How long does mail stay at a distribution center

In the world of multi-channel marketing, accurate information related to offline customer touchpoints is critical.

As daunting as this information may be, today’s competent mail service providers have the experience, data, and tools to help senders create accurate and predictable mail distribution plans. The best can also help deal with or overcome USPS delivery performance failures.

Understanding USPS Delivery Performance

The USPS has service standards, giving you complete freedom as to how much or how little mail is in the home before the last day of the service standard. but how much mail can they process and deliver in one day, two days, three days and more?

The postal service generally moves mail first in, first out, as quickly as possible. His freedom in the amount of mail delivered before the last day of the service standard means senders need to be aware of how the USPS is doing.

Standards vary by mail class

many ask, “what time does the usps deliver?” the answer varies depending on the class of mail. the standard of service for first class mail is perhaps the easiest to understand.

critical entry time (cet) is the cut-off time for mail to be processed the same day it is deposited at the postal facility. It is expressed in 24-hour increments. for first class mail the cet is at 8:00 am. mail destined for zip codes within the scf area being entered must be at home the next day. mail destined for zips within 300 miles of point of entry must be at home by day 2. all other mail for the us. uu. continentals must be home on the 3rd. alaska and hawaii mail must be home on the 5th.

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Standards of service for standard mail are also pretty straightforward when calculating USPS delivery times. If mail is delivered to a National Distribution Center (NDC) before 4pm, the service standard is 1-5 days from that date. scf mail delivered before 4pm on a friday or saturday has a 1-4 day service standard. and scf mail delivered before 4pm any other day of the week has a 1-3 day service standard. if the mail is delivered after 4:00 p.m., it is considered delivered the next day and does not make the cutoff for processing that night. therefore, 16:00 is the critical input time for standard mail.

processing complicates things

At first glance, the service standards for periodic mail are quite simple. mail delivered to an scf facility and addressed within that scf area must be at home the next day. Mail delivered to an Auxiliary Distribution Center (ADC) or NDC, which contains only mail for that area, has a 1-2 day service standard. but the Cets vary depending on whether the serials can be machine processed. this makes determining the dates the mail will be at home more difficult.

Automated magazine processing equipment, which the USPS calls Flats, is called the Flats Sequencing System (FSS). classify the floors in the order in which the postmen travel their routes. this type eliminates the need for carriers to “cover” their mail before it hits the road. this saves time on the carrier’s side, theoretically allowing them more time to deliver more mail.

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Only certain zip codes run on fss machines. they can’t handle all the mail in one facility, and many facilities don’t even have one. currently only about 80 of the original 100 machines are in active use.

in addition, machinable flat pallets destined for the fss must meet critical levels of pre-sorting upon entering the postal facility. an fss schema palette is a mail palette for a specific “schema”, zip or set of zips that the machine will process in one run.

if the mail is for an fss zip and in an fss schema palette, which does not require package classification, the cet is at 11:00. if the mail is for a zip fss and on any other type of pallet, the cet is 08:00. the cet is at 4:00 p.m. for non-fss mail on a 5-digit level pallet and at 5:00 p.m. for non-fss mail on any other type of pallet.

The bottom line is that regular mail has a 1-2 day service standard, but only for certain qualifying pallets delivered within a certain time. often it actually takes three days before the mail arrives home after delivery to an adc or ndc, and two days after delivery to an scf.

dealing with variability

Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) scan data is the key to knowing how mail is performing in the USPS system. This data provides an overview and performance of each USPS facility. if time is critical, variability in service standards can be problematic. and USPS performance is heavily influenced by volume fluctuations throughout the year.

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Senders can expect a much higher percentage of June mail to arrive home just one day after delivery to an SCF than in November, when the volume is much higher. more mail will be moved to the end of the window or later in the high volume months of September through December.

but regardless of the month, it is common for delivery to exceed the standard service window. Please note that some facilities may not be able to deliver any mail during the standard service window during busy weeks.

Standard of Service is not a guarantee for dates at home: The USPS will not reimburse costs for first class, marketing mail, or periodicals delivered later than expected. referencing data from previous years helps determine what may occur in the same week or month in the current year. but there are always variations.

The following is a general summary of USPS performance throughout a typical year and reflects USPS general delivery times:

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