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HOME --> ACMA Advocacy Pays Off: FSS Pricing Eliminated; Standard Flats To Increase by 2.5%; Piece Rate Standard Flats Minimum Raised to 4.0 oz.

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ACMA Advocacy Pays Off: FSS Pricing Eliminated; Standard Flats To Increase by 2.5%; Piece Rate Standard Flats Minimum Raised to 4.0 oz.

Paul Miller

October 14, 2016


The US Postal Service filed on October 12th its next postage adjustment to take effect at midnight on January 22, 2017, pending Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approval. While the Standard Mail class overall is to be increased by 0.895%, Standard Mail Flats will be increased by a weighted average of 2.493%, reflective of a PRC directive for the Postal Service to pull Standard Mail Flats out of its underwater status. Carrier Route was reduced by an average of 3.09% in part due to the removal of the FSS premium previously imposed, and High Density reduced by 2.025%. Also the USPS intends to formally change the name of Standard Mail to USPS Marketing Mail.


As the ACMA speculated last month, Flats Sequencing System (FSS)-specific rates for flats will be eliminated, allowing catalogers to claim the rate for the distribution density their books qualify for, regardless of whether it is in an FSS zone or not. The change largely reflected ACMA’s hard work with postal officials, including considerable input from our members.


All FSS preparation requirements (bundle, container, and markings) outlined in the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) will remain unchanged. The Postal Service believes that the proposed rate structure, in combination with existing preparation requirements, will correct the adverse impacts on catalog volumes while also permitting the Postal Service to leverage the benefits of processing flats on FSS equipment.


Also due to the efforts of the ACMA and others, the maxiimum weight of Standard Mail flats that pay piece rates only will increase from 3.3 ounces to 4.0 ounces to add value to the mail by allowing senders of automation, non-automation, and Carrier Route flats to improve the quality of their mailpieces. This extends to High Density and Saturation mail as well.


Click here to read the complete USPS filing with the PRC.

Striving for a Pro-Growth Catalog Rate Policy
Overall, these are averages, not specific impacts to individual mailers. Since details of mail plans vary greatly, it will be necessary to model exact plans against the new rate cells being offered this week to understand the true impact by mailer. The USPS hopes to improve on many of the issues raised by ACMA in our letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan following the last rate change. As they learn more about the impact to their company, catalogers are requested to loop ACMA in to what they are finding. ACMA is happy to investigate any anomalies with the USPS.

“Unlike the prior rate adjustment that was replete with structural changes the industry had no advance warning of, this time around the Postal Service delivered on its commitment to operate transparently with notice,” says ACMA President & Executive Director Hamilton Davison. “We greatly appreciate the USPS including us as partners in these changes well in advance of their official filing.”

Postage Increase Webinar Next Week

The ACMA will offer guidance exclusively to members in the coming weeks. In the meantime, next Tuesday, October 18 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT), the USPS will offer a high-level overview of the price change filing. The webinar will feature Sharon Owens, VP, Pricing and Costing, and Steve Monteith, Executive Director, Product. They will explain the regulatory reason for the market dominant price change filing, which products are impacted, and which are not. Click here to sign up for the webinar. Attendees will also have an opportunity to submit questions to the panel during this webinar. If you would like to submit your questions before the call, you can submit them to


Other Postal Matters of Interest…



Postal Promos Survey

The USPS is asking mailers and their suppliers to take a brief survey on the 2016 USPS Incentive Program. To do so, click here. The deadline is this Friday, Octrober 14th.



PMG Brennan To Speak At WILDS Event

The Postmaster General will be the keynote at the November 3rd, breakfast meeting of the Women In Logistics & Delivery Services (WILDS) taking place from 8:00 to 9:30 am at the Hotel Monaco, 700 F Street NW, Washington, DC. The cost is $40 for WILDS members and $45 for non-members. Checks should be made out to WILDS and mailed to…

c/o ECS, LLC Attn: Kathryn Kobe
2001 L Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036

© 2016 American Catalog Mailers Association, Inc.


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Support ACMA’s Industry Action Funds

You can assist with specific areas of ACMA’s program of work by providing much-needed resources dedicated to a particular issue. Our Industry Action Funds are segregated accounts held by ACMA, made available as a “war chest” to deploy on specific issues that impact direct and remote marketers and their suppliers — eliminating the time and effort needed to raise funds in the heat of battle.

Please note that your contributions to ACMA Action Funds will not be used for any general ACMA “corporate purposes” other than a 5% service fee on funds raised and administered. Non-ACMA members are always eligible to make one-off donations. Such contributions support our network of consultants on whom we depend to advocate for the interests of direct and remote marketers and their suppliers. These funds are only used to pay for out-of-pocket expenses of the specific issues outlined below. Large volume donors may be considered for Steering Committees of each Fund. Click here for more information on how the funds are distributed and used.

