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SAP Postalsoft

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How long have you been in Product Development? 

 

I have worked in Product Development (Product Test) at SAP for over 15 years.

 

What products do you work on? 

 

Currently, I work on the Postalsoft ACE (Address Correction and Encoding) and Data Services USA Regulatory Address Cleanse and DSF2 transforms.  Previously, I have tested Data Services Global Address Cleanse transforms and some of the other legacy Postalsoft solutions such as Match and DataRight.

 

What was your last job before coming to work for SAP?

 

Before being hired at SAP, I was working as an Office Manager/Network Administrator at a small local non-profit agency that supports adults with disabilities.

 

What do you like most about your job?

 

I like the fact that I learn something new everyday while performing my job.  Sometimes it's regarding the products I test but other times it's the behavior of Windows or UNIX systems or other applications and tools that aid in testing our products.

 

What is the most challenging or rewarding experience you had working with your product?

 

Since I have worked on several different SAP/Postalsoft products while at SAP, some of the most challenging experiences I have had is learning new products quickly enough and thorough enough to be effective at testing.  The most rewarding part is rising to the challenge and delivering quality software to our customers.

 

If you could work on another SAP product, what would it be and why? 

 

I enjoy testing graphical user interfaces and I strongly believe in usability testing, so I would probably choose to work with User Interface Designers to help design/create/deliver next generation SAP software.

 

What are your hobbies outside of work?

 

My hobby right now is spending as much time as I can with my children.  This includes helping coach their basketball and softball teams as well as attending the majority of their games and tournaments.  When not coaching or watching my kids basketball, softball, football, and volleyball games, the kids and I like to attend the local high school and college games.

 

If you were given a month off of work, what would you do?

 

The time of year would dictate what I did if I had a month off of work.  In the fall/winter, I (my family) would go somewhere where there was crystal clear ocean water, white sand beaches, palm trees, and average temperatures over 80 degrees.  In the spring/summer, Colorado would be the destination.

Today's Postal Bulletin is available here. Today's PB has nothing in it related to Presort, only some International Mailing Manual updates and things that otherwise seem "normal" for this time of year, like the mailing schedule for sending packages overseas for the holidays.

 

Speaking of normal makes me think of "abnormal" for some reason, and if you're reading this you've probably seen a notice on our forum pages about our Postalsoft product line and how the Presort intellectual property (IP - the source code in this case) has been sold to Satori Software. I won't go through all the details, because you can find a lot of detailed information elsewhere if you follow those links, but I will comment that I am part of a small but dedicated group of people that currently work on this long-lived product who are going along with it to its new home. I guess I'm trying to say I'll become a Satori Software employee soon, where I'll continue to work on Presort.

 

After more than 15 years working in one place through three different company owners - FirstLogic, Business Objects, and SAP - it's going to be "abnormal" to say the least. Most of those 15+ years have been spent on Presort, so I have some deep connections to it! I've also been lucky enough to meet a number of customers through site visits and professional conferences I've been able to attend, and I feel I am invested in making sure Presort continues to meet the needs of you customers who have trusted and relied on it as your mail sorting solution partner over the years.

 

Well, back to the mailing news at the USPS level - with a rate case implementation announced for Jan 27, the 90 day limit for announcement of changes to be implemented is coming up soon! We're expecting additional changes for January to be published before the end of this month, so maybe the next PB will have more content or there will be some Federal Register Notices published by then to talk about. Check back in a couple weeks for another update.

Dear Valued SAP Customer,

After much deliberation, SAP has decided to move away from mailing solutions market as served by the Postalsoft product line. As such, SAP plans to end-of-life (EOL) a number of our SAP BusinessObjects Postalsoft applications at the end of next year- December 31, 2013. This will allow our Postalsoft mailing customers more than a year to transition to other solutions provided by our partners in the mailing industry. For more details on what Postalsoft products are affected and how to get assistance with transitioning to new solutions, please review this document on the SCN.

