Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Does ADVANCE track all mail classes?
A. No. ADVANCE is currently tracking only Standard Mail mail with specific, requested in-home delivery dates and Periodicals.
Q. If I don't sort my mail by carrier route, can I still use ADVANCE to track delivery?
A. Yes, but mail that is sorted to the 3- or 5-digit level may arrive at the delivery unit commingled with other Standard Mail mailpieces, which means it cannot be easily identified and, thus, cannot be tracked by delivery unit personnel.
Note: The 50 piece minimum per carrier route for Standard Mail ensures that delivery units can identify the mailing.
Q. Should my Standard Mail data file include participating ZIP Codes with routes to which I am mailing less than 50 mailpieces?
A. Yes, because an advisory notice can be sent to the participating delivery units.
Q. What if I produce a Standard Mail mailing with different mailpiece covers or "images" for different areas of the country or even for a single ZIP Code? Would it be treated as a single or multiple mailing?
A. If a mailer produces a mailing that involves multiple covers, it will be treated as a single mailing with regards to the minimum piece requirement. However, you will need to send an image of all the covers, separate header and detail data files identifying the 5-digit ZIP Codes that will receive each cover, and a unique mailing ID for each cover.
Q. Will Standard Mail that does not bear a requested in-home delivery date be tracked by ADVANCE?
A. A Standard Mail mailing must have a beginning and ending date for in-home delivery to qualify for tracking by ADVANCE. The in-home delivery date must be printed on the mailpiece or on bundle facing slips. If you are using facing slips, you must send a copy of one to the NCSC.
Q. Are the requirements the same for Standard Mail and Periodicals mailers?
A. Almost, but not exactly. Each participant must submit a header file; however, Periodicals mailers are only required to submit a detail file for every sixth mailing and are NOT required to submit a mailpiece.
Q. Why doesn't ADVANCE calculate on-time service performance for Periodicals mailings?
A. The calculation of on-time service performance would require that the participant provide the origin 3-digit ZIP Code for every mailpiece.
Q. How many ZIP Codes are covered by ADVANCE, and how can I determine which ones are covered?
A. As a rule, any delivery unit that has ten or more carrier routes is covered by the ADVANCE system, i.e., approximately 7,500 DUs serving approximately 11,000 ZIP Codes. The number of participating ZIP Codes will increase as delivery units become equipped with the necessary computer hardware.
Note: A list of participating 3- and 5-digit ZIP Codes can be obtained from the NCSC on a 3.5" diskette, downloaded from RIBBS or the NCSC BBS.
Q. Where do I get reports on the status of my mailing?
A. Consolidated delivery performance reports for each participating ADVANCE mailer will be available via the NCSC BBS or the ADVANCE Mailer Web page.
Q. How do I find out more about ADVANCE and how it might work for me?
A. For more information on ADVANCE, call the ADVANCE Technical Support Department at 800-238-3150, or a USPS account representative.