As telcos, public power utilities and industry associations seek solutions to rising paper and printing expenses, Pioneer staff work behind the scenes to reduce mailing costs.

In August 2023, the United States Postal Service plans to update its address matching tool, CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) Cycle O. CASS details how to handle addresses when coding them. The CASS update aims to improve address quality, reduce undeliverable mail and make processes easier for mailers, the USPS and people who receive mail. This is the first CASS update in a decade, and it could lead to big savings for utilities and associations.

To learn about what the change means for Utility Pioneers, Pioneer Publications Production Manager Elizabeth Beatty and Publications Coordinator Alyssa McDougle attended the National Postage Forum.

Elizabeth Beatty, left, and Alyssa McDougle attended the National Postal Forum in May.

“With multiple postal price increases, it’s essential to get the most up-to-date information for our members,” Elizabeth says. 

The conference featured updates, including a deep dive into the mailing changes to expect in 2023, from USPS insiders. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy explained his 10-year plan, “Delivering for America,” to achieve financial sustainability and service excellence. BCC Software Executive Vice President of Postal Affairs Chris Lien offered insight on address hygiene and how to cut back on undeliverable mail.

Sessions explained USPS plans for transforming mail service in 2023.

“A complete, correct and current address is the only way to ensure timely, predictable and ultimate delivery of a mailpiece,” he reminded attendees. His tips echo Pioneer’s guide, How to Keep Mailing Lists Clean, which identifies common address problems and solutions.

“This new cycle will help give more reasons on why an address could be pegged as ‘undeliverable,’” Alyssa explains. “Meeting with leaders in the industry and hearing their tips on how to give Utility Pioneers the best mail quality possible was invaluable.”

Continuing education on postal changes and regulations helps Pioneer’s publications team identify ways to strengthen mailing lists. Pioneer also, as part of the Statewide Editors Association, gets updates on mail changes from the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers.

“When it comes to navigating post office changes, cooperation is key,” says Pioneer CEO Michael Shepard. “Our publications team dives into postal changes, connects with mail experts and finds solutions to share and save costs, not just for our co-op, but for all of our members. For example, switching to an electronic system for returned mail saved Utility Pioneers more than $40,000 in 2021.”

Getting to talk to people who make these changes at USPS will help us navigate the transition,” adds Alyssa. “It’s always good to have people in your corner you can reach out to.”

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