In a recent piece posted in the PostCom Bulletin (and re-posted here), the president of the American Postal Workers Union shows a surprising lack of understanding about the use of barcodes to receive postal discounts. Upon learning that a laser printer in his office was capable of producing 9-digit barcodes for input addresses, he suggested that the entire concept of postal workshare discounts was an act of “deception” on the part of the Postal Service. If laser printers can do all the work with no expertise or effort required on the part of mailers, something must be wrong with the idea of worksharing, right?
This premise is flawed on many levels. As I’m sure we all know, 9-digit barcodes ceased being the minimum standard for postage discounts years ago. The ability of a laser printer to generate a 9-digit barcode represents an acknowledgement of the increasing importance of barcodes, not a one-stop innovation that replaces the hard work, development efforts, and cost that mailers and their service providers must invest in order to earn postage reductions on their mailings.
From the use of address correction services to the CASS and PAVE certified software that drives the process of preparing a mailing before it is submitted to the Post Office, it should be clear to all that the USPS takes workshare discounts very seriously. Likewise, mailers and their technology partners (including BCC) understand the importance of pre-induction mail preparation as a way of not only earning deserved discounts, but also ensuring the fastest and most reliable delivery performance possible.
Legitimate workshare discounts are more than just a way of saving the USPS time and effort; in fact, they are one of the key drivers behind the continued existence of paper business mail itself. Without those rate reductions, mailers might understandably turn to other more cost-effective methods of mass communication – despite the proven effectiveness of paper mail. Workshare discounts are absolutely earned by mailers, and BCC is proud to be a part of that equation.