At the Parcel Shipping & Distribution Forum in Chicago this past fall, we were privileged to be introduced to several new U.S. Postal Service products developed expressly to assist parcel shippers. For those of you who missed the show (or perhaps just want some more information), heres a recap.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

The Postal Service helps you ensure that your shipments are signed, sealed and delivered from signing your shipment in with a new acceptance scan, to making sure USPS-supplied envelopes are sealed up tight, to keeping you up-to-date on delivery status with a re-designed online shipping application. These are just a few recent USPS developments that add value to the mail for shippers and individual customers alike: Shipment Confirmation Acceptance Notice (SCAN); a new adhesive to seal Priority Mail, Express Mail and Global Mail envelopes; and a new version of the popular online Shipping Assistant application.

Its SCAN-tastic!

USPS launched the new online feature, SCAN, to let customers know their packages have been picked up and are entering the mailstream. When teamed with Delivery Confirmation, which verifies packages have arrived at their destinations, USPS gives online shippers end-to-end visibility to meet their business needs.

When mailers go online to ship packages using Click-N-Ship or other USPS-authorized postage vendors to print postage and labels, they can print a SCAN notice as well. The notice PS Form 5630 contains a barcode thats linked to all packages in the shipment. Mailers can then give the packages to their letter carriers or bring them to the post office retail counter or back dock.

Having the ability to manifest my packages is awesome, says Eugene Buccellato, President of Digital Media Outlet, based in Long Island, NY. The company, which specializes in the sale of memory cards and chips used in cell phones and digital devices, ships 200-400 packages each day.

If I had to have each package scanned individually at the post office, Id never get out of there, he says. The fact that I can have them all connected to just one barcode allows me to get in and out in a flash, or better yet, have them picked up by my carrier with Free Package Pickup.

With SCAN, shippers can show their customers that items have been shipped by entering the label barcode number on or the PC Postage vendors site.

The acceptance scan eliminates 90% to 95% of my customers concerns, notes Buccellato. When customers are dealing with an online retailer, trust is a big factor. Knowing they can go online and see that their item is in the mail builds customer trust in my business. People remember those kinds of things. Its just good customer service.

USPS customers now have a complete online solution for shipping expedited packages online labels with postage, free packaging, free Delivery Confirmation service, Free Package Pickup and, with SCAN, the ability to validate shipment acceptance.

Thats especially important for online shippers, as the acceptance event often is the trigger that releases payment from the buyer on sites like eBay. SCAN was launched in November of 2006, and so far, customers are enthusiastic about the new service. In just the first month it was introduced, mailers used SCAN forms to ship more than half a million packages.

For more information or to try SCAN for yourself go to Click-N-Ship at

Shipping Assistant

The Postal Services popular desktop Shipping Assistant application has been re-designed with new features to save customers time and money. The free and easy-to-use application combines label printing and package management in one program, which customers can download at their convenience from

The new edition, Shipping Assistant 3.0, adds the ability to print customs forms and international mail labels, enhanced address book management tools, more user preferences and an integrated help component. Another new feature allows customers to schedule and manage Free Package Pickup requests right from the desktop applications.

Shipping Assistant is for all mailers, but particularly small- to mid-sized business customers who ship 50 to 200 packages a day, says Vice President for Product Development Nicholas Barranca. These customers need a powerful online shipping environment, and Shipping Assistant provides it in a new, cleaner and more user-friendly design.

Barranca says the new design allows customers to complete online shipping tasks in fewer steps. To save time, Shipping Assistant can pre-populate online form fields with frequently used customer data. Customers can work online or offline, printing labels immediately or saving them to a shipping cart to print later in a single batch. And, with the Shipping Assistant message center, customers can stay up-to-date on news that could affect their shipments.

Other new shipping assistant features include:

The addition of new flat-rate shipping options. Shipping Assistant now offers two sizes of Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes (both using the same-sized label), large Global Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes and Priority Mail and Express Mail Flat-Rate envelopes

The ability to compare postage rates and estimated delivery times, including Express Mail commitments

Domestic address verification

The option for customers to review their mailing records and confirm shipment delivery status

Shipping Assistant was introduced in 2001 and is used by more than 100,000 customers. The new version replaces Version 2.2, which was released in July 2002. For more information and download instructions, customers can go to

My Lopes Are Sealed

This is truly a behind-the-scenes (or more accurately, behind-the-flap) development to help mailers keep their shipments more secure. When Flat Rate Priority Mail was introduced, customers loved the service. And whats not to love, with the convenience of mailing a package or envelope regardless of weight or destination for one flat rate, as long as the contents fit inside and the envelope could be sealed without extra tape or extensions. Even better, like all Priority Mail supplies, the flat rate envelopes are provided free to mailers by the Postal Service.

The flat-rate options proved so popular that it wasnt long before envelopes filled to capacity were causing mail processing problems if the adhesive seal failed to hold. A quick solution came from the Postal Services Supply Management team, working with the packaging supplier.

The company added a primer to the flat-rate envelope, which allows the adhesive strip to bond more quickly and aggressively when its sealed. The primer also has been added to regular Priority Mail, Express Mail and Global Mail envelopes another quick, easy and convenient solution from USPS.

The U.S. Postal Service provides great savings opportunities for your package shipment needs. For more information, e-mail them at, contact them through their website or contact your USPS Sales Representative.