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Tech Tip: The Shipping Services File

June 04, 2018

The Shipping Services file, used for IMPB submissions, has recently gone through several changes related to how it’s submitted. This has been widely documented and has gone smoothly for the most part. However, there has been a change to how it can be created, which has not been well documented, and why we are dedicating this month’s Tech Tip to provide you the information you need successful utilize the Shipping Services File.

So, let’s get started: 

BCC Mail Manager™ can generate this file in two ways:

  1. Once you’re logged into the software, head to the Presort Summary Printing menu and select Tools > Shipping Services, which will walk you through a short wizard to create this file. Please note you will need to include your PTS login ID to work through this.
  2. Similarly, when you run the Mail.dat wizard, you can select the option on your database page of the wizard. Both of these will produce your .manifest file which can then be uploaded. This method and part of the process has not changed.

Don’t forget! These files must be uploaded to the USPS® for your IMPB to be tracked. Currently, all of the methods of submission require signing up with the USPS and becoming certified to use the IMPB and the Shipping Services File.

  1. The first method is SFTP, which requires the user to set up an FTP client and use that to communicate with a USPS SFTP server.
  2. The USPS also offers the Electronic Data Exchange which uses a web protocol called EDIINT AS2 to communicate. Again, the end user requires a third-party client that can communicate using this protocol.
  3. Lastly, there is the Parcel Data eXchange (PDX) which uses a USPS provided application to upload the file.

For our purposes, these methods are very similar, varying only in exact interface and security protocol. These are the subject of the recent update, which will transition all current methods of Shipping Services File submission to one of these three secure methods.

If you are producing a paper postage statement, you must use one of the methods above to create and submit your Shipping Services File. If you are using Mail.dat, you can certainly create the Shipping Services Files along with it and then submit altogether. Recently, many customers may have noted that when submitted this way, the Shipping Services File Transaction ID on the PostalOne! postage statement does not match to the Transaction ID in their user generated Shipping Services File. This is due to a change made to how Mail.dat files are handled.

Last year it became possible for PostalOne! to generate a Shipping Services File directly from your Mail.dat upload, as your Mail.dat file set contains all the same information as the Shipping Services File, just in a different configuration. This has several advantages, including:

  1. Ensuring your Payment/Permit information is the same
  2. Ensuring your Mailing Dates and Facility information is identical
  3. Ensuring the IMPB digits used are exact.

The downside is that if you upload your own Shipping Services File, PostalOne! still uses the ID and information generated from the Mail.dat. Since this change was implemented, we have suggest that our customers that are using the IMPB and submitting Mail.dat files move to this method of file creation and submission to maintain the consistencies noted above and prevent inconsistent Shipping Services File Transaction IDs.

When creating the Mail.dat file, there are several ways to ensure a Shipping Services File is created by PostalOne!:

  1. On the Database page, select “Piece Detail Table” and the “Uncoded Parcel Address Table.” The UPA will only be created if you have parcels without a +4.
  2. Then on the Segment – Containers page, select “Barcoded Parcels” and “Intelligent Mail Package Barcode.” With all four of these selected, you should be providing the information needed to have PostalOne! create and submit the Shipping Services File for you.

Use this reference to save yourself time, effort, and frustration with this important mailing file. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Support team at 800.624.5234.

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