Thank you,

  -Braden

Today's Postal Bulletin is posted, but there's not much to look at in this issue related to our Presort. There are no DMM Revisions in this issue and no Label List changes, just some of the "normal" minor things or announcements like some new stamps (yes, you can now get your "Santa and Sleigh" or "Holy Family" stamps for xmas cards as Forever stamps, in addition to a 15-stamp panel of different "Earthscapes" stamps). And in among the various commemorative postmarks is one marking the 11th anniversary of 9/11 for the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel. The cover story, not surprisingly, is related to the coming elections, with information about the Hatch Act which specifies political activities that are permitted or not allowed for federal employees like postal workers.

 

Check back in a couple weeks for info about the next PB. With a rate case and related changes set to be implemented January 27/28, 2013, there's bound to be some additional changes coming pretty soon!

Today's bulletin is here: http://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2012/pb22344/pdf/pb22344.pdf

 

There are a couple DMM revisions in this issue. One is "New Pallet and Tray Options for First-Class Mail and Standard Mail," which seems to be essentially prescribing how single piece and residual trays and sacks should be labeled and placed on pallets where they have not been allowed (at least not officially). The other DMM revision clarifies when ADC or AADC trays may be eligibile for DSCF discount prices.

 

We will be looking into the new options for residual trays, and watching for the additional changes that are mentioned in the preamble text as possibly still coming (perhaps as part of the rate case implementation in Jan 2013). We'll also be looking at the DSCF clarification to see if we have any enhancements to make in that regard, but at first glance it appears to match with what our Presort is currently doing.

 

Well I don't have a lot of time to write this time, so that's all for now.

How long have you been in Product Development? I have worked in Product Development as a Developer for 16 years.

 

What products do you work on? I work on ACE (Address Correction and Encoding) as well as the US Regulatory Address Cleanse and DSF2 Walk Sequencer transforms within Data Services.

 

What was your last job before coming to work for SAP? I worked 8 years at a wireless communication company in Fairfax, VA called Eon doing embedded software development.

 

What do you like most about your job?  I like the challenge of solving problems and designing new solutions. I also enjoy the camaraderie of working with fellow engineers.

 

What is the most challenging or rewarding experience you had working with your product?  Being relatively new on this product, the challenge has been coming up to speed on the functionality and features provided in the ACE and URAC products.  

 

If you could work on another SAP product, what would it be and why? I always enjoyed working on user interfaces when I get the opportunity.  At this layer, there is a certain amount of creativity involved.  The user interface is where the code interacts with the customer which is one of the most important pieces of any product.

 

What are your hobbies outside of work? I enjoy a variety of sports such as golf, baseball, football, basketball at all levels from high school to professional.  I also enjoy being involved at my church by playing guitar on Sunday mornings.   Another interest of mine is to follow what is happening in politics at the local, state and national level.

 

If you were given a month off of work, what would you do? I would like to take my family on a nice vacation like traveling through Europe or visit the Holy Land.  There is such a rich history in so many of those European and Middle Eastern countries.

I’m just catching up after a few days off, so let’s see what was in last week’s PB. This Postal Bulletin is located here.

 

The big item from a Presort standpoint in this issue is the listing of Label List changes. These changes can be used as soon as you receive the updates in our directories, but must be used before Halloween (no later than 29 Oct to be precise). There do not seem to be a lot of drastic changes despite more than a dozen tables being affected, but the updates roll on for several pages mostly because small processing location changes cause many rows of the L201 table to need updating because there is necessarily so much repetition in that table. All these table changes will be in our September directory updates.

 

The most significant item to note here would have to be the addition of an entirely new table, L012, to list the 5-Digit City State Scheme Combinations. This info was previously just embedded in the City-State product, but now has been "promoted," you might say, to have its own table. That table is not actually shown in the PB because of its length, but it is now available on the Postal Explorer site, here. I thought there might be some language adjustments made to indicate when this table should be used (like in the 5DGS level to have a reference to say "use L012 to combine ZIPs" or something like that), but it does not appear that anything like that is included in this issue.

