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What Mailers Need to Know About Changes at the USPS

MyPrintResource (07/01/12) Dediemar, Nancy

Network optimization, or the downsizing of production capacity, at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will entail significant revisions to area mail processing and delivery standards. Mailers must be prepared to contend with these changes, and the first effect of processing center closures will be changes in postal destinations as displayed in labeling lists. These changes will be made by mail list management software vendors, and they may happen more often than they have in the past. Mailers also will need to boost customers’ awareness of changes in delivery standards since the mailing schedule may be affected by the removal of overnight service for first class and periodical mail.

As of next January, all mailers claiming automation discounts will be mandated to use the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb). Mailers can use either basic or full service IMb between January 2013 and January 2014; but starting January 2014, full service IMb will be obligatory for automation discounts, and the IMb basic service will be phased out.

The USPS has designed a new product to assist companies with their marketing initiatives. The Picture Permit Imprint Indicia is a redesign of the presorted first class or standard mail indicia. A company can use the indicia area of the mail piece to promote their brands with Picture Permit. The indicia still must show the class of mail, the permit number, city and state or name of the company using a company permit, but these components can be arranged around the logo or other graphic. The image must be color-printed, and the required text has to be at least eight-point type and OCR readable. In addition, the mail piece must use full service IMb. Using the Picture Permit will cost a penny more in postage per piece for first class and two cents per piece for standard mail.