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Preparing Commercial First Class & Standard Mail
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Preparing Commercial First Class & Standard Mail


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This presentation from the 2012 National Postal Forum in Orlando Florida provides an overview of steps and requirements to prepare automation-compatible letter and flat-size mailings. Topics include …

This presentation from the 2012 National Postal Forum in Orlando Florida provides an overview of steps and requirements to prepare automation-compatible letter and flat-size mailings. Topics include content and eligibility for First-Class and Standard Mail, physical characteristics, Move Update, addressing and barcoding, sorting, and mail entry.

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  • 1. Postal Fundamentals for Preparing Commercial First-Class and Standard Mail® Adam Collinson Engagement Manager / Solution Design Consultant Pitney Bowes Management Services NPF 2012 Disclosure Statement• This material provides an overview and deals in summary fashion with commercial mailings, and reflects procedures based on USPS® rules and regulations that are subject to change. Please consult your local post office for additional and up-to-date specifications. This training material should be used only as a guide, and for training purposes only. 2 1
  • 2. Postal FundamentalsBenefits of Automation MailingsIntelligent Mail® OverviewRequirements to Prepare Commercial Mailings  Content Requirements  Eligibility Standards  Processing Categories  Postage Payment Options and Mailing Documentation  Mail Preparation  Mail Entry and DepositResources and Tools 3Benefits of Automation Mailings Reduced Costs Increased Revenue Opportunities and Market Share Increased Openability 4 2
  • 3. Intelligent Mail®Resources – RIBBS® Web Site  A Beginner’s Overview to IM™BC Services  A Guide to Intelligent Mail® for Letters and Flats  User Access to Electronic Mailing Information & Reports Guide 6 Note: Content on website is subject to change. 3
  • 4. Resources – Postal Explorer® Web Site 7 Note: Content on website is subject to change.The Intelligent Mail® Barcode for Mailpieces 8 Illustration source: IMAQ_Master_PCC_PresentationFinal.ppt 4
  • 5. Intelligent Mail® Barcode Symbology Ascender Full Tracker Descender 9 Illustration Source: Intelligent Mail® Barcode Technical Resource Guide Intelligent Mail® Barcode Data FieldsThe Barcode Identifier is a 2-digit field that describes the level of presort qualification for the mailpiece. 10 Illustration Source: USPS® Beginners Overview FEB 2009 v5.pdf 5
  • 6. Intelligent Mail® Barcode Data FieldsThe Service Type Identifier is a 3-digit field that indicates the level of participation in various postal services. Each3-digit value corresponds to a particular class of mail and/or a particular combination of services. It alsorepresents the Intelligent Mail® service option; Basic or Full-Service. 11 Illustration Source: USPS® Beginners Overview FEB 2009 v5.pdf Intelligent Mail® Barcode Data FieldsThe Mailer Identifier (Mailer ID or MID) field is a 6-digit or 9-digit number assigned by the USPS that identifies aspecific mail owner or mail preparer; 6-digit or 9-digit is based upon annual mail volume. 12 Illustration Source: USPS® Beginners Overview FEB 2009 v5.pdf 6
  • 7. Intelligent Mail® Barcode Data FieldsThe Serial Number is a 6-digit or 9-digit field depending on the length of the Mailer ID. In Basic option mailings,the serial number has no requirement for uniqueness. In qualified Full-Service mailings, the Serial Number in mostcases must be unique and remain so for a period of 45 days from the date the USPS accepts the mail. 13 Illustration Source: USPS® Beginners Overview FEB 2009 v5.pdf Intelligent Mail® Barcode Data FieldsThe Routing Code field contains essentially the same ZIP Code™ routing information as the POSTNET™ barcode. 14 Illustration Source: USPS® Beginners Overview FEB 2009 v5.pdf 7