 

The other revision that applies to Presort is the DMM revision to General Pallet Preparation Standards. This appears to be some language clean-up in one section that said bundles not on a pallet at SCF, ADC or NDC/ASF level would have to go in a sack. This is now at odds with other places that allow placing bundles on mixed ADC pallets. Now the language says either those bundles may be placed on pallets, “if allowed,” or in sacks. Now if only we can remember next year when that “if allowed” statement really applies…

 

There is another DMM revision, “Periodicals Identification Statement — Optional Instruction for Address Change Service Participants,” but that basically alters what text is allowed in the ID statement of a periodical without altering anything about the sorting of those pieces. That's it for this bulletin.

Today's Postal Bulletin is located here.

 

This issue is another one that doesn't have changes that will affect our Presort software. The lone DMM revision is about "Bulk Proof of Delivery" with changes to DMM 503 (Extra Services), and those changes won't affect any mail sequencing.

 

A large portion of this bulletin is taken up with information about election and political campaign mail. Otherwise this issue is pretty much the standard fare - some new stamps (including "flags of our nation forever stamps"), some commemorative postmarks, some of the usual minor post office updates, along with the other miscellaneous things common to the bulletin.

Today’s Postal Bulletin can be found here.

 

While there don't seem to be any changes in this edition that will affect presorting of the mail, there is an interesting article if you’re a fan of musical productions and dance. The USPS will be introducing a new set of Forever stamps honoring “Innovative Choreographers,” and the article includes info about their lives and accomplishments as well as other general info about dance. If there’s a dancer in your house, too, they might find that article interesting even if they’re not a regular fan of the Bulletin!

 

There’s also a short article on enhancements to the USPS mobile app for Android. The two new features appear to be the ability to get supplies and to scan those much-talked-about QR codes and barcodes.

 

Ah, but back to the nitty-gritty: there are 3 DMM revisions in today’s Bulletin. As I mentioned they should not affect our Presort product, but they may affect your preparation in some specific cases. The changes are:

  • New Option for Mailing Discs in Automation Letter Envelopes (window envelopes will be allowed in certain circumstances, effective 4 Sep)
  • Certificate of Bulk Mailing for Permit Imprint Mailings (use of form 3606 for a bulk mailing of identical weight pieces will be allowed for cases where postage is paid by permit, in addition to the previously allowed stamps or meter stamps, effective 6 Aug)
  • Alternative Marking Options for Parcels Containing Hazardous Materials (if you’re sending things that would qualify under this heading you probably already realize you will need to read about the changes, effective 6 Aug, as there’s no way to summarize them briefly in an accurate way right here ;-)

 

One last note on this PB – it includes the semi-annual index of all the issues that appeared in the first six months of this year, so if you are looking for something that you know was printed since January (and you can’t or don’t want to do an internet search for it) there’s a listing here of all the articles so far.

Today’s Postal Bulletin is available here.

 

 

There are 2 DMM revisions today and 1 clarification, although it’s interesting that one of the revisions says it is a “clarification.” The actual clarification is about the Package Intercept Transitional Phase, not something we’ll be dealing with, and the 2 revisions are:

  • New Options for Clean Release Cards on Letters
  • Clarification of Preparation Standards for Pallets of Parcel Select Lightweight Pieces

If you use “clean release” cards on mailpieces, the new options include being able to put two such cards on the nonaddress side of letters, and in other cases there are some changes to clearance distances.

 

The revision that’s a clarification, about Parcel Select Lightweight Pieces (PSLWs), focuses on irregularly shaped pieces like tubes and rolls and those weighing less than 2 ounces. “Normal” PSLW irregular parcels may be palletized under current standards, but not the lightweight or oddly shaped items just mentioned. The revision allows these to be sacked and palletized under DMM 705.8.10.3.

 

The preamble text of the article also states the language change will clarify that 3DG pallet preparation is not available for Standard Mail or PSLW parcels; however, the actual text is “option not available for parcels or bundles for 3-digit ZIP Code prefixes marked “N” in L002.” Could be just me, but that sure seems like it could be read as “option not available for (parcels or bundles) for 3-digit ZIP Code prefixes marked “N” in L002.”

