Mailing Systems Technology - November/December 2009 - (Page 28)

The Intelligent Integrating full-service Intelligent Mail with production By Brian Doyle and Scott Mastie The United States Postal Service’s (USPS) Intelligent Mail initiative mandates the replacement of POSTNET with the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) by May 2011. This applies to both the face of the envelope (letters and flats) and any remit addresses, too. Mailers who comply with this minimum, dubbed “Basic IMB, preserve ” the discounts they receive for presorting. However, First-Class mailers can achieve an additional $0.003 discount per mailpiece by submitting “full-service” mail. While $0.003 per piece may not sound like much, it can add up in a hurry for large mailers and can often cost-justify an IMB conversion project. Full-service mail offers other advantages as well. There is a code within the new IMB to request appropriate services for each mailpiece; presently, the services available are origin and destination confirmation (“confirm”) services and USPS address change services (ACS). The mailer does not need to use these services to get the discount, but free USPS ACS is another strong incentive to make the transition. In addition, the Post Office will provide “free” start-the-clock notification when it takes the mail, if requested. In order to qualify for full service, a mailer must change these items: Barcodes: An organization must replace the POSTNET with the IMB on both outbound and remit address blocks and use the new Intelligent Mail tray and container labels. The IMB must contain a full, 11-digit delivery-point code: ZIP+4 and the two-digit delivery-point ID. (Note: If the current POSTNET has the full delivery-point ZIP Code already, then the IMB will be using those exact same digits). Sequence numbers: Businesses must encode a sequence number in each IMB that will be unique within a 45-day period for each mailer ID used. Electronic submission: Companies must electronically submit postage statements and mailing documentation in the form of a mail.dat file transmitted through the USPS “PostalOne!” portal. Achieving these requirements can pose significant challenges. If legacy applications are currently encoding a POSTNET barcode, each application and procedure (JCL, etc.) must be changed. If COBOL or assembly language applications are involved, significant code changes might be required. Even if the changes to adopt the IMB are trivial, implementation can still involve a great deal of testing, which can be difficult if multiple Lines of Business (LOBs) are making their own IMB changes on different schedules. A PAVE sortation package must generate the new tray and container labels, and it must be ensured that assigned sequence numbers are unique across all applications. Submission of the mail.dat file to the PostalOne! Portal requires Internet connectivity (a bridge outside the firewall) and new procedures to transmit the documentation. No wonder so many organizations start with basic IMB at first and plan to grow into full services over time! If an organization or its presort vendor are now spraying the POSTNET onto the face of the envelope, then simply updating the software on the sorters is an option for basic IMB. Assuming the sorters are new enough to be adapted for basic IMBs, this can make life easy and require no upstream changes (although a sorter upgrade can be expensive). However, it will be very difficult to take advantage of full service with this approach. No spray-on approach can correct remit addresses inside of an envelope, and a wellconsidered, full-service implementation can significantly reduce or eliminate sorter equipment usage in favor of electronic sortation. The entire IMB process becomes significantly easier to manage if a production workflow is controlled by an automated document factory (ADF). This solution connects disparate hardware, software and processes into one, unified workflow. NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2009 a

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mailing Systems Technology - November/December 2009

Mailing Systems Technology - November/December 2009
Editor’s Note
Real-Life Management
Software Byte
Employing Technology
Everything IMB
Ship It
Best Practices
What You Think
From the Source
Mail Managers React to Economic Times
Cost Comparisons
The Intelligent Mail Challenge
Special Product Profile Section
Reality Check
Pushing the Envelope

Mailing Systems Technology - November/December 2009