  • 8. Intelligent Mail® Barcode Options Basic Full-Service 15Basic vs. Full-Service Options Basic Full-ServiceIM™BC on mailpiece Required Required- uniqueIM™ tray barcode on labels Optional Required- uniqueIM container barcode on Optional Required- uniqueplacardsElectronic documentation Optional RequiredStart-the-Clock NA AvailableAddress correction Optional for a fee AvailablePostal incentives (discounts) Available Greatest incentives 16 8
  • 9. Barcode PlacementLetters  Address block – Above or below address  Lower right cornerFlats  One barcode permitted  1/8” from any edge JMCXNM5 38141 Illustration Source: USPS® IM™BCBasicOption.ppt 17Implementation1. Identify mailstream objectives  Automation incentives  Address Quality, i.e., OneCode ACS® / Full-Service ACS™  Tracking, i.e., IMb TracingTM service2. Match objectives to addressing and IMb Tracing TM solution(s) 18 9
  • 10. Implementation3. Obtain Mailer ID (MID) and CRIDThe Mailer ID is a field within the Intelligent A Customer Registration ID (CRID) is up to a Mail® barcode used to identify mail 15-digit unique number that is created owners and/or mail preparers and is by the Customer Registration system in assigned by the USPS. The MID is a 6- or the Business Customer Gateway and 9-digit number based primarily on allows the Postal Service to uniquely validated historic mail volume. identify its customers by location. If aMailers can have more than one MID based customer has multiple locations, a on mail volume separate CRID will be assigned to each location. CRIDs are treated by the Postal Service like account numbers and are considered confidential information. 19Business Customer Gateway Note: Content on website is subject to change. 20 Illustration Source: 10
  • 11. AssistanceMailpiece Design Analysts (MDAs) 21 Illustration Source: Manager 22 Illustration Source: 11
  • 12. Implementation4. Apply for a PostalOne!™ Account (used to submit electronic documentation as applicable)  Business Customer Gateway  Test files required for Full-Service ~ allow time!  User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports Guide5. Consider how to implement and manage serial number uniqueness (as applicable)6. Implement solutions and start mailing with the IMb™! 23Requirements to Prepare Commercial First-Class™ and Standard Mail® Letter and Flat-size Mailings 12
  • 13. Content RequirementsContent Requirements First-Class Mail® Service Standard Mail® ServiceAny mailable item < 13 oz. Nonpersonal, < 16 oz.Hand or typewritten material, Examples personal information, bills, Advertisements statements must be mailed Flyers First-Class Mail®, Priority Mail®, or Express Mail® Newsletters service Service objective 2 - 9 daysService objective 1 – 3 days Regular and Nonprofit pricing 26 13
  • 14. Standard Mail® Eligibility Personal information may not be included in a Standard Mail ® mailpiece unless all of the following conditions are met: 1. The mailpiece contains explicit advertising for a product or service for sale or lease or an explicit solicitation for a donation. 2. All of the personal information is directly related to the advertising or solicitation. 3. The exclusive reason for inclusion of all of the personal information is to support the advertising or solicitation in the mailpiece. 27 Standard Mail® Decision TreeRefer to the Standard Mail® EligibilityDecision Tree on the Postal Explorer® Webpage for information and examples: Note: Content on website is subject to change. 28 Illustration source: Postal Explorer® Web site 14
  • 15. Nonprofit Standard Mail® Eligibility There are strict regulations regarding not only the qualification of organizations, but also the content within the mailpieces. Mailer owners must apply for Nonprofit Standard Mail® eligibility and are advised to seek guidance from the Postal Service relative to mailpiece content!Refer to 703 Quick Service Guide, section 703 for more information!Publication 417 on the Postal Explorer® Web page at is another resource. 29Why mail as First-Class Mail® ifeligible for Standard Mail® service? Postal knowledge Delivery speed First-Class Mail® may be perceived as more personal Undeliverable as addressed Standard Mail® not having an ancillary service endorsement is disposed of by the USPS 30 15
