ACS Import

 ACS files contain address changes that mail recipients filed with the Postal Service and "nixies" that result from the Postal Service being unable to either deliver or forward a mail piece.

The Address Change Service (ACS)  Import accepts USPS generated ACS Fulfillment files in the new file format announced by the USPS in May of 2014 and scheduled for release on January 25, 2015, as well as the previously used formats known as  "Traditional" and "OneCode."

If you use the new ACS file format, the import will automatically recognize the file format and determine the type of ACS record you are processing (Traditional, Onecode, etc.).

If you use ACS files in the format(s) available prior to the USPS  new file format,  the import will automatically recognize the file format and process the records in the same manner as in prior releases of QuickFill,

For Traditional ACS each record in the ACS file contains a key field which includes the QuickFill customer and order number plus a check digit that is used to verify that the numbers are in fact QuickFill numbers and did not originate in some other system. For Traditional ACS this key field is printed at the top of the address label in a format that is both human and machine readable.

For OneCode ACS the key field is replaced by a bar code which includes, among other things, a "mailer ID" which is issued by the USPS and a  "mail piece ID number". The mail piece ID number is the key data that enables QuickFill to identify which customer the address change refers to. Unfortunately the mail piece ID number field in the bar code does not have room for both the QuickFill customer number and the order number.  Prior to the release of QuickFill Build 1003 (in January 2014) this limitation was handled by including two fields, ONECODE6 and ONECODE9, in the label output files created by QuickFill. You would use one of these ONECODE fields (which one  depends on the length of your mailer ID) to identify the customer in QuickFill.  With the release of Build 1003 of QuickFill, a second method was introduced.  By selecting one of the new 'SN' output formats (as in serial number formats) added to the  Label Splitter you can have QuickFill add your mailer ID and a unique serial number to each record used in your mailings. If the ACS import determines that you are using this new method it will use the files created by the Label Splitter as reference files.  In this way, the new serial number can be used to find the customer, and in most cases order numbers, for the ACS records you retrieve from the USPS.     

For Traditional ACS you must print the key field on the address label. The key field is named ACSKEY and can be found in the issue label files generated by QuickFill.

For OneCode ACS you must print the bar code on the address label according to the USPS specifications. QuickFill does not have the ability to print the bar codes. Generally that capability is provided by the sorting and mailing software used by your mail shop.

If you continue to use the original QuickFill method for OneCode processing

The mail piece ID number that the mail shop will need to construct the bar code is named either ONECODE9 or ONECODE6 in the QuickFill issue label files. The ONECODE9 field contains a nine digit mail piece ID and should be used by publishers that were assigned a six digit mailer ID by the USPS. Conversely, the ONECODE6 field contains a six digit mail piece ID and should be used by publishers that were assigned a nine digit mailer ID by the USPS.

The ONECODE9 ID field consists of a prefix digit of 1, 2 or 3 followed by the customer number, zero filled and without a check digit. The prefix digit is based on the current month, where 1 is January, April, July and October, 2 is February, May, August and November and 3 is March, June, September and December. The idea is that the same mail piece identifier number will not reoccur within any 45 day period, provided the publication is published no more than once a month. USPS specifications state that the mail piece ID (when combined with the mailer ID) should be unique within any 45 day period.

The ONECODE6 ID field contains the customer number stripped of its check digit and with the top one or two digits removed if needed to fit within the six digit limit. The resulting number should be unique for databases with less than one million customers. If you frequently import and then subsequently purge lists of prospects, your customer numbers may be too long and the ONECODE6 field will not contain a unique number. In that situation the ACS importer attempts to resolve ambiguous OneCode mail piece ID numbers by checking the zip codes associated with all of the possible matching customer numbers.

If you use the 'serial number' based Onecode method (introduced with Build 1003 of QuickFill)

This method requires that you use the Label Splitter to produce output files in one of the "SN" file formats. In these files, the mail piece ID number that the mail shop will need to construct the bar code is named SERIALNUM and the mailer ID is named MAILERID.  If you provided the Label Splitter with a nine digit MAILERID the SERIALNUM will be a six digit field.  Conversely, if you provided a six digit MAILERID the SERIALNUM will be nine digits.  In either case the two fields will be formatted in QuickFill's output to provide the USPS required 15 characters.

