Priority Envelope News

Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) Update

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One of the most significant USPS® changes in decades takes effect January 28, 2013 when the POSTNET™ barcode will be retired and replaced by the new Intelligent Mail® barcode. This change impacts any mailer who currently or wishes to take advantage of the discounts available for barcoded mail—which offers savings up to 47%.
In addition to postal savings, the new Intelligent Mail® barcode also includes a “Full-Service” option that provides companies with improved tracking, free address correction service and even greater discounts.
The USPS has announced several important dates:

January 2013
The USPS® has announced that the POSTNET™ Barcode be discontinued as of January 28, 2013. As of this date, only mail with Intelligent Mail® barcodes (IMb®) will be eligible for automation prices.

January 2014
The USPS has proposed that the Basic IMb™ be discontinued as of January 2014. If approved, only mail with Intelligent Mail® Full-service barcodes (IMb™) will be eligible for automation prices at that time.

Already, mailers receive a greater discount and benefits when they use Full-service Intelligent Mail®, including:
• Save $3.00 per 1,000 on automation rates on a First-Class Mail® Letters and Flats
• Save $1.00 per 1,000 on automation rates on Standard Mail® Letters and Flats
• Free Start-the-Clock and Full-Service ACS (Address Change Service).
• You can also use the same barcode to track mail through the IMb TracingTM service.
Reasons why you may want to adopt the Full-Service Option today:
1. Lower postage expenses.
Every mailer will need to make the switch eventually. Given that companies are looking to save money, the ability to save thousands of dollars or more each year represents a clear opportunity.

2. Access new value-added services.
With the Intelligent Mail® barcode, you can confirm mail delivery, track incoming remittance payments, receive automatic notifications when customers move and monitor USPS performance.

3. Avoid last-minute hassles.
By making the move soon, you can work with your postal acceptance specialist (or certification process administer) at the post office to ensure your barcodes are readable and formatted correctly. This can help avoid delays on potential penalties down the road.
While the Basic barcode involves a unique barcode for each mailer, the Full-Service barcode involves a unique barcode for every mail piece. Requirements for the Full-Service option include:
• Populate barcode with a unique sequence number
• In addition to the IMb on the mailpiece, place a unique Intelligent Mail tray barcode (IMtb) on the handling unit and Intelligent Mail container barcode (IMcb) on containers and pallets.
• Electronic submission of postage statements
The Full-Service option provides additional benefits:
• Pay less postage
• Free “Start the Clock” information
• Free Full Service ACS (Address Change Service) for qualified pieces
• Access to mail tracking services
Even if you have no immediate plans to use full-service benefits, mailers should consider implementing a solution that provides for Full-Service capabilities.
• You can access Basic if you have Full-Service capabilities (but not vice versa)
• Few companies will want to redesign their barcode process twice
• Free address correction can improve mail delivery
• Mail intelligence provides value to most every department
• Business units may request these value-added services in the future
• Getting it right the first time pays dividends in the long run
• Certain USPS® promotions and special offers will require full-service IMb®
• Full-Service IMb is proposed to be mandated effective January, 2014
**information supplied by Pitney Bowes

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