  • 16. EligibilityVolume Requirements First-Class Mail® Service Standard Mail® ServiceMinimum 500 pieces within the Minimum 200 pieces or 50 same processing category pounds within the same processing categoryEstimate minimum number of Standard Mail® pieces:1. 50 pounds x 16 ounces = 800 ounces minimally required2. 800 ÷ actual weight of mailpiece = X3. Round X to next full number. Result is minimum number required! 32 16
  • 17. 5-Digit ZIP Code® Accuracy and CASS™ CertificationNonautomation mailings – use certified process* within 12 months before mailing to ensure accuracy of 5-digit ZIP™ CodesAutomation-price mailings – match addresses using CASS™/MASS™-certified process within 180 days before mailing; 90 days for carrier route mailingsCoding Accuracy Support System (CASS™): The CASS™ system is offered to those that want toevaluate their address-matching software to improve the accuracy of carrier route, five-digitZIP®, ZIP + 4®, and delivery point codes that appear on mailpieces.Multi-line Accuracy Support System (MASS™) certification is a process designed for MultilineOptical Character Readers (MLOCRs) and encoding systems. It evaluates their ability toprocess address information and apply an accurate barcode to a mailpiece. * see DMM® section 233.3 33Move Update StandardAddresses on all pieces must be updated within 95 days before mailing through a USPS-approved method:  Ancillary Endorsements  Address Change Service (ACS™, OneCode ACS® and Full Service ACS® services)  FASTforward® system – MultiLine Optical Character Reader (MLOCR)  National Change of Address Linkage System (NCOALink® product)  Alternative Methods – require pre-approval – Legal Restraint – 99 Percent Accuracy 34 17
  • 18. Considerations to Move Update StandardRecently Added Alternative Address FormatsWhen address added as result of Use of simplified, i.e., “Postal purchase or request, mailer can Customer”, exceptional, i.e., “Or use address for first 95 days. Current Resident” or Occupant address, i.e., “Occupant” does not require the use of a Move Update method, as USPS leaves mailpiece.Refer to the Quick Service Guide, section 230a and also the Guide to Move Updateon RIBBS® for more information! 35RIBBS™ Web Site 36 Note: Content on website is subject to change. 18
  • 19. Mailer’s Verification 37 Note: Postage statements are subject to change. Processing Categories ~ Physical Standards 19
  • 20. Postcards and Letter-size MailpiecesPostcards Letters Maximum thickness .016” Maximum thickness ¼” Minimum thickness .007” Minimum thickness .007”Tip: First-Class Mail® postcard prices are typically lower than that of Standard Mail®letters (an exception being Standard Mail® letters mailed at Nonprofit prices). 39 Illustration source: Quick Service GuidePostcards and Letter-size MailpiecesMachinable Nonmachinable Automation Letters and cards  Letters are  Machinable and display having accurate nonmachinable if they correct barcode addresses that can be exceed maximum  Max. wt. First-Class processed on USPS weights and/or if they Mail® and Standard equipment are have one or more Mail® “machinable” and nonmachinable 3.5 ounces eligible for “presort” characteristics. prices Max. wt. First-Class Mail® and Standard Mail® 3.3 ouncesRefer to the Quick Service Guide, section 201 to review the criteria for mailpieces that fallunder each of these 3 categories. 40 20
  • 21. Nonmachinable Characteristics~ Letter-Size MailAspect ratio (length divided by height) of < 1.3 or > 2.5More than 4 ¼” high or more than 6” long and is less than 0.009” thickClasps, strings, buttonsToo rigidDelivery address parallel to shorter sideContains pens, pencils, or keys that create uneven thicknessLetters with non-paper surfaces, other than envelope windows or attachments that are allowed standardsSealing/tabbing requirements not metRefer to Quick Service Guide, section 201 to review nonmachinable characteristicsof letter-size mailpieces. 41Delivery Address Parallel to Shorter Side Templates available from USPS and Vendors 42 21
