Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Intelligent Mail Barcode

Will you be ready?


One of the biggest change is that instead of just being an option, the USPS is making IMB (Intelligent Mail Barcode) a requirement in order to qualify for automation discounts.

Intelligent Mail Barcode replaces the barcodes that are currently used for processing high voume mail for automation discounts.  The final ruling was posted on the Federal Register website on May 3rd.


The Intelligent Mail barcode is used to sort and track letters, cards and flats and offers greater versatility by allowing many services to be requested and embedded within one barcode. 

This REQUIRED new change will impact ALL volume mailers that get automation postal discounts including:

      - First-Class Mail - letters and flats
      - Standard Mail (Bulk) - letters and flats
      - Periodicals - letters and flats
      - Bound Printed Matter - flats
      - Business Reply Mail

You should immediately start thinking about.............

-- Who prepares your mail - do you process in-house or is it outsourced to a mail service provider (also known as mail house, or lettershop).

-- Does your mail service provider plan to have the software installed and be fully compliant before January 28, 2013 to print IMB and will their capabilities include basic or full-service.

-- If your mail is processed in-house, steps should be taken now to get your mailer ID code and make sure software is installed and compliant prior to January 28, 2013.

-- Do you need to change providers based on capabilities?

-- Compliance with IMB could result in needing to make design changes that could include more white space for addressing and the barcode on business reply mail.

-- Has your database been cleansed and updated?  NCOA (National Change of Address) is required now for all automation discounts and is currently enforced (or in the alternative, add "or current resident" to the addressing).

Failure to comply with IMB will result in loss of automation discounts on your mail - result:  higher postage.

Diversified Business Services (DBS) is already working with our mail service providers to make sure your mail will be fully compliant before January 28, 2013.  Make sure your outsourced providers are aware of this new requirement and fully on board -- this includes printers, graphic designers, mail houses and letteershops, and database managers.

Go to the USPS site for more information on Intelligent Mail Barcoding:

Overview to Intelligent Mail Service: 
https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_guides/documents/tech_guides/OverviewIntelligentMailBasicService.pdf

Intelligent Mail Guides and Technical Specifications
https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=intellmailguides

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