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For letters/flats, the USPS is planning to largely eliminate processing these pieces through its existing 21 network distribution centers (NDCs) and instead moving to a model that utilizes its 13 surface transfer centers (STCs) for letters and flats while converting the NDC facilities to become “regional distribution centers” that process parcels. This will mean changes in the way both letters/flats and parcels are prepared and entered to the USPS. Another initiative the USPS is moving forward with over the next year is development and rollout of a new USPS Connect parcel offering, starting with USPS Connect Local, which offers customers same- or next-day delivery of parcels entered at local delivery units. The details and requirements of this new offering are yet to be finalized, and the USPS envisions a regional and national level of the service as well. What can mailers do? Read and familiarize yourself with the plan. Think about the

changes the USPS has said it is looking to make in the future and how your business and its services fit in. Focus on the initiatives the USPS is planning to implement over the next year — the USPS has been sharing information and talking about these initiatives (some of which are outlined above) at MTAC, at PCC meetings, and at other venues, so make sure you are engaged in those discussions and thinking about potential impacts and opportunities for your business. The Bottom Line Keep in mind that although the USPS has laid out a broad plan that outlines many strategic initiatives and goals, there are many areas where the details are yet to be developed. That means there is opportunity to work collaboratively with the USPS on development of specific initiatives — after all, it’s a 10-year plan, not a one-year plan.

Yes, things have already started changing in the mailing environment and will continue to change as the USPS moves ahead with its plan. Look for opportunities for your business in where the USPS is heading and consider the changes you may need to make to be successful in the future. Change is never easy, and it can be a bumpy road, but it can still lead you to a good destination.  Kathleen J. Siviter is Asst. Executive Director of the National Association of Presort Mailers (NAPM) as well President of Postal Consulting Services Inc. (PCSi), and she has over 30 years’ experience in the postal industry. She has worked for the U.S. Postal Service, Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), and others, as well as providing consulting services to a diverse set of clients with interest in the postal industry. She has also worked with PostalVision 2020, an initiative designed to engage stakeholders in discussions about the future of the American postal system. | SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2021