  • 22. Aspect Ratio Example 43Heavy Letter MailAre letters > 3.0 ouncesMust be in a sealed envelopeCannot contain stiff enclosuresMust have barcode in address block 44 22
  • 23. Letter-Size Booklets Consist of Bound SheetsBinding Size and Weight Approved methods include  Max ht – 6”*  Perfect binding  Max length  Permanent fastening - at least two staples, saddle stitch, glue  Can vary between 9 and 10 ½ spots or line “* per design; recommend that booklets weighing 3 oz. be Uniformly thick no greater than 9” in length* Large booklets may be folded if remain uniformly thick  Min thickness - 0.009” Spine on trailing edge or spiral  Max thickness - 0.25” bindings are nonmachinable  Max wt – 3 oz. 45Letter-Size BookletsTabbing Cover Stock Tabs may not be perforated  40-pound minimum* basis Three, 1-1/2 inch tabs are weight for folded booklet required in most cases; for designs larger or heavier booklets, 2-  60- or 70-pound minimum* inch paper tabs are basis weight for pieces longer recommended than 9 inches Non-perforated plastic, vinyl, translucent paper or opaque * Refer to DMM® paper tabs are acceptableRefer to DMM 201® for specific booklet tabbing and sealing illustrations. 46 23
  • 24. Note: Regulations changing Effective January 5, 2013!Self-MailersRefer to the Quick Service Guide, section 201b, Using Tabs, Wafer Seals, and GlueStrips or the DMM® 201 to review sealing requirements for automation-compatibleletter-size self-mailers. Illustration source: Quick Service Guide 47 Note: Regulations Effective January 5, 2013!Self-MailersNew Specifications: Length: minimum of 5 inches, maximum of 10 1/2 inches Height: minimum of 3 1/2 inches, maximum of 6 inches Thickness: minimum of 0.007 inch (0.009 inch if the height exceeds 4 1/4 inches or if the length exceeds 6 inches), maximum thickness is 1/4 inch Maximum Weight: 3 ounces Rectangular within an aspect ratio of 1.3 to 2.5, inclusive (see Domestic Mail Manual 601.1.4). Maximum number of panels, bi-fold, tri-fold and oblongs: 12 for FSMs constructed of non-newsprint paper  Exception: Quarter folded self-mailers made of a minimum of 100 lb book grade paper may have 4 panels and those made of 55 lb newsprint must have at least 8 panels and may contain up to 24 panels. IMPORTANT NOTE: regulations for pieces defined as "un-enveloped" are different than the rules for folded self-mailers. There are two types of mailpieces that currently fall into the un-enveloped piece category: Open-Sleeve (also known as the Lunch bag style, and is not very commonly used) and the Letter-Size Mailpieces With Tear-Off Strips. These pieces with the tear-off strips are often used for checks and other financial notificationsRefer to the Folded Self-Mailer page on Ribbs: to Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) section for details on Letter-Size MailpiecesWith Tear-Off Strips Illustration source: Quick Service Guide 48 24
  • 25. CD’s and DVD’sWhen prepared in the right envelope, postage for CD’s and DVD’s can be reduced from nonmachinable letter or even parcel prices to automation-price letters! – Single disc – Position at vertical center line and near top edge – Secure disc to prevent shifting – Dimensional requirements  Max. 6” H x 9.75” L  Min. 5.5” H x 7.25” L  Thickness – min. 0.009”, max. ¼”  Weight max. 3.0 oz.Refer to DMM 201.3 for more information! 49Commercial Flat-Size Mailpieces Rectangular Flexible Max thickness ¾ ” * Min thickness ¼ ” * Uniform in thickness Meet deflection criteria** ** Flat-size pieces mailed at high density or saturation prices, and flats mailed at basic carrier route prices entered by the mailer at destination delivery units (DDUs), are not required to meet these deflection standards. * * Flats exceed at least one of the MINIMUM dimensions.Mailpieces that do not meet these requirements may be rated as Not-FlatMachinables (Standard Mail®) or parcels (Standard Mail® and First-Class Mail®) 50 25
