USPS® Proposes Intelligent Mail Full Service Requirement for Automation Prices
from Window Book Postal Concierge
As we mentioned in an earlier E-tip, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) plans to retire the POSTNET barcode in January 2013 and require the use of the Intelligent Mail barcode to achieve automation discounts. As the next step, the USPS published a Federal Register Notice on Friday, April 20, 2012, regarding the implementation of Intelligent Mail Full Service for qualification of automation discounts in January 2014, and is asking for comments from interested parties.
The USPS is proposing that use of the Intelligent Mail Full Service option be required in order for mailers to achieve automation prices on letters, postcards and flats, effective in January 2014. Use of the Intelligent Mail Full Service option requires not only use of unique Intelligent Mail barcodes on mailpieces, but also on trays, sacks and containers (such as pallets) as well as submission of electronic documentation. Included in the plan is additional information required in electronic documentation (eDoc) to support the By/For relationship and replacement of the 10/24 transition tray label with full use of the 24-digit Intelligent Mail Tray Label.
Benefits of IM use
The USPS has a goal of providing 100% visibility of the mail by 2014, and to do this requires the unique barcode requirement included in Full Service. This visibility will help the USPS improve processing efficiency and service performance. The USPS also feels that there are mailer benefits to making this move:
- Unique barcodes enable the Postal Service to provide mailers with comprehensive information on the status of mailings as they progress through the postal system.
- “Nesting” information provided by the mailer enables the tracking of the individual pieces and trays based on scans performed on larger containers.
- Visibility allows mailers to more effectively respond to customer inquiries on the status of valuable bills, statements, catalogs, and publications.
- Full service mailings receive access to free address change information and tracking information from mail entry to final destination.
- Waiver of annual mailing fee for permits where all postage statements contain 90% or more Full-Service pieces.
- eDoc combined with Full Service unique barcodes will provide access to Seamless Acceptance and eInduction.
- Full-Service also provides the “Mail Anywhere” model which allows for the use of a single permit at any PostalOne! site for mailings containing 90% or more Full-Service pieces (applies to First-Class, Standard, and Bound Printed Matter).
- Many mailers find the visibility information provided by Full-Service mail useful in planning their own operations, in assessing the success of advertising campaigns, and in improving their own customer interaction. Knowledge of where a mailpiece is located in the postal network and when that piece should be delivered can prove useful in communicating with customers.
The USPS also anticipates benefits internally by making Intelligent Mail Full Service a requirement for automation prices:
- Visibility into the flow of mail through the postal network, enabling enhanced diagnostics of service performance.
- Scan information on containers, trays and pieces allows the USPS to measure the number of hours and minutes between operations. This data has been used to identify operational bottlenecks and that has enabled the USPS to significantly improve service for commercial First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, and Periodicals.
- The ability to provide real-time alerts to USPS operations enabling them to respond and avoid possible service failures.
- Advance notification of volumes and makeup of commercial mail, enabling improved resource planning.
- Accurate tracking of mail volumes as they move through the postal network, again enabling improved management of operations and resource planning.
- Simplified mail acceptance processes.
- The ability to measure service performance for each Full-Service mailer.
Parties interested in submitting comments regarding this proposal to the USPS should mail or deliver written comments to the Manager, Product Classification, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW., Room 4446, Washington, DC 20260-5015. Email comments, containing the name and address of the commenter, may be sent to: MailingStandards@usps.gov, with a subject line of ‘”Full-Service January 2014.” Comments must be received on or before June 4, 2012.