Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Standard Mail $.02-$.03 rate reduction proposed by PRC


This morning I received the following pleasant news update from the DMA regarding a temporary rate reduction proposed on all Standard USPS mail:

The Postal Regulatory Commission May 25 offered interim rate relief for Standard Regular flats and catalog mailers in response to the U.S. Postal Service Governors’ request to reconsider the recommended rates in March.

The PRC’s decision grants a temporary rate reduction of 3 cents for all Standard Mail regular flats and 2 cents for Standard Regular nonprofit flats. The temporary transitional rate relief for Standard Regular flats mailers would end Sept. 29.

click to read full story...

They would not require any software change be made but simply a blanket 3 cents per Standard Mail Flat and 2 cents per Non-Profit Standard Mail Flat to be deducted from the overall postage statement.

Mailers concerned should contact their USPS postal reps and support this PRC recommendation.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

How to Round Up in Oracle SQL

Recently I needed to provide a report that had numbers rounded to the nearest thousand. I found the ROUND command but this appeared to be only rounding off decimal points to a specified number of spaces. The syntax for this is:

SELECT ROUND(number, decimals)
FROM table;

If you use 2 for the decimals your result would look like this:
Result: 2.12
Result: 2.13

However, I needed something that would round to the nearest thousandth. So I tried a negative number for the decimals like this and found it did exactly what I wanted:
Result: 10000
Result: 11000

While this is a basic Oracle SQL function, it is not clear that you can do this, hence this post.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

USPS Rate Change - What do you think?

May 14th, 2006 will go down in history as the most confusing day in mailers history. Unfortunately many people did not install the new presorting software on development machines and get them fully tested before the big date and tried to frantically switch over on May 14th. The tech support team at Firstlogic was overwhelmed with calls - specifically in their Presort support dept. Complaints regarding the post office rejecting their mail, confusing new requirements and general upset due to the increase in postage as a result of the new rate case. Mailers are experiencing anywhere upwards of $.10 per piece increase - the highest increase in standard mail that I can remember.

I saw a post on the DM News website that the USPS claimed the new rate case implementation was going smooth - however it is quite different on the ground in speaking to mailers and software support technicians.

Per the below excerpt from DM News page, it looks as though the Postal Regulation Committee is considering reverting the Standard Flat Mail rate change due to the "rate shock" occurring:

The Governors of the USPS asked that the rates for this category of mail be reconsidered because the price increases recommended by the PRC may impose an unnecessary degree of “rate shock” on the catalog industry and small businesses particularly. The recommended increase for some catalog mailers is as much as 40 percent, which is more than double what the Postal Service had proposed.

Here is a poll to find out your opinion of the new rate case. Please vote and let me know your comments on this.