Tips From a U.S. Postal Service Expert
WASHINGTON — With more than 7 billion pieces of mail processed and $2 billion in revenue generated for the U.S. Postal Service, the Intelligent Mail Full Service program has been a success story for business mailers, too, says Thomas Day, senior vice president, Intelligent Mail and Address Quality.
According to Day, “Early adopters of Intelligent Mail Full Service have one thing in common: They worked closely with all stakeholders in their mail supply chains and developed Full Service project plans.”
To date, there are 300 business mailers participating in Intelligent Mail Full Service. According to Day, one reason is because Intelligent Mail Full Service provides mailers with “start-the-clock” information, electronic data that lets mailers know when their mailings enter the Postal Service network. Free address correction service (ACS) information is another reason.
“The publishing industry is a big fan of free ACS,” says Pritha Mehra, vice president, Business Mail Entry and Payment Technologies. “Many of them are on target to save millions of dollars a year. Considering the savings from free ACS as well as the postage discount for participating in Full Service, the return on investment can be very high.”
For mailers who are still thinking about signing on to the program, Mehra has these tips:
* Talk to colleagues who generate the mail in your organization to determine the return on investment of Full Service price discounts and free ACS.
* Work closely with your mail service providers, including equipment manufacturers and software vendors, to determine their capabilities, such as the ability to print the Intelligent Mail barcode.
* Make sure your mailing software is capable of submitting postage statements and other supporting documentation electronically through the PostalOne! system. (Mailers are encouraged to use one of three electronic options: Postal Wizard, Mail.dat or Mail.XML.)
* When developing solutions with your mail supply chain, determine how barcodes will be created. Will you use your own Mailer ID or that of the mail owner? How will you ensure uniqueness of the barcodes? (A unique barcode on each mail container, for example, enables it to be scanned for “start-the-clock” when it’s inducted into the Postal Service network. Also, a unique barcode on each piece of mail enables tracking of that piece.)
For more information about Intelligent Mail Full Service, visit ribbs.usps.gov.