  • 26. Flat-Size MailpiecesFlexibility DeflectionRefer to DMM® section 301 to review flexibility and deflection testing criteria! Illustration source: DMM® 300 51Enclosures in Automation Letter- and Flat-SizeMailingsAll letter-size reply cards and envelopes provided as enclosures in automation-price mailings must be automation compatible!The mailer’s signature on the postage statement certifies that this and other standards have been met! Illustration source: PS Form 3600r 52 26
  • 27. A Note Regarding Reply Mail1. Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) ~ respondent pays postage2. Meter Reply Mail (MRM) ~ mailer pays postage on the outbound3. Permit Reply Mail (PRM) ~ mailer pays postage on the outbound4. Business Reply Mail® (BRM™) ~ mailer pays postage if the piece is returned ABC CO 123 MAIN ST ANYTOWN WI 12345 ABC CO 123 MAIN ST ANYTOWN WI 12345 USA CANCER SOCIETY 53 Postage Payment, Fees and Documentation 27
  • 28. Postage Payment MethodsPrecanceled StampsMeter IndiciaPermit Imprint 55 JANE DOE 123 MAIN STPrecanceled Stamps ANYTOWN US 12345 Commercial First-Class Mail® and Standard Mail® mailings PS Form 3615, Mailing Permit Application and Customer Profile  No permit application fee required Typically are nondenominational May not be used on reusable container ~ boxes, cases, bagsRefer to the Quick Service Guide, section 604b, to review information on thispostage payment category. 56 Illustration source: Quick Service Guide 28
  • 29. Precanceled StampsBenefits Potential Drawbacks May give the impression of  Stamps needed for each class being more personal, and thus  Authorization to use the stamps improve openability must be obtained (no fee)  Cannot be used on boxes, cases or bags  Must buy the stamps from the PO  Investment in technology to apply stamps 57Meter IndiciaGenerally, metered commercial First-Class Mail® and Standard Mail® mailings must be deposited at locations designated by the postmaster of the licensing post office.Refer to the Quick Service Guide, section 604c, to review information on thepayment category, and take note of when a complete date can or must be used onmetered mail! 58 29
  • 30. Dating Standard Mail® Mailings Illustration source: Quick Service Guide 59Permit Imprint PS Form 3615 – Mailing Permit Application plus a one-time fee* Advance Deposit Account required Obtain permit at Post Office where mailing is to be entered <= USPS to support Universal PermitPotential Drawbacks Mailpieces must be identical in weight unless manifested Might be perceived as “junk” mailRefer to the Quick Service Guide, section 604d, to review information on thispostage payment category. 60 * If no permit imprint mailings are made during a 2-year period, permit is revoked. Illustration source: Quick Service Guide 30
  • 31. Annual Presort Mailing FeesPast: An annual presort mailing fee must be paid for each class of mail Obtain a permit at Post Office where mailings to be entered (PS Form 3615)Future: Fee waived so long as mailings qualify for Full Service Obtain a universal permit for mail entered at any Post Office 61 Quality Assurance Tip: Provide your client with a copy of theDocumentation – Postage Statements USPS Postage Statement Postage statements describe mailing and compute postage Documentation to support the information on the postage statement and the prices claimed may be required! PB addressing software generates postage statements!Refer to the Quick Service Guide, within applicable category, such as commercialletters or flats, and applicable class, such as First-Class Mail® or Standard Mail®, toidentify the appropriate postage statement form! 62 31
