Postal Service Changes & Updates: What’s Coming from USPS

Each year I look forward to attending the National Postal Forum. The conference is a wonderful opportunity to connect with other professionals in the mail industry. It’s also a great place to learn more about postal policy and standards, industry trends and best practices. This year’s conference, held in California, included more than 3,000 attendees. We heard from the new Postmaster General, Megan Brennan, who was very engaging about the various initiatives the United States Postal Service (USPS) has around growing their business and partnering with the mailing community. Other key takeaways from the event, included:

  • The USPS is continuing to move forward with the requirement that Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM), as well as Business Reply Mail (BRM) in automated mailings needs to contain an Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMbTM)—a code used for tracking mail pieces in the mail stream—in order for the original outgoing mail piece to qualify for postal discounts. How the USPS will manage and monitor conformance has not yet been shared. To prepare for the requirement, mail vendors, including Venture Solutions, are reviewing and working with clients to ensure 100% compliance.
  • Additional visibility into the quality of mail owners’ mail was a key topic of discussion. An on-going USPS focus has been to eventually require preparation quality reports, so mailers (vendors and mail owners) can gain further insights from USPS into their mail including when mail hits the mail stream, if there are any delays and the ability of the mail owners’ vendor to comply with IMbTMuniqueness and mail sortation/preparation, to name a few.
  • The USPS is continuing to push harder to mandate all mailers to identify who really owns the mail through customer-specific mail identification numbers in the IMbTM. Some vendors, including Venture Solutions have already begun working towards meeting the USPS’ future mandate. Once this mandate is in place, each mail owner will be assigned a six or nine digit identification number. Then, as the mail goes through the postal system, information is captured through scanning during the mail processing step. The information obtained gives USPS the visibility into who the true mail owner is so postal discounts can be assigned properly to the correct mail owner.

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About the author

Postal Compliance Officer

Diane has 40 years of experience in the areas of print and mail including production, commingling and postal compliance. As postal compliance officer, Diane ensures postal compliance for Venture Solutions and works to achieve optimal postal benefits for Venture’s current and new clients. Prior to joining Venture Solutions in 2003, Diane was serving as the production manager with IC System, which was acquired by Venture in 2003.