 

Based on the preamble text I have to believe it’s intended to be interpreted something like this: “option is available neither for parcels, nor for bundles for 3-digit ZIP Code prefixes marked ‘N’ in L002.” And I just wonder why they couldn’t have made this two sentences or somehow made it clear when to use L002 to decide eligibility. Because once that preamble text is not fresh in people’s minds (next week?), it certainly seems like it could be open to further “clarification.”

 

The good news for Postalsoft Presort users is that you should be able to do this sacks on pallets sort correctly for lightweight or tube-shaped PSLWs with your current software (at least based on the preamble text version of the change).

Joe.JPG

 

How long have you been in Product Development?  I have worked in Product Development as a Developer for 14 years.

 

What products do you work on?  I work on ACE (Address Correction and Encoding) as well as the US Regulatory Address Cleanse and DSF2 Walk Sequencer transforms within Data Services.

 

What was your last job before coming to work for SAP? I worked for 12 years as a Software Engineer at Electronic Data Systems before coming to SAP.  I was assigned to the General Motors account and worked on various manufacturing applications deployed in assembly and fabrication plants.

 

What do you like most about your job? I enjoy both the diversity and technical challenges that this job provides. There are plenty of complex issues that arise to keep me busy and provide me with different opportunities to keep me engaged. 

 

What is the most challenging or rewarding experience you had working with your product?  Juggling multiple releases and deployments of our product at the same time has been the most challenging experience for me thus far.

 

If you could work on another SAP product, what would it be and why?  With all the excitement and potential success surrounding SAP HANA, it would be fun to have an opportunity to work on a HANA project and keep up with the latest technology. 

 

What are your hobbies outside of work? I enjoy many outdoor activities especially golfing, fishing, hunting and bicycling. I also enjoy any time I can spend with my family. 

 

If you were given a month off of work, what would you do?  Catch up on projects around the house and sneak in some golf and fishing here and there of course.

Today’s Postal Bulletin is available here.

 

There’s only one actual DMM Revision today, “Customer Deposit and Pickup of International Mailpieces — Correction,” which won’t affect our software but will be interesting to you if you send international mail.

 

Just a little further down in the contents under “Mailing and Shipping Services” is another large section of Label List changes. These changes are effective June 15 (tomorrow) and may be used immediately, and they must be used no later than 29 August. These changes will be incorporated into our July MPC directory as part of the monthly directory updates.

 

There are quite a few pages of changes listed in the Bulletin, but a lot of that is because of changes to the L201 table which take up almost 7 pages on their own or about half of all the changes. That’s because that table is, shall we say, “odd” compared to the others with all the ranges that need to be listed in the middle column. Otherwise the few specifics I looked at seem once again consistent with an explanation of reducing the number of facilities. For example, in the 3DG table L002, the ZIPs 010-013 are changing from Springfield, MA to Hartford, MA, which expands to include those 3DG ranges in addition to its previous 060-069.

 

Otherwise this Bulletin looks pretty standard – the “normal” minor PO updates and stamp announcements (check them out if you’re a Major League Baseball All-Star fan). There is also an item about Mail Transport Equipment (MTE) highlighting a new look for flat trays, or tubs. The new look includes a warning that those tubs are not for private use. Maybe that means there won’t be any more pictures in the local paper of college students moving into their dorms using flat tubs to carry their stuff!

Today’s Postal Bulletin can be found here, and there are a number of DMM Revisions but most do not directly affect the presorting of the mail. Here’s a list of the DMM revisions being made:

  • Post Office Box Fee Refunds
  • Periodicals — Endorsements, Supplements to Bound and Unbound Publications (basically supplements mailed in an envelope or polybag with a bound publication do NOT need to have the endorsement “Supplement To” printed on them, and this is effective today – 31 May)
  • Package Intercept (effective 6 Aug, Registered Mail may be redirected, and the text about postage and fee refunds for Intercepted Mail will be removed)
  • Price and Postage Markings Applied by MLOCRs (it seems previously published markings for promotional rate Standard Mail® using postage affixed to MLOCR-produced mailings were incorrect; “PR” will designate regular STD Mail postage and “PN” will be used for Nonprofit, and this is effective 1 July but will not affect PostalSoft Presort since our software is not intended for MLOCR-produced mailings)
  • New Express Mail Price Category — Express Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope
  • PC Postage Presorted Option (“…expands the use of PC Postage for the payment of postage for First-Class Mail®, Standard Mail®, Media Mail®, and Library Mail, and for First-Class Package Service™ (excluding commercial plus) commercial mailings.”)

