Intelligent Mail Vision

Posted by Bob Russell On October - 12 - 2009

Intelligent Mail BarcodeIt’s news to no one that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is facing tremendous challenges.  In 2003, the Postal Service drafted the Intelligent Mail Corporate Plan, which described the vision for Intelligent Mail in part to  “…place an information-rich code on all mail, aggregates of mail, and business forms, enabling end-to-end visibility into the mailstream.”   Recent progress is making this vision a reality. 

Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB)has been implemented to support expanded visibility into the postal network.  The Full-Service option provides a significant enhancement to that infrastructure.  As part of Full-Service, customers submit electronic documentation that provides details about the mailpieces and aggregates in their mailings, including the unique Intelligent Mail Barcodes applied.

Three key priorities were identified in 2003 that set the direction for achieving the Intelligent Mail Vision: 

  • Strategy 1: Uniquely identify mail and aggregates.  The introduction of IMB has enabled unique identification of pieces, handling units, and containers.  Each bar code is mailer-applied and has a common customer identifier called the Mailer ID (MID) and serial number identifying a piece within a single mailing .  IMB is used by mailers and the Postal Service to uniquely identify mail and increase visibility of movement across the network. 
  • Strategy 2: Develop and deploy enabling infrastructure.  In May 2009, the Postal Service launched the Full-Service option for mailers.  The systems deployed to support Full-Service provide enhanced visibility into the mail supply chain and facilitates the exchange mailing data between customers and the Postal Service.  Systems and enhancements are also being deployed to enhance mail quality by linking information about mailers to mailpieces.
  • Strategy 3: Enhance address quality. The Postal Service spends over $1 billion dollars each year handling mail that is undeliverable-as-addressed.  IMB implementation has improved address quality by improving new address correction options and the change of address process, and identifying further Undeliverable-as-Addressed mail and Address Management System improvements.

Four new strategies have been identified for 2009 that update and enhance the original vision: 

  • Strategy 4: Measure and improve commercial mail performance
  • Strategy 5: Drive product innovation
  • Strategy 6: Sharpen Operational Insight
  • Strategy 7:  Enrich the customer experience

Contact DecisionPoint Systems, Inc. to learn more about the Intelligent Mail Vision and for assistance complying with Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) requirements and to help your business fully benefit from it.