UPDATE: An Industry Update released on Monday, June 1, 2020 stated the following:
Delays in finalizing CASS Cycle O requirements and the publication of an updated timeline has resulted in insufficient time available for the mailing industry to plan their development resources and secure required funding to meet an August 2021 implementation date. Therefore, the Postal Service has determined that the CASS Cycle O implementation schedule will be rescheduled to a new implementation date of August 1, 2022. The current CASS Cycle N will be extended until July 31, 2022.
The Postal Service will continue to work with Industry leaders to update the final requirements related to Address Quality / CASS Cycle O and the new timeline to support an August 2022 implementation date.
At the beginning of April, the USPS® announced they are delaying the long-anticipated CASS Cycle O update. In their official announcement released on April 3rd, 2020 they state that “in order to fully support the mailing industry response to the current National Emergency caused by COVID-19 pandemic, the Postal Service has determined that the CASS Cycle O publishing schedule will be postponed.”
Originally, the industry was well on its way to having the new CASS Cycle O implemented on August 1st of 2021. Unfortunately, with the announcement of a delay there is no indication of when the new implementation date will be. BCC Software, industry associations, and postal customers have shared concerns with the USPS about the potential impact to selecting a date other than August 1st.
There are many moving parts to selecting a date for the various parties involved. For example, software providers like BCC Software must have their software certified and delivered to their customers at least 90 days prior to the required implementation date. Many mailers lock down significant changes to their environments prior to the start of Fall Mailing season, making any date in the final quarter of the calendar year difficult. The USPS must also consider the timing alongside the traditional January implementation date of postal rate price changes. Overall, it is a delicate situation anyway you look at it. If you would like to help urge the USPS to remain sensitive to a date change, you can reach out to the National Customer Support Center.
In addition to delaying the timing of the update, the USPS has also expanded the scope of the cycle as well, as indicated by the name change from CASS Cycle O to Address Quality Cycle O. In doing so, the USPS is making it clear that there are changes to CASS Certifications as well as changes to DSF2® and NCOALink®. CASS – an abbreviation for Coding Accuracy Support System – is designed by the USPS in cooperation with the mailing industry with end goal of improving the accuracy of postal codes, delivery point, and carried route codes that appear on mailpieces.
Why is CASS important? Not only is it vital in the pursuit of address quality, in order for mailers to receive discounts with the USPS, mailers must use CASS-certified software in conjunction with presort software as well as presentation of the proper documentation.
Be sure you’re subscribed to our Industry Corner Podcast to keep up to date with the latest industry information. We will be keeping a close eye on Cycle O developments, especially any relevant effects it might have on the industry. However, just because Cycle O has been delayed doesn’t mean mailers can’t be taking advantage of address quality opportunities now. If you have any questions on how to improve your mailing operations reach out to BCC Software representatives today!
National Customer Support Center https://www.usps.com/help/contact-us.htm