Donahoe wants rethink on USPS permits within a year

US Postmaster General Pat Donahoe said today that he would like to see a nationwide customer account system for the US Postal Service set up within a year. Speaking to the National Postal Forum today about the need to make it easier for businesses to use the Postal Service, Donahoe said his team was looking into the mailing permits system.

Currently, large mailers have to have separate permits – and pay individual permit fees – for every location at which they put items in the mail.

Donahoe said his team was listening to criticisms of the situation from his customers.

“We would like to get a system where you don’t need any permits, and you can
bring in your mail easily wherever you are,” he said.

Speaking to Post&Parcel, Donahoe said the system would probably be based on customer IDs, where items could be mailed anywhere through a single customer ID. Use of the Intelligent Mail barcoding would also make it easy to track payments for items, he explained.

“I would like to get it done in the next year or so,” Donahoe said.

“There are a lot of big companies that it would make perfect sense to do. There are companies with half a truckload of mail that have to take it to three different places to mail because of their permits – if they can go to one place, with less money on permits and less money on fuel they could have more money to spend on their mail.”

Making it easier for businesses to use the mail is a “top priority” for the USPS at the moment, Donahoe told the Forum this morning.

The Postal Service is already testing out an urban and suburban simplified address service for small businesses, called Every Door Direct Mail, which waives permit fees and requirements for individual addresses for businesses to run localised advertising campaigns.

This morning, Donahoe also announced changes to the way the Postal Service issues updates to its software systems each year, in order to make life easier for mailers.

From January, the Postal Service will issue only two major software releases a
year, which will cover issues like postage and electronic documentation.

A regular schedule of minor updates would also be followed, he said, to make changes easier and more predictable for USPS customers. A calendar for 2012 is already available on the USPS customer service web system, RIBBS.

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