May MTAC Highlights

The May Mailer’s Technical Advisory Committe Meeting took place last week. Here is a brief rundown on the highlights. I will also be hosting an MTAC Meeting Review Webinar the next two Wednesdays, please sign up at our Webinars page.

Look for a blog on the the MTAC/IDEAlliance Flats Summit tomorrow.

Best wishes for a great week!

Intelligent Mail Barcode spec change

The USPS will upgrade its USFM 1000 flat sorting equipment in enable it to read a shorter height barcode. The new specifications will lower the height of the bars in the Intelligent Mail bar code from .134 inches to .125 inches. Many mailers’ current ink jet equipment was unable to make the .134 minimum, so this will open up the Intelligent Mail services to more mailers.

Mailers can begin using the smaller barcode immediately, but were warned that scan rates will be inconsistent until the flat sort equipment can all be updated. The update process will take approximately nine months to implement.

In the past mailers expressed concern that the current length of the bar code makes them hard to read on some mail processing machines and others are concerned that the height of the bars takes up too much space on the address area.

The bar code supports the USPS Intelligent Mail program, critical for programs like Confirm, ACS, and Surface Visibility. The bar code will be required in order to receive automation discounts in 2009.

OneCode ACS Service Extended to Flats at a Cost

Flats mailers can begin using the new OneCode Address Correction Service on flats effective May 1, 2007. However, the OneCode ACS rate is not available to flats, which means flats are required to pay the much higher electronic ACS rate.

Address Quality Move Update Requirements

The USPS published proposed new standards for address that would extend the Move Update requirement to all Standard Mail pieces and would require mailers to perform Move Update processing for discounted First-Class Mail and Standard Mail no more than 95 days prior to mailing.

July 15th Changes Expected to Be Difficult

USPS Vice President Mike Plunkett said this week’s postal increase did not seem to cause many problems for the Postal Service, but the more complex changes in the rate case don’t take effect until July 15th. Unofficially, there was a lot of discussion and rumors that there will be rate changes to other classes besides Periodicals. The final Periodicals Rates and Rules are expected to be released by the USPS the week of May 21st.