the Informed Delivery website for further information on Informed Delivery campaigns.

For a look at some of last year’s Irresistible Mail pieces, view the edition of BCC Software’s Lien In webcast that discusses Innovations in Mail.

 

Guest Article: Growing Your Business with Variable Data Printing

Posted by in eBulletin

It’s no secret that data drives marketing, which means marketers increasingly rely on data to produce highly personalized campaigns that are tailored to the unique profiles of a specific audience. They understand that making a message relevant enough that it enhances a customer’s experience is essential. With so much competition in the marketplace, customers have come to expect this personalized experience, and clean data is the key to achieving this.

InfoTrends, a division of KeyPoint Intelligence, is a marketing research and strategic consulting company for the digital imaging and document solutions industries. In a conducted study regarding the top communication objectives among 800 global marketing executives who were asked how they planned to improve the customer experience in terms of communication, the marketing executives answered: (1) provide better tailored offerings, and (2) better data-driven personalization and relevant communication.[1]

Marketers use data to tailor relevant offers to recipients. For print projects, more relevant, personalized communication has been shown to increase response rates – by about one-third according to the Direct Marketing Association.[2] This drives revenue, retention, and enhances customer loyalty – making the overall marketing spend more efficient for an improved return on investment.

Business Growth Opportunities for Print Service Providers

Print Service Providers (PSPs) have started responding to this push for personalized messaging by expanding their service offerings and investing in technologies that can accommodate the variable data processing that customization demands. Many PSPs have found that inkjet’s capabilities are ideal for producing customized marketing messages efficiently, cost effectively, and quickly. For example, with a white-paper-in/full-color-out workflow, preprinted shell inventory can be eliminated and production time streamlined. Customization and personalization have become virtually limitless.

In addition to the printing itself, other ancillary services can also offer growth opportunities. PSPs today offer data services like mail process management, postal services, and data cleansing, but other services could be added that are directly related to variable data printing – data analytics, data list acquisition, data mining, or campaign response tracking, to name a few.

The Variable Data Printing Challenge

As marketing pieces transition from mass marketing to segmented marketing to personalized marketing, variable data print jobs become much more complex. Not only does the text vary based on the individual recipient or recipient segments, but in order to maximize the relevance for each recipient, variable text, graphics, and images must be tailored to each audience profile for strong impact, optimized comprehension, and maximum response rates.

Handling large amounts of variable data quickly and efficiently requires specialized production management software to ensure that the digital press can operate at full rated speed. Also important is the flexibility to handle all industry-standard data streams and output to any number of required print devices whether in-house or in multiple print centers.

One of the primary objectives of Océ PRISMAproduction® Professional Workflow and Output Management Software from Canon is to enable efficient variable data printing. To do so, the software supports two variable printing file format standards: PDF/VT and PPML.

PDF/VT is an international ISO standard designed for variable data and transactional printing. It was developed to offer the reliability and predictability of the PDF/X workflow for variable and transactional data workflows. It is an open, device independent, non-vendor specific standard offering the benefits of job portability, page independence, and device neutrality. PPML (Personalized Printer Markup Language) is also a device independent and non-vendor specific format. It was developed by PODi, the Printing on Demand initiative, a consortium of leading companies in digital printing.

In addition to these industry standard, open variable printing file formats, Océ PRISMA software also supports proprietary variable data print languages such as RDO or VIPP. The ability to handle all these variable data formats enables print providers to optimize their current investment while allowing for flexibility in input and output processes, whether to Canon or third-party vendor devices. This unique capability utilizes a print provider’s investment in its current print fleet while enabling it to grow its customer base.

The Tools to Grow

A print provider can grow its business by capitalizing on the customization and personalization opportunities that variable data printing provides, creating stronger, more successful relationships with their customers. Canon Solutions America has the software tools that provide the flexibility and openness to handle most every major variable data file format with maximum performance. To learn more about why variable data printing remains an essential value-added service, download this white paper.


[1]Customer Engagement Technologies State of the Market, InfoTrends, 2015

[2] Lisa Cross, InfoTrends webinar, “The Right Data at the Right Time,” 7/17/14, retrieved from vimeo.com/101447313 on 9/15/14

Google+