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Restricted Status: Each Fund will be separately administered as restricted under the direction of the ACMA Board of Directors by the ACMA Treasurer and our association accountant. An elected Officer from the Executive Committee or the ACMA Board will authorize disbursements. Details on expenditures will be made available to any material contributor on request. Restricted funds may be released only upon authorization of the benefactor or in the event the contributing entity is defunct, by vote of the ACMA Board.

Use of Funds: Moneys from each fund may be used for hiring lobbyists, economists, attorneys, consultants, public relations or government relations personnel, conducting research or other surveys highlighting positions favorable to cataloging, supporting coalitions or other groups allied to our positions, paying for advertising aimed at influencing elected officials or other stakeholders, organizing grass roots outreach, education or advocacy in support of public policy positions or for other tactics favorable to ACMA policy positions. Money raised will not be used to support any political candidate or political party; these moneys must come from a Political Action Committee.

Lynn Noble

President & Executive Director

New Member Development & Acquisition; Postal Affairs

Lynn Noble is ACMA’s Vice President, Industry Relations, having joined the ACMA in May 2015, following an extensive direct marketing career in private industry as well as the US Postal Service. He is responsible for leading the membership development efforts for the ACMA through new member acquisitions and providing enhanced member value.

Throughout his career, Lynn has held key marketing & sales positions with several leading direct marketers, as well as several high-level management positions with the US Postal Service.

In 2009, at the request of the ACMA, the US Postal Service initiated a new position of Catalog Manager to lead the Service’s efforts to stabilize and grow the catalog industry. Lynn returned to the USPS to lead those efforts and was instrumental to developing a stronger industry partnership between the Postal Service and the catalog industry. Serving as the product manager for catalogs, Lynn helped to raise the awareness of catalog-specific business challenges within the executive ranks of the USPS. During his tenure, the ACMA and catalog companies enjoyed a collaborative and progressive environment that produced more stabilized rates and inclusion in key USPS promotional opportunities.

Just prior to joining the ACMA Lynn was the USPS’s Manager, Strategic Account Operations, leading a team of senior sales professionals who focused exclusively in the Catalog, Mail Order, and E-commerce arena. In addition to his Postal positions, Lynn previously held key positions with leading direct marketing companies, including Cox Target Media, Market Logic, Catalina Marketing,, and Advantage Direct.

Paul Miller

Vice President & Deputy Director

Association Matters, Marketing / Communications, Membership Relations

Named Vice President & Deputy Director in January 2010, Miller came to the ACMA following a lengthy career of more than two decades following the catalog/multichannel/e-commerce/retail businesses. Reporting to ACMA president & executive director Hamilton Davison, Miller oversees marketing and communications, membership development, and organizes and oversees ACMA’s National Catalog Forum, while working with Davison on most of ACMA’s postal-related efforts.

Miller started his career as a reporter with Catalog Showroom Business, following a form of retailing that was led by the likes of the Service Merchandise and Best Products retail chains.

After several years of editor/reporter roles with business magazines that followed the toy and gift industries, Miller was named associate editor of Catalog Age magazine (now Multichannel Merchant) in 1986. He rose up the ranks at Catalog Age over the next 18 years to be the magazine’s senior news editor.

Beginning in the late ’80s, Miller became Catalog Age’s postal beat reporter, where he’d follow key postal events and pull out the key catalog mail-related issues for readers. During that time, he attended many Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meetings and National Postal forums.

After leaving Catalog Age in 2004, Miller consulted with several catalogers and multichannel suppliers for a time, he was named news/website editor at Commercial Property News. Less than a year later, he was asked to take the reigns at Catalog Success (now All About ROI) where he served as editor-in- chief from 2006 till the end of 2009.


Mike Plunkett

President & Executive Director

Washington, legislative, lobbying matters

ACMA appointed Michael K. Plunkett as its President and Executive Director in January 2024, succeeding founder Hamilton Davison. Mr. Davison moved on to own and run a company. Mr. Plunkett brings years of executive leadership experience having been the President and CEO of the Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) since 2017.  In the newly-formed dual role, he will continue his current role with PostCom and the two organizations will operate separately.

During his tenure, PostCom has continued to lead the mailing and shipping industry on policy and regulatory matters and to work with Government agency partners to advance issues of importance to members. Mr. Plunkett is also President of the Delivery Technology Advocacy Council, a nonprofit launched in 2020 to concentrate on delivery and logistics technologies.

Prior to PostCom, Mr. Plunkett accumulated more than 25 years Postal experience with the United States Postal Service in numerous executive roles in operations, marketing, product development and pricing.  As a leader within the Postal Service’s management team, Mr. Plunkett developed a well-earned reputation for innovation by leading efforts to develop pricing agreements for domestic services and in the development of the forever stamp and the priority mail flat rate box.

Mr. Plunkett has testified on pricing and policy issues before the Postal Regulatory Commission and Congressional subcommittees.  He has authored and presented papers on postal policies, economics, and operations for National and International conferences.

Mr. Plunkett holds Masters Degrees in Business from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a Sloan Fellow. He earned a Bachelor Degrees in Economics and Finance from the Pennsylvania State University.