In addition, remember that we will release new software (very) soon in support of some minor changes to postage statements. Note that the statement changes are product and service related and there are no prices increasing at this time. In addition, this release will provide support for the Intelligent Mail parcel barcode, and that includes support of Mail.dat® 12-2 specification that will also be supported by PostalOne! in their 24 June update.

Today's Postal Bulletin is available here.

In addition to the Labeling List changes (see p. 57), there are just three DMM revisions this time, none of which would appear to affect our PostalSoft Presort software although the indicia item may be of interest if you'd like to use a picture in that area of a mailpiece:

 

 

  • Customer Deposit and Pickup of Domestic Mailpieces Requiring a Customs Declaration Form   
  • Shipping Assistant Rebranded as Click-N-Ship for Business
  • Picture Permit Imprint Indicia

 

Otherwise the content in this edition looks pretty tame, with the typical minor PO changes and the like.

The Labeling List changes affect tables L001 5-Digit Scheme flats and parcels, L004 3-Digit ZIPs for ADC sortation, L006 5DG FSS scheme flats, L007 5DGS flats, L009 Mixed ADC flats, L201 OMX, and L606 5DGS for parcels. These changes were effective 15 May so they may be used immediately, but they are not required until 29 July. These updates will be in our June directory updates.
I usually do like to skim through the changes to see if there is any big theme, such as an obvious closing of a large plant or (more in the past) the addition of new processing equipment somewhere. I don't see clues in this edition that would lead to those kinds of conclusions. The sample changes that I happened to examine seem consistent with trying to maximize equipment capacity given the statistics about declining mail volume. For just one example, the L007 5DG Scheme for flats at Burlington, CT went from 3 ZIPs to 4, adding 06026, and there are quite a few completely new schemes being added to this table. But then there are some cases that have gone the opposite way, like the Boulder, CO scheme that went from having 3 - 5DG areas in the scheme to 2, removing 80305 to leave just 80301 and 80308. So it looks like these are just mainly some small processing adjustments.
The next Bulletin should be published on 31 May.

Today's Postal Bulletin does have 4 DMM revisions, but probably the one that will get the most attention is the "Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion" or in other words the mobile barcode promotion. From July 1 to Aug 31 of this year, if your mailing meets a list of requirements including that all pieces bear a "mobile barcode," that mailing can qualify for reduced prices. The requirements are similar to those of last year's mobile barcode promotion, so for instance the mobile barcode must lead to a webpage where the recipient can purchase a product or service, or it can lead to a web page that is unique to the recipient. This promotion is available for First-Class Mail cards, letters, and flats, and also for Standard Mail letters and flats, including Nonprofit, and eligible mailings must use electronic documentation.

   It's worth noting that the promotional discount will NOT apply to any residual single piece mail, even if it is listed on a postage statement for qualifying Presorted or automation mailings.

   If this is a promotion you plan to use, definitely get out and read the full article for all the "fine print" details, including which payment options may be used and how mail preparer info must be entered in the electronic documentation.

   The other DMM revisions might apply to your situation, but they're certainly not going to apply to the volume of mail the mobile barcode promotion will. Those other items are:

  • Increase Insurance Indemnity to $5,000 for Integrated Barcodes
  • USPS Package Intercept - New Product Offerings
  • Mailings Of Lithium Batteries

 

    Oh, there's also the cover article about "Dog Bite Prevention Week" if you were looking for some ready-made materials to help avoid any run-ins with "man's best friend." :-)

 

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