Archive for June 7th, 2009

Intelligent Mail Barcode Readability Tolerances

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At the business meeting that took place after the last MTAC general session in April, it was unanimously voted to press a Key Issue regarding the Postal Service plan for barcode tolerances on Intelligent Mail barcodes.  On Friday the USPS sent a response via the DMM Advisory:

June 5,2009
MTAC LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE
SUBJECT: Intelligent Mail® Barcode Readability Tolerances

This is in response to the MTAC Issues letter dated May 4,2009. After careful consideration of the needs and capabilities of both the Postal Service and its commercial mailers, we have made the following decision:

1) From now through September 6, 2009, the following readability thresholds for Intelligent Mail® barcodes applied to Letter and Flat automation-price pieces are in effect:
a. A mailing with a barcode readability verification result of 90 percent or higher passes verification.
b. A mailing with a barcode readability verification result of 70 percent to 89 percent will have additional postage prorated based on the percentage of error for the automation price pieces in the mailing.
c. A mailing with a barcode readability verification result of below 70 percent will have additional postage calculated based on 100 percent of the automation price pieces in the mailing.

2) From September 7 through November 28, 2009, the following thresholds will be in effect:
a. A mailing with a barcode readability verification result of 90 percent or higher passes verification.
b. A mailing with a barcode readability verification result of 80 percent to 89 percent will have additional postage prorated based on the percentage of error for the automation price pieces in the mailing.
c. A mailing with a barcode readability verification result of below 80 percent will have additional postage calculated based on 100 percent of the automation price pieces in the mailing.

3) We will make a decision to either suspend or extend the 80 percent threshold beyond November 29, 2009 based on results of mailings accepted and verified in this timeframe taking into account the following criteria:
a. Number and volume of mailings verified;
b. Performance by shape characteristics (Letter vs. Flat);
c. Percentage achieving 90 percent or better;
d. The pattern of performance below 90 percent; and
e. Performance of IMb in relation to POSTNET.

Also in response to the MTAC issues letter, we will support the formation of a work group that will focus on best practices required to produce quality barcodes. The work group will rely upon both USPS and mailer experience with print technology, work methods, and quality control/quality assurance in the print production process. The final issue statement will be reviewed and approved by the co-chairs of the Intelligent Mail® Focus Area of MTAC.

During this time frame of relaxed tolerances, we strongly encourage mailers to prepare mailings using the Intelligent Mail® barcode. To the extent a mailer is not ready for Full-Service Intelligent Mail®; they are encouraged to migrate to the Basic option using the Intelligent Mail® barcode.  As we progress through the next six months, we will achieve a result that is beneficial to both the Postal Service and its commercial customers. We must work together to improve the quality of mail to include addresses, barcodes, and preparation. Over time we must raise the thresholds to achieve the cost control and service improvement envisioned in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. We will continue to work with MTAC to achieve this objective.

Thank you for bringing this important issue to our attention.

THOMAS G. DAY
Senior Vice President
Intelligent Mail and Address Quality

Written by Lisa.Bowes

June 7th, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Posted in USPS

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