If the original source of your mailing was a label file created by the Issue label update then the ACS Import will be able to retrieve the customer number and order number by scanning the "SN" files in the mail merge folder. As part of this process the ACS update will create a cross-reference file.  Creating this file may take some time and a message ("Building cross reference files. This may take several minutes ...") will be displayed while this process is running. If the original source was a promotional labels file then only the customer number will be found.

It is important that you do not delete or move the "SN" files from the mail merge folder too quickly. We suggest that you leave them for 6 months. If the files are not available, the Label Splitter will not properly assign the next serial number and the ACS Import will not be able to cross reference the serial numbers to find the records in QuickFill to process.  

When processing address changes: Only the customer number is needed to apply the address change.  The address change will apply to all prospect  and subscription records owned by that customer. An entry will be made in the subscription history for all of the subscriptions affected. Regardless of the file format you are using (Traditional, original OneCode or the new serial number file) the customer number is always available.

When processing nixies:,The manner in which they are handled depends on whether or not the importer has both access to both a customer number and an order number or just a customer number.  When the order number of the subscription is available, the subscription status will be changed to 'suspended indefinitely' and an entry will be made in the subscription history. When the order number is not available, you have to choose between suspending all of the customer's subscriptions or setting  the customer's postal address allowed usage flag to 'N'. Suspending all of the customer's subscriptions is not a good idea if any of your publications are delivered electronically, since electronic delivery to an e-mail address is unaffected by the inability of the USPS to deliver to a given postal address.  If you are using Traditional ACS or the new serial number file format you will always have a customer number and, when mailing an issue label update file, an order number.  If you are using original OneCode format you will only have a customer number - never an order number.

Notes

Changes of address where the new address is in a foreign country are not processed. The record is copied to the reject file and a warning message appears in the report file.

The importer may be run while other users are working in the same database.  The importer is protected against system errors.  In the event of a failure during an import run it is not necessary to restore the database.

Input file

Enter the file name and path of the ACS file you received from the Postal Service. You can click the 'Browse' button on the right to locate the file using a traditional Windows file browsing window.

Reject file

Enter the name for a file in which any rejected records will be placed. Records that are rejected due to data errors will be written to this file which has the same format as the input file, but with the addition of one extra field on the end which contains the text of the error message. You can use a text editor application such as Notepad to view and correct the rejected records.

Only process records with this mailer ID

Leave this box blank to process all records.  If a mailer ID (or participant code, in Traditional ACS terms) is entered, only records with the designated mailer ID will be processed. This is useful when you have multiple QuickFill databases, each of which corresponds to a different mailer ID.

Test run, no changes will be made

Check this box to perform a dry run with your input file. No changes will be made to the database, but you will get a report of any errors found by the importer.

Process address change records

Normally the ACS import processes both address change and nixie records in the input file. Uncheck this box to skip the address change records.

Change to upper and lower case
Change to upper case

The importer gives the option of converting incoming addresses to upper and lower case or all upper case. QuickFill uses a special user-customizable text file to identify words which have special upper and lower case formats. For example, company names such as IBM or AT&T would look strange if they were printed as Ibm or At&t. The file named QFCONVERT.INI in your QuickFill program directory contains a section labeled [SPECIALCAPS] which identifies words that require special treatment. You can customize this file as desired using a text editor application such as Notepad.

Process "Nixie" records with order numbers by suspending the subscription

If the incoming data includes order numbers (Traditional ACS only) then QuickFill can identify the specific subscription that was undeliverable and will suspend that subscription to prevent further mailings until you are able to make contact with the subscriber and get a corrected address. There are many different types of nixies, each of which has a corresponding check box. If you wish you can choose to ignore some of those types of nixies by unchecking the appropriate box.

Process nixies without order numbers by setting the postal address allowed usage flag to N
Process nixies without order numbers by suspending ALL of the customer's subscriptions
Do not process nixies without order numbers

If the incoming data does not include an order number then QuickFill can identify the customer but not the specific subscription that was undeliverable. Here you must choose between marking the customer record with an 'N' in the postal address allowed usage field, or suspending all of the customer's subscriptions. It would be a mistake to suspend all the subscriptions if any of them are delivered electronically, not through the mail. On the other hand, if you choose to mark the customer's allowed usage field with an 'N', then it will be up to you to remove customers with 'N' flags from any future mailings that you make— QuickFill will not do so automatically since it does not know exactly how each mailing will be delivered.

See Also