  • 32. Mail PreparationAddressing Standards - LettersRefer to the Quick Service Guide, Refer to the Quick Service Guide, section 201a, Designing Letters and section 602, Addressing, and Postcards for Automated review information pertaining to Processing, and review this letter-size mailpieces: information:1. Barcode location 1. Complete delivery address • Address block 2. Return address • Lower right corner 3. Alternative address formats2. Barcode skew 4. Addressing guidelines3. Clearances4. Address placement Quality Assurance Tips: Quality Assurance Tip: Spot check for proper use of capitalization in Ensure that address within window-envelope address and/or variable data fields; check for does not shift out of place! missing data, blank fields or extraneous data in address and/or variable fields 64 32
  • 33. Address Standards - FlatsAddress font standards apply to all commercial flats 8-point type for addresses without delivery point barcodes; 6-point if in all cap’s and barcoded Sans-serif font in all cap’s preferred – Monotype Corsiva and Bradley Hand ITC acceptable Individual characters cannot overlap Lines may not touch or overlap; minimum 0.028” clear space between lines preferred 65Addressing Standards - FlatsAddress placement for Standard Mail® flat-size pieces must be: In upper portion of flat Placed parallel to top edge, but not upside down, or Placed perpendicular to top—near or at the open or bound edge As close to the top edge as possible, while maintaining a 1/8” clearance from every edge 66 33
  • 34. Delivery, Return Address Placement and Postage* Examples of mailpieces addressed in “landscape”  Held in “portrait”, the “top” is either of the 2 shorter edges and address within “top half”! ******** 5-DIGIT 98765 ATTN: VICE PRESIDENT ABC COMPANY 123 MAIN ST ANYTOWN US 98765-4321 *Standard Mail® mailed at automation, presorted or carrier route prices Illustration: USPS® New Address Standards ppt 2008 67Addressing Standards - FlatsGo to the Quick Service Guide, section Refer to the Flats Fact Sheets under the 301a, Designing Flats for Attachments tab to review more Automated Processing, and review detailed information regarding: this information:1. Delivery address 1. Address font2. Address placement 2. Address placement3. Barcode placement4. Polywrap® sheet regulations 68 34
  • 35. Inscriptions for Commercial MailMailpieces must be marked to show class of service and/or rate paidMust be printed or produced…  as part of, or  directly below or  to the left… of the permit imprint, meter indicia, or precanceled stampRefer to the Quick Service Guide, within applicable category, such as commercialletters or flats, and applicable class, such as First-Class Mail® or Standard Mail®, todetermine the appropriate meter inscription! 69Traying, Sleeves, Labels, StrapsRefer to the Quick Service Guide, within applicable category, such as commercialletters or flats, and applicable class, such as First-Class Mail® or Standard Mail®, toreview the sorting/traying/sacking requirements. Illustration source: Quick Service Guide 70 35
  • 36. Entry and DepositDestination Entry DiscountsDNDC DSCF DDURefer to the Quick Service Guide, section 705f, for more information, AND also seethe Notice 123 Price List, to identify Standard Mail® mailings that may qualify forthese discounts! 72 Illustration source: DMM® 200 36
  • 37. MERLIN® ProgramEvaluates letter and flat-size mailpiecesVerifications Weight computations for permit imprint mailings  Presort verification First-Class Mail® short-paid meter sampling  Barcode analysis Meter dates, meter serial numbers  Address accuracy Mail characteristics - height, weight, thickness, aspect ratioGo to the MERLIN® system to learn more! 73Additional ResourcesPostal Explorer® Web site Information Bulletin Board System Web site to:  MailPro  DMM® Advisory  PCC Insider Design Analysts (MDAs) Mail Entry Manager 74 37
  • 38. Congratulations! Adam Collinson Engagement Manager/SDC – Postal Consulting Pitney Bowes Management Services 630-907-2595 adam.collinson@pb.comTRADEMARKSPitney Bowes and the Corporate logo are registered trademarks Pitney Bowes Inc.ACS, BRM, CASS, DMM, DPV, Express Mail, FASTforward, First-Class Mail, IM, Intelligent Mail, LACSLink, NCOALink, OneCode ACS, MERLIN, Postal Service, POSTNET, Priority Mail, RIBBS, Standard Mail, USPS, ZIP Code are trademarks of the United States Postal Service. 75 38