Full Service vs Basic Intelligent Mail

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There is a press release making the rounds that makes some misguided statements regarding Full Service Intelligent Mail.  The assumption that mailers MUST go directly to Full Service is not 100% accurate.  Yes, in order to get the postage discount of $1 per thousand for Standard mail, and $3 per thousand for First-Class mail, Full Service is required.  However, Full Service comes at a COST.  There is a cost associated to mail service providers in order to be able to offer this service.  There needs to be management of unique barcodes for pieces, sacks, trays, and pallets.  Pallet placards must be affixed to the outside of pallet wraps, requiring some form of adhesive that is not needed otherwise.  There are more electronic requirements, including use of PostalOne!, and FAST.  Yes, there is a postage discount.  In many cases, the cost of providing the service far outweighs that discount.

Another fact is that in May 2011, the Intelligent Mail barcode will be required for automation discounts, as the POSTNET barcode will be retired.  All mailers should be migrating to the Intelligent Mail barcode, if they have not done so already.  For many mailers and mail owners, the right choice for them is going to be Basic Intelligent Mail – that is why the USPS offers the two choices in the first place.  For those who want to take advantage of Full Service benefits, they need to weigh cost vs benefit and make the right choice for each mailing’s unique requirements.

Basic Intelligent Mail barcode use will enable a mailing to receive automation discounts, both now and in May 2011 when usage will be required.  Basic Intelligent mail users who need address correction services can utilize optional OneCode ACS.  Basic Intelligent mail users (and Full Service users, for that matter) who need visibility and tracking services can take advantage of OneCode Confirm.

The key is education and understanding of not only the rules and requirements, but also understanding of the costs and the benefits-a complete picture.  It’s not just about postage discounts.  Get the most out of your mailing by getting all the facts, and making an educated decision as to how to proceed.  The USPS has choices to suit your needs today, while maintaining and expanding upon more options for both now and in the future.  Now that Intelligent Mail is well established, utilize the experience of mail service providers, and from other mailers to help make the right choices.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

August 31st, 2010 at 11:00 am

Posted in USPS

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