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Spring 2014: Mail Matters - Intelligent Mail Full Service: Is It Worth It? By Bill Jamieson

BY BILL JAMIESON 

On April 19, 2013, the USPS Postmaster General wrote a letter to the mailing industry stating the Postal Service’s determination to create 100% visibility in the mailstream. In this letter, two promises were made that influenced business decisions throughout the postal industry:

  1. A technology credit would be offered to help defray some of the costs associated with mailers adopting Intelligent Mail® Full-Service.
  2. An Intelligent Mail barcode and Full-Service preparation would be required for mailers to receive automation price discounts in January 2014.

On June 24, 2013, the USPS pulled back from the first promise (Full-Service technology credit) after the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) ruled that it would allow the tech credit but would not accept a price increase to offset the cost of the credit.

On November 29, 2013, the USPS® backed away from their second promise after the PRC ruled that it would not permit the USPS® to require Full-Service IMb™ for automation compatibility without reducing the CPI increase for 2014.

BENEFITS AND BROKEN PROMISES

These broken promises will certainly slow mailers’ moves toward using Intelligent Mail Full-Service even though there are some clear benefits, including the following:

  • http://americanprinter.com/site/templates/images/ld_kranglist.gif); background-position: 0px 4px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Full-Service discount ($1 per thousand for Standard Mail® and $3 per thousand for First-Class Mail®)
  • http://americanprinter.com/site/templates/images/ld_kranglist.gif); background-position: 0px 4px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Free Address Change Service (Full-Service ACS™)
  • http://americanprinter.com/site/templates/images/ld_kranglist.gif); background-position: 0px 4px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Mailpiece, tray, and container tracking data
  • http://americanprinter.com/site/templates/images/ld_kranglist.gif); background-position: 0px 4px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Permit Fee waiver when 90% of mail is Full-Service
  • http://americanprinter.com/site/templates/images/ld_kranglist.gif); background-position: 0px 4px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Participation in future incentive programs, including those in 2014

THE RIGHT DIRECTION, BUT…

I believe that tying the physical mailpiece to the digital world is the right direction for the postal industry. However, I question whether there is enough value in Intelligent Mail® Full-Service today to continue to drive the industry in the right direction. What do you think? Key B2Me.me/D9

Bill Jamieson is Director, Product Strategy, for Bell and Howell.

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