The Intelligence of Intelligent Mail

Every day we see and experience more advances in technology: our lives are full of electronic gadgets that put all sorts of information at our fingertips. Smart people are taking advantage of this electronic “intelligence” to help them perform daily tasks more quickly and easily and to access data using just a click or scroll. The same is true in the mailing world: there are constant improvements to the way data is shared among partners in the supply chain and with the United States Postal Service (USPS).

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Security in the Mail

Most people don’t associate law enforcement with mailing, but the fact of the matter is that the United States Postal Service has one of the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agencies: The U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Founded by the first postmaster general, Benjamin Franklin, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service serves as the federal law enforcement, crime prevention and security arm of the USPS. Their mandate is to protect the entire Postal Service system, including employees and customers. Serving in the Inspection Service is quite a popular gig – last year there were over 6400 applications, but only 69 new Inspectors and 56 Postal Police Officers made it through the rigorous training program.

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Informed Visibility®

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is introducing Informed Visibility (IV®), to provide the mailing industry with more powerful insight into the USPS mailstream. This new program is designed to provide a one-stop shop for mail tracking data, consolidated into one system, as opposed to tracking the data via IMb Tracing® and PostalOne!®. The key to the success of this new program is the near real-time expanded visibility into mailings as the mail moves through the mailstream, that is much more powerful than the tracking data that exists today which can sometimes be delayed. Another benefit is a user-friendly data provisioning and data delegation, so it is much easier for mailers to specify what data they want, when they want it, and who receives the data. The result is increased value of the mail, enabling mailers to better plan mailing campaigns and resources.

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USPS Proposes Changes to Address Quality Measurement and Assessment

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) filed a Federal Register notice on February 27, 2017 requesting comments from interested parties on the revision to their pending proposal regarding a new measurement and assessment procedure for evaluating mailing address quality. This new procedure would impact mailers who enter eligible letter- and flat-size pieces of First-Class Mail® and USPS Marketing Mail® (formerly Standard Mail®) that meet the requirements for Basic or Full-Service®mailings. In addition, the USPS is proposing to extend free Address Change Service (ACS™) to mailers who enter qualifying mailpieces. Comments regarding the published notice are due on or before March 29, 2017.

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2017 Tactile, Sensory & Interactive Promotion

The second offering in the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) 2017 promotion and incentives program is the Tactile, Sensory & Interactive (TSI) Promotion, which runs from February 1 through July 31 of 2017. Registration for this promotion started on December 15, 2016 and runs through June 30, 2017. This promotion leverages some of the latest technological advances within the print industry that encourages sensory engagement with a mailpiece. Features such as special visual effects, sound, scent, texture/tactile treatments, pop-ups, infinite folds, and even taste may be used to enhance how consumers interact and engage with mail.  

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USPS Promotion Programs for 2017

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is offering six promotional programs in 2017, aimed at increasing mail volumes by offering incentives to mailers. Starting with the first Mobile Barcode incentive back in 2011, the USPS continues to put incentive programs in place for mailers to take advantage of postage discounts or rebates for submitting mailings that meet the promotion requirements. There are six promotions offered for the calendar year 2017.

1. Earned Value Promotion
2. Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Engagement Promotion
3. Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion
4. Direct Mail Starter Promotion
5. Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion
6. Mobile Shopping Promotion

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Managing Barcode Uniqueness on Trays, Sacks, and Pallets

As mailers prepare for the USPS® postage assessments that begin in November, one of the areas that mailers may struggle with is the uniqueness of the Intelligent Mail® barcodes on the tags for trays, sacks and pallets. Managing the uniqueness for these barcodes can be a challenge, particularly if you have a number of different mail processing workflows. The key is to remember that the barcodes must maintain uniqueness for a period of at least 45 days after the mailing date, and that each and every method you use for generating these barcodes needs to be included in your uniqueness management process.

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Labeling List Changes for January 2014

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) announced changes to the Labeling List data, effective January 1, 2014, with a mandatory use date of January 31, 2014. The Labeling Lists affected are L001, L002, L006, L007, L008, L012, L602, L605, and L606.  Read more.