Behind the USPS’ Delay of Intelligent Mail Barcodes
Another element of the USPS’ proposal that has raised numerous concerns is the requirement that the mailer ID field of the IMB be a code assigned to the mail “owner.” In the often complex mail supply chain, the USPS’ proposed requirement for the mailer ID would’ve made it a very cumbersome, complicated and often impossible requirement to achieve for many mailers. The USPS said it would revise the mailer ID requirement to allow new options.
Look for more details from the USPS on its IMB proposals in the Federal Register in the coming months; the USPS will again solicit feedback from mailers and stakeholders on its revised proposals. Stay focused on these issues, and continue to provide the USPS with feedback regarding the impact of its proposed requirements on your business.
USPS Responds Positively
The USPS’ response so far has been encouraging. The agency listened to its customers’ concerns, although there’s still much to be done even before a May 2009 IMB implementation date can be successfully met by many mailers. Many issues still exist, and the USPS can implement it successfully only by working closely with its customers and their service providers.
Catalogers need to educate themselves on the IMB program and work closely with their service providers to ensure they’ll be ready for a May 2009 implementation. The alternative’s not pretty — a reduction or loss of postage automation discounts, which translates to significant postage increases.
(For more on the IMB program, see the “Understanding Postal” column in the March 2008 issue of Catalog Success, pg. 48.)
Kathy J. Siviter is president of Postal Consulting Services, a postal issues consulting firm. She formerly served with the USPS and the Association for Postal Commerce and has 11 years experience in all areas of postal operations. You can reach her at (703) 237-1740 or email@example.com .