The USPS® has published its Final Rule for Full Service Intelligent Mail ® barcoding (39 CFR Part 111). Affected mailers cannot afford to wait to until the last minute to make the transition. Doing so will jeopardize valuable automation price discounts and free Address Correction Service (ACS).
Effective January 26, 2014, use of “full-service” Intelligent Mail® is required to qualify for automation prices for postcards (First-Class Mail® only), letters, and flats when mailed using the following services: First-Class Mail, Standard Mail® and Periodicals®; and for flats mailed at Bound Printed Matter® prices. Additionally, the 10/24 transitional barcoded tray label format is eliminated, and mailers are required to use the 24-digit Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb™) format on tray, tub, and sack labels.
So, what does all this really mean? What specifically is the Postal Service ™ requiring? The Final Rule spells it out pretty well. Here are the details:
Full-service Intelligent Mail combines the use of unique barcodes with the provision of electronic information regarding the makeup and preparation of mail, which provides high-value services and enables efficient mail processing. Mailings must bear Intelligent Mail barcodes on mailpieces, trays, and containers, where applicable. Also, mailers must submit mailing documentation electronically.
When preparing full-service mailings, mailers are required to:
- Apply unique Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMb) to identify each postcard, letter, and flat mailpiece. Small mailings containing fewer than 10,000 pieces per mailing can use the same serial number for all pieces, if postage is affixed to each piece at the correct price, or all pieces are of identical weight and separated by price.
- Individually meet the eligibility requirements for automation prices according to class and shape.
- Apply unique Intelligent Mail tray barcodes (IMtb) on trays, tubs, and sacks.
- Apply unique Intelligent Mail container barcodes (IMcb) on placards for containers, such as pallets, when required.
- Schedule appointments through the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking system (FAST®) if mail is accepted at an origin facility and entered at a downstream USPS® processing facility.
- Use an approved electronic method to transmit mailing documentation and postage statements to the Postal Service.
- If the mailing is prepared or presented on behalf of another entity, the electronic documentation (eDoc) must include additional information to support the by/for mailing relationships. Mail service providers (agents) do not have to provide by/for data for mail owners with 5,000 or fewer pieces in a mailing. All other mailings must include by/for information. The mail owner and mailing agent are described as follows:
Mail Owner: The mail owner is the business entity, organization, or individual who makes business decisions regarding the mailpiece content, directly benefits from the mailing, and ultimately pays for postage on the mailpiece directly or by way of a mailing agent.
Mailing Agent: The mailing agent is a business entity, organization, or individual acting on behalf of one or more mail owners by providing mailing services for which the mail owners compensate the mailing agent. A business entity, organization, or individual whose services define it as a mailing agent may also be considered a mail owner, but only for its own mail or the mail of its subsidiaries. Mailing agents include, but are not limited to the following: Printer, letter shop, address list provider/manager; mail preparer, postage payment provider, mailing logistics provider, mailing tracking provider, ad agency, and mailing information manager.
The entire Final Ruling can be found here: https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_latestnews/documents/tech_guides/FinalRuleFullService.pdf