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June 29

June 29, 2006


Price Proposal FAQs


We’ve received a number of questions about the details of our pricing proposal. We will use the DMM Advisory to clarify some of the issues raised by these questions. The Advisory issued June 1 addressed the Periodicals per-container rate, the Standard Mail Not Flat-Machinable (NFM) category, OneCode ACS, and automation letters. In this Advisory, we cover questions about Standard Mail, as well as other topics that are not part of our pricing proposal.   


Standard Mail


What are the physical standards for Standard Mail automation flats, parcels, and Not-Flat Machinables in the new pricing proposal?


Automation flats – Flat-size pieces that meet the current AFSM 100 criteria qualify for automation flat prices. For example, flats as large as 12 inches by 15 inches and as thick as ¾ inch qualify as automation flats. Flats as small as 5 inches by 6 inches and at least .009 thick also qualify as automation flats. Automation flats must also be flexible.  See Quick Service Guide (QSG) 301a.


Parcels – Standard Mail machinable parcels must weigh less than 16 ounces. They may be as small as 6 inches long, 3 ½ inches high, and ¼ inch thick. The physical standards for machinable parcels are described in QSG 440a. Nonmachinable parcels are described in QSG 440b.


Not Flat-Machinables – The graphic below (PDF) illustrates Not Flat-Machinable mailpieces. Mailers may also refer to DMM 301.3.4, Criteria for UFSM 1000 Pieces.



The graphic shows the minimum and maximum size for a Not Flat-Machinable as described in the above.


What changes in rate eligibility are you proposing for Standard Mail parcels? 


A 5-cent surcharge would apply to all parcels that are not barcoded unless the pieces are sorted to 5 digits. We also rename “irregular” parcels as “nonmachinable” parcels.


Are there any proposed changes to the minimum number of letters needed to fill a tray (150-piece rule) for either rate eligibility or mail preparation purposes?


No. We would maintain the existing rate structure and 150-piece minimums for Standard Mail (and First-Class Mail) automation letters.  


Are there any proposed changes to the requirements for automation letters prepared as self-mailers or booklets?


Our pricing proposal does not affect the preparation of booklets or self-mailers.


What are the minimum piece requirements for the proposed Standard Mail automation and nonautomation flats 5-digit and 3-digit rate categories?


Our proposal does not change the bundle and sacking requirements, including the minimums. For all mail prepared on pallets and for automation mail prepared in sacks, pieces prepared in a 5-digit bundle would get the 5-digit rate. Likewise, pieces prepared in a 3-digit bundle would get the 3-digit rate. Under today’s standards, the 3/5 rates are applicable for both bundles. For nonautomation flats prepared in sacks, the rates would continue to be based on the level of the sack in which the bundles are placed.


What is the definition of “uniform thickness” for Standard Mail flats? If a flat is not uniformly thick, would it have to be mailed as a Standard Mail parcel?


The definition of “uniform thickness” for automation flats is located in DMM 301.3.8.  It will not change.  Flats not meeting this standard may qualify at the nonautomation presorted flat rates, as they may today.


Other Questions


Does the USPS plan to redesign its business reply mail offering, to use the 4-state barcode?


Other than prices, there are no changes proposed for business reply mail. 


How will the USPS handle issues such as FAST appointment priority for mixed class co-mailings?


Mixed-class mailings occur today, and our proposal does not alter the FAST process.


How will the network redesign affect the value of drop ship discounts? Is it as simple as an RDC becoming a DBMC, and a DPC becoming a DSCF? Will mailers be expected to deliver APPS mail to RDCs, and if so, what discount would apply?


Network redesign will affect entry locations, and will require the cooperation of mailers.  No decisions have been made regarding realignment with respect to rate eligibility. We will work with mailers as the plans evolve.


The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) is available on